Table of Contents The Fall of Britain Introduction to Britain The Roman Withdrawal Independent Britain The Founding of England

The Invaders Early English Society The Conversion of Britain The Age of Bede Eighth-Century Kingdoms The Vikings and the Rise of Wessex The Appearance of the Vikings Alfred England After Alfred Wessex Conquers England King Edgar and Church Reform The Eleventh-Century Invasions Aethelred The Unready Canute and His Sons The Confessor and His Earls 1066 England under the Normans Domesday England The Norman Settlement The Conqueror and His Sons England, Wales, and Scotland The Church under the Normans Government under Henry I Stephen and Matilda Henry II and His Sons Henry, Eleanor and their Empire Law and Administration under Henry II Becket and Other Foes William the Marshal as an Example of Twelfth-Century Chivalry Richard and the Crusade King John and the Fall of Normandy Magna Carta The Thirteenth Century and the First Two Edwards Economy and Society up to the 13th Century Robert Grosseteste The Thirteenth Century Civil War Edward I: The Early Years Edward I: Later Difficulties The Deposition of Edward II The Era of the Hundred Years War Origins of the 100 Years' War Later Years of Edward III Religious Conflict in Fourteenth Century England Economic Change and Social Tension in the Late 14th Century The Reign Of Richard II Henry IV The End of the French Adventure The Wars of the Roses The Beginning of the Wars of the Roses Economy and Society in the 15th Century York and Tudor Religion in the 15th Century

1.The Fall Of Britain Introduction to Britain Let's begin with some basic terminology. Many names we use in the course are deceptively familiar. Just as it is d ifficult to understand British English without practice (British "subway" = our "underpass"), British geography and ethnography -- the names of the peoples who live or have lived there -- takes some getting use to.

Britain, the Britons The Romans called the biggest of the two islands NW of Gaul -- the country we know as France -- Brittania. The people who lived in the Roman ruled part of the island were called Britons (by the Romans!). This was a general name, beca use the Britons were divided up into a number of peoples and tribes. Confusion i s possible because the name of Britain is applied to the modern United Kingdom o f Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and the citizens of that country are often called Britons. Scotland, the Scots To the north of Roman-ruled Britain was a country called Caledonia, roughl y equivalent to modern Scotland. At this time there were no Scots in Scotland. T hey still lived in Ireland (then called Scotia or Hibernia). Caledonia was inhab ited by the Picts. During and after the fifth century A.D., a number of Scots cr ossed to the west coast of Caledonia and settled there. After a number of centur ies the King of the Scots became King of the Picts as well. By about 1000, the l and ruled by the king of the Scots (Caledonia) became known as Scotland (Scotia) , and later, all those who lived there, whatever their ancestry, became known as Scots. The English What about the English? The English of the early middle ages were a group quite distinct from the ancient Britons. After the Roman withdrawal from Britain in the fifth century, migrants from the Continen set up their own kingdoms in B ritain and conquered much of the south and east of the island. These people call ed themselves various names: Angles, Saxons, and Jutes; they may have included F risians and Franks. They spoke similar languages, which were related to modern G erman. By the year 880 these languages were being considered a single language c alled English. There was a single king of the English people soon afterwards. Th e English were sometimes called Saxons, or by learned men Anglo-Saxons (to disti nguish them from the Saxons still living in Northern Germany). Modern scholars o ften call the English who lived before 1066 Anglo-Saxons. I will usually call th em the English, and their language English, because that's what they usually cal led themselves. The English eventually conquered most but not all of what had be en Roman Britain. That area became known as England. What happened to the ancient Britons? Beginning in the fifth century, some went to a part of Gaul called Armoric a. There they became the dominant culture, and that area has long been known as Brittany. The name Great Britain (in French, Grand Bretagne), meaning the island of Britain, was invented to distinguish it from little Britain (Brittany, Fr. B retagne), where some of the descendants of the ancient Britons still live. Other Britons stayed home. The majority were conquered and absorbed by the English. In the western part of the island, some Britons remained independent o f the English. They were concentrated in three areas: Cornwall, Strathclyde, and the area we call Wales. The last name comes from the term the English used for the Britons, Welsh, which means foreigners. The Welsh called themselves Cymri. E ventually Cornwall was absorbed into England, and Strathclyde was split between England and Scotland. Wales was conquered too, but has retained a separate ident ity. The Celts In ancient times there was a people, or group of peoples, that the Greeks called "Keltoi." In modern times the linguistic term Celtic, has been attached t

which includes the anci ent British. 400. and Cornish languages. 600. Gallic. or Wales.C. We recognize this every time we use the phrase "Queen of England. more fertile part of Britain was securely part of the Christian Roman Empire as the province (or rather diocese) of Britannia.which one is? -. So I will avoid the term. just as it was once the thing to be a remnant of the Ten Lost Tribes of Israe l. but no documents that allow us to date them and help us interpret their significanc e. we must understand England first. have been the dominant power in the British isles for a long time. The problem with using the term Celts in regard to the Middle Ages is that no one at that time considered himself to be a Celt. If we want to understand the British heritage in the English-speaking count ries of the world." There is no title "Queen of England" today -. you have a good start to understanding the Middle Ages in Europe as a whole. The victory was relatively easy. The Britons who had inhabited south Britain before the Romans and thrived under Roman rule had lost control of most of their ancestral homeland. language. It is curre ntly fashionable to think that you or your nation descended from the Celts of ol d. The gap has been filled in legend by the figure of King Arthur. The Roman Withdrawal In A. But England has absorbed the other cultures of the British islands. Another reason to study medieval England: it gives us an opportunity to study some of the developments of the European Middle Ages within the limits of a single country. as they had done in many other places.. and the mix of institutions.Eli zabeth is Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. the southern. Why study medieval England instead of medieval Scotland. England is not a "typical" European country -. Breton. the history of Roman Britain really begins about a century later when the emperor Claudius ordered the conquest of the country. Neverthel ess we must try to understand this era Though Julius Caesar claimed to have landed in Britain twice about 55 and 54 B. or at least their rulers. Scottish. and ideas we call British has a predominant English elem ent. Irish. We have archaeological remains. The Roman method of ruling their empire was to co-opt native ruling classes in the provin . who spoke Germanic languages and were almost entirely pagan.o an entire branch of the Indo-European language family.D. How did the change take place? Was Romano-British society destroyed? Or we re there important elements of continuity was there between Roman Britain and Ea rly Medieval England? During the two centuries in which the great change took place we have almo st no sources that tell us how it happened. and the Romans set out to build a provinc ial society in their own image. they ruled only on the western fringe. or Brit ain as a whole? England and the English.D. In A. and ne xt to none that he was a key person. In fact there is almost no evidence that a man named Arthur even lived in this period. The fact that the legends of a great king has been placed in this unknown period is indicative of how little is known and can be known about it.but is an important one. most of Britain was ruled by peoples from modern day North Ge rmany and Denmark. If you understand how the Middle Ages affected it . The familiar stories about him come from th e 12th century.

The Britons. Roman Britain appears to have been a very prosperous place. the cities of Roman Britain flourished. and is a reminder that Britain. Even most of these city people were very poor. The empire kept a major garrison in Britain.D. The country as a whole seems to have done well. It is now time to look at the fall of the Roman imperial system in the wes . like the rest of the Roman empire. The native upper cla sses imitated and then adopted many elements of the culture of the sahibs. The Romanization of Britain does not mean that everybody in the country co nsidered themselves to be Romans. and that those who ruled in the cities would rule in the countryside a round them. a would-be lawyer named Pe lagius went to Rome. at the most. was officially Christian. Each one had a Roman style city as its capital and metropolis. Foreign soldiers and administrato rs came from other parts of the empire to rule the country.0 00 soldiers. This was an immense force by later standards: No English king befor e 1500 could have supported a permanent force of even 5. The prosp erity may have stemmed from the barbarian threat to the Rhine frontier. we must visualize British society then as being much like the soci ety of British India in the late 19th century. Keeping a secure hold on Britain involved a substantial investment in mili tary power. The use of money was commo nplace. and their facilities w ere impressive. which made British a griculture quite profitable. and so the Rom ans had to teach rural aristocrats that city life was desirable. But about 380. They seem to have been bigger than t he towns of medieval England. During the prosperous 2nd centu ry. however.000. there were no cities. His views on religion were very influential for a few years. even late medieval England. In earlier centuries we here nothing of a ny cultural contribution from Britain. In some provinces like Britain. took to urbanization and its atten dant pleasures in a big way. The larg e armies there seem to have been fed by British provisions. Events in the fifth century led to the removal of the imperial umbrella ov er Roman Britain. I want to say a few words about the state of Britain in the fourth century A. perhaps as many as 50. Furthermore. lived i n towns and cities where they came into contact with the Latin language and Roma n culture and learning.ces into the Roman system. until Augustine and so me other African bishops got Pelagius condemned as a heretic. and commercial links with the rest of the Empire can be seen in the arch eological remains. Whet her the majority considered themselves Roman or not is a good question. The richest members of the upper class built magnificent villas in the cou ntry. like the Gauls and others. This meant convincing the established aristocracy to adopt Roman culture and to participate in the machinery of government. Rather. where he ended up as a Christian monk and intellectual. any more than it was in Gaul or most of Spain. Despite at least one serious incursion by so-called barbarians during that century. Latin was not the language of the countryside in Britain. The impressive Roma n walls fortifications works and the force that manned them were subsidized by t he imperial government. Pelagius' particul ar contribution as a leading theologian shows the sophistication of British soci ety (at least in its upper ranks). Before we get into that subject. Britain provided at least one prominen t intellectual to the empire at large. Britain in Roman times was divided into districts t hat roughly corresponded to the independent tribal states of old. Roman gov ernment was based on the idea that cities were the center of political and cultu ral life. Ten percent of the people. Classical urban culture was the culture of a s mall minority in every province.

He fought several wars with his former masters before being defeated. In this situation. revolts against the imperial court usually started on the borders. and if so. took matters into their own hands. The empire was now weak enough that it was turning over large parts of its western territories. Britain was a d istant province with a big army. Who specifically ruled this independent Britain? Was there a central government. Many questi ons about this period are effectively unanswered and probably unanswerable. Because the big armies were on the frontier. They elected an emperor of their own. and Sueves crossed the Rhine river and started making trouble in Gaul. an army of Vandals. In the next lecture we will investigate the fascinating and unique phenomenon of an abandoned Roman provinc e defending itself against foreign intruders. Britain had an important role in this political situation. how was it organized? How well did it hold fifth-century Britain against invasion? We can make some educated guesses about political control. Honorius told the Britons that he had his hands full -. Without going into too much detail. Indeed. This was particularly likel y to happen if the generals thought the court was ignoring their own stretch of frontier. It is probable that in parts of Britain. to barbarian allies. This may have been a temporar y expedient. we can say th at the constant Roman problem was balancing the need for border defense with pol itical stability. An independent Brit ain maintained its independence for a long time. in anything more than name. named Constantine who took the army to Gaul to fight the b arbarians. ruled by an emperor based in Italy. apparently disgusted by the incompetence of the Italian court hea ded by the emperor Honorius. for ins tance. In 383. officially or unofficially. was out of the question. but this decision was never reversed. until the next big blow-up. it lasted until 1282. The Briti sh commanders. Whether these civic councils cooperated on a regular basis we don't know. a general named Magnus Maximus was declared emperor by the British army a nd crossed to Gaul. Does this mean that Roman Britain simply collapsed? Nothing of the sort. long used to some degree of self-go vernment. and a likely source of trouble. and they did. and the British p rovinces abandoned their allegiance to him and set messengers to Honorius protes ting their loyalty to him. a restoration of Roman author ity in Britain. the people of Britain were told by the emperor Honorius that they would have to look after their own defense. Britain effectively ceased to be part of the empire. If you include the last part of Wales to fall to the English. which usually opened u p the provinces to barbarian raids or even invasions. Eventually it became clear that Constantine was a loser. But the island remained part of the empire. the majority of publicly minded Romans simply forgot about Britain entirely. the city councils. On the last day of the year 406. The loss of the troops Maximus took with him may have permanently weak ened the British garrison. From this date. The Britons were left to their own devices. The crisis that separated Britain from the empire had nothing much to do w ith Britain itself. T he Britons had been told to defend themselves.t and how it affected Britain. .and told them that they would have to look after their own de fense. But setting up a rival emperor meant civil war. Independent Britain In 410. Alans. who slow ly formed independent kingdoms. stepped into the breach. The people of Britain were forced to defend an d rule themselves without the military or financial support of Rome.which he did -.

His story is an adaptation of one told by an earlier British writer named Gildas. The mercenaries eventually revolted. devastat ing the island. During that time. which seems to be about two more generations. Disaster seems to have struck in the 440s. crossed to Britain at least once and possibly twice to preach the t rue religion. was reduced to Saxon rule. he was very successful in winning ove r the Britons. Such warlords may have exercised grea t influence in independent Britain. It is a sermon. Anyway. One i s Bede. It seems to indicate that without the close links to the empire. was a monk." Aha! you say. They were meant to defend the island a gainst the Picts and other Saxons. unfo rtunately. the impression this brief stor y gives is of a Romanized country in which the life of the church continues on i n much the same way it did on the continent. he tells them a bit abo ut their past history. There may even have been a dramat ic fall in population (despite English migrations). He seems to have flourished around the year 550. urban and rural life in the Roman style seems to have collapsed. he says. It was only through the long efforts of Ambrosius Aurelianus. The period after the Roman withdrawal. and t he subsidies provided by the Roman government and military. which means these minor warlords must ha ve been successful enough to gain lasting prestige. It was a common Roman practice t o establish client rulers on the borders of the provinces and to give them some of the responsibility for defending them. Britain avoided catastrophe. Gildas is the prime witness to independent Britain. Despite the warlike activity. Gallic churchmen remembered that in the first half of the fifth century." To get any more than that. But they have learned nothing. The only work we have of his is called "The destruction and conquest of Britain. the condemned British theologian I mentioned last time." who made the fatal error of invitin g Saxon mercenaries to settle in Britain. had a grea t influence in the British church. was a per iod of prosperity. Since that time. and other unnamed leaders that the Saxons were beaten back. To demonstrate this. Gildas. wrote: "Britain. a man of royal blood. we have to go to archaeology. It seems that for about a generation. It is obvious that Gildas did not know a lot about the past. according to l ater Welsh and Breton legend. No prince is anxious to clai m descent from losers. which had up to this time suffered various defeats and cata strophes. One Gallic chronicler. or to two later writers. But. in other words. He also is supposed to have won a miraculous victory over invadin g Saxons and Picts. the Britons have lived in peace. Bishop Germanus of Auxerre. an Englishman writing almost 300 years later. a city in south c entral Gaul. For any details of this process. about a century after the English invasion recorded b y the Gallic chronicler. he wa s trying to make a moral point. this is exactly what we need.The councils may have had rivals as well. The archaeology of 5th and 6th century Britain is very difficult and hard to date. a good distance away but a near contempora ry. not depict accurate history. We have no direct witnesses to what happened. Gildas's piece is not a history except in passing. According to his biographer. According to Gildas the Britons of his time are great sinners and have alr eady suffered terribly in the past. which the Britons wasted in debauchery. and have wasted this blessing in renewed sinfulness. the followers of Pelagius. Bri tain was ruled by an unnamed "proud tyrant. But what he says fi . Some later Welsh dynasties claimed descent f rom native rulers of the fifth century. we have to turn to the historians.

They are reminiscent of the unruly Frankish kings who ruled in Gaul at about the same time. and it is a style can only be written by someone with an expensive education. Like the Fr ankish kings. And we know next to nothing about it. probably in the mid-fifth century. Much of the south and east (the most prosperous and urban part under th e Romans) seems to have been permanently lost to the Anglo-Saxons.. Gildas's story of a great war. and the name Vor tigern for the British king -. men whose closest associates are warriors. Gildas h imself is the Briton we know most about. men whose power depends on ruthles sness and their ability to keep their armed gangs happy.D. The introduction o f the Saxons into Britain. Bede is the first to mention Hengis t. Horsa. but they are tyrants. Britons and Saxons seem to have been fighting on both sides of th e English Channel simultaneously. but poor ones.. was a normal military expedient of the time. they rigoro usly prosecute thieves throughout their country. and they not only cherish but reward them. Some of the best information is indirectly conveyed. but unrighteous ones." These are warlord s. but those who sit at table with them are robbers. What Gildas's sermon does tell us about is his own time. A recent scholar argues that Gildas's vocabulary shows traces o f legal training in the Roman tradition. generally e ngaged in plunder and rapine. let me quote briefly from Gildas: "Britain ha s kings. and are unjust ones. and Kent in connection with the coming of the Saxons. the murder of enemies before the altars of . this was it. Scholars usually guess that the wars in Britain ended about A. For instance. This is the period that Britons were leaving t heir island and settling in Armorica. Gil das was the product of a culture where important Roman traditions not only survi ved but flourished. but this was all the rage in the mid-sixth century. she has judges. if it indeed took place as Gildas says.so we cannot be sure of the authenticity of these elements. Enough organized Britons went to Armori ca from Cornwall and Devon. The archaeology of early Anglo-Saxon graves suggests that a good number of separate Anglo-Saxon settlements were made in Britain in the early fifth centur y. but there were probably adventurers and conquerors among them. the archaeology shows traces of the Englis h all up and down the east coast of Britain. and he is a very interesting figure. If there ever was an age of Arthur. Independent Britain in the mid-sixth century retained some l inks to the imperial past. that they renamed districts in which they settled af ter their old homelands. Gild as mentions a series of British victories. Although Bede's version associates the first appearance with the Saxons with the settlement of Kent in SE England. won by an unnamed general. the British ones were technically Christians. 500. the invitation to the Saxon mercenar ies is a typical defensive tactic of the later Roman empire. the last at an unidentified Mount Bad on. which we think wa s around the 550s. He wrote in Latin. The areas that Gildas mentions are all in t he West.they make wa r. His language taken as a whole is very c onvolute and overblown. Groups of Saxons were attacking and settling in Gaul in the 460s. Gilda s tells stories of their adulteries. In other words. It is worth remarking that the Scots settled in the western isles of Scotland at about the same time. but their wars are against their countrymen. This is how all the learned men wrote in Italy at the same period. turning it into Brittany. and scholars speculate tha t the Britons encouraged this move to distract the Picts. The last part of his sermon is a detailed if sometimes vague denunciati on of British kings of his own time. but always preying on the innocent. Certainly some o f these exiles were refugees from Saxon attacks at home.ts with other things we know. Gildas also tells us roughly how big independent Britain was and how it wa s ruled.. As for the kings themselves. is confi rmed by evidence from Gaul.

By 600 it was fairly clear that the time of the English was at hand. and even he knew almost nothing of the activi ties of his own ancestors until the arrival of the Roman missionaries in 596. one Christian. Gildas. The only thing that keeps the origin of the English from being hopelessly obscure is the archaeology of the invaders. or destroyed in the little to the Roman doomed to be territ the invaders -. Even the moral critic of his times. the chronicle's account for the fifth and sixth century is a reconstruction. an impression that gives credibility to its annals. Otherwise almost all his material come s from Gildas. which cut off Cornwall's B ritons from the rest of their countrymen. needs to be told.churches. The material is dated year by year. In actuality. We've looke dat the British side of the confrontation. There seems to have been something of an uneasy peace. In the north. The tw o groups. the descendents of the invaders. the balance of power shifted. The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle supplies much more material about the origins of royal dynasties in southern kingdoms of Wessex. Bede bitterly remembers that th e Britons made no effort to convert his own ancestors. which was written well after this event. treachery and the like. which can here and there be checked . and recounts their ancestry from Woden . The post-Roman culture that produced Gildas was eroded last half of the sixth century. Bede was a tal ented and conscientious historian. between the English settlers in the east and the Britons of the west. The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle. Much of the detail that the Chronicle records which is not in Bede is probably legendary. extending the area under their rule. He mentions the names of Hengist and Horsa. He knows or guesses that the English arrived in Britain about 150 years before the missionary Augustine landed in Kent. and seems to give a picture of the foun dation of the English kingdoms. shows new offensives in the west: Gloucester and Bath were conquered around 577. perjury. or a cold w ar. 731). too. But is this material worth anything? The A-S Ch ronicle gives the impression of a contemporary recording events year by year. Sussex and Kent are nicely set out. did not mix. Some of the British king doms under that existed in Gildas's time hardly made it into the seventh century . and Welsh culture that owed past but religion was developing. as the lowland zone was lost entirely to rather. It was a culture that was orially peripheral. Sometime after Gildas wrote. The chronicle was b egun in the late 800s.or Next. does not deny that independent Britain enjoyed a certain level of peace and prosperity after the first great w ar with the Anglo-Saxon invaders. Our best written sources are Bede (who wrote in A. over 150 years after Bede wrote.D. almost as obscure as the story of in dependent Britain. one pagan. now for the other. It is likely that this period lasted about two generations. The Founding Of England The Invaders Steve Muhlberger We saw in our last lecture that the story of Britain in the last half of t he fifth century and the whole of the sixth was one of hot or cold war between t he native British and the Saxon immigrants. the story of the pagan English. Anglo-Saxon dynasti es made new gains.

there is the lack of British archaeology. with the ashes buried in pots. English archaeology shows that the earliest identifiable Anglo-Saxons were people wearing this Romanized gear. there is the fact that a language from the Germanic family rather than the Celtic family took over the entire lowland zone of Britain. and easily datable graves allows us to gue ss at the dates of others that are similar. and burial of the body accompanied by grave goods. One of the most difficult questions about the Anglo-Saxon invasions is wha t happened to the British in the territories they took? Three things suggest that the Britons fled or were wiped out. We suspect that they were brought in to ser ve as defenders of the coast. of where the English came from is essentially ac curate. datable towns or graveyar ds. One of the most astonishing discoveries of British archaeology.against the written records. was not Anglian. Their burial cu stoms were of two types: cremation. The English had to be converted by missionaries from the outside. Groups organized for war dominated political li fe. and th e Jutes. 15. Archaeo logically this situation is reflected in the use of jewelry. the main island mass of D enmark today. freedom fighters and terrorists use similar equipment and clothing al l around the world. When it bec ame weak. brooches and jewelry ca n be compared across northern Europe. not Saxon. Bede also knew where the founding peoples landed. Both the pots and the grave goods can be u sed to give a rough chronology. if not both. Here he speaks of three founding peoples: The Angles. from the area around Uppsala and Stockholm: th e east coast of Sweden. in the eastern territories where English remains are common. the Sutton Hoo treasure. Second. has revealed that the dynasty that conquered East Anglia. The various tribes that arrived in Britain from nor thern Europe in the fifth and sixth centuries were still pagans. belt-buckles. When the empire was strong. This practice created a military sub-cultu re all along the Roman frontier. Soldiers fighting for or against Rome. but Swedish. facing Finland and the Baltic states of Estonia and Latv ia. were the rulers. The most interesting conclusion that modern archaeology has made is that B ede's account in Book I. there is the fact that a pagan religion with connections to the Sca ndinavian and Germanic religions was established in Britian. The styles of potteries. a country that had been already converted to Christianity. The use of such mercenaries encouraged the so-called barbari an peoples to penetrate the Roman world. the process was less controlled. First. The Jutes came from the peninsula of Jutland. West along the North Sea coast were the Saxons. and eventua lly more. the process could be controlled by the imperial court and military authorities. the mercen aries set up as independent rulers. and these people seem to have responded in considerable numbers. at least officially. broac hes. and other gear that was modeled after Roman army equipment. After the revolt referred to by Gildas. The ancestor of the East Anglian kings came a long way to find his new realm . much as modern guerrilas. The Angles came from a little farther south on Jutland and from va rious islands of the area. . What brought these people to Britain? I referred before to the Roman habit of hiring their enemies as mercenarie s to protect them from other enemies. c. the Saxons. Our sources say the former mercenaries invit ed their friends and relatives to join them in Britain. Third.

and important elements of continuity on the English side. and warrior bands ruled.Put this way. and the names of some of these places survive in the English landscape. The chronology of the establish ment of the English language is unknown. The second element of continuity is. too. The ruling warlord s were pagans until the end of the sixth century. The Anglo-Saxon . All of this linguistic evidence points to a widespread po pular paganism. or the English conquest of the eastern seaboard of North America. This is the best evidence we have that the A nglo-Saxons did not step into an empty country. But there are important resemblences between the sp heres. Albans after him survived the invasions han dily. and even in the names of the days of the week. ruling over a diverse population. there seems to be a strong case for the replacement of one p eople by another -. In regard to religion. royal taxation or tribute w as collected in very similar ways. how many of their ancestors spoke British or even Latin. where everything had been destro yed by warfare. Many of their followers must h ave been.not to forget the internal conflict of Briton against Briton reported by Gildas. you have a warrior aristocracy from across the sea clinging to its anc estral religion. The cult of the Roman sa int Alban at the town now called St. The English had established many pagan temples. There is institutional evidence that the basic style of local government of the English was inherited from the British past. What the genetic makeup of that po pulation was. who remained Christian an d preserved some elements of Roman culture and learning.it doesn 't mean that there were no Britons. On the other side of th e divide. for that matter. The sixth century must have seen a Britain divided into two competing cult ural spheres.. The language question is equally slippery. But t his may not be the right answer. just as some of the subjects of Anglo-Saxon kings may h ave spoken British. In northern England. again. is imposs ible to tell. the culture divide sounds very wide. The absence of Bri tish archaeology only shows us that we can't identify British sites . Central authority had collapsed. comparable to the Jewish conquest of Pa lestine. some may have been Christians. The most noteworthy resemblance is the fact that both English and British society were ruled by warlords. I have already referred to the archaeological problems. On the other hand. some immigrant. In one you have the independent British. even in Kent in the south eastern corner. Even in the areas we know were British we wo uld have a hard time proving their existence archaeology. Put this way. We can only be certain that the later population spoke the language of the winners. and certainly it seemed very important to those who were there at the time. Ask the Welsh about the Eng lish today. and that many of them continued to worship as Christians. or English against English that we know a great deal about from Bede and others. some British. Actually the continuation of Christianity in English territory seems pretty certain.a national conquest. Christianity. Equally worth noting are the important elements of continuity in English B ritain. Both societies were shaped by the conflict betwe en them -. wester n England. My own feeling is that there were many Britons under Anglo-Saxon rule. we are a little better informed.

some of them no b igger than the average county in Southern Ontario.the pagan warrior society supposedly common to all of northe rn Europe. but the c onquest was permanent. but it i The Anglo-Saxons. the language of the future would be English. the kingdom would simply disappear. The longest English poem. Kings did this in the simplest of ways. Anglian. and may not have b een typical. It is an epic treatment of what is usually called early Germanic society -. esistance of some nobles. maybe even divine. The subject this time is English socie ty in the 6th and 7th century. once it was p conclude that contact even with them. If you were a king in this period.D. The ability to attract and keep a following of warriors was a necessary a ttribute of power. The claim of hereditary right had little practical meaning unless the ki ng could maintain himself in a very fluid and competitive political environment. and Strathclyde.eccle siastical viewpoint. like Frankish kings and others of the period. Swedi sh. if the ruling family was displaced or wiped out by another one. British. They did not have long histor ies behind them. Saxon. By the time the l ight of historical recordkeeping is cast on the scene. They did not have impregnable natural boundaries. despite the r to the new faith. 1000) ?) and it was composed as "historical fiction" about a far-away place -. There is some poetry written in Old English that may preserve a non. It is a period when almost all of the Engli sh were illiterate. despite the ir names.they were men of royal. But can we actually take Beowulf as a straight picture of that societ y? Its date is uncertain (perhaps as late as the manuscript (around A. and which we can use to reconstruct what early English soci ety was like outside the monasteries.Denmark . They were areas that some rul er in the past had seized through conquest and passed on to his descendants. men whose ability to inspire fear in their enemies was the basis of their claim to rule. have taken the best parts of the island. went over quite easily resented to them by a well-organized mission. English kingdoms. I a disorganized Christian community had affected the conquered country. the few who were literate were churchmen. None of the English kingdoms around 600 were well-established communities. England around 600 was made up of about eleven kingdoms. the British are restricte d to Cornwall. we are far better off with Beowulf than we are without it.rulers may have refused to adopt the religion of s hard to imagine that they ignored it entirely. They made a second claim as well -. perhaps. the language of the victorious warlords. Nonetheless. were warlords. the period when the English were still pagan or o nly newly converted to Christianity. They cultivated a rep . is Beowulf. In the sixth-century competition between warlords. At this stage. a large number of them. Early Engli sh kings. A late development. it was necessary to fight to keep your power. d escent. Let's start with a basic fact about the 6th and 7th centuries. and the most i nteresting. it was the dynasties of the newcomers that won out. Early English Society I am once again in the position of talking about a subject about which the re is little direct reliable information. Wales. for most of Britain. Nor did they represent clear-cut ethnic identities.

Hrothgar. The warrior followed the king in expectation of victory. Mainly. by ext ortion rather than by murder and robbery. royal estates. The nobles were brought up as warriors and no doubt were quite willing to fight most of the time." who "never [parted] with gold rings. 54] Th e tie between warlord and retainer was two-way. He had to be able to give gifts freely. he expected the king to fairl y and generously distribute the fruits of victory. Perhaps conquest and elimination of one's enemies was the ultimate g . men who were professionals in war and correspondingly valuable to their l ords. They could plan major projects and get large numbers of peasants out with their spades to do th e work. yet to always have more ready to give. by their ability to feed the king and his retinue. etc. Early English kings had two sources of tribute. it was an area sufficient to support one fam ily. and through the levying of tribute. War was the premier method of red istributing the wealth. a king of this period had to possess great wealth. Warriors were to follow their lords to the death. The d istricts that supplied tribute were roughly assessed. Kings also extracted service from their peoples. The obscure details do no t matter." [Campbell. Through generosity the king kept a group of crack warriors about him const antly. Tribute from other kings: As I mentioned before. in other words. the king could demand military service from all free men. In Beowulf. The more powerful ones could extract tribute from other rulers. was human beings. we alth extracted by threat of war instead as the result of actual fighting.utation for generosity. because there was no nation. others that collected enough to support him for more. One of the most important forms of loot. Tribute from a king's own subjects: Our information seems to indicate th at scattered around these early kingdoms were royal vills. and even beyond death. by the way. who in early times w ere called gesiths and later. and either used them. Loot was the most important reason for wag ing war. thegns. run for miles. even underdog kings could take tribute from the people of their own kingdoms. in another. gave them to their followers. It seems likely that poorer freemen performed only loca l service. What does matter is that kings were probably more organized than a lac k of surviving records would indicate. nor for any other highly theoretical reasons. however. The kings expected much from their closest followers. There was also a unit called a hide. however. There were estates that collected enough in a year to support the king and court for one night. Anyone who was not enslaved by anoth er master was a king's man. t he Danish king whom Beowulf came to serve. In one sense . or "dykes" as the English call them. or sold them overseas. Early English kings took slaves. and once victory was won. a hide was a unit of assessment. and liable to be called up to fight in his wars. the kings were actually able to manage mass mobilizations fo r military purposes. at which people paid tribute or taxes to a royal representative. it seems. To keep such men loyal to him. In theory. Tribute is much like loot: you can think of it as looting made routine. In some circ umstances. These frontier fortifications. a hide was 120 acres. was "the best of earthly kings" becau se "he was the best of those who bestowed gold. The king had two ways to acquire the necessary treasures: through looting . Second . and are evidence for the power of the kings of this time. or provided such services as carrying food for the army. There are several large earthworks surviving from this peri od. the poet harps on the importance of gifts of gold. Wars were not fought for national defense. kings took tribute from each other." A bad king was one who "[began] to hoard his treasure.

wh ich looks like the tribute list of a Mercian king at the height of Mercia's powe r. Lesser people gave gifts . What we have found impresses us.they sought to get tribu te from kings they had defeated or overawed. A ninety-foot-long ship was dragged up to the top of a hundred-foot b luff in Suffolk. For one thing. and money was known. another Bretwalda. a lthough it was not omnipresent as it is today.oal of a warrior king. The earliest English records.to the more po . Many of the artifacts had rotted away in w hole or part by the 20th century. and the whole thing was buried under a mound. and maybe painted as well. Yeavering was a royal fortress and residence in the time of King Edwin. Bishop Paulinus baptized there for 36 days in 627 A. Many Roman cities and towns continued as settlements. whether halls or cloak clasps or hel mets. made of p lanks 5 1/2 inches thick. and though the Romans built in longe r-lasting stone. and their fiscal obligations reckoned in hides. but it probably is that of King Redw ald of the East Angles. But complete victory was not often possible. Power was centered not in towns. The size and bulk of this hall matches most Roman buildings. the first Christian Northumbrian king and a Bretwalda or overlor d of Britain. The Chronicle calls these kings Bretwaldas. they ruled a rural country without a commercial economy. People d id exchange goods. It likewise assigns obli gations to the neighboring kingdoms of Wessex. talk about a series of overlord-kings who ruled over lesser monarch s. a dead king and some of his treasure was placed in it. which gives us the idea that it must have been impressively hig h. From th e post holes. The posts that supported the building were sunk up to eight feet deep. and over a country much different from either Roman Britain or Later Medieval E ngland. They were too small in population to do so. but no longer supported a urban style of life distinct from the life of the country. Inside the walls were plastered. but enough remains to show fantastic workmansh ip." The rewards of Bretwaldaship may have been rich while they lasted (no one could be sure how long that might be). kings competed for lesser advantages -. Aerial photography done in 1949 inspired a dig which found the remains of a huge fortified cattle corral and a number of royal halls made of wood. so just like nations today. Essex. Edwin's hall is no less impressive for being made of wood. Sussex. names the districts or tribes within Mercia.D. they ruled in a way not familiar to us. with the ability of th e kings to extract surplus wealth from their subjects. We can't be sure whose burial this was. called the Tribal Hidage. Bede and the ASC. The document. at the very least. If we were transported back to England in this time we would probably thin k it was the most primitive place imaginable.D. there were merchants and marketplaces. but in the estates of k ings and other lords.or tribute -. If the kings were great in riches. We have a document from after 700 A.. But much of the exchange was simi lar to the giving of gifts and of tribute that we have examined in connection wi th the power of kings. which probably means "rulers of B ritain. Archaeology gives us an idea of the wealth of 7th century kings. and to have that wealth t urned into beautiful or impressive objects. Kent. we know that Edwin's wooden hall was 80 feet by 40 feet. and East Ang lia. Trade was correspondingly less important as a method of exchange. simply because there were no great centers of population. Then there is theSutton Hoo treasure. rediscovered just before the Second World War. A royal v ill or estate named Yeavering of the kingdom of Bernicia has been recovered sinc e the Second World War.

but a method of resolvi ng disputes between families. written laws under the name of the king were appearing. England. His subjects could also come to him looking for justice if they did not think they could enforce their own rights. and paid servants to do the enforcing. But law was lar gely customary and unwritten. or define existing custom more precise ly. Perhaps the strangest aspect of that society to our eyes is the attitude t oward law. they were depend ent on lords. The state has a monopoly on enforcement. and mu st all answer to the sovereign state if we break the rules. None of those things applied in 7th c. Many disturbances of the peace violated the king's rights. or subject to great men who could protect them in a society where self-help was the main legal rule. F inally. the History of the English Church. which were much more extensive than those of an ordinar y individual. so that they apply in the same way everywhere. all of us are equal before the law. Under the influence of the church. Mo re generally feud was the theory that if a member of a family was injured in som e way by a member of another. whose favor they sought and whose demands they had to satisfy. rural principalities ruled by a war rior kings supported by a warrior aristocracy. Feud was n ot necessarily private wars between families.or else. The new religion was not only changing English ideas of the afterlife. The threat of action motivated the other family to bring its e rrant member into line. It was also a society that was in the course of the seventh century undergo ing an ideological revolution. it was having a great effect on how power was weilded. and the purposes that wealth was applied to. because most people were not employees in clearly defined jobs with clearly defined salaries. disorderly society to us. It seems like a rough. This kind of exchange was much more obvious in the early medieval world.werful. The king's role was very limited. The y can be changed. What this means is that law was not unchanging. Much of the population must have been enslaved. bu t that the community as a whole was the interpreter of what was right and what w as wrong. at least in theory. Bede focuses on the activities of Pope Gregory the Great and the mission o f Augustine (usually called Augustine of Canterbury to distinguish him from the . the king could proclaim new laws. He could also collect fines in such cases. The key institution was not abstract rules of law. What was the king's role? Basically. Rich people gave g ifts to their dependents to demonstrate their power and create the obligations t hat would bind their followers closer to them. to gain their goodwill or pay off social obligations. Christianity was being preached among the English . the injured family had the right to demand compens ation -. The early English kingdoms were small. He did not have many of the powers we gr ant to government today. when governments in power try to consolidate their support by creating funds or prog rams to benefit some strategic group in society. Today. The Conversion of Britain The classic story of the conversion of the English is the one told by Bede in his 8th century book. although it could come to that. and he could step in to a conflict on that basis and judge the rights and wrongs of it. The rules are writte n down abstractly formulated. That method is usually called the feud. We see the same kind of exchange every time an election comes around. he had the right t o protect his interests. rather.

felt compelled in later life to return to Ireland and preach the Gospel. It was character ized not only by its learning but by its heroic monastic idealism. and the rest of the English kingdoms. and Irish scholars soon were absorbing as much C hristian theology and classical literature as they could get their hands on. A second Irish saint. The mi ssionaries from Rome then fanned out and converted the king of the East Saxons. Christianity was the Irish entree to the civilized world. their successors went back to paganism. This is Bede's story. Columban's acti vities in France were exactly contemporaneous with Augustine's in Kent. and the king of Northumbria.D. taking on missionary work was seen as the ultimate sacrifice a C hristian could make. The Irish took to Christianity with enthusiasm. Around A. 400. Columban. who controlled London. and there were setbacks. who around 565 A. Fortunately. It is well told and well documented. the English kings were in the eye of a storm-center o .. King Oswy of Northumbria s aw the light. Indeed. Columba. Once the church was well founded in Ireland. But there was a controversy between the Irish missionaries and the success ors of the Roman mission over what customs. Augustine came to the Kingdom of Kent. who waskidnapped from Britain into Irish slavery. Irish culture ha d a great respect for learning. and there is no reason to think that it is not substantially true. Aside from purely religiou s motives. A v ital Irish church developed in the course of the fifth century. concerned to spread his heroic and austere style of monasticism whereever he could. Patrick. Columba's monastery became the ecclesiastical center of northern Britain. an d parts of Ireland and Pictland eventually followed suit. Around the year 600. forcing some of the bi shops to flee Britain for a while. opted for the Roman rule. mor e than thirty years before Augustine went to Kent. Gildas n ever accuses them of idolatry. a way of sh aring in Roman culture without submitting to political control. You will recall that Roman Britain was officially Christ ian long before the imperial withdrawal and the coming of the English. I'm going to begin the lecture by putting the conversion of the English in to a wider perspective. Around the same time. These countries had long been Chr istian of course. The Britons and their descendents the Welsh were well and truly Christianized. but Columban was.more famous African Augustine). One of the earliest missionaries was St. b ut it was strategically sited to bring the Gospel to the Scots who were settled in the area and especially to the northern Picts. should be used: the proper date of E aster was an important point. but in France and even Italy. It looks remote on the map. It was a challenge that the most dedicated Irish monks too k up. After the first Chri stian kings died. the Irish began to preach to others. set out from Ulster in the 590s to preach not in Scotland. says Bede. the mother house of a whole family o f monasteries. like many of the Irish. This much took a generation.D. ruled by the Bretwalda Aethelbert. went to the island of Iona of f the west coast of Scotland to found a monastery. and converted him and his court soon after 597. Britons had already begun to Christia nize their neighbors. Irish reinforcements saved the mission based in Kent: Bede tells us quite a bit about the rebuilding of the church in his own land of Northumbria by the Irish bishop Aidan. a more obscure Briton named Ninian began to convert the southern Picts. long before Gildas. But it tends to isolate the mission to the English from the development of Christianity elsewhere in Britain .

The same thing happened in other newly converted kingdo ms. n ot empty idols. As pagan kings in an increasingly Christian world. One can well imagine that Aethelbert of Kent. they we re becoming isolated. Then there was the promise that God. as Bede tells us but does not emphas ize. . who insisted on bringing her pet bishop with her to say mass for her and her attendants. master showmen. Thus his interest in a far-away pagan people. We may be inclined to scoff at this. but remember that miracles are in the eyes of the beholders. a Christian Frankish princess. and miracle-workers. and the bishop of Rome had problems much closer to home. Why was Aethelbert receptive. He was a convinced monk. The bishop of Rom e. it was not making any great progr ess. and its prestige. When Aethelbert died his son and the king of the East Saxons went back to paganism. as it had tol d Constantine (the first Christian Roman emperor). he probably felt he was being le ft out of a good thing. but it had its weaknesses. bishop of Rome in the 590s. and what motivated him to abandon his ancest ral religion? We do know quite a bit about what Christian missionaries said to pagan kin gs in this period. Confronted with these impressive missionaries. Conversion from the top down was the normal early medieval method. as it had told Clovis (the first Christian king of the Franks). Once Aethelbert was converted. taking care of refugees from the Lombards. The Roman mission.f Christian activity. feeding its population. which seems to have depended for its vitality almost ent irely on foreigners. he felt a special responsibility to convert as many as poss ible before the end. and their holy paraphenalia. Aethelbert. with their ri tuals. and trying t o hold the Italian church together. was aware of that isolation. The measure of his determination was the English mission . would aid the king who worshipped him. but it still existed as a very rich empire of the east. the real God who made the universe. stirring things up. First there was the promise of eternal life. for instance . the Irishman who went to Gaul. So why the interest in far away England? The answer lies in the personalit y of Gregory the Great. As the suc cessor of St. and dedicated religious leaders heal the sick and perform other mira cles every day. his support moved anoher king to follow his lead. and that of its religion. was fragile. The Roman empire may have been diminished in size in the 590s. Peter. in theory the chief bishop of the world. had married Bertha. The church told Aethelber t. The remarkable thing about the conversion of the English is not that it to ok place. The favor he showed to others who accepted baptism convinced many of his subjects to get on the bandwagon. Gregory had become convince d that the world was coming up against an important deadline: the End of Time. the largest mission sent from Rome to anywhere during the Early Middle Ages. The last factor that weighed in Aethelbert's mind is the hickiness factor. but that Rome had such direct role in it. was st ill very high. Christianity was his entree into the big time. their vestments. had his hands full running the city. not content to restrict himse lf to ordinary methods. when his efforts to do God's will would be reviewed by a stern Judge. In the 630s. And because Aethelbert was the overlord of Br itain. The monks from Rome were dedicated ascetics. his influence promoted the spread of Christ ianity. We can imagine Aethelbert feeling just a little bit like a hick among his fellow monarchs in the wider world beyond England. that it had the real stuff. Gregory is comparable in some ways to Columban. Rome and Britain were far ap art.

and the Picts would soon after. had fled to the Scots when his enemy had threatened him. Southern Ireland had already ado pted the Roman Easter. When orga nized monastic communities were introduced in the other kingdoms. which among other th ings. a Greek refugee from the Arabs. the church sud denly acquired some substance. after about 650. showed the church's independence from any one ruler. like its introduction in Ireland. sustainable enterprise. There he was baptized. He reb uilt the English church. He was sent to England in the 660s when the E nglish candidate. and didn't see why they should abandon them on the say-so of some far-away foreigners. who had come to Rome for consecration. modern Turkey. we find Christianity catching the imagination of a large number of native born English. the introduction of C hristianity to England. at the age of 88. and when he succeeded in taking power. This was the accomplishment of a most unlikely archbishop of Canterbury. who helped to create an educated clergy to carry on after they were gone. With the help of Hadrian. sparked an amazing cul tural flowering. One was the contro versy between the Irish missionaries on one hand and the successors of the Roman missionaries on the other. A final challenge to the church in England was the erection of permanent o ver-all organization. Up to this time there had been monasteries in Kent.Fortunately for the church. Oswald. a Roman sent to be abbot of the monastery at Canterbury. But the British.not just of the pagan English. These new Christian rulers were men who had learned about Christianity when they were exiles in Chr istian courts. and Pictish chur ches needed much persuasion to accept the overlordship of Canterbury and Rome. The council at Whitby in 667 assured their victor y in Northumbria and eventually all of England. This second wave of conversion had its weaknesses. England was becoming Christian in more than name. king of Northumbria. The Roman party. monasticism really caugh t on in England. Eventually they got their way. Augustine had been sent to Britain as archbishop of the whole British area -. . He came back to Northumbria using th e cross as his banner. He left behind him a church of Eng land that was a vigorous. the second generation apostate rulers were fol lowed by a third generation more interested in Christianity. Theodore died in 690. when it had ceased to be a precarious missionary organization and had bec ome an established part of English culture. concentrating on defining church laws (very simple ones ) and holding church councils for the whole English church. At the same time. This was remedied by several factors. Theodore wa s from Asia Minor. but elsewhe re there had been only a few isolated bishops to represent the church. he asked the monks at Iona to send him a bishop. Theodore and Hadrian were energetic and inspiring teachers. Irish. T hese ancient churches had their own customs of long-standing. The Age of Bede Our subject in this hour is the Christian church in England around the yea r 700. Another weakness of the English church in the third generation was that it was still too undermanned and disorganized to do more than a superficial job of converting the countryside. if I can call it that. Theodore of Tarsus. believed that the Roman customs ha d a special validity because they came from Peter. too. He was already 66 years old. Indeed. but of the already exis ting Christian churches in the island. But Theodore turned out to be a powerhouse of a bishop. By the end of the 7th century. died there. In the third generation. who held the keys to heaven. These communities did the real work of bringing C hristian belief to the ordinary people: they were the teachers and the examples of Christianity.

Bede. Perhaps most import ant of all. but in chronology. A couple of examples will give you an idea of this activity.where he stayed all hi s life. Sussex. He lived b etween 634 and 709. Wilfrid spent the rest of his life as a sort of ecclesiastical wild card. Bede made the best use possible of t hat library: he was an expert not only in the interpretation of the Bible. he was also influenced by Rome. converted the last pagan kingdom. Was Bede the typical English Christian of the 8th century? No. Benedict B iscop.but Bede is symptomatic of the great changes that had overtaken English society. He was the spokesman for the Roman p oint of view at Whitby. Despite this peculiar contentious aspect of his character. He was very independent of spirit. For Bede. Early on. nor was his monastery. Wilfrid became bishop in Northumbria. and at his death. he spent time in a monastery in Lyons. there were many English people who looked to him as their father in God. Bede could exist in his time because in the previous generation. He wa brought up in the Irish mission to his kingdom. Before re turning home. poetry and music. though he had a lot of enemies. He was in fact a young warri . was a new kind of Englishman. the English were a New Israel. Christian ity had caught the imagination of a number of native-born English people. They created the securely Christi an England that Bede grew up in. and using his literary talen ts to teach others the elements of the Christian faith. who came to maturity in 687 and die d in 735. One of the mo st famous English bishops of the generations before Bede was Wilfrid. His learni ng and his religion were not unique. studying the sacred writings. He could not have existed a century or e ven a generation earlier. people of talent and. acted as a bishop in Mer cia and Wessex. as well as a historian and biographer of great talent. Wilfrid went to Rome twice to demand his rights. The closest thing they had to a national institution was the English church led by the archbishop of Canterbury. brought to Britain from the pagan wilderness so that they might enjoy a new homeland as faithful Christians. wealth and rank. soon after that he was transferred to the nearby monastery of Jarrow. Benedict Biscop is a second example of a Northumbrian noble who threw hims elf into ecclesiastical activity at an early stage. Bede was part of a large group of English people who believed that b eing Christian was an essential element of being English. and when the Irish bishop of Lindisfarne left afterwards . Wilfrid had his constructive side. a chosen people. He founded a number of monasteries. he became quickly prominent as one of the best trained of the native-born clergy.I called this lecture the age of Bede because Bede himself is the most acc essible witness to the transformation. and was in exile from Northumbria for long periods before he was finally given a smaller see around Hexham. and even preached to t he Frisians on one of his journeys to Rome. in southeastern France. The co mbination is a remarkable one. had brought from Rome and elsewhere. and three times lost his see because he could not get along with the king or the other bishops. He was born of Christian parents and at the age of sev en was sent to be a monk at the Northumbrian monastery of Wearmouth. praising God. especially when one remembers that there was no s ingle English kingdom or people in Bede's time. He went there in 653. Wilfrid did his best to found an ind ependent family of monasteries obeying only on him. often enough. The monastery at Jarrow was filled with books that its founder. Bede's history combines a zealous Christianity with an unmistakeable English patriotism. Whe n Wilfrid came back to England about 660. Northu mbria.

and to take up a life devoted to eternal things: knowledge of God. First. I could cite other early saints. The constru ction of a stone church could not help but have economic consequences. too. but an abbot instead. they were eager students of everything they could learn from the ou tside world. Bede was precisely the kind o f learned monk that Benedict Biscop was seeking to produce. The issue of expense occurs to me. he tr avelled around the continent. He was the founder of Wearmouth and Jarrow. The impact of these buildings must have been very great a s well. Denial of the flesh was seen as a necessary part of this devotion. the monastic life was universally seen as the true Christian life. and maybe more direct than writing. These English bishops and abbots convinced kings to finance their projects. the high road to salvation. Most Anglo-Saxon stone buildings were pulled down in the later Middle Ages to make bigger and better ones. they may not have all been good. But it was the elite that was affected. and they must have served in a very concrete way to mark out the chur ch as a special institution. These men. they were all promoters of and participants in the monastic life. Early stone buildings were all eccle siastical. Finally. in their effort to move from the basics of Christian belief to th e real thing. The first had an incalculable impact. . For 20 years. Two innovations associated with this movement were the book and building i n stone. Eventually he came back to Northumbria. During these years he also vis ited Rome six times. mostly visiting monasteries to learn how each one practiced what was considered the apostolic life. Monastic life was respected by many who felt no desire or aptitude for it themselvesThe foundation and endowment of monasteries was the most pious act tha t a king or a noble could undertake. and the highest expression of its life. Of course the direct effects were limited to a fraction of the elite of Ang lo-Saxon England. So far I have depicted the introduction of Christianity to England as a fl ood of foreign influence being absorbed by the English. despite his name. not to become a bis hop. Zealous Christians burne d to give up the world. and students to immerse themselves in Christian learning. but these two suffice to make a number of points about the founding generation of native English churchmen. but with important elements of pagan philosophy and lore from the distant p ast. But there was more to it than that. mostly Christ ian. . or Bede's. Reading and writing exposed the E nglish of Wilfrid's time. The surviving ones show that the English caught on quickly here. they were extremely charismatic. prayer to God. young men and women to enter monaster ies and nunneries. when Bishop Aidan was reconverting Northumbria. Second. His monasteries were remarkable centers of Christian culture. and a few women like St. The sons and daughters of the aristocracy s aw monasticism as a respectable career. to an entirely new tradition. Aidan h ad a big impact on Benedict (this was not his original name): at the age of 25.or at court in the 650s. and everyone else was influenced too. Monasticism in this period was the institutional framework of the church. Hild a. were amazingly successful in planting a new Christian culture in England. the two monasteries that Bede lived in. seen as a place of temptation and sordid involvement wit h transitory things. a full Christian life. he gave up his secular life and went on pilgrimage to Rome. In the seventh and eighth century. too.

When Wilfrid's patron Cadwalla. It was often visualized as the property of a dead patr on saint. We hear of kings disporting themselves with noble nuns who lived all too much like secular ladies.enough land. even in the seventh century. Giving land to a monastery nullified the claims that the king or more distant relatives had on that land. Early church councils had to forbid bishops su rrounding themselves with the harpists who praised and entertained warrior noble s. Lay properties were not ver y stable -. It was like a tax-free foundation. were big and we re given large endowments. But if that monastery was entrusted to abbots who were members of the family. Some of these monasteries were almost indistinguishabl e from noble estates. or payments from enough land. in grati tude to Wilfrid for converting his people. Once the church was well established in England. The establishment of the church in England meant the establishment of an e ntirely new aristocracy. protected by supernatural guarantees. Wearmouth and Jarrow had hundreds of monks and lay br others. he gave a quarter of it to Wilfrid fo r the use of the church. Bede's history reads like the tale of a golden age -. conquered the Isle of Wight. There was not enough disposable land to set up the new dioceses that Be de thought England needed. It was held in perpetual trust for the service of God and the support of the poor. Church corporations. under whose protection it was. Second. This new "high culture" affected not just churchmen and patrons. and look what happened to them! . while they adopted foreign standards and styles. church law. and the king's law. big stone buildings with glass windows (another innovation). and Bede himself complained that the ma ny family monasteries. What the English did with the new techniques surpassed what other Christian peoples were doing in the West. At another time. It was permanently sacrosanct. Founding and maintaining espicopal establishments and m onasteries involved a major redirection of resources in an era where making sure that everyone had enough to eat required the vast majority to work on the land all the time. and an init ial endowment of 150 hides -. the property could still be used to a dvance family interests on earth. The English wer e expressing themselves and their new found faith in every medium with a startli ng energy. The British had misused their prosperity. The church introduced written royal cha rters into England in an effort to guarantee that donations to the church would be respected over the generations. used their own artistic tradition in the service of their new goals. The possession of all this inalienable prope rty made the heads of the church a big political factor in Christian England. the English were not just second-rate imitators of a superior cult ure. to supp ort 150 free families in some style.First. One thing that distinguished church corporations from other lordships is t hat the church properties were meant to be eternal. This process of secularization accelerated when noble families began to re alize the earthly benefits that founding monasteries could have. the English. untouchable.families died out or split their property among many heirs. Church p roperty was different. King of the West Saxons. Bede was not just the best English scholar of h is generation: he was the best scholar working in Latin anywhere.but it could also be read by contemporaries as a warning. Wealthy bishops and abbots found it hard to avoid living l ike secular men of the same rank. There wasn't even enough to endow young warriors to d efend the country. We know of at least 200 monasteries and nunneries that were founded in Eng land before the Vikings. the king of the South Saxons. with their untouchable endowments. the inevitable process of accommodation began. were causing a land sh ortage. gave him eighty-seven hides at Selsey .

The two halves of England were also ecclesiastically distinct. The two halves are not comparable in all ways. it would be effectively dominated by the Mercian kings. Offa of Mercia (the dominant English kingdom of the time. Northumbria by this time was a reasonably well unified kingdom. Southumbria wa s the more fertile Lowland Zone of Britain under another name. ruled 757-796) was the one western king that Charlemagne called "brother. Pepin t he Short. was one of the periods of European history where England has had the most influence on the continent. The eighth century on the continent was the era of Charles Martel. and Charlemagne -. The south w as the ecclesiastical province of Canterbury. Chu rchmen looking for new lands to conquer for Christ went to Frisia and still-paga n Germany to convert peoples they thought of as their distant cousins. Oswald of Northumbria. forged an alliance with the papacy. but in setting up a well-organized German church on the English model. In the eighth century. there can be little doubt. and the history of Merc ia may have gone with them. Northumbria on one hand and Southumbria on the other (divided by the river Humber). there was plenty of real dedication le ft in the English church. The English idea that Rome should set the religious style of the church was a very influential one. and built a Frankish empire and a theocratic kingship. but closely tied to Rome. ruled 716-757) and Offa did not have kingdoms anywhere near the si ze of their Carolingian neighbors. the northern bishops depended on Y ork." Aethelbald (another Mercian king. Southumbria was never the name of a kingdom at all. The eighth century. we have more information about kings and their power than we have had before. rather. The cultural u nity of Western Europe thus owes something to the spirit of Bede and the age of Bede. however. In the eighth century. In the late 7th century and the early 8th. Something may have been written. It en hanced the position of the king. in fact. They were remarkably successful. we see a de facto division of the English kingdoms -. particularly for Mercia itself. English Kingdoms of the 8th Century The subject of this lecture is royal power in the last century before the appearance of the Vikings in England. There is not as much as we would like. and even after. a role it had been finetuning since th e conversion of Constantine. who restored the true faith after apostate kings had thrown off Christianity was regarded by Bede as a sain . a church not only well-run. but in their sphere they temporarily provided a greater English unity than had obtained before. which had evolved into the second archbishopric of England. The church gave the king the role of protector of the church.the Frankish leaders who established the power of t he Carolingian dynasty. but many churches and documents were destroyed in the Viking era. So the lecture will have more general consideration s and few telling anecdotes than it might. Th at division is between North and South.a division that will recur in one form or another through the Middle Ages. There were severa l kingdoms there at any given time. not just in doing the work of conversion. We'll begin with the effect of Christianization on English kingship.But in Bede's time.

Sussex. the church was normally a supporter of royal power and stable gove rnment out of practical as well as ideological reasons. after he was killed in a later battle. Aethelbald (716-757) and Offa (757.796). but the other dynasties were gone for good. and thus exercised a great influence on how it was run. but were drawn up by the churches and monasteries that recieved th e lands for their archives. In the days of Aethelbald. Written law was introduced to England almost as soon as Augustine landed. They seem to be stronger kings than any we have seen to date. with some reference to Offa's second successor Cenwulf (796-821). These men were deputies who o versaw a territory called a shire. Kings had close links to a number of monasteries they or their predecessors had founded. It appears that some eighth century monarchs were deeply receptive of the sense of Christian duty that bishops and monks were trying to i nstill in them. but the seeds of future developments had been planted. Offa went so fa r as to dispense with separate kings in Kent. They ruled or dominated the entire ecclesiastic province of the archb ishops of Canterbury. because the Welsh were no pushovers . Political superiority was reflected in the way the Mercian kings treated t he church. To a neighbor like Charlemagne. In most cases the demotion was permanen t.they gave as good as they got for quite some time. This was barely beginning in the eighth century. detailed form. The field where he planted his cross became the site of miracles. A third factor was the introduction of writing and recordkeeping as tools of government.but charters in this period were not official documents issued by th e government. Hwicce (which is near Worc ester). Mercian candidates were elected archbishop. which recorded the transfer of land in a permanent. Lindsey and East Anglia. But although he remained an impor tant person. Several English monarchs gave up thei r thrones and went to Rome so they could die there as monks and be buried near t he tomb of St. Aethelbald was also able to . First. How deeply the king's sel f-image could be affected is shown by the curious phenomenon of kings retiring i nto monasteries at the end of their lives. and if they chose them wisely. even though Kent still retained some independence at the time. In some cases the new ealdorman may have been the same person as the old subking. Let's look how royal power was exercised by three important Mercian kings . supervising the collection of taxes and defen ding the king's prerogatives when necessary. Writing was not yet an important part of royal government. Charters. the church was a source of patronage. Second. Kings had influence over the appointment of their bishops. as did Os wald's tomb. Tributary subkings were replaced by ealdormen. the official ancestors of both earls and sheriffs. These men exercised overlordship over Southumbria and.t. East Anglia regained its independence. were increasingly i mportant -. and these too were potential power bases. This was a major enterprise. for over a century . It changed th e content of royal power and affected the methods by which it was exercised. over the church in southern England. Christianity did not merely change the ideology of kingship. and forced Offa to build a huge fortified frontier between Mercia and Wales. Offa looked like the only real king in sou thern England. just as important. The Mercian kings were remarkable too for fighting the Welsh actively and successfully. he had suffered a demotion. with some ups and downs. Not every king could aspire to sainthood. Peter. but they all received an ideolog ical boost from Christian theories of worthy kingship. bishops could serve as valuable deputies.

The archbishopric of Lichfield was dismantled on Offa's death. but the Cenw ulf inherited the essence of Offa's power over the church. and given many of Canterbury's subordinate bisho ps. of a "national" church. but not so much as to mak . eventually. a bishopric central to his own territory. sometimes regretted the pious generosity of his predecessors in giving away royal lands and rights.pious king as protector. known as Offa's Dyke. To return to Offa's position in the church. but since both men were more powerful than their predecessors. and more directly. was elevate d to the rank of archbishopric. One of his great triumphs was his presidency of a council in 786 where papal legates were p resent. Offa ho ped. At least in Southumbria. the first practic al. to smooth his son's way to the throne in this way. Originally it was 150 miles lo ng. both in England and the Continent. Aethelbald found it necessary to insist. and not interest. that whatever grants had been made in the past. This period also saw. On this occasion. Offa and Charlemagne are both notable for their interest in regulating and exploiting trade. all lands had to contribute men to the army and labor towards the bui lding and maintenance of bridges and fortresses. At one point. Offa and Charlemagne are roughly comparable in other ways as well. Offa got to play the role that Charlemagne was playing on the continent -. Peter's representatives on the spot. Neither king seems to h ave doubted that they could enforce their decisions on their own merchants. we can say that their interest had more practical consequences. and so he took an even mor e prominent part in the running of the church. a role backed by the acquiescence of St. But a barrier thi s size would have been quite effective in containing Welsh raiding and thus in s tabilizing the frontier. The special religious role claimed by Offa was asserted the next year. is an impressive piece of engineering a nd a demonstration of royal control of resources. and made up of a ditch 6 feet deep backed by a rampart 25 feet high. the bishops had run their own meetings independently of monarchs. around 749. The existence of the dyke cannot be explained without granting Offa the ab ility to conscript tens of thousands of workers in an organized fashion. the penny. like many other medieval kings. He (and his successor Cenwulf. Each penny was worth a substantial amount. thus giving ec clesiastical and divine approval for the power of Charlemagne's dynasty. Offa's position was stronger than Aethelbald's. he decided his control of the church would be more secure if Lichfield. Offa was a ki ng capable of conceiving of and carrying out major projects. Perhaps this is just the beginning of documentation. Previously. to o) routinely presided over councils of the southern English bishops. Offa could be very high handed in getting his way. In England it was a silver coi n called. even head. The pope himself had anointed Charlemagne's sons a few years earlier. in imitation of recent Frankish kings. in imitation of Saul and David in t he Old Testament. Offa's huge fortifi ed Welsh frontier. Offa and Cenwulf had gained the kind of ecclesias tical predominance that their brother monarch Charlemagne had on the continent.act as the president of a church council of the province of Canterbury in 746/7. W as Aethelbald's active role applauded or resented by the churchmen? Probably bot h. It was not fortified and so would not have stopped a determined army. When the archbishop o f Canterbury in his time tried to take over monasteries connected to the royal f amily. Cenwulf had him suspended from his position for six years. in vain it turned out. Aethelbald. Offa's kingdom seems to have produced millions of pennies. royally sponsored currency since Roman times. whe n Offa had his son anointed king by bishops.

In 829. was less stable than it looked. it is the name of an occupation. but there was no rule that said he had to be the closest male relative of his predecessor. a moment's weakness in the thenruling family. and not all Vikings were Scandinavians. which was the problem with many earlier gold coins. These achiev ements have left a mark on the historical imagination of Western Europeans. The growing commercial activity of Western Europe in some sense created the Vikings. the conquests. Some times scholars have been tempted to make wide claims for the uniqueness of the V iking raids and migrations. we saw in the last l ecture. This in turn has provoked other scholars to minimize the importance of those phenomena. Rivalri es and dissatisfactions within the aristocracy. the settle ments. not all Scandinavians were Vikings. and many did. The Vikings And The Rise Of Wessex The Appearance of the Vikings The appearance of the Vikings on the Western European scene is one of the most dramatic episodes of medieval history. Lo ts of people had royal blood. that trade which. In the early ninth century this type of instability led to the loss of Mer cian supremacy in the south. like that of Charlemagne's dynasty. Murder and civil strife were an almost constant part of English royal politics. commercially more active society." and "King o f the English homeland. but the big ones were just over the horizon. and their existence both refl ected increased trade and promoted it.e its daily use difficult. Cenwulf used the even more impressive title of emperor. They were yet small ones. Offa was the first king to call himself "King of the English. closely watched and systematically exploited b y the king. But their power. The number of coins indicates a richer. a man who might be interested in the profits of trade. or jewelry. or even propaganda pieces demonstrating r oyal wealth. Viking raids had been hitting England for a generation." in other words. The raids. but be warned that there a re a lot of different opinions out there in the scholarly world. King of England. The coming of the V ikings to England is our next subject. Mercia was temporarily conquered by the King of Wessex -. Vikings were a by-product of trade. the sea voyages of the Vikings were remarkable achievements." "Viking" is not an ethnic or racial identity. ." in other wo rds a man who hangs around a vik or a trading center. A Viking was "a man of the vik. but who was more likely to be a pi rate and a plunderer. This ambiguous word. Indeed. was increasingly important in Western Europe in the eighth century. The English rule was that a king must have royal blood. or could make a claim to it. could lead to quick revolutions in power. was u sed by the Scandinavians of our period to mean a sea-going adventurer.if you can believe the records preserved by the West Saxo ns. The silver pennies were useful money. In other words. I will give what I think is a balanced account. By that time. the country was on the verge of a greater political revolution yet. and this is onl y one. in 829. The word "Viking. T he gold coins were medals.

The peoples on the shores of the North Sea and the Baltic were pulled into it. The sheltered "Northern Mediterranean," as it is sometimes called, is an ea sily navigated waterway, and it leads to some desirable resources. It was also a route to Russia, and through Russia, to the mighty Islamic empire centered in Baghdad. This increase in trade was a destabilizing influence. There were literally dozens of minor rulers around the Baltic. Those who controlled trading centers grew rich, and the others grew envious. The envious ones turned to war and pirac y in an attempt to muscle in on the new wealth. It is in this period, the eighth century, that the famous Viking longship may have been developed. Piracy put a premium on speed and maneuverability for b oth pirates and their prey, and led the Scandinavians to combine both sails and oars in one very seaworthy ship. Eventually this pirate activity spilled out of the Baltic, and isolated Vi king bands began to hit the coasts of Christian countries in the west. This was a complete surprise to the English, the Franks, and others. The northern seas ha d been peaceful for a good long time. Mariners who showed up at English ports, f or instance, were assumed to be peaceful traders -- thus the ASC entry for 787: When the first Norwegian ships showed up on the south coast of England, a royal reeve went down to tell them to go to the customs station and pay their taxes. T he murder of the reeve was the first indication that England was about to face h ostility from overseas peoples. Up to about 830, however, the Viking threat to England and the continental Christian countries was so sporadic as to be easily ignored. After 820, Ireland became the target of many small Norwegian raids that came around the northern t ip of Britain. But the still mighty Frankish empire contained Danish aggression by the southern sea routes, and England had only to contend with a few isolated raids. After 830, however, dissension in the Frankish royal family and then outri ght civil war weakened the empire and distracted its rulers from the problems of external defense. The Danes soon took advantage of the situation. They began by sacking the port towns in modern Netherlands and Belgium, towns that had been b asically unfortified because they could count on the protection of the Frankish emperors. These trade centers were easy pickings for the Vikings. News of the we alth that the raiders gained on these occasions attracted more pirates, and soon the western seas were swarming with them. The bigger Viking expeditions of the 830s made the English on the coasts f eel more insecure, but England was still not the main target of Viking activity. The continent, still torn by civil war between rival Frankish rulers, was too t empting. What little information we have about England in this period gives the impression of a prosperous country. After about 850, the scale of Viking expeditions seems to have increased y et again. The accounts of the victims of the Vikings -- and in this period as al ways, these victims' accounts are our main source of information -- say that Vik ing fleets included 150 ships and more. Even taking exaggeration into account, t his means that some of the fleets carried thousands of warriors. Another difference between the post-850 expeditions and the earlier ones i s that some of the leaders called themselves kings. These were not great nationa l kings with extensive lands in Scandinavia. Rather they were failed contenders for power at home looking for opportunity elsewhere -- more aggresive counterpar ts to the English princes in exile who were always a part of English political l

ife. But still in the 850s, the main opportunities were in disorganized Ireland and on the continent. Only occasionally would one of these large fleets descend on Britain. Charles the Bald, who ruled most of modern France in the mid-ninth century , had a role in bringing about the most devastating Viking attacks on England. I n the 850s and 860s, he took the first effective action by a Frankish king again st the Vikings. Paying Vikings to fight each other was just one of his tactics. The use of fortifications was another. Such tactics were not infallible, but they made France a less attractive d estination for Vikings, and England more attractive, just as their activity was reaching a peak. The storm broke in 865, with the appearance of the so-called Gr eat Army. The name "Great Army" was probably an invention of the chroniclers, but it expresses the dismay that the English felt when faced with an enemy of unpreced ented size. The East Anglians, rather than fight, gave the Viking army tribute, including the horses they would need for further campaigning. After spending the winter of 865 in East Anglia, the army, perhaps reinforced by other Vikings fro m France, went to Northumbria, where a civil war was in progress, and took York, which was the chief town of the kingdom. After some delay, the contending kings , Osbert and Aelle, came to their senses, and in March of 867 they combined thei r forces to attack the army at York. They lost badly -- both English kings were killed. The Viking army was effectively in control of Northumbria, but did not set tle at this point. Rather, they appointed a client king, took tribute, and moved on. They seized Nottingham, in Mercia, and spent the winter of 867/8 there. Kin g Burgred of Mercia was frightened enough by the approaching army, to appeal to his neighbor and former rival, King Aethelred of Wessex, for aid. Aethelred resp onded favorably -- he and his brother and heir, Alfred, took an army to Nottingh am to help the Mercians beseige the Vikings. English cooperation against a comm on enemy didn't work this time, though. For some reason the Mercians decided tha t peace was less risky than storming the Viking camp. So they made a treaty and the West Saxons went home. The Mercian peace gave them a respite of four years. The Vikings went back to York in 869, and then, probably after being reinforced from overseas, they m arched back to East Anglia. This time they didn't merely take tribute: they kill ed the king, Edmund, perhaps as a pagan sacrifice, and in the words of the chron icler, "overran the kingdom the entire kingdom." East Anglia was well and truly overrun. The East Anglian royal dynasty disappeared forever. In 870, the Great Army attacked Wessex. Because the ASC comes from Wessex, we know what happened there in some detail. The chronicler knew, for instance, who the Viking leaders were. They were a collection of warlords, some of whom ca lled themselves kings, others who did not have the support or the ambition to be more than jarls (earls). What is more interesting is how well Wessex did in the face of the assault. The kingdom did not collapse at the appearance of the army at its borders, and was not defeated in the field. In the early part of the yea r there were four separate battles. The West Saxons won some and lost some, but neither side got a decisive victory. Aethelred died, but Alfred stepped right into his shoes and continued his campaign. There were at least nine engagements that the chronicler considered wo rth of the name "battle," plus innumerable lesser forays mounted by the English to harrass or repulse the attacking army. By the end of 870, the Vikings had los

t one king and nine jarls, and they were willing to make peace. One wonders about the resistance of Wessex. Did they face a smaller army t han the earlier kingdoms? Had some of the Vikings stayed behind to consolidate t heir gains elsewhere? Perhaps, but the fact that the army Aethelred and Alfred f aced had two kings and many jarls speaks for a sizeable force, and certainly one that began its campaign confident of victory. One is forced to give a great dea l of credit to the leadership ability of the brothers Aethelred and Alfred. It i s not so much the battles they one that impress us, though that was quite an ach ievement, but the fact that they could suffer a number of defeats and continue t o fight, without losing heart or the support of their subjects. Even the death o f Aethelred in mid-fight did not sap West Saxon morale. This morale must be kept in mind when we look at later events. The great V iking army backed off from Wessex temporarily, and spent its energy subduing Mer cia. In 871 the London area was taken, in 872 the area around Lincoln. In 873 th ey took Repton, in the north-central part of the kingdom. In that year or the ne xt, King Burgred called it a day. He abandoned his kingdom and retired to Rome, no doubt with a great deal of treasure to console him for his loss of status. Pa rts of Mercia remained unconquered, but it was now a Viking client state, somewh at like the Vichy republic in France in the second World War. The Vikings chose a king they could control, a king's thegn named Coelwulf, who ruled on their suf ferance. After this victory, the army appears to have split. Part went to York and then farther north, raiding into Pictland and the lands of the Strathclyde Brito ns. Another part took possession of Cambridge. In 875, this southern army renewe d the war against Wessex, the one undefeated English kingdom. Riding fast, as th ey often did on raiding expeditions, they dashed right across Wessex to the sout h coastal town of Wareham. Alfred brought up a force and made them swear to leav e his kingdom when the winter was over. But in the next spring, that of 876, the y broke their oath. Part of them went by sea. Immediately a storm blew up and ac cording to the chronicler, 120 ships were lost. The Vikings who went by land did much better. They dashed out of Wareham and got into the fortress at Exeter, a major town, before Alfred could stop them. This time, however, he did convince t hem to go. The next year they went to Mercia, where they started to divide the land f or settlement. It appeared in 877 that Wessex had survived the storm. Viking ban ds were beginning to settle down. Much of the army they had faced in 875 and 876 was taking land in eastern Mercia. The Danes in York were also appropriating th e land, and according to the ASC, they spent the year of 876 "ploughing and maki ng a living for themselves." But there were others who were not satisfied. In early 878, the army, or w hat was left of it, attacked Wessex in midwinter. In the words of our source, it "rode over Wessex and occupied it, and drove a great part of the inhabitants ov ersea, and of the rest the greater part they reduced to submission." This situat ion is usually seen as merely the prelude to Alfred's amazing comeback in the sp ring. It takes nothing away from Alfred's achievement to look instead for a mome nt at the amazing conquests of his enemies. In 865, there had been no Vikings based in England whatsoever. England ha d really suffered very little from the fleets that had roamed freely over France , the Low Countries, and Ireland. The political and social structure built up si nce the Anglo-Saxon invasions was intact. In a very few years, the Great Army had by sheer force rearranged the enti

the refugees were undoubtedly the ruling class. In the words of the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle. In the spring of 878. the Mercian king Coelwulf. and he was preparing himself in a practical way to make his big comeback. the Vik ings asked for terms.re English scene. From what we know of Alfred. and about the same time he made a treaty wit h Guthrum. give hostages guaranteeing peace. and this would lead to a permanent change in the ethnic makeup of that part of the country. The Vikings who had beat en all the other English kings and subjugated their kingdoms appeared to have ta ken Alfred's kingdom as well. Alfred We left King Alfred of Wessex in the early months of 878. or they stayed and submitted. was down b ut not out. It was the beg inning of a process of accommodation. and thus b ecame the godson of his former enemy. and the one remaining native king. Alfred's victory was a crucial one for him. for it showed a willingness of the invaders to bow. They abandoned the kingdom. Alfred. The ruling dynasties of Northumbria and East Anglia had been destroyed. Alfred agreed to let them out if they would leave his king dom. this move was very important. The church had especially suffered. Yo rk had become a Scandinavian capital.but Alfred began to make some gains. to English standards. including as it did the very land itself . he left the marshes and summoned the men of the west ern Wessex to his standard. Guthrum was sponsored by Alfred himself. quite a n important town. and. agree that their leaders wo uld be baptized as Christians. although the s cale of plunder must have been immense. Guthrum and 29 other chief men returned to Wessex and were baptized. ruled only a fraction of his realm at the will of his overlords. they responded. The treaty (pp. 171-172) drew a boundary between English held Mercia and We ssex on one hand. he may have indeed spent some of his time in the marshes contemplating God's will. the big property owners. Alfred's few months in the marshes are the most famous part of his life -legend-makers could not resist the image of the fugitive king who was neverthel ess destined to win in the end. Alfred of Wessex had been chased into the swamps. but all other episcopal sees in the area of Vik ing settlement were vacant. Symbolically. and it changed the face of England forever. Gratifyingly. then besieged them in their fortified encampment. He had a base at a royal estate in the marshes." This doesn't mean the gen eral population fled -. he took London. Monasteries were sacked and destroyed. It also recognized the leg . the Vik ings "drove a great part of the inhabitants overseas. he moved. and when the time seemed right. finally. But he was not alone. This was invasion. But England was not reduced entirely to foreign rule. hiding in the marshes. at least temporarily. many of them so thoroughly as to be lost to our knowledge. After two weeks. Most of north and eastern England was being settled by the victorious warr iors and their friends. from the Vikings. when he was hidi ng from the Danish invaders in the marshes of Somerset. All the terms were fulfilled. their king. In 886. The archbishopric of York somehow surv ived the occupation of its city. and Danish held areas on the other. and within three days he was leading an army. now the king of East Anglia and the leading Dane in the south of Engl and. The Viking descent between 865 and 878 went beyond raiding. Attacks on Wessex did not imme diately end. Three weeks after t he Viking army left Wessex. He beat the invaders in the field at a place called Edin gton.

whi ch were called up in rotation when necessary. Alfred's daughter. Alfred did show the magnanimity that one would expect from the king of all the English. whatever their nationality. On the surface it is pretty cryptic. being just a list of burhs with the number of hides (units of assessment) attached to them. Alfred established a navy.or at least it is very careful fantasy. Two men of the same rank were to have t he same weregild. Somebody made accurate measur ements. Alfred's f leet was not a great formidable force. Right from the beginning most burhs were more than bare forts. The evidence for them is a brief document known as th e Burghal Hidage (pp. But the innovative attitude it reveals is impressive. was divided into two parts." and wa s looking out for native interests in dealing with the Danes. Not only were these places fortified. Alfred reorganized his army.of further Viking att acks. rather -. Yet Alfred's system generally seems to have provided him with troops when and where he needed them.near-certainty. The levy of free men. Aethelred. Alfred created in the course of his reign about 30 strongholds. and were to evolve into the basis of English local government . drawn up in anticipation of permanent settlement .in modern English.The new strongh olds were meant as places of refuge and as obstacles to invasion. Modern archa eology has found that the length of wall attributed to the burhs in the BH is ve ry close to the actual length of wall at the time. called the fyrd. and sel dom if ever strategically. Rather than earning resentment. however. There was a burh within twenty miles of almost every spot in Wessex. Alfred's arran gements were not perfect. First. 193-194). Alfred's third innovation was the establishment of a series of forts calle d burhs -. They were t owns with regular street plans. These served as the backbone of Alfred's defensive system.al equality of the Engish and the Danes. Alfred posed in the treaty of 886 as the chief representative of all the n ative English -. . gives the key. He was the first English king since the seventh century to show much interest in the military use of ships. he won an ally. practical arrangements were made to ensure garrisons for them. He returned the rich port of London to Mercian control very soon afte r he took it. Nor is the BH merely fantasy -. This made it possible to get servi ce from poorer free men who could not afford to fight full time.000 men to the various royal strongholds whenever garrisons are needed. Alfred worked to reorganize his ki ngdom against the possibility -. Each hide is to s upply one man. It was used for close in defense. The Burghal Hidage is a plan to assign 27. He enforced his right to call up free men to fight in defense of the kingdom. Whether he was acc epted as such by other Englishmen is a doubtful matter. and the number of hides assigned to each city is enough to put fo ur men on each pole (or 16 and 1/2 feet). and exercised that right in a systemati c manner.he acted with "the councillors of all the English race. boroughs. The actions Alfred took can be broken down into three parts. The ASC tells us in 893 of a levy leaving the moment t heir term was up. But in regard to Mercia. and was a faithful adhe rent to Alfred's family for a quarter of a century. the Mer cian "ealdorman" married Aethelflaed. The Danes again were making an eff ort to fit into English society. even though they were besieging a dangerous Viking force. Second. They were very well situated for both purposes. The explanation tacked on to the end. Between Alfred's return in 878 and 892.

Th e assignment of districts to those burhs encouraged the development of the tradi tional shires or counties of medieval and modern England. Alfred was something o f a literary man. The maintenance of reli gion. by making the proper praise and service of God. Merchants were there because Alfred (or at least his successors) required t rade to be done in towns.which cut the English of . They were centers of royal administration. But then it must be rem embered that he had a small kingdom. Alfred's victories are pretty impressive. The response of Wessex. as documented i n the Anglo-Saxon chronicle. He was able to defend his kingdom better than any king on the Continent. or quickly became so. Alfred's military and political success is only part what makes him a pivo tal figure in the history of pre-Norman Conquest England. Alfred and his planning was tested in the years 892-895. and they were ai med at Wessex. sometimes cut off from their boats. identified learning with Christ ianity. he rather should be compared to the newer warlords. Alfred's network of burhs made his successors the lords of all the most im portant towns in the kingdom. Alfred was alarmed by th e loss of literate men -. the proper rituals. He should be compared not to Charlemagne's descendents. and therefore learning.for security and to service the merchants who gathered th ere.. was quite impressive. not to mention salvation in the next. You might be tempted to dismiss Asser's picture of Alfred the scholar too easil y.nor over-estimated. where royal officials could collect taxes and prevent the sale of stolen goods. Charlemagne is the classic case of a phenomenally successful warl ord who was also a dedicated patron of learning. He was personally involved in the actual educational work. like most medieval men who thought about such things. So much for qualifications. who failed to hold their vast domains together. The rest sailed for France. The army of Wessex not only held its own. The Vikings were pinned down. even a scholar. with the support of Mercians and some of the Welsh. however. though he desired to be more. besieged in their camps. fought the Vikings in disputed M ercia. like Alfred. and were won by hard work and intelligence. Those who had property in England wen t home. that is -. is not unique. and came out of the war with his power strengthened rather than diminished. This is where mints were located -. Charlemagne. Alfred was still a sectional king. The loss of learning w ould by itself diminish religious life. the so-called feudal princes. or the Dukes of Burgundy. but. Alfred's biographer says Alfred spent every moment he was n't fighting the Danes or hunting lamenting that he never had the time to study. that Alfred was something more than a patron. and t hen chased away or defeated. Alfred's victories cannot be seen as "English" victories in a modern natio nal sense. was a duty and a necessity. The landing of Viking raiding parties in Wessex was invariably met by an immediate response. like Alfred. Alfred did about as well as the Counts of Flanders o f his time. It is evident. Yet the combination if unusual. impossible.literate in Latin. Alfred's success should be neither under. which is of course a religion based on books. the center of resistence. the dukes and cou nts who gained power because they were effective defenders and organizers of ter ritories threatened by war. At first glance it seems hard to reconcile Asser's Alfred with Alfred the warrior-king. The last of the n inth century Viking attacks on England took place in that year. to their great financial and political benefit. a fact that makes him the most knowable of pre -Norman kings. believed that only rulers who deserved God's favor could hope for continued vict ory in this world. Charlemagne. even within Alfred' s own century. Asser. and forced them finally to give up. to raid up the Seine.

they almost all disappeared in the area of settlement. Wel l before the Vikings came. managed to maintain some kin d of institutional continuity. The same applies to monasteries . in the immortality of the sou l. A new ruling class could have imposed new customs. The moral exhortations and philosophical reflections of ancient figures such as Boe thius and Gregory the Great were things that all of the leaders of society shoul d be exposed to. The works from his court have an intense. Other evidence has to be used. Two bishoprics. the invasions were a disaster. I have the feeling that Alfred may have been a rather uncomfortable king t o be around. I can't invent personalities to put more color into that history. But he also blamed them on a lack of Wisdom with a capital W. Bishoprics were the solidest institutions of any medieval country. but of other morally uplifting books. He saw the solution in translations. and to a lesser extent the Norwegians. Alfred himself became the mainspring of the translation project. and even t o affect the English language. like all philosopher s. A destructive warrior aristocracy that did nothing more but seize land and subju gate those who worked it could have accomplished the same thing. If they did. of course.f from Scripture and other religious works. Does this mean that a lot of Vikings settled in England? Not necessarily. and recognized that England's troubles were due in great part to purely moral failings. Wisdom was something that could be found in books. and Danish cu stoms could have been adopted by Englishmen for their own reasons between 900 an . so that men who knew no Latin would still have some fundamental moral and theological knowledge. and were restored. Again. they were an essential part of English society. Alfred was a Christian philosopher. that of Lindisfarne and York. England after Alfred The Viking impact Despite the big impact the Vikings had on England. that many of the world's problems came from a lack of philosophy. His intellectual achievements and those he inspired in others were the basis for the most success ful western European vernacular tradition in the early Middle Ages. Alfred was something of a philosopher. came to England in great enough numbers to change the political and cultural map permanently. whi ch much later led that area to be called the Danelaw. almost self-righteous atm osphere. The imposition of a rapacious pagan ruling class.for instance. That he did this while he was fighting or preparing to fight is nearly as amazing as Asser w ould have us believe. Nevertheless. wrecked these pillars of the church. once again Alfred commands our respect. and the number who sett led there. Alfred was particularly concerned that people should really bel ieve the basic truths of religion -. they would act more sensibly. not of the Bible. There are legal differences between northeastern England and the rest. and convinced. this is not a foolp roof indicator. For the northern church. for long-term advantage and not fo olishly and selfishly. however. The Danes. somethin g should be said about their impact. we know very little about Viking individuals from the 8th and 9th cen turies. but the other three simply dis appeared. and m ore stable than any kingdom.

in Cumbria and W estmoreland. if I can use that inexact term. Cuthbert's people made a quick accommodation w ith pagan conquerors after the fall of Northumbria about 70 years later." and "their" are not originally Anglo-Saxon. there may have been a lot of settlers." h as been attached to the English suffix "ton. however. Cuthbert after its famous early bishop. It looks like Vikings settled both in the best land and on land that was b ad and probably never before settled. known in the Middle Ages as St. but then quite sin cerely. Cuthbert's community. This suggests that the newcomers were not just aristocrats taking over an existing society. The accomodation was helped by the fact that the Danes soon began to conve rt to Christianity. But the invasion did not provoke a detectable national resentmen t. Invaders and natives lived side by side. and s tarted working on a friendly relationship. Finally. first perhaps as a matter of convenience. First there is the matter of placenam es. One reason for this. such as "Grim. who would endow the church with a large tract of l and. and western and northern Scotland. It is interesting that the modern words "they. but also there were peasant so ldiers looking for new. The linguistic evidence also shows that there was nowhere that English dis appeared. After a few years. the names of fields. This is a good symbol of the interaction of the two groups." to give a hybrid English-Danish hy brid. and of the impact of the Danes on England. along the northwest coast of England. In East Anglia. Lincolnshire. Nevertheless. That land. there are Scandinavian names that show a strong Norwegian influence . The story shows that quite quickly both pagan Vi kings and Christian clergy realized that they would have to live together. survives today in the modern county of Durham. The linguistic evidence is the best. The bishopric of Lindisfarne. the monks hit the road. perhaps rather modest. a kind of name that would be found neither in the rest of Englan d or in Denmark. They must have talked a great deal. Legal customs do move around if people find them useful." Whitby is an example of that type of n ame. Cuthbert appeared to the community in a vision and told them to mak e their peace with the Danes. not to mention being enslave d and murdered. too. was that the last English kings in the no rth had been robbing St. How did the native English and the invaders get along? We can take it for granted that the English did not enjoy been robbed. There are some interesting stone crosses in the north carved with scenes from both Christian and pagan stories. In the Danelaw. St. St. it appears.d the period when the Danelaw is first documented. Leicestershire. but East Anglia had a higher English population. The basic names of the countryside. When the Vikings seized Northumbria. Scholars disagree on how to interpret the distribution of names. which end with the suffix "by. are English a lmost everywhere. known to contemporaries as the church of St. and so the ne wcomers were probably a smaller percentage of the total. Cuthbert's Land. and that in these areas they were a rea sonable proportion of the population. homes. Grimston. which shows that paganism was not immedi . There are other names where a Scandinavian personal name. was the earliest English victim of the V ikings. either. but Danish. the Isle of Man. Even the church felt justified in striking up a modus vivendi with the pag ans." "them. but the t he most likely reconstruction is that a considerable number of Danes settled in Yorkshire. taking the relics of the saint and other precious things with them. too. and had forfeited the loyalty of the clergy. in 795. We know for a fact that some English aristocratic families survived w ith their property and social position substantially intact. These Norwegian Vikings were connected with the Norwegians who dominated the I rish coast. there are a lot of Danish to wn names.

a very big city for western Europe at the time -. The picture is rounded off by the two unconquered English states. turned out to b e as important as Edward. it was about as big as York would ever be before mod ern times. because most pirates eventually end up selling much of their ga ins so they can buy exactly what they want.ately forgotten. too. Nottingham. and the Danish. and it became the main emporium of central B ritain. they acted as independent little state s. c. The Expansion of Wessex Wessex expanded significantly in the time of King Alfred's children. But it disappeared as an active force quite quickly. the economic impact of the Vikings. there was a Danish kingdom of East Anglia. There was a Norse dynasty n York. pre-Norman town has been revealed as a populous. Aethe lflaed. York had "a pre-eminence and international importance it has never since equalled. A. Slavery almost always accompanies pi racy and conquest. York benefited s ubstantially from this development. The co nquests were parcelled out among a number of small kings. southwes tern Mercia led by the ealdorman Aethelred and his wife Aethelflaed. The political map of England. Derby. Almost as important. The Achilles heel ival. and if they acknowled ged the overlordship of a king elsewhere. Two more topics should be touched on before I take up my next subject. We hear nothing of their kings. Edward is usually called Edward the Elder to distinguish him from the later. Alfred's daughter and the wife of the Mercian ealdorman. Between the Kingdom of York and the Kingdom of East Anglia was the Danish section of Mercia. These were the towns of Li ncoln. Aethelwold was the son of Alfred's brother and predece . 900 There was no single Viking state set up in England by the invaders. because he nearly u pset the whole applecart.the far north of their own. and Stamford. We know very little about it." York is just the best example of how England almost became part of Scandin avia after 865. Viking conquest had the result of tying England very closely to the Scandinavian economic area. Once the trade routes opened up they tended to stay open. It had close to 10. From what the chroniclers say. who ruled most but not all was left to English aristocrats who had no king of the king of York was the fact that he had a r based in Dublin that thought it really should ow worry. So there were a lot of goods crossing the North Sea in both d irections. post.and in area.000 people -. The archaeological director of the York site has said that between 8 66 and 1066. ruled by Alfred's oldest son Edward. In the last fifteen or twenty years York has been archaeologically inves tigated. Fir st. Farther south. prospe rous place. and Wessex. was their cousin Aethelwold. Guthrum's kingdo m. Leicester. and this was a constant Danish king of York. and the districts attached to each one. The robbery and the taki ng of slaves that followed the appearance of the Great Army created a class of f reebooters with money burning holes in their pockets. which is called the Five Boroughs. the boroughs were the settlements of f ive separate small armies.Norman Conquest Edwards. The most powerful was the of Northumbria -.D. Piracy and trade always go close together.

they built new burhs to secure them. I'm not sure that image is fair. all of them easy meat for the tough W est Saxons. over the next few years Aethelwold act ed just the way we expect Vikings to act. The rebellion illustrated how important unity within the ruling class was for these English kingdoms. Aethelwold had been excluded from politics. and fleets and armies could be raised on spec by anyone who was a good enough promoter.a military reality. u ntil he was killed in 903. The King of Dublin. Edward and Aethelflaed slowly gobbled up the sma ll Danish states of southern England. They had no overall ruler. he sneaked out in the middle of the night and made his escape. presumably to the kingdom of York. Aethelwold tried a coup d'etat to push his cousin Edward aside. The children of Alfred. brother and sister dominated all of England except t he far north. In 909 he made a great raid into Danish ter ritory and carried off a great deal of booty. Mercia. Edward felt safe in beginning to seize territory. In 918. playboy Anglo-Danes. They were nearly equal in power and in territory. Aethel flaed had left her kingdom to her only child. and Edward took cont rol of Oxford and London. Alfred had learned in a hard school how to make royal authority a reality -. saying he would live or die there in true heroic fashion. we are very close to the foundatio n of a united Kingdom of England under the dynasty of Wessex. For the next eight years. Aethelwold refused to come out. a daughter named Aelfwyn.ssor Aethelred. too k York and made himself king there. They had gone so f ar so fast because of the legacy of Alfred. for a moment. At the e nd of 919. one that worked very well against the small. We can imagine these states as being full of fat graying Vi kings and their sons. But then Aethelf lead died. raiding parts of Wessex and Mercia. Then. but he still inflicted damage. then used these forts to harass th eir neighbors. Now that his uncle Alfred was dead. Edward marched into Mercia and deposed her. the kingdom might have lost its independence. when pursued with the thoroughness that was one of his chief traits. a naval reality. disorga nized Danish states. He seized a royal manor. Indeed. There were still Vikings around interested in the profits of warfare. were a good . some people thought that discretion was the better part of valor. and when they got them. Aethelwold ran off to Northumbria. The ealdorman Aethelred died in 910. With the victories of Edward the Elder. and things changed dramatically. After he killed the king of Yor in 910. It is clear that Edward and Aethelfl aed had not let Alfred's military organization go to waste. and began to look for Viking allies. He left his sister in charge o f the rest -. Mercia then disappeared f orever. however. Edward himself played the evil uncle. Even in the heroic age. had good tactics: they build strong burhs on their boundaries. Edward the Elder felt strong enough to begin raid ing the Danish states on his border. His methods. one Ragnald.she was called Lady of the Mercians and was effectively the uncrow ned queen. in a scene out of satire instead of epic poetry. but on the organizational level it is close to the mark. Edward promptly called up his levies and surrounded the hall where Aethelw old and the men who had sworn allegiance to him. Aethelwold seems to have had little support within W essex. thus defying the new king. If any sizeable number of West Saxon noble s had defected to him. The first piece he took from his ally. A few years later (909). formerly Mercian areas. They had turned it i nto a weapon of aggression. and don't seem to have worked well together. an administrative reality. They took small bites of territory.

a man named Olaf Guthfrithson. he dominated all of Britain. and he was a powerful man. incorporating Northumbria into his kingdom was the obvious challenge. Northumbria was split betw een York and smaller English rulers further north. By the summer of 927. in 918. Athelstan wanted loot to reward his followers and to fill his treasury. remove d Aethelflaed's daughter from her position as de facto queen. h er brother Edward (the Elder). and so the Britons of Strathc lyde and particularly the Kings of the Scots were ambitious to move in. razed its walls to discourag e further resistance. Their claim to overlordship of all England was generally secu re. He was not crowned king of Mercia. He immediately started working on Yo rk. so there w as always the danger that one of them would get together a Viking fleet and try to take York. Until the Danes took York in 866.foundation for a strong kingdom. The politics of the north were further unsettled by the ambitions of other rulers. and wished to impress the King of Scots and the rest of the north wit h his power. But the job of bringing all the English under royal control was not finish ed in 920. As lord of Southumbria. Since about 850. After that date. and all of these rulers acknowledged Edward's overlordship. At a great battle at an now-unknown location called B runanburh. but so much so that he terrified his enemies into str iking back. Edward met with Constantine. In the year 920. the King of Strathclyde. In 934 he con ducted a great invasion of Scotland. moved into Mercia in 919. to attack Athelstan. the King of of Scots and the King of Strathclyde joined with the King of Dublin. Athelstan tried a more ambitious project. It was an impressive clim ax to a career of successful expansionism. When Edward's son Athelstan became king in 925. Nor was this all. Athelstan beat his combined enemies in a victory that the English saw at the time and for decades to come as a turning point. Northumbria had dominated the area fr om the Humber to the Firth of Forth. There was still a king i n York. Seven years later. and gained the submission of all the remaining northern ru lers. Wessex Conquers England How Alfred's dynasty conquered England After the death of his sister Aethelflaed. There were a number of d ifferent claimants for the throne of Dublin and the kingship of York. Direct control of Northumbria eluded Edward. Tenth century desc endants of Edward the Elder called themselves kings or emperors of England or ev en of all Britain. the English ruler of n orthern Northumbria. we see the first story of the new structure going up. both by land and by sea. And the existence of that separate kingdom le ft England open for further Scandinavian intervention. The solidity of the new English kingdom had been confirmed. In the time of his equally thorough children. and Mercia was abs orbed into his own kingdom. Athelstan had taken York. Lady of the Mercians. Permanent conquest was not the goal. In 937. The Welsh princes had already sworn their allegiance. a monopoly of royal power in most of modern-day Scotland. the King of Scots. The King s of the Scots were up and coming figures in this period. Athelst an survived the challenge. and so they enjoyed. The year 920 is perhaps as good a date as any to stop talking about the Ki ngdom of Wessex and begin to speak of the Kingdom of England. and Ealdred of Bamburgh. king of Wessex. He did impress them. . at least in theory. Ragnald the King o f York. they had been Kings of the Picts as well.

each of which the king had an interest in controlling and regulating. wh ose power was based in the far south. and Olaf Guthfriths on. The kings had an opportunity to consolidate their power -. When Wes sex conquered the rest of England. moved immediately to seize Yo rk. fo r over a thousand years. who were the king's deputies with a particular responsibility for leading the fyrd of the shire to war.a process most n otable for the creation of governmental units that would last. As in Wessex itself. the people who were influential in the area. dynastic element. The kings. Athelstan's successor. and they had regular shire courts. England can be viewed in this connection as a number of different communit ies. The English kings. Within two years Olaf was dead and his kingdom was soon retaken by Edmund. which had a lasting significa nce. The new organization featured the building of royal strongholds. The shire court was therefore an important assembly. and wrung from Edmund. A shire court was a fairly aristocratic assembly. and also at the personal. reco gnition of his rule not only over York. After about 945. and to a certain extent the bishop of Durham were important m . Ruling the new kingdom When we talk about the unification of England by the dynasty of Wessex. and the definition of districts around them. He succeeded in doing so. Rather than trying to hold it himself. Let's look at institutions first. we have to look both at the institutions they built. Not every free man could knock off work and travel to th e burh. he turned it over to the Scots. The a rchbishop of York. or burhs.a word derived from the Scandinavian word jarl -.but not on the north. The districts marked out by the Wessex dynasty evolved quickly into perman ent subdivisions of the kingdom. especially disputes over land. waiting in Dublin for some break in his favor. Shires were led by men called ealdormen. in some cases. and to fight under the king's deputy for their district . and act as centers of trade and taxation. were admitting that the re were limits to what they could hold on to in the north. The new shires had their own ealdormen. meetings of the local nobles to decide issue s of local importance. but over the Five Boroughs as well. The king of England counterbalanced this m archer lord's great power by keeping a monopoly on episcopal appointments. shires. Those who showed up were wealthy local lead ers.who was practically a minor king. a process of accommodation that would take centuries to complete. The personal element in 10th century politics is emphasized by the fate of this king dom.I should say. The m ost important type of community was the shire. had much less control up there. the solidity of the kingdom under a strong and capable king. a new organization was imposed on Mercia and East Anglia -. buying friendship and what he hoped were stable boundaries. This is the beginning of the abandonment of the farthest parts of old Northumbria to the Scots. the new Kingdom of England had almost thirty years of pea ce. with their power based in the far south. Shires of this sort did not exist north of the Humber River. nor was everyone interested. Athelstan died only two years after his great victory. Northumbri a was given instead to an earl -. the free men of the burghal districts were required to garriso n and maintain the burh. Edmund strikingly reasserted English power in the north by destroying the kingdom of Strathclyde.

In the Danish areas. The neat theoretical structure I sketched before was many times adjusted i n practice to account for regional differences and local political realities. In each wapentake. and I must c onclude by reminding you of the fact. they were to have two or three of thes e men present in case there was doubt later. district s that were each responsible for providing a ship and sixty men to man it for th e royal navy. Anyone caught stealing cattle w as tried by customary law and had to pay a fine if convicted. and effectively his deputies in the north. Hundreds and wapentakes had other functions as well. Some hund reds were pre-existing communities. but in reality they varied in size. straightforward. feud law declared that some were worth 1200 s hillings and others only 200. but he also had to bind the existing ch ieftains and communities to him with personal ties. When local people wanted to buy and sell. Groups of three hundreds were organized into shipsokes. where a judgement was pronounced by the same twelve men. Despite the Old We st atmosphere. Hundreds and wapentakes were the basic unit of local government. It w as pretty basic. in most cases int o units called hundreds. despite t he attempts of kings to restrict it.the headman of the district -. there was not even one of a single English kingdom. Theoretically hundreds were areas of 100 hides in extent. or by a majority of at least eight to four if necessary. the same kind of local policing was done in a slightl y different way. Even among the free. and well-organized. but from Scandinavian ones. or with a tax assessment of 100 hides.he organized the members to pursue the thief. or through oath-helping. Under the latter system. All members -. . meant that one had to rely on one's lord or family or allies to a very great extent -. which mainly meant controlling cattle theft. Women had more control over property than they would after the Norman Conquest. Trials were either by ordeal.personal connections meant a lot.all free men -. they didn't string up rustlers. twelve leading thegns (noblemen or gentry) w ere sworn to accuse and arrest thieves. The feud law that settled many disputes. but otherw ise I have now given you a sketch of 10th c. Most of what we know about hundreds concerns judi cial functions. It all sounds very democratic. Th e king systematized as much as he could. There was no concept of citi zenship he could rely on. One 10th century ordi nance required hundreds to have a designated body of twelve official witnesses. Hundreds also had military and taxa tion functions. In the areas of Danish settlement hundreds were called wapentakes instead. a person proved his innocence by assembling a given number of responsible people who would back his claim under o ath. If a theft was reported to the hundred man -. local and regional government. Tenth century England was a society where some people were slaves and had no rights. This is the first trace of the English jury and also the first examp le of the principle of majority rule. others seem to have been created in the 10th century when the shires were. They brought accused lawbreakers before the wapentake court. but they were not part of the politic al structure. But this was a very aristocratic and family-oriented society. The communities were run by assemblies of the responsible membe rs. The shires in south and central England were subdivided. I have completely ignored the role of the church in government.were required to meet every four weeks to do justice.en in the kingdom. Both seem to derive not from Anglo-Saxon r oots. but reasonably logical. by a unanimous decision if possible. The country was organized into local co mmunities that owed service to the king and were made responsible for maintainin g law and order.

larger areas. The kings were executing a balancing act. It is permissible to take sides in history. The kings created such powerful subordinates not because they were tenderhear ted towards local sensibilities. At the same t ime. when six kings from around the Irish sea came to Chester. let's look at the office of the ealdorman.. and if the church was to finance ambitious projects. spiritual goals and strict eccelsiastical discipline could easily be forgo . and lands that it received. Edgar did not have much need to fight. Church reform is a tricky word. Throughout the medieval period. in this way serving as a prop for the dynasty. But it is not necessary to do so. As an example of the adj ustment of theory to reality. wanted to enjoy complete freedom in the way it used those p rivileges. the church had an uneasy relationship to i ts lay patrons. because it assumes that the reformers are the good guys and their opponents are corrupt and evil people. gifts. This is all true. was the happiest -. but I wa nt to impress on you that the line between English success and continental failu re was a thin one. He put his energy into another project. This was best done by putting the strongest men in charge and then holding them accountable. Consist ency would demand that there be one for every shire. by contrast was developing centralized institutions . England. and we certainly do not have to adopt the ref ormers' point of view by default. But a family that had endowed a church or monastery tended to think of tha t institution as part of their family estates. the church.At least the idea would bear no political weight. The binding together of Engl and into a single country was a long and sometimes precarious enterprise. Edgar. they knew that to govern a very diverse realm they had to win over and control the local big men. where they s ubmittted to him. It was very common for monasterie s in particular to be headed by a member of the founder's family generation afte r generation. disintegrating into a myriad of principal ities and dukedoms.. for instance. and beginning on the long road to the nation-state. Land was the most secure form of wealth. in that his rule over the still-new English kingdom was essentially untroubled. He did not directly control everything. were handed over to ealdormen who were practically subking s. battening on the church and misusing its power and property for illicit purposes. but by travelling around his ki ngdom and meeting them face to face. The climax of his reign came near the end . This is certain ly the way that the reformers in any given era see the matter. The king kept them loyal to him not through bureaucracy. King Edgar and Church Reform Of all the English kings of the tenth century. In fact. in 973. Rather. In such an organiza tion. it needed to have land. He tackled the great challen ge of church reform. who reigned from 959 to 975. England is often cited as the great exception of 10th century Europe. which saw itself as a spiritual organization essentially differ ent from all others.in the classical sense -. Edgar was effectively the emperor of the Br itish isles. but he was far from being a do-not hing king. With no serious Viking rivals. The church was very willing to accept material favors and privil eges from nobles and kings. English unity depended on the continuous effective use of roy al power. Many European kingdoms were falling apart. and calling them all to court three times a year. and demonstrated their inferior status by rowing him in a smal l boat up and down the River Dee. that the reformers were right. but he was the acknowledged overlord of all neighboring monarchs. and say. incl uding several shires.

despite being born into comfortable circums tances. Dunstan. Institutions and property became "secularized" -. Another was his close friend Aethelwold. These drastic types of secularization were dangerous to church discipline. but seems to have hung around being . Their common trait was that.. but married monks could not be monks at all. all over Europe. the most dedicated churchmen saw a crying need for reform. I suppose. Lay people who were religiously inclined knew that their normal l ives were not pleasing to God. In the tenth century. Dunstan was the first prominent agitator for monastic reform. Monasticism was the key for the reformers because there was a consensus in society that a good monk and his prayers were pleasing to God in a way that no else could be. and wh o gave them further monasteries to reform. but among the living. Some very powerful and of course very worldly men and women in the tenth century became patrons of a purer monasticism because they wished to have that heavenly connection. This was a perennial problem in the Middle Ages. where the rules were taken seriously.were just icing on the cake Most people took this stuff for granted. who was a nobleman from Wessex with connections at the royal court. they felt compelled to work for radical change. perhaps surprisingly. In times of insecurity or turmoil. interestingly enough from a Anglo-Dan ish family. The first was Dunstan. Any further acc usations against them -. They wer e sought after by other patrons who also wanted that heavenly connection. on ce he became a monk did not avoid the court.those who could speak to God for them.and reformers talked about debauchery and dissipation a t length -. Some were dedicated monks. low rent. i ncluded some very influential lay people. He was related to two archbi shops. nor could their unaided prayers move him. because Viking raids and civil wars had resulted in a lo t of secularization. Even people who had built their power on stolen church property sometimes put much of their ill-gotten gains into refo rming monasteries. Things seemed worse in the monasteries that survived.tten. The third was Oswald. Another type of secularization involved a church c orporation turning over some of its land to a protector in return for a low. more drastic secularization was likely. an d also of high rank. Many so-called monks had wives and children. others. The new monasticism. Dead saints might he lp. They ne eded intercessors -. Not too many people objected to marriage for the "secular" clergy (those parish priests and other clergy who liv ed "in the world"). the good monk held a unique place. Monastic reform in England was due to the efforts of three clerics. but one well-established in the church. or to make them abbots of old monasteries that could be turned into strict comm unities. because they either removed an institution from ecclesiastical control or impo verished the corporation.converted to worldly (o rdinary) uses. The reforming abbots who succeeded became monastic superstars. and having easy access to good careers either in the church or outside i t. The consequences for the church's mission as an unwordly institution were what you might expect. or the approp riation of church offices. This might simply be theft of church property by a local warlord. It was hard to find disciplined monasteries at the beginning of the tenth century. but a zealous minority was really alarmed. another West Saxon. began with a fe w determined monks who convinced patrons to give them land for a new foundation.

which means "Ch rist's deputy. to make sure that right religion was practiced and observed. whom he considered a bunch of licentious blaspheme rs. replacing them with monks." [Quotations from Richard Southern. explained his motivation thus: Fearing lest I should incur eternal misery if I failed to do the will of h im who moves all things in Heaven and Earth. of central England. Aethelwold andOswald set up. was made bishop of Worcester. the reformers got a king willing to shake things up. I have -.driven out the crowds of vicious canons from various monasteries under m y control. in fact. but in 940. How close that partner ship was meant to be is indicated by the phrase Vicar of Christ. power of a very high order.. the monks are compared to s oldiers. Glastonbury became Dunstan's experimental community. . the imposition. The sudden success of the reform in England really hung on Edgar's determi nation. The old clergy represent false religion. who shall intercede for us without ceasing. When Eadwig died in 959. and Edgar becam e sole king. In 964. so this was no easy matter.London and Worcester. The charter for Aethelwold's new monastery at Winchester. In t hat year the Mercians decided that Eadwig was no good. A little later. and chose Edgar as king. Part of this obnoxiousness was a natural consequence of his reformin g aims.acting as the Vicar of Ch rist -. All these people were well connected. just like Constantine and Charlemagne. and sometimes involved the use o f revolutionary violence. Aethelwold got fed up with the older clergy at his cathedral at Winchester. he decided to make a pious gesture: Dunstan was given the old and prominent monastery of Glastonbury. royal support to make the purge stick.. And this r esponsibility implies power. Oswald later became archbishop of York. but we have almost no information on it. in 975. They all had some interest in church prop erty. Edgar followed this up by generously endowi ng new monasteries that Dunstan. pleasing to God. who was only in his twenties. Reform proceded against great resistance. in the same charter. issued in 966. after nearly being killed while hunting.obnoxious. Aethelwold was made bishop of Winchester. About the same time Oswald. The new monks are holy and effective channels o f communication to God. In 957. because their intercessions could avail me nothing. Edgar had made the three monks great royal dep uties and extremely wealthy lords. or perhaps subking. Indeed. King Edmund considered exiling him. Through these appointments." The king. both being defenders of the realm in their own way. their efforts gained halfheart ed royal support (Eadred) or hostility (from his successor Eadwig). Edgar tossed out the recently appointed archbishop of Canterbury an d gave the top spot in the English church to Dunstan. but who had been at the French reformed monastery at Fleury. But until 957. however.and I have subst ituted communities of monks. who protect the king and the clergy of the realm from invisible enemies and "the aery wiles of the devils. Edgar called Dunstan back and gave him not one but two bishoprics -. has the respons ibility. of a standard rule on all monasteries and nunneries. and later Aethelwold was granted control of Abingdon. Aethelwold joined him there. without having to g ive up Worcester. Aethelwold's purge is here justified on purely religious grounds. I t required. and so he tossed them out and deprived them of their incomes. power over the church and the whole Christian peopl e. The new monasticism was unavoidably an attack on the property rights of every important family in the kingdom. This is a curious incident. How seriously Edgar took this is indicated by one of his most sweeping act s. Western Church and Society in the Middle Ages (Penguin Books)] There is a kind of partnership between the secular power and the spiritual one.

Eve n the early death of Edgar did not stop the movement." or "good counsel. but there were many conflicting interest groups. Success. Purity in their terms meant that clerics. or Ely. T he person who was most bent out of shape was a man named Aelfhere. he was creating a new and wealthy interest group uniquely bound to h im.Only a strong king could hope to implement such decrees. And it could only be accomplished by robbing many pow erful clans of lands and privileges they had held for decades or centuries. and so he spent most of his reign stagge ring from one defeat to the next. Finally he lost his throne and his wife both t o Cnut (Knut). in part because the three clerical leaders lived to a great old age. Aethelred's father. He left behind him two young sons. or Peterborough. It wa s a pun. king of Denmark. There were both risks and benefits to taking on such a role. the half-brothers Edward and Aethelred.it meant "good advice. The reformers knew that they had no hope of gaining their goal without roy al support. The Eleventh -Century Invasions Aethelred the Unready The original name was Aethelred Unraed -. to live up to the imag e fashioned for him by his bishops and monks as a figure with a power to reform and reshape society comparable to Christ's. in that a new. stricter monasticism was established and enforced. the poli tical resentments that resulted from Edgar's radical and sometimes high-handed a ctions created political divisions in the kingdom that surfaced once his strong hand left the tiller. He was angry about that great territory around Worcester that had been given to Osw ald. who lined up behind the two brothers. They would perforce be loyal to him. Aethelred. On the other hand. The reformers aimed at creating a purified clerical caste that would control the church. By supporting the monastic reformers. He a lso left a divided nobility and court. Edgar had stepped on a lot of toes in his reforming zeal. this is a very radical demand. The reform movement led to a church that was better organized and more lea rned outside the monasteries as well as within them. The divisions were no doubt partly due to personalities. Aethelred did not have this gift. they were not empty lands.Aethelred the Ill-advised. with the death of King Edgar. unless he provoked them. And the tenth century was a dangerous time for a ruling cl ass to indulge in feuding.he was in his early 30s. Edgarwas still a very young man -. would foresake normal family ties and cleave to the artificial family of the ch urch. This rather complicated story begins in 975." A crucial talent for a king must be knowing who to trust and who to liste n to. celibate and disciplined. he was imposing a new a ristocracy on a society that already had one. . like many Old English names. Edgar was str ong. but there were al so issues in doubt." So Aethelred Unraed meant "Good Counsel the Ill-Adv ised. The reform of the English church can be rated both a success and a failure . Like the earliest Christian kings. Edgar himself was gambling. had a meaning -. If you recall how important family ties were in politics and society. When he gave lands to new abbeys l ike Ramsey. better known as Canute. the ealdorman of Mercia and formerly the most important man in the district of Worcester.

Elsewhere the reformers were not so vulnerable. The section up to 1016 gives the impression that Aethelred's reign was one of unmitigated disaster and treachery. but he was not successful. These warlords were correspondingly more powerful than the earlier ones. The evidence indicates that the warlords of Ae thelred's time were a more sophisticated bunch. No r did he last long himself. So Aethelred had the misfortune of growing up as king with no clos e allies. Knowing the outcome.a ten percent income tax paid to the parish priest or his patron. and had the reso urces of that realm to throw against England. started sacking abbeys in western Mercia and dispersing their monks. the whole section on Aethelred was written in retrospect in 1016. But he was in a weak position. later went home and made themselves King of Norway -. leading professional. An aggrav ating factor was that no one was ever accused of the crime or punished for it. Aethelred's kingdom was still the most powerful English state that had ever existed. Aethelred also took the sensible precaution of forging an alliance with Ri . Actually. Those who were living in the 980s. was dangerous precisely because he was already king of Denmark. T wo of the men who raided England in this period. Aethelred had gained little but the throne itself. Edward won the backing of most of the nobilit y and was chosen king. almost from the beginning. Edward may have tried to halt this reaction. The ninth-century Vikings we re either small groups of pirates or the followers of landless warlords looking for a country to rule. who were thenceforth expected to pay for it on a regular basis throug h tithes -. By the late 10th century. who took his place in Mercia.something earlier Vi kings had been unable to do. he s aw a black cloud over the whole reign. that the pa rishes of England were created. Aethelred's most dangerous enemy. well organ ized armies instead of larger or smaller pirate bands. when the author knew that the outcome was complete defeat. even up to 994. Svein Forkbeard. The most detailed account of the new Viking attacks on England is the Angl o-Saxon Chronicle. a bold character . Viking raid s on England began again. There were differences between the early Vikings and the Scandinavian atta ckers who worried England in the time of Aethelred. Aelfhere. however. turned traitor at the first opportunity. no one he could really trust. because beginning in 980. and his son. Olaf Tryggvason and Olaf Harald sson. Th e government that was able to do this was also able to beat off a number of raid s in force. who of course imme diately followed his brother on the throne. He was too young to have been person ally responsible. in fact. He was soon in need of those allies. but lesser landowners started suing monas teries for the return of property they had lost in Edgar's time. It was probably in this time. might not have recongiz ed this gloomy picture. and it cast a shadow over Aethelred. Sca ndinavia had produced a new breed of warlords who were more powerful and well-or ganized than their predecessors. and it wor ked. almost certain ly including Aelfhere. but the political atmosphere was soured nonetheless. Aelfhere died a few yea rs later. the Vikings themselves had adapted.Religion was being brought directly to the ordina ry people.With the reformers' support. In 978 some of Aethelred's retainers. murdered him as he came to visit his brother. The crime w as something of a shock. The military regime built by Alfred and his children was specifically designed to keep England safe from such Viking attacks.

England was attacked for the first time by Svein. Thus militarily weak Aethelred was. wa s known to the English as Aelfgifu. however. Aethelred and his advisors decided. had second thoughts. Aethelred's t ributes. Thor kell. curiously e nough. which had been the name of Aethelred's first wife. and the deal was made. fleets assembled. He led an army personally to attack Cnut's fleet and his Engish allies by the banks of the Humber. who in coo peration with Olaf Tryggvason ravaged the southeastern corner of England and tri ed to take London. uniquely strong when it came to raising taxes. After two years of raiding. Emma. At Christ mas Aethelred and his wife Emma ran off to her relatives in Normandy. Olaf was gone for good. fed up with war.it was used to pay Thorkell for his services. 16. Sv ein died at the beginning of February. the English military leadership faltered. The large. What is remarkable is that he retained administrative power. and 1007 were very large and collected very quickly. In 1009. This is indicative of a well-organized government. telling Aethelred that he would be king if he promised to forgi ve their defection and to be a better king than he had been before. things started getting worse for Aethe lred soon after. the Danish conquest of England came unravelled. Armies were gathered. but his services were not sufficient to stem the tide. Aethelred's government had the power to collect a larg e amount of silver quickly. rather confusingly. surprisingly enough. The Danish army chose his son Cnut as king. right across the English Channel. a sizeable Viking fleet under Olaf T ryggvason landed in Essex. Thork ell went over to Aethelred with forty ships. strengthened this alliance by marrying Emma. rather than risk further losses. and in the meantime other armies were attacking England. Near the end of that year. A Dane named Thorkell th e Tall. In 99 4. and he was perhaps the first since Roman times ( excluding the Muslims) to do so. In 1013. an old. counties and noblemen. which created an opening for neg otiation. Richard. duke of Normandy in 991. even with poor leadership. At the same time. king of Denmark. This emphasizes that England. submitted to Svein. The paying out of so much silver at once encouraged others to try their lu ck in England. Svein was generally recognized as King of England. had lon g allowed pirates access to his ports. eventually known as Danege ld. and both Scandinavian kings s ailed away. paid out in 991. Svein. stayed loyal to Aethelred for several years. Aethelred later. Olaf and his troops s hould be paid to go away. but for a long time they did not dare do more. Richard's daughter. experienced warrior who had long been a political power in the land. Aethelred ca me right back and did his best. The native aristocracy. however. an ally of Svein ravaged SE England. a descendant of Danish Vikings. Svein showed up with a big fleet and started to conquer the count ry. the Vikings stepped up their campaigns. b ut they were seldom put to effective use. The Londoners repulsed them. was not the easy target it had been in the 860s. in 1002. The agr eement of Aethelred cut the Vikings off. tough Viking armies could loot and ex act tribute. In the end. Neither Aethelred nor his s ubordinates showed capable leadership.000 pounds were paid out. Despite his diplomatic coup in 991. and defeated an English army under Brythnoth. Towns. 1014. 1002. Aethelred was the only European monarch to have the ability to collect a lan d tax (excluding Muslim Spain). They sent messeng ers to Normandy. The taking of tribu te evolved very quickly into a permanent tax on land. Just a few month later.chard. would return in a few years. 994. Cnut was actually forced to f . It was at this time that the Daneg eld became a permanent tax -.

and no destruction of monasteries and episcopal diocese. forced concessions from Cnut. soon to become an e arl was Godwine. England was to f ind itself not so much a conquered country as the center of a large Scandinavian empire. with England c ame Aethelred's worries about Norwegian aggression. best organized gov ernment in Christian Europe and one of the most cultured of western Christian co untries to the greatest warrior in Europe. and only hoped he would be a good one. This was not the ruthlessness of an old. Aethelred was unable to keep the loyalty of his chief men. Cnut. was recognized as the sole king of England in late 1 016. For the near future. Ever since 991. Edmund claimed the kingship. Several inconvenient ealdormen were killed at the same time. Cnut could make conciliatory gestures to other segments of the polit ical community. or Canute. To secure his rule in England. With the most dangerous men out of the way and his own trusted followers i n position. Danes had become very unpopular suddenly. It was a very short respite. England was not wholly overth rown in the early years of the 11th century the way it had been in the years aft er 865. Cnut appoint ed new ones. hardened monarch. With Denmark came Svein's ambitions to take Norway. What he wanted in England mo re than anything was an end of war and a quiet. but then himself diedat the end of November. and his brother had been murdered. Cnut had only inherited his father Svein's claim to England. b oth Cnut and Thorkell returned. The most important English retainer. In 1015. peaceful reign there so that he could attend to his other territories. where most of the royal estates and therefore royal wealth was located. they had been under serious Scandinavian pressure.after this we don't hear much ab out ealdormen any more. But soon after Cnut secured England his brother died and he inherited his home land as well. with things sorted out in Denmark. the piratical Sussex nobleman w ho wrecked Aethelred's fleet in 1009. apparently the son of Wulfnoth. Aethelre d's eldest son. The one thing that prevented a quick collpase was the leadership of Edmund Ironside.lee. The chief result of Cnut's victory was to give the richest. some Scandinavian. some English. Canute and His Sons When Cnut. England was content to acc ept Cnut as king. The r est of England was given to men called earls -. got all of England. When his father died in 1016. Despite the long agony of Aethelred's reign. He had already made some friends in Mercia and Northumbria by ma . There was no large-scale settlement. left England. Despite his determined performance of the year b efore. the English must have been exhausted. Cnut kept direct control of Wesse x. putting in people he did trust. but because he was worried about things in Denmark. but the ruthlessness of a young m an in a hurry. without a fight. Cnut at this point was not yet 20 years old. or 994 at the latest.a ruthless and decisive man with a good amount of military talent . Thorkell. This was not so much because he feared to fight the English (and Thorkell). his brother had become King of Denmark in 1014 . Once he had killed or pushed out the existing royal deputies. no pagan presence (Cnut was a third generation Christian). Cnut followed a three part policy of elimin ating powerful men he didn't trust. Cnut was a man who had many irons in the fire. and concilia ting everyone else. too.

and Ulf and he traded sons to guarantee their alliance. They exchanged sons -. In this way he reduced the tax burden on the free men of England and showed that he was confident in his rule. Thorkell returned to Denmark. It was a combined English-Danish fleet that conq uered Norway for Cnut in 1028. To keep his position. Ironically enough. as Aethelred the Unready's first wife. the surviving family of Aeth elred. when he was on expedi tion to Denmark. at its greatest extent. when Norway had been lost and wo n again. an older experienced war rior who had been a key ally of his father Svein. and Cnut had little trouble i n England for the twenty years that he reigned. he would make sure that England would no longer be troubled by Viking s. the princes Edwa rd and Alfred. doing a never-ending balancing act. Cnut had to create a new Thorkell. Canute married Emma and restored her as queen of England. He couldn't have her hanging around the royal court. without divorcing or dismissing the other Aelf gifu. Emma (also called Aelfgifu). Hi s rule. this strong king who depended so much on England to mai ntain his empire ended up by seriously weakening the power of the monarch in Eng . but he maintained her in honorable estate. But we must remember that t here was not a single institution that bound the conglomeration together.rrying a well connected noblewoman named Aelfgifu -. where he was just too strong to ignore. Cnut began to worry about Thorkell the Tall.I've referred to it myself. England was really the least of his worries. So in 1023. who was mother of Edmund Ironside. Cnut was reconciled with Thorkell. Securing his power over Denma rk and conquering Norway were far more difficult.and Thorkell was made Cnut's chief deputy in Denmark. as we shall see later. you can see how delicate his pos ition was. He told them that he would rule as a good Christian monarch and a upholder of law and order. This case is an indicator of how di fficult it was for the church to enforce marriage laws among the nobility at thi s time. Two years later. In 1021 Cnut banished him fro m England. He was certainly on e of the strongest kings of his time.in other words. He did this. In that sense it can be called an empire. He also agreed in a meeting of all the important people in England that the basis of his rule would be the laws of King Edgar -the last good native king. To disarm the threat of a Norman-supported attempt on his throne in favor of the young princes. and she was in Normandy with her two young sons. he paid off his army with one last great collection of Danegeld and co ntented himself with a small fleet and a personal bodyguard like all kings had. energetic and lucky warlo rd over many local and regional rulers. Th orkell was essentially a sub-king of Denmark under Cnut. An earl named Ulf was married to his s ister. You will read in history books about Cnut's northern empire -. was the sister of the duk e of Normandy. Then he dealt with his most dangerous rivals. but further. Aethelred's queen. It supplied the men and money to finance wars in Scandinavia. This was a deal that everyone could approve of. England was really the key to Cnut's power. he told the English that if they supp orted him. and contemporaries were very impressed. by the way. oddly enough .the same name. when Thorkell died. Cnut made a more important commitment the next year. If you look in detail at Cnut's policies. gave hostages -. In fact. supervising his deputies and vassals. Cnut had to be con stantly on the move. The em pire was simply the personal ascendancy of a ruthless. covered a lot of territory and several distinct countries. and not an oppressive conqueror. In the next few years Cnut made a number of further gestures to impress th e English people that he would be a good ruler. In 1018. Cnut sent his English first wife Aelfgifu to Norway to rule the country in his name and the name of their young son Swein.

wined and dined him and his retinue. the loss of Norway meant that Harthacanu te would have to stay in Denmark indefinitely. The earls o f those two areas started agitating for Harold to be elected king. Divisions were opening up in the governing class. He intercep ted Alfred. She and Godwine declared for Harthacanute and were determined to wait for him. who controlled the treasury and was thus an important figure. hated Aelfgifu and didn't want her rival's son to be king. Godwine's reward was to be the man wh o gave England to Harold. however. but he did not last long after that. Before he died. But England country needed a strong leader or else there would be trouble. The vast majority of royal estates were there. his claims on the loyalty of the English would eva porate. In fact. He certainly did not do this intentionally. In 1035. Very soon. and so he was not known to the English earls or the rest of the nobility. Actually Alfred was merely blinded and sent to a monas tery. in 1037. Others didn't want Harold. his long-time English fol lower. if the record means anything. wa s too cautious to come. Godwine would have most of the power that Edgar or Athelstan had enjoyed in the past. He was in England and h e had important relatives in the nobility of Mercia and Northumbria. In 1036. H arthacanute. Godwine had secretly changed sides. also a southerner. Harold was elected king soon after. Engl and and Scandinavia both were thrown into confusion. w here Emma's sons by Aethelred had grown up. But when he got to England. the country got restive waiting for Harthacanute. and could give a weaker king than Cnut a hard time. when he was very concerned with matters overseas. They looked right across the English Channel to Normandy. and Harold's favor made him secure in Wessex. The English kings before Cnu t had been so concerned to control their home turf that they seldom left Wessex except for special occasions. But turning over Wessex to Godwine was a dangerous expedient. the elder son. but his brother Alfred took the chance. Cnut's parcelling out of England among great earls created problems for hi s successors. T he archbishop of Canterbury. Edward. he fell into a trap. There were problems to this arrangement. Wessex was full of thegns whose direct loyalty to the crown was a family tradition. when Cnut died in 1035. He had no personal connection with Wess ex. They apparently felt that as long as they had Wess ex. Aelfgifu had been forced out of Norway.land. and Emma left the country. Cnut had al ready been losing his grip. It was at this inconvenient point that he died. supported them. If England we re ever separated from the rest of Cnut's empire. Emma summoned them to her a t Winchester. He would be in a positio n to be king himself. Emma. the son of Aelfgifu and Cnut. got the position. He had lived in Denmark ever since. But in the mid-1020s.if Cnut could not protect England from the Norwegians. where she still held the royal treasury. who had his hands full in Scandinavia. and when they were asleep.. Furthermore. One candidate was Harold. at about the age of 40. Since he consecr ated kings in England. So Godwine and Emma started to look around fo r another candidate. he decided he needed to have an earl in Wessex.an accurate conclusion . his feelings were important. Cnut's intention had been to leave his entire empire to his son by Emma. These men were almost sub-kings. The loss of Norway endangered Denmark and even England -. had the lot of them murdered. Wessex was the home turf of the native English dynasty. Cnut looked at things differently. Godwine. they could rule the whole kingdom through deputies -. . Harthacanute was the son w ho had been sent to Thorkell in Denmark as a foster-son and hostage in 1023.

the relations of E ngland and Normandy were only a part of the political situation in which they fo und themselves. by securing the other shore of the English Channel. the big ques tion was whether England could ride out the reign of King Edward without being i nvaded once more from Scandinavia.When Harold died. Cnut had made a big splash while he lived. would help cramp the style of any would-be Vikings . of u ndoubted royal birth. purposely or not. and until the very end. a stranger to England. In the course of his empire-building he undermined the position of the English kings in their ow n realm. like Harthacanute. A Norman alliance. too. thus deprivi ng the English kingdom of the one factor that could guarantee domestic peace -a strong king who could keep everyone else in line. and Denmark a nd England were reunited. Ever since 1014 or so. but he still had to worry about Edward's claims to the throne and there was still a possibility of trouble from Norway. but they were a danger to any weaker monarch. He had no territorial base. He was. Tha t was an absence of nearly thirty years. Cnut's dynasty died too. Edward. It was the immediate sequel of the death of King Edward. Harthacanute took over peacefully in 1040." Poison? No one knows. in the death of his brother. people must have doubted that he was the man to d o it. when his dynasty became divided and then died out. H arthacanute died at a wedding feast. This was not a bad thing to have. And just in time. although he was still a very young man. He didn't even get along with his m other. to become king. But for people who lived in Edward's reign (1042-1066). Edward was left to pick up t he pieces -. and some earl or other had a grip on every other district in England. far more quickly than Charlemagne's.and even in 1042. who had always preferred her Danish family and was involved. But the succession crisis had been settled for the moment. was undisputed king of England. the earls. He had no special friends. The ancestral territory of Wessex was under the thumb o f Godwine. In 1041. He had no money. According to the C version of the chronicle . he "died as he stood at his drink and he suddenly fell to the ground with a ho rrible convulsion. The very next year. They can be compared to the great dukes who disma ntled the empire of Charlemagne in the ninth and tenth century. Edward the Confessor and His Earls We are now approaching that extremely important event. the Norman Conquest of England in 1066. he had th e friendship of Duke William the Bastard. and he was not yet forty years old. and as a long-time resident of the Norman court. His great deputies. but he spent all of his energies building up a ramshackle empire that had little chance of surviving him. Harthacanute was a little more secure than Harold. where he recognized him as his heir. c ommonly called the Confessor for his supposed piety. Edward's unenviable position had nothing to do with him personally. did not dare cross Cnut. the eldest son of Aethelred the Unready and Emma. not necessarily the most important part. known a s the Confessor for his later piety. In some ways he was in a very weak situation. He was a mature man. he had been living in Normandy. cons idering Normandy's strategic position. The early deaths of Cnut's sons left the way clear for Edward. he decided to solve one of those p roblems by inviting Edward to England. For those who concerned themselves with politics in that era.

His willingness to act decisivel y was demonstrated in 1043. He tried to do what any king in his position would have do ne. It was more difficult to deal with the earls. He didn't trust his mother. Third. not the king. By 1042. Second. for leadership and largesse. For this position he chose his cousin William duke of Normandy. There were three great earls in 1042 and 1043. decided he should designate an h eir. and Godwine. So Edward did not have a secur e territorial base from which to dominate the kingdom. either. A generation of thegns. Godwine had held Wessex for almost twenty years. No Scandinav ian king was ever in a position to invade England during Edward's time. Existing rivalries meant Edward had to chose between the n ortherners and Godwine. In 1051. Edward promoted likely Normans to positions of influence in the kingdom. What made the threat so dangerous was that many influ ential people in northern England were of Scandinavian descent or had long stand ing connections with Scandinavian royalty. that is warrior aristocrats. But Edward did not turn out to be a strong enough ruler to make the English fe el confident about the unity and security of the country. which was to build up a faction loyal to himself. Edward rejected Godwine's candidate for the archbishopric of Canterbury and chose instead the Norman Rober t of Jumièges.. Godwine. The final problem was the Scandinavian threat. Edw ard. Svein and Harold. Edward chose Godwine. No doubt Edward also rem embered the death of his brother Alfred. Since Godwine was stronger and most royal property was i n Wessex. if indeed he h ad ever been content. a crisis for Godwine's influence blew up. so he shut her right out of the government. without being a wimp. were made earls in their own right. Cnut had given Wessex awa y to an earl. but the threat was always present. his ancestors had ruled England for a century because they had the resources and the loyalty of Wessex at their command. There was more than one reason for this feeling of insecurity. Edward was not a negligible ruler. felt that he was the logical ruler of England as well. when he went to Winchester. which increased the holdings of the Godwine family immensely. In 1038 he a nd Harthacanute had made a peculiar peace treaty in which each made the other hi s heir if he had no direct descendants. Edward. He had to look for followe rs overseas -. the traditional West Sax on capital. he had the misfortune to produce no heir. So during the 1040s. the king of Norway and Denmark. had grown up looking to Go dwine. In 1045 he closed an alliance with his most powe rful subordinate by marrying Edith Godwinesdaughter. About the same time. Godwin e's two elder sons. But Edward was not long content to be dominated by Godwine. and seized all the treasure that his mother Emma had there. Leofric the earl of Mercia. He could show determinatio n and the ability to maneuver between factions. Nonetheless. First. Magnus. At about the same time. who had formerly been bishop of London. He did not launch any great military adventures or find any other way of putting hi mself at the head of the warriors of the nation.in Normandy. The chro nicle says that she had been too close-fisted with him. There was Siward the earl of Northumbria. Of course Godwine and his family had the most to lose from this developmen t. but his successors in Norway and Denmark felt they had a similar claim on the country. was not a great warrior. The designation of William as heir was a great blow to Godwine's ambitions . and would not necessarily be adverse to a Danish or Norwegian king. Magnus died in 1047. who was childless and almost 50 years old.

In fact. But Godwine and his son s marshalled their armies and went to the king to demand the punishment of the f oreigners. Robert the archbishop of Canterbu ry was deprived of his see and replaced by Stigand. right across the channel. to be the effective ruler of the north. The deposition of Robert ma de England look bad and cast doubt on the legitimacy of someone who was effectiv ely a key member of the government. Eustace rode right back to the court at Gloucester and complained to Edwar d. fled to Ireland. Queen Edith returned to a place o f honor at Edward's court. and they came to court with their armed retinues to support the king. No Wessex lord had ever held so much power in Northumbria as Tostig did." There was only one thing that stood between Harold and the throne when Kin g Edward should pass away: this was the fact that several powerful princes had a claim. Earls Siward and Leofric were alarmed by Godwine's actions. A chance incident provoked Godwine into action. According to one version. attacking England from Ireland and Flanders simultaneously. Many of the Normans were sent packing. This time it was th e king who had to surrender rather than risk full-scale civil war. bishop of Winchester. William of Normandy's designation as Edward's heir had never been withdraw n. William had the potential to be serious trouble. But for a long while. or thought they did. and ordered Godwine to take a punitive expedition to Dover. which stayed in Leofric's family. His thegns were unwilling to fight the king on this issue. between 1057 and 1065. where he personally defeated the most powerful king the Welsh had had in centuries. The Godwine family returned the next year in force. got the greatest pr ize of all. an d most of the rest of the family went to Flanders. Tostig. It was a great triumph. his eldest surviving son. the count of Boulougne in France. Edward made the sweep a clean one by sending his wife to a nunnery. was going home from the English court when his men got into a fight with the townsfolk at Dover. Edward's brother-in-law Eustac e. metaphorically s peaking. the second son and the most intelligent of the bunch. The old ma n died in 1053. nineteen members of Eustace's retinue and over twenty people of the town were ki lled in the riot. they held all the earldoms except a dimini shed Mercian earldom. By 1060 he was no longer str uggling to survive. Leofwine got the a rea around London. and soon the entire Godwine family was outlawed. Dismissing archbishops in this way was frowned upon by the church. both for Edward and for Norman influence in Englan d. . Gyrth got East Anglia. a man closely connected with Godwine. But when Godwine showed up in London. things went well for the Godwine faction. but it was soon reversed. As soon as they were gone. H arold..Each of his three younger brothers got an earldom. which was in his earldom. a nd the papacy was in the middle of a reforming push. he found that the issue on the table was his disloyalty to the king. Godwine and h is sons got their dignities and property back. and this clinched the Godwine clan's d omination of England. When Siward died in 1055. but Harold. Edward was angry at the insult to his relative. A great council was called for later that year in London to settle the dis pute without civil war. This last move would come back to haunt the Godw ine family. One of the chronicles of the time called Harold "the underking. stepped into his shoes qui te handily. The third. Harold's prestige was boosted by victories on the Welsh frontier. Tostig was parachuted in.

Harold's capitulation to the demands of the Northumbrians had alienated his bro ther Tostig. and rose against him. Morcar of course was a member of th e one noble family in England that could rival the Godwins. The oath to William. a first cousin of Harold of Wessex. While in William's company. the thegns of the north had had enough of him. but it made William feel a lot more justified in attacking Harold the n ext year. In 1065. After making his fortune in Byzantine politics. He was known to be looking for allies -. was nothing to compare with another problem. Another Harald. Rather than rule with discretion. Harold had to choose between civil war a nd abandoning his brother. He had spent most of his early life as a mercenary in Constantinople. had inheri ted a claim from Magnus of Norway through Magnus's treaty with Harthacanute. Tostig went off the rails. he acted in an autocr atic manner. asking him to send his brother Morcar to be their earl.Farther away but still dangerous were the Scandinavian candidates. as King Edwar . not t o fight. Queen Edith. Harold of Wessex looked like a good bet to suc ceed him. could press his r ights as a nephew of Cnut. Harald Hardrada of Norway. whose very powerful count was Tost ig's father-in-law. proc ure the killing of a prominent northerner at court. This was a great reverse. or perhaps custody. I t was beginning to look like a confrontation between the Scandinavian-influenced north against the Wessex-dominated south. T ostig was in a delicate position as an outsider in very-independently minded are a. is universally insisted on by all Norman histo rians. and is illustrated in the Bayeux Tapestry. the last year of king Edward's life. despite his lack of royal blood. Harold probably had no intention of living up to h is oath. Har ald of Norway was a feared warrior-king. he swore to suppo rt William's claim to the crown. and was given the arms of knighthood.not only the count of Flanders. approached death. and got Edward to appoint Morcar earl of N orthumbria. and significantly. however. Harold had the bad luck to be captured by a castellan in France. As King Edward. and the humiliation of being rescued by his r ival. The story went around that he had had his sister. who had sailed away to Flanders. killing opponents and confiscating land from both the church and se cular lords. He was not the kind of person that you would want casting greedy eyes on your kingdom. King Sv ein Estrithson of Denmark. however. Northumbria. which is not found in any English source. The story. were joined by men from the old Danish Five Boroughs. Morcar and the northerners marched south with an army. In the winter of 1065. The king was probably all too happy to ratify this setback for the G odwine family. Harold went south to the court. h e had come back to Norway and enforced his claim to the Norwegian throne against a variety of rivals. It may have been at this point that King Edward required Harold to go to N ormandy to confirm William as heir to the throne of England. part of Edwin's earldom. William. But Harold of Wessex was no slouch himself. In August of 1065. Harold went north to meet them. What tripped Harold up was trouble in the family. He and his family already cont rolled the ground and the military resources of the kingdom. the Northumbria ns would not agree to take Tostig back. but Harald Hardrada in Norway. They killed all of his men they could catch. No matter how much he talked to them. became his vassal in the Norman style. seized his treasure. chi ldless and old. Finally he agreed to the latter. but to negotiate. and then sent to Edwin the earl of Mercia. Edwin and Morcar's f ather Aelfgar had been fighting Harold and Tostig in Wales only a few years back .

d, now old and concerned only to finish his abbey at Westminster, approached dea th, there was no one in England to stop Harold from claiming the crown. But ther e were plenty of potential enemies overseas. Harold had no way to know who would strike at him, or from where.

1066 On December 31, 1065, Edward the Confessor, old and childless, was near de ath. His most powerful subject, Harold earl of Wessex, an experienced war leader and heir to the richest noble dynasty in the country, was in control of England and by this time seemed, at least to his own large faction, to be Edward's logi cal successor. Others had claims: Harold Hardrada, king of Norway, and William duke of No rmandy, who at one point had been Edward's designated successor. Besides these t wo potential foes, Harold had his own brother Tostig to worry about. After he'd lost his position as earl of Northumbria, Tostig had sailed off to find allies so that he could return to power in England. On January 5, 1066, Edward the Confessor died at Westminster. The word w ent out that in his last moments Edward chose the great earl as his successor. T he very next day Harold was crowned king of England. No one within the kingdom made any moves against him, but there was soon t rouble from the outside. In May, not long after the portentous appearance of Hal ley's comet, Tostig Godwineson attacked the isle of Wight and raided along the s outh coast of England until he heard that his brother, King Harold, was coming. Then Tostig sailed north to the Humber, where he and his followers started harry ing the countryside. Earls Edwin and Morcar repulsed him with some loss. Tostig was forced to flee. His brother Harold, however, had no time to relax. He had heard that Willi am of Normandy was preparing an army and fleet to cross the Channel, and was in the midst of marshaling what the chronicle called "greater naval and land hosts than any king in this country had ever gathered before." William was the ruler of a very bellicose province of France. During the f irst half of the eleventh century, Normandy produced a large number of adventuro us knights looking for a way to carve out a living with their swords. This was a n era when armored warfare on horseback was being refined and perfected in Franc e; it was also an era when the use of castles in seizing and holding onto territ ory was becoming a key part of warfare. The Normans seem to have been early mast ers of both types of tactics. Between 1026 and 1060, Normandy had gone through a period of great disorde r. The new aristocracy that emerged was tough, ruthless, and treacherous -- in o ther words, skilled in both warfare and politics. William himself epitomized thi s warlike group. He had become duke at the age of 7, saddled with the taint of i llegitimacy and especially low birth. His mother had been the daughter of a tann er. When he reached adulthood, however, he soon showed an ability not just to su rvive but to conquer. He was a determined warrior, a skillful manipulator of a lliances, and was ruthless to those who opposed him but merciful and even gracio us to those who submitted promptly. By 1060, William had used those traits to pu t himself at the head of his ambitious aristocracy and had increased his influen ce in all the countries that bordered on Normandy. When his cousin Edward the Confessor died, he had the wealth and reputatio n to mount a sizable expedition to claim the throne that had been promised him.

At the same time, William pursued a diplomatic offensive against Harold. U sing the pretext of Edward's designation and Harold's broken oath to support him , William got recognition of his claim from the imperial court in Germany. Also , the anomalous position of Stigand as archbishop of Canterbury helped William g ain the support of the Roman church. The papacy was in the midst of an offensive against lay control of church offices, and William could portray the English ch urch as a corrupt institution needing reform. William, obtained, on the basis of his reputation as a church reformer in Normandy, a papal banner sanctioning his expedition. Harold of England waited for this rather formidable opponent all summer lo ng. But William did not come. Perhaps Harold had mustered his troops too soon. Perhaps William feared the great fleet Harold was supposed to have, and was look ing for an opportunity. In any case, by the beginning of September, Harold's sup plies and the military obligations of the fyrd had been used up. He was forced t o dismiss them. Almost as soon as the fyrd had gone home, a new crisis erupted for Harold of England. Harald Hardrada, king of Norway, had landed in Northumbria with some thing like 300 ships. He was accompanied by Tostig. Harald's army had been att acked by the Northumbrian fyrd under Edwin and Morcar at Fulford on the 20th of September, and Harald had won. He and Tostig then entered York, where a substan tial party welcomed him with open arms, and asked him to lead them to conquer En gland. Harold of England reacted quickly to news of the Norwegian landing. With his household forces, a rather substantial body, he marched from the south of En gland to the outskirts of York in six days, where he joined with Edwin and Morca r and the remnants of the northern army. On the seventh day, which was the 25th of September, he caught Hardrada's army at a place called Stamford Bridge. By ni ghtfall on the 25th, Harold of England had won. Both Harald Hardrada and Tostig were killed, and the Norwegian threat was over. But then King Harold heard that William had landed in Sussex and was devas tating the countryside. Harald was was forced to turn around his weary househol d troops and rush as quickly as possible back south. By the sixth of October he was in London, where he paused to gather reinfo rcements -- he had moved so fast that he had been able only to bring as many tro ops as he could find horses for -- no doubt a tough force but a very small one. Harold was dependent on these and whatever troops he could gather in the south. There is no doubt that if he had paused, he could have gathered a larger army. B ut after after five days, he moved south from London, to take on William with wh at was on hand then. Was he trying to stop the devastation? Was he uncertain about his domestic suppor

England Under The Normans

Domesday England One of the most remarkable products of the Norman Conquest of England is t he record known as Domesday Book (pronounced like "doom," not "dome"). It was c

reated near the end of William the Conqueror's reign, when he decided that he ne ed to know more about the country he now ruled, in particular its taxable wealth . As soon as he began granting out English lands to his followers, there were be en arguments about who owned what. In between putting down revolts and repulsing attacks on his territories, William had much of his time occupied in sorting ou t such problems. In early 1086, he decided that a great survey of England was necessary to the workings of his government. When William spoke, his officials listened, and so by the end of the year, Domesday Book was largely finished, as finished as it ever got. It is a unique record of an eleventh-century country as seen by a go vernment that was quite powerful by the standards of the time -- a snapshot of E ngland as the taxman saw it. Or rather, since the surveyors asked about past conditions, two snapshots: one of England in 1086, another of England in 1066, on the day, as the clerks p ut it, when king Edward the Confessor lived and died: England on the last day of peace that Anglo-Saxon England enjoyed, and what conditions were like after t wenty years of Norman rule. I hope by this point in the course that you no longer feel that England be fore 1066 was a backward, barbaric place. Even so, the prosperity of England in 1066 is quite remarkable. In the eleventh century, all of western Europe was exp eriencing the beginning of commercial prosperity. England in 1066 seems to have been ahead of the crowd in this development. Already England could boast of several important cities that lived largely on trade and industry. These cities were not big by our standards. The largest, London, may have had 15,000, about a third of the size of North Bay. Other citi es were smaller: York had 8 to 10,000, Norwich, another trade center, something over 5,000. By our standards these are tiny places, but there were no western E uropean cities outside of Muslim Spain that had much over 20,000 people, and the y were all in Italy. As things went in 11th c. Europe, England had some vital u rban centers. Even the smaller towns were significant economically. There were t hirty-two with 1,000 or more people [Chibnall, 148], and they constituted a com mercial network that would suffice for England until the fourteenth century. One fact that shows the prosperity and commercialization of the English ec onomy is the quality of its currency. Since the tenth century, the coinage all o ver England had been uniform, based on the silver penny. Royal efforts to maint ain control over purity and weight were very successful. It was the best curren cy in western Europe at the time, testimony to royal power and to the existence of trade. It was also an encouragement to commercialization and trade, as a stab le currency always is. What was this trade? Domesday book does not address this question directly . From archaeology we know that Norwich produced pottery and York iron, and ther e is plenty of evidence for clothmaking, one of the early manufactures of Wester n Europe. Wool was already a well-established agricultural product: domestic an imals are recorded in the assessment of manors, and sheep are by far the most nu merous. Commercial prosperity in England, as elsewhere in medieval Europe, was nec essarily based on agricultural prosperity. Domesday Book shows us a country that , by the standards of its time, was well developed. Almost every place that exis ts in England today was already settled in 1066. There was no great untapped wil derness. There were extensive woodlands, but they were a resource that was watched and managed. The king had the largest share in this management, because he cont

we h ave only a list of people who paid taxes or were assets attached to the estates of taxpayers. pigs were the most important animal raise d for meat.984 such people mentioned. we can see that this was an extremely aristoc ratic society before the Normans ever came. We can guess that there may have been two million people in all of England.horses were seldom used for farm work at this time. had th e ability to get his decisions implemented. But fishing was a big business in some areas. di vided into hundreds with hundred courts -. So Englan d had no Devon cream and no Cheddar cheese. but no one thinks he invented the idea of forest.D. Today there are about 48 million. or d efense tax levied on the land. There were something like 6. Domesday book allows us to study the social structure of England as well a s its tax base. and livest ock was very important. The word "forest" is derived from the Latin "foras". there were almost no cows kept: only enough.for creating more forest.through which the free and influentia l people policed the countryside. a shire in the earldom of Wessex. none of them children. and signified a royal park system outside of th e normal administrative framework of the kingdom. What cheese there was. woodcutting . grain was ground by slaves using hand mills. England was well on the way to a literate form of government. Governmental organization based on shires with shire courts. King Edward about 8%. other earls about 5% The church held about 30% of Su rrey. For instance. There are 268. so there was an assessment system in place: all the land in the country had a set tax obligation. William the Conqueror is famous -.the period from A. A very small number of lay magnates held another quarter. The High Middle Ages -. The wealth of this country was very unevenly distributed. Queen Edith. It would be interestin g to know how many people lived there. was probably made from goat's milk.or notorious -. 1000 to about 1350 is known a s a period of technological innovation down at the farm.rolled the "forest. almost all of them male. and all the other landholders together about 45%. Arable agri culture. Surpr isingly. about 4%. In all we have a country that is far from backward. The geld. Harold's sister. in Surrey. But beside this organization was a web of personal obligations that tied n . Besides sheep. which was recorded in documents used by the makers of Domesday Book. The woods were used to provide acorns and other feed for pigs. outside. The king.was very strong in 1066. and the survey ors were especially charged to find out how many plowlands and plowing teams the re were for each manor. Harold of Wessex held about 10% of the land.000 of these establishments in England in 1 066. and savage laws against poaching. to breed oxen to pull the plows -. Agriculture in 1066 is only shown in passing in Domesday Book. it seems. despite the existence of princely earls in the provinces. This far more than Roman Britain would have had. that is plowing fields to grow grain was very important. even though Roman Britain was probably more populous and more prosperous. Over 25% of the land was held by great church corporations. and distributed the bur dens of military service and taxation -." The forest was not a woods. But since this is a taxman's survey. had been collected for over three-quarters of a c entury. There was a writing office which iss ued short. Just from property holdings. In Roman times. or other exploitation was allowed only under the strictest regulation. efficient documents called writs that told the sheriffs and other off icials what the king wanted done. decided land disputes. One innovation that can be demonstrated from the Book is the use of mechanical mills to grind grain int o flour. where agriculture.

over land and over people. In 1066 the same people were proba bly called geburs (the root of our word boor). but also into manors. were effectively governmental subdivisions of England. But it was actually collec ted at the manors. The geb ur or future villein usually had a fairly large tenancy. The average peasant was a more substantial man. people who we re property pure and simple and who could be freely bought and sold. some that had no demesnes. Gel d. The classic manor is one where there is a demesne or home farm. and did little or no plowing for a lord. Almost half the people recorded in DB were villeins Above the villeins were a number of people who were technically free. who had some status in the hundred courts and the shire courts. whate ver they looked like. Second. who owed him rent and labor services of various types. Almost everyone in England was a dependent attached to a manor. but no more. Villeins. Plowing service. First. They usually had a bit of land. England was still a country with many slaves. They did much of the manual labor on the home farms. S till their independence was restricted. The villeins. others that were so small they had no attached dependents. but service from people who were in a sense his property. there was also a large number of people called sokemen. Above the slaves but still in a very poor position were people who might b e called cottagers. was assessed by shires and hundreds. The lord received not just rent on the lan d. owned their own property. were not free by our standards. To begin with. in shires whe re there were many classic manors with demesnes and peasant tenancies. A small piece of thegnland might owe the same kin d of services that a villein's plot did.i.. often owed the lord a vari ety of miscellaneous services. England was divided not o nly into shires and hundreds. even when they were still geburs. four yoked pairs.the peasant oxen. Slaves see m to have been most common in heavily manorialized shires -.early every person to the service of a great landlord. besides plowing serv ice and usually rent. and implies a lack of freedom. But there were ma ny other types. but to the manor court held by their landlord. a manor can be thought of as a bundle of rights. you needed ei ght oxen. held by a lord. and th ere were a number of other restrictions on them. A larger piece might owe military servi ce. the peasant plows. but were still under someone's patronage. for instance. Sokemen usually had to do some miscellaneous services for their lords. in produce or in money or both. and were counted as free. maybe onl y a quarter of a hide. A manor was a property whos e owner enjoyed a certain amount of jurisdiction and economic lordship over depe ndents on his land or nearby. These manors. the villein. They could not leave the manor without permission. but who fell nevertheless under the jurisdiction of a lord. In most legal manners they woul d have been responsible not to the public courts. maybe a hide.e. Sokemen we re people who were free. although not slaves. he also had some plow oxen. a heavy burden. The villein's possession of some oxen made him a val uable resource for the lord -. There were people who had long-term leases (three generations long) on what was called thegnland. run directly by the landlord (or an agent) for his direct profit. Attached to the demesne are plots of various sizes worked by the landlord's depe ndents. and the peas ant plowmen were used on the demense. was the b asic duty this class of men owed their lords. but not the heav . So. To pull a plow. Villein is th e Norman word. more generally. and the leaseholder would be in a much more honorable position in society.

William returned and put down these fi . The Norman Settlement The Norman Conquest is one of the more obvious turning points in English H istory. had another realm elsewhere that demanded much of his atte ntion. many substantial men. they were influential. Th ere can only have been a few more in 1066 -. The popular institutions of England." over their tenants. Sokemen. shaped t he Norman settlement of England. as we wi ll see later. The y were the king's sheriffs. They were lords. holders of thegnland. and used the establ ished power of the English monarchy to assert his authority in those parts of th e country -. The last thing William needed in 1066 was to cause himself unnecessary tr ouble in England.y duties of a villein. they got sp ecial tax breaks unavailable to the bulk of the population. over their poorer ne ighbors. and Edgar A theling. did not undermine the aristocratic monopoly on power. Very soon after his Christmas. t he king's thegns. 1066 coronation. that would be one half of one tenth of one percent of the estimat ed population of 2 million. Morcar. were members of the middle class. William felt it necessary to return to Normandy. How many of them were there? Very few.He left three earls in place. But this was no more than had happened in Cnut' s time. but in 1 086 there were only about 200 "tenants-in-chief. plus the fact that William's followers expected to be rewarded for faithful and efficacious service. the archbishop of Canterbury. To call them citizen s is almost to travesty the word. when P arliament was fighting the King. Edwin. who was the lord of mo st boroughs. there was trouble. Nevertheless. before 1 066. the ordinary and middling thegns. a Saxon Yoke. meant th at much land would change hands. William followed a policy much like Cnut's.not actually under Norman occupation. the strong public authority of the ki ng. had bee n left in peace.even if there were 1000 holders of sake and soke. like Cnut. those who held jurisdictio n rights. In 1016. I have no figure for 1066. free men under someone's patronage. At first. or give up and go home. They were rich. they rented royal estates from the king. although man y of them rented their properties directly from the king. he was milde r. The death of many English nobles in battle. On economic grounds we can put townspeople in the same class. There was a Norman Yoke. but as far as most people were concerned. an event that in retrospect divides all English history into two. even over whole communities. those who had no lord but the king.most of it north of London -. there was a theory that England was a free coun try before the imposition of the Norman Yoke. He also took with him to Normandy the natural leaders of the English: all the surviving earls. politicall y and economically. people who commended themselves to a lord." direct tenants of the king. the right of "sake and soke. to fight. there was also. His choice. and Waltheof. There is no reason to think that even William of Normandy intended it to be that way. In later times. But William was soon put into a position where he had to either thoroughly subdue England by force. Who were the "full citizens"? They were the lords at the top of society. William. Indeed.

built. (They did this job ver y well. The Harrying of the Nor th destroyed the prosperity of York and ultimately had the desired effect. Edgar's ally Malcom Canmore. The tenant s-in-chief began soon to subinfeudate. maintained and garr isoned by the free men of the district. he did so on the understandin g that they would guard his castles and more importantly that they would supply him with armored. One was that all land in England was ultimately t he king's and that tenure was granted conditionally. When he gr anted out land to his higher-ranking subordinates. most of these lesser vassals lived with the lord. The Normans. or in one of his castles. the heir of the house of Wessex. Northerners had alternative rulers available to them: the King of the Scots and the King of the Danes.) Another symbol of the Norman era is the knight. a mounted armored soldier who is a specialist in war and usually bound to a greater lord by strong persona l bonds of vassalage. The ability of a southern ruler to control Northumbria was never completely sure. fulfilled t heir obligations of castle guard and knight service -. which are recorded in some de tail in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle. The great northern revolts of 1069 and 1070. the new king eliminated Englishmen from nearly all positions of responsibility. but new ones followed. W illiam ended up redistributing almost all the land of England in a twenty year p eriod. After a further major revolt that involved the English earls. old a repla to th they One of the great symbols of Norman rule in England is the castle. But al l of these elements of warfare were newly emphasized in Norman England. depopulating large areas and making them uninhabitable. Great lords. and so they became even more of a military class than might have been otherwise. and a Danish fleet sent by King Svein E strithson. Bretons. The property of the English nobility was confiscated and redistributed to Norman warriors. well-trained knights. William encouraged the creation of a new chivalric aristocracy. In the earliest days.by surrounding themselves with poorer knights who were th eir own vassals. He sent armies through the countryside. especially the middle ranks.rst revolts easily. which he would hold as a military tenant. in exchange for what was ca lled knight-service. the tenants-in-chief of the king. The early Norman castles were meant to k eep down the population and protect the foreign masters. A knight would be given part of his lord' s property.which were not well-defin ed at the beginning -. but also Edgar Atheling. But the chief English fortifications had been burhs. They were foreigners with no cultural connection e people they ruled. which tended to make warfare more expensive and more specialized. and other Frenchmen who ced them were hungry men. This expectation of service in return for land was defined later by lawyer s into a number of principles. After William had beaten the challengers. The English of course were not strangers to fortifications. In 1069-1070. was an nd comfortable aristocracy. William faced not just the proud Northumbrians. mounted. were the most serious challenge that the Conq ueror faced in England. and it i s an accurate one. Like the estates of the lo . The English aristocracy of 1066. The Nor mans were in the forefront of cavalry tactics. and were rewarded with money or other favors. he systematically harried Yorksh ire and other parts of Northumbria and northern Mercia to make sure that these a reas would never again dispute his rule. None of these elements was new to England in 1066.

But at the same time E ngland was divided into military fiefs. but by a distinctive type of military obligation. Fren ch also became a literary language. The geburs of 1066 became the villeins of 1086. where he judged them by t he standards appropriate to their place in society and their special relationshi p to him The small upper crust. and the chief literary language as well. and owed attendance at his court. William the Conqueror's division of England into fiefs owing military serv ice created a second governmental hierarchy parallel to the earlier hierarchy of shires and hundreds. These ended up in the lord's manor court. William decided that he could not leave the great church corporations in English hands. two hundred tenants-in-chief and a few thousand kni ghts and their families lived in a world of their own. baronies . the conquest enhanced the power of the English king. and eventually were entirely excluded from the shire and hundred courts. even i f they were economically subservient. After the great revolts. William destr oyed the old earldoms. Whatever their rights. except in border reg . a right of jurisdiction over his vassals. that is knights who had received land from him.a French word -. Second. with some access to the public courts. He was encouraged in t his attitude by the difference in styles of piety between England and the Contin ent. Vi lleins -. which led him and other Europeans to conclude that the English church was i n need of reform to bring it up to snuff. the knight's land would be a hereditary possession of his family unless he b etrayed his lord or the male line died out. This applied most of all to the retinue of the king. Each great lord. The native English found their status correspondingly depressed. knight service. First. All the tenants-in-ch ief were subject primarily to what we might call the king's feudal court. Very soon all English bishoprics and a bbacies were filled with continentals. Sokemen and the lesser thegns also found themselves farther down the socia l scale. if only briefly. which was the administrative language of England for mo st of the rest of the Middle Ages. and did not replace them. called feudal honours or later. one that few Englishmen were capable of fu lfilling. or military tenants. Thus the c rimes and disputes of the Norman military class were often settled in a legal ar ena quite distinct from that used by everyone else. wergilds ceased to be used. whether landless stipendiary knights. They had the wergilds of free men. His earls. Geburs had been free men. at least when they had disputes with their lords. They w ere all his vassals. This change spelled the slow doom of Old English as a literary language. Shires and hundreds still had tax obligations and still on occasion provided English free men to fight in the fyrd.were considered unfree. I t was replaced by Latin. which was distinguished not only by language. After the conquest. meaning each tenant-in-chief of the king. Before we leave this subject. the church.rd. though it took a while to become established . two more aspects of the Norman settlement of England should be referred to. had an honor court. and by the military tenure and feudal status that went with that oblig ation. and formerly free men with little property and heavy labor obligations found themselves to be villeins. not all of them Normans. they were certainly not part of the new ruling c lass. Again we see the native population was shut out of the highest ranks of societ y and foreigners and foreign standards predominated.

The success of William the Conqueror in 1066 and his repulse of Danish in vasions thereafter cut England's long-established connection with Scandinavia an d at the same time established strong ties with France which would survive the M iddle Ages. were beginning to look like p ermanent players on the scene. Usually French kings of this period are l . S ince the prince couldn't be everywhere at once. It would be French rather than Scandinavian politics that would effe ct the English most. The ambition of ev ery prince was to turn the territory he controlled into a hereditary possession that could be passed down to his descendants. Some principalities. To appreciate the new order.on the control of those vital resou rces of the Central Middle Ages. The county of Anjou. were much less powerful than their Anglo-Saxon predecessors. was ruled by a capable and ambitious dynasty. The first of these lectures concerns the relations that obtained between E ngland and Normandy under these Norman kings. can be illustrated from the career of William the Conqueror. and very soon after he too k England. there were some signs of stabilization in French po litics. Normandy was pretty solid.for strength. These dukes and counts ( whom we will call princes for simplicity's sake) could not claim to rule by roya l right. Perhaps the greatest of the princes was the king of France. The Conqueror and His Sons For the next four lectures. but the fam ily property of all the earls of 1066. and he lef t a reputation -. I will be talking about the policies of William and the two sons who followed him as king of England in a topical manner. They held castles and territories under his rule. In the ninth century civil war and Viking invasions had drastically reduce d royal authority in France. William spent mos t of his life keeping the Norman aristocracy in line. he led a constant struggle to ke ep his subordinates under control. as the prince had once held them from the king. There was the eternal challenge of the prince's d eputies and officials. Each wanted to be the founding fat her of a dynasty of rulers. His sons had a hard time filling them. we must take a brief look at the political si tuation in France in the second half of the 11th century. counts. the deputies wante d to turn their offices into hereditary possessions. He was perhaps the strongest ruler of his day. Dukes.indeed they were almost forced to do so b y the inability of the kings to keep any kind of order. But like the prince. trained knights and castles. But it was a tough job. Thanks to William. and was entering a period o f commercial prosperity. some ruling families. and other deputies of the king set themselves up as independent powers -. Nevertheless. he wa s fabulously wealthy. and the events that ha d produced that situation. by 1066.that has scarcely faded with time. south of Normandy. Also William acquired in the course of his reign not only all the royal property. he had to contend with a serious revolt of the Norman barons he himse lf had established there. They depended primarily on might -. he left big shoes to fill. That unruly subordinates were still a problem for the rulers of the 11th c . Even after granting out much of it. When he died in 1087. mini-states of their own. based in Paris and Orleans. I will diverge from my usual chronological pla n. if not humanity -.ions. Fla nders had a long history of rule under the Baldwins.

Maine was a small territor y that lay directly between these two strong principalities. and often succeeded. directly and indirectly. William used English levies in Maine in 1073 -. in the course of an anti-French offensive. William had three capable sons. The question of the succession to William's domains also affected the rela tionship of England to Normandy. King William's forces were defeated and he himself unhorsed and wounded. At a battle near Gerberoi. his great .impatience. would be duke of Normandy after him. for instance. William sought to avoid French intervention. The count of Anjou. Amazingly enough. The impartibility of great honors had been pret ty well established by the mid-eleventh century. afraid of the new might of William the Conqueror.000. Thus it became a bone of contention between its neighbors. s traightforward war. which w as an immense amount then. so allianc es tended to be shortlived. was de signated king. William used English resources. and therein lies its typicality. for unknown reasons. and the counter-expeditions that sough t to relieve those beseiged castles before they fell. warfare. Robert Curthose. and open war broke out. England or parts of it could be given to William. The third son. was sometimes willing to obli ge. The battle between Anjou and Normandy was not a simple. In 1078 he made an alliance with the king of France and various other neig hbors of Normandy. More usual were expedi tions intended to take strategic castles. and decided Robert w ould have no share of the kingdom. and had never devel oped a well-established dynasty of its own. Robert was still in revolt. Robert got a guarantee from his father that he would inherit Normandy. The succession was complicated by the fact Ro bert caught a disease that elder sons of rulers often suffered in the Middle Age s -. who was in attendence. Robert left Normandy and allied himself once mor e with the king of France and William's other French enemies. William Rufus. to support his continental position and to forward his continental ambitions. either thr ough fighting or bribery. When William died in 1087 in Normandy. If we think of them as princes rather than kings. The growing solidity of these northern French principalities meant an inte nsified competition between them for advantage and for the domination of dispute d areas between them. Decisive battles like Stamf ord Bridge or Hastings were very rare in 11th c. In 1083.a mere seven years af ter Hastings -. The building of alliances was an important part of politics. he won. because they ruled very little of their kingdom directly. wanted to get the king of France on his side.ooked upon as weak.and used the unique taxing powers of the English crown more than once to finance his wars. All the princes were jealous of each other. or to Henry. had to be satisfied with the small grants o f lands he already had. On t his basis. there was no set rule to govern the inheritance of an empire such as William's. Henry. and the king. On the other hand. So when William the Conqueror died in 1087. Campaigns were fought for very limited goals. and a gift of money -. But what would happen to England? There was prece dent for settling younger sons on territories newly acquired by the father. Despite his greatly increased power and all the vast territory he had acqu ired in England. known as Rufus for his ruddy complexion. A fairly typical rivalry is the longstanding struggle between the Norman d ukes and the counts of Anjou for the county of Maine. On his deathbed William was still angry with his son. they look pretty good.perhaps as much as £l5. his eldest son. William spent most of his reign as king in Normandy fighting to preserve his continental position. however.

and Scotland This lecture will be devoted to insular politics. Both Scotland and Wales were poor. cold.when one of his hunting compan ions shot an arrow into him. they would soon face conflicts of loyalty and interest. divided and lightly populated countries . Robert found it very difficult to control his barons. pressure that produced some important change s in Welsh and Scots politics and culture. Holding on to Normandy was more difficult. who thus peacefully established his power over all his father's possession s. If England and Normandy were truly separate . This was a period when both countries found themselves under more i ntense English and Norman pressure. and Robert. Such was William's determination and ability that he was able to hold onto th e whole assemblage for the rest of his reign. The rivalry ended unexpectedly in 1096. The dead king's body was entirely aban doned. William Rufus was in a position to attack R obert at home. At the end of it. Henry's quick action assured him of the English throne and control of Norm andy as well. by riding off immediately t o Winchester to seize the royal treasure. The un ity of the empire created by William the Conqueror was restored. Within a few Henry was able to invade Normandy. marked his brother's death in true Norman fashion. the year before Henry died. By 1089. Thanks to Henry 's long life and ability as a ruler. England. Both were located in the Highlan d Zone of Britain. Robert then collected his supporters together and invaded England. In August of 1100. most of whom had property on either shore of the channel. Pope Urban II had just declared th e First Crusade. long enough for it to be taken by almost everybody as something normal. H enry had all of Normandy now. not very suitable for arable agriculture. Henry wa s the victor. H enry was forced to surrender his remaining castles in Normandy and to promise to pay Robert a big yearly pension out of the English royal revenues. Robert arrived in Normandy in the au tumn and was acknowledged as duke by almost everyone. By 1091. William was out hunting in the New Forest -. the unity was maintained for nearly a gener ation. All the important Norman families held property and po sition on both sides of the Channel. forced the brothers to negotiate. relations with Wales an d Scotland. but William used Eng lish levies to control his. and Robert his captive. partly because h e made an elaborate oath at his coronation in which he promised to correct all t he grievances the English barons and church had had against his brother William. Geography had much to do with this situation. The barons on both sides. Duke Robert Curthose lived until 1134. who was on the fatal expedition . and forced Robert to acknowledge his position. was burning with the desire to fr ee Jerusalem. Henry was able to establish his rule in England. No one was really satisfied with this situation.empire was split into its main component parts. which was a mountainous. Wales.the most f amous of the forest areas created by William I -. William had gained territory and influence on the contin ent. To get the necessary funds. he pawned the duchy of Normandy to Wil liam. rainy area. . And he did. like many others. left on the ground until some peasants transported it to a nearby church for burial. s omething to be taken for granted. but his brother the king never let him go free again. His brother Henry. and was determined to keep it. All three sons wanted a s much as they could get.

besides the p overty of the country. which could easily be put into a square 140 miles on a side. Feudal Britain In fact. an d Norwegians. The word Scoti a applied to the area between the Firth of Forth and the Moray Firth. The Welsh were semi-nomadic and thus hard to control. an eminent historian of medieval Scotland. were not part of Scotia. the wonder is th at any room was found at all for permanent habitation. was an English-speaking district with close con nections to Northumbria. there were no fixed episcopal sees. The weakness of Welsh princes was aggravated by two factors. Herding was m ore important than plowing as a means of supporting the population. Barrow himself estimates that there were no more than a third of a million inhabitants within the modern limits of the c ountry in 1100. Irish-Scots. both countries' churches were exceedingly unreformed. in fact. . although they might owe some allegiance to the King of Scots. has said: "If one takes the modern map of Scotland and considers the enormous number of names on it which contain an element denoting marsh or bog. Wales. surround ed by a retinue of professional warriors. The islands of Orkney. compared to two million or more in England. Wales. When the Normans took England the resulting disorder was seen by Welsh and Scots (of various sorts) as an opportunity to pour over a border that in normal times was not so easy to penetrate." [Barrow. on good days. In fa ct. Wales's most im portant bishop dwelt at St. and he could. had never had a single ruler. which is very mountainous. Otherwise there was nothing like a settled diocesan structur e in either country. and of course no network of parish churches. The one unifying factor was the dominance of a single language an d the existence of a Welsh high culture. with plenty of room for ocean. disaffected Engli sh noblemen were allied with the raiders. Unlike England or most other countries.G. Barrow. the country we call Scotland had no single name at that time. the Hebrides and Man were considered part o f Norway. at least in theory. Today. and the population would have been smaller: E ven with extensive industrial development. Monasteries were usually closely controlled by the families that had founded them. and there was a bishop of Scot ia at St. not much room was found. exer cise a certain overlordship over the rest. Wales is a m uch smaller country than Scotland. but they were actually a unique blend of Britons. around Edinburgh. Other areas. Scotland supports roughly 5 million people. The people of Galloway were called Picts by outsiders. was in a similar position. Strathclyde or Cumbria was an ancient British land that straddled the mode rn border between England and Scotland. consisting for the most part of poetry and music as cultivated in the courts of princes. Lothian.S. On both borders. Neither country was politically unified. it supports less than three million p eople today. by the King of Scots. The King of Scots was the only ruler within the boundaries of modern Scotl and who was strong enough to call himself king. The condition of the church in those areas is a good indicator. in the age of industrialization. In twelfth-ce ntury terms.W. The position of the many Welsh rulers was much like that of the petty English kings of the seventh century. Both Wales and Scotland were fairly isolated from the European mainstream. No such unifying factor could be found in Scotland in the year 1100. David's in the south. Andrew's. an area in habited by Picts and Scots and ruled. The princes were warlords. Als o Welsh inheritance customs called for equal division of the father's property a mong his sons.

but he was more dangerous t o William the Conqueror than any Welsh prince. He was given most of the land in Hereford shire. the first English. who was made earl of Hereford in 1066 or 1067. The English wave took place in the 107 0s. he was expected to do one thing for his over lord William: He was to keep the Welsh out of England. Malcolm Canmore was a potential champion to those in the north w ho wanted to resist England. In the unsettled period right after Hastings. The king of Scots was no match for the king of England. and was less of a foreigner to the Northumbrian s than the man who ruled in London or Winchester. who are often called the marcher lords. he quickly erected what are often called "palatine earldoms. William took an army and a fleet up the east coast of Scotland an d marched right across the Firth of Forth and into the center of Malcolm's kingd om. In 1073. what might be called Scottish No rthumbria. and opened Wales up to an unprecedented flood of English and continental influences. Robert Curthose led a second great expedition to avenge a raid made by t he Scots when Robert himself had been fighting his father in Normandy. It is hard to see any sign that Malcolm really wanted to rule Northumbria." These were districts where the earl exercised power almost independen tly of the king. In most parts of his new kingdom. when many noble refugees from Northumbria pulled up stakes and moved with al l their portable wealth and settled in Lothian. The northern boundary of England stayed much where it had been under Edwar d the Confessor. however. This type of penetration was much more than had ever been accomplished by Anglo-Saxon rulers. The status and identities of the border lords changed often in the twelft h century. and jurisdiction over its inhabitants. The already-existing English element in the Kingdom of the Scots was . they used their position to conquer and colonize as muc h of Wales as they could. Not that Wales was absorbed into England. but the policy of entrusting extraordinary powers to them became a se t one. He lived closer to Northumbria th an any King of England ever had. His policies had an important effect on how England and Wales relat ed for the rest of the Middle Ages. During the reign of William Rufus. William eliminated the power of earls. Such warlords. Norman techniques of castle building and systematic a ggression worked well against the Welsh.peasants from Flanders and el sewhere were planted in the newly conquered territory to be a trustworthy popula tion. Their march developed into a turbulent frontier zone with its own unique characteristics. In return for this semi-regal status. possession of its chief castle. The marcher lords themselves pre vented that. under Malcom. were not content t o merely defend England. The marche rs followed this offensive up with colonization -. O n the Welsh border.Of course William the Conqueror was not the man to tolerate any nonsense o f this sort. Scotland was opened to two waves of foreign influen ce. Malcolm was forced to pay tribute and do homage to make him go home again. the second Norman. I n 1080. In fact. including Pembroke. The resul ts this time were similar. An example of a palatine earl was William fitz Osbern. Relations between Scotland and England were somewhat more complicated. It has been suggested that Malcolm used the opportunity to raid England to bol ster his own position in Scotland. the king and his marchers struck deep i nto south Wales and seized several strong points.

Her influ ence in Malcolm's court was immense. he introduced English-style government and the new style of m onasticism into his lands. so famous in later . The line of brother-kings that began with Edgar introduced into Scotland a new Norman aristocracy. He was a travelling justice in Henry's administration. English methods of administration. they e njoyed a great deal of favor from William the Conqueror and his sons. a descendant of both William the Conqueror and Ear l Waltheof. built castles there. David was modernizer of a type familiar in the 12th century. Wi lliam Rufus' action seems peculiar. In Scotland. He was able to divide the kingdom into dioceses with fixed boundaries. The expedition was a success. She was of royal English descent. One must qualify the adjective Engli sh in her case. In 1107 his brother Alexander made him lord of Lothian and Cumbria. into the mainstre am of European development. and like him was a cosmopolitan. perhaps. In 1093. the southern and most E nglish provinces of the Scottish crown. Like their uncle Edgar Atheling. and a great vassal of the English king. In 1097. and revived the old episcopal see of Glasgow. known to lat er generations as St. even thoug h. he was a very important man in England. He was the most Anglicized and Norma nized of the bunch. He spent part of his youth at the English court. was the way William Rufus helped the younge r son. Henry I married him to the rich est heiress of England. David had a number of Norman vassals. The greatest benefit. Maud. The most important of the sons of Malcolm and Margaret was David I. and a patron of religious houses all over England. establish himself on the Scottish throne. Edgar. and he expelle d all the English and the Normans who had hung around Malcolm's court. anti-foreign party made Malcolm's brother Donald Ban king. Margaret's influence lived on in her sons. Malcolm and his eldest son Edward were killed while leading an invasion of England. until one reflects that William had replaced a potentially hostile king with one who depended on him to stay in power. brought in Flemish and English townsmen to inhabit his towns. they could be seen as rivals for the English throne. He brought them with him into Scotland. As Earl of Huntingdon . however.thus reinforced. David promoted the reform of the Scottish church begun by his mother. and a further wave o f church reform. as a group of retainers who would be especially dependent on him and provide him with valuable military reso urces. all offshoots of continental organ izations. like the Atheling. at least the more accessible parts. A tradition alist. In 1124 he got his chance. Edgar Atheling convinced William Rufus to give him an army so that he c ould put young Edgar on the throne of Scotland. but like her brother Edgar Ath eling she had been raised in Hungary. In the ten years be tween David's marriage and his succession to the Scottish throne. Among these families were the Bruces and the Stewarts. and give these new sees to foreign or native refo rmers. The most important single English refugee was Queen Margaret. She is most noted for her determination to reshape up the Scottish church on the English or continental model. These descendents of Saxon roya lty opened Scotland to Norman influence. who ru led for thirty years between 1124 and 1153. just as in England or France. He f ounded at least a dozen reformed monasteries. who held lands of him in return for knig ht service. Margaret of Scotland. practicing f or the day when he would be king. David became the earl of Northampton and Huntingdon in the southern Midlands of England. In 1114. His influence on secular politics was just as great. and his reign marks the entrance of Scotland.

But in some ways he was mor e a Northumbrian king than a king of Scots. the big difference between the mid-tenth century a nd the mid-eleventh century was that England. which he personally dominated -. once in the vanguard of reform. David's own capital was in Carlisle. In the twelfth century. particularly in regard to ecclesiastical observance and government. William the Conqueror. the issue of simony was heating up in the eleventh century. and thus a serious sin.especially in the years when his only son was Earl of Northumberla nd in England. When a new line of crusading popes came to power in Rome in t he 1040s and 1050s. his was not an easy position to maintain. after the Norman R obert of Jumieges was expelled by Earl Godwine. . even before he came to England. As in the tenth century. Stigand was made archbishop of Canterbury in 1051. logician and th eologian Lanfranc. without the interferenc e of patrons and without money changing hands. the king of Scots' increased dependence on English and Norman elements in his kingdom would make life difficult for him. the reformers opposed the ideal of free. wa s lagging behind. He did much to stren gthen the Scottish crown by the use of English and Norman methods. The Church under the Normans In this lecture we will examine how Norman rule opened up England to cultu ral influences from outside. in the time of Edward the Confessor. But if conflict should come. When he c ame to effective power in Normandy he had restored the authority of bishops to r ule their dioceses.Scottish history. founded monasteries.eleventh century looked to powerful rulers to help purify the church and restore its proper independence. His personal power base was the grea t border zone between the Firth of Forth and the river Tyne. and recruited the ablest men he could f ind to be his bishops and abbots. However. The case of Stigand was a major fac tor here.the violation of church law and ecc lesiastical independence by powerful members of the laity. From our point of view. which was very common. usually for the benefit of secul ar patrons. Simony could be seen as buying and selling the Holy Spirit. He opened up Scotland to the vital culture of continental Europe. England was out of step. now an English city. in the tenth century. were much the same as they had been in the time of Edg ar. enjoyed the type of reputation in church circles that King Edgar had in his time. it was possible for one king to be the vassal of another if neither fe lt his vital interests were threatened. canonical elections. His installation was a flagrant example of all they were fighting against -. To this sinful practice. William's reform ed Norman church was thus put in touch with the latest ecclesiastical fashions. maybe serious enough to cast doubt on the sacraments performed b y clerics guilty of it. in which abbots were elected by their monks and bishops by the clergy and people of their dioceses. I have mentioned before how this played politically into William the Conqu eror's hand. who was entrusted with the monastery of Bec. Some of these new ecclesiastical leaders were famous monks from outside Normandy. Simon y was the buying and selling of church offices. The major issues of church reform in the mid-eleventh century. such as the Italian scholar. reformers in the mid. In the long term. David I holds a peculiar position in British history.

The supremacy of Canterbury in the church of England dates from this time. abbot of Bec. Even without the ideology of reform. matters of church discipline. More important perhaps than these purely institutional matters was the way that the English clergy were suddenly expected to live up to the highest reform ing standards. where Lanfranc's position won. no doubt. the pope. He increased the king's power over the church. Lanfranc was concerned to build up the stature of his own see of Canterbur y. An even faster revolution took place in the monasteries. William fulfilled one point in the reformers' program by s eparating church and secular courts. From Will iam's time on. Many Anglo-Saxon sees were moved from small towns. Relations between the English church and its king changed somewhat as a re sult of the conquest. England. to be an ideal reforming kin g. but none of them followed the Benedictine rule in quite the same way as the famous reform monasteries of the continent. T he new abbots began to impose their own customs on their monks. had decided . and they sometim es went to extremes to do so. The circumstances of the Conquest gave the new bishops the clout to change this -or at least try. Wi lliam was desperate to fill all positions of authority with those he could trust . who was dete rmined to limit northern autonomy wherever possible. By the mid-1070s. had a terrible record of enforcing clerical celibacy. This w as the beginning of a flood of continental prelates into England. however. the influence of King William. as defined by a bunch of foreigners. by the standards of the mid-eleventh century. like every other La tin Christian country. to the point t hat he refused to let anyone communicate with the pope without royal permission. The reform ideology gave William and his cl erics a rationale for sweeping institutional changes. were judged at the regular shire and hundred courts. lik e other lawsuits. Ecclesiastical bodies had always been generally obligated to help defend the realm. where they had been for centuries. He did not move precipitously. He made it an instrument of political and cultural penetration. on the strengt h of forged documents and. This policy must have pushed out a lot of Englishmen from plu m positions in the higher ranks of the church. after the first serious English revolts against him. to make s weeping changes in the English church. On another serious matter. and no doubt made the bishops more power ful figures politically.When William came to England. Formerly. English monasteri es were not especially corrupt or lax. did William even depo se the discredited Stigand -. Not until 1070. William made this obligation a formal and burdensome one by treating all monasteries and episcopal sees as fiefs. as leader of the reform movement. He insisted that the archbishop of York in the north swear obedience to him. they were to be adjudicated by special ecclesiastical tribunals m ade up of clerics using church law. he had a mandate. required like all other fiefs to p rovide knight for the royal army. to larger towns that had grown up in the meantime. if he wanted it. William bound church and state (if we can use the latter term for convenience) closer to gether. William the Conqueror made the English church conform more closely to cont inental standards. His sons did not enjoy the same reputation. After 1070. this probably would have meant that Engli sh prelates would have been replaced with Normans and other continentals as incu mbents died and positions opened up. Eventually the case went to Rome.to replace him with Lanfranc. He must have se emed. The moves marked a step in the urbanization of England.

especially since the pope had his hands full with the emperor. were no such thi ng. That was where things stood when William R ufus was shot down in the New Forest in the year 1100. like tithes and offerings. The conflict was aggravated by personalities. once king. Anselm left England without th e king's permission in order to consult with the pope. Ans elm returned to England determined to enforce the church's rights. promised gifts and concessions to the church. Rufus made it known that Anselm shouldn't bother to come back. Rufus became very ill. faced opposition from the more zealous of his prelates. Following the death of Lan franc. which must have boosted his income substantially. Anselm went back into exile. in return. specifically meant to support the church and its sa craments. the bishops should agree to do homage for the temporalities. a monk of unsullied life. Since rulers everywhere had a big role in ecclesiastical elections. did not give a hang about church reform. The second kind of ecclesiastical property was called the temporalitie s. But W illiam Rufus. He was unwilling even to pretend an interest. Rufus left Canterbury vacant for some years. not only of lesser lay patrons. cared nothing for anyone who was not a knight. William. In 1097. things that only a cleric could legitimately own . First. This was Anselm. Like Lanfranc. it was simony.that the church must be independent. who was the quintessential warrior-king and a hero of the rising knightly class. Anselm refused to recognize any bishops Henry created in this matter. William Rufus. Anselm was dubious about this compromise. however. Both English protagonists were t ired enough of fighting that they cast around for a solution. t he church was just one of his possessions. If they dared to invest bisho ps with the symbols of their office. The king allowed the church of Canterbury to elect an archbishop. Rulers. and a protege of Lanfranc. For him. there were the spiritualities. to be exploited like any other. William was too much a designated hero of the church to be held to the new standards. the pa pacy was making a revolutionary demand. after four years of sparring. which convulsed Germany and Italy with war for h alf a century. Anselm felt honor-bound to resist Rufus's attacks on the independence of t he church. but . the rev enues of the bishopric or monastery went to the king. After a bit. The royal advisors put forward the idea that bishops held two kinds of rights and property. or require them to do homage. Anselm was a theologian and scholar of European-wide reputation. abbot of Bec. was one of the reasons that contemporaries interpreted the kin g's death to God's vengeance on a wicked man. It was an established rule that when there was no bishop or abbot. and in an effort to turn aside divine wrat h. in fact. unlike his fa ther. In 1093. and a convinced reformer. The reconciliation between king and archbishop quickly broke down. ordinary rights and lands given to bishops by the king's ancestors. The scandal about Anselm' s exile. Henry's camp offered to surrender the right of investiture with ring and s taff and all claim on the spiritualities. formerly seen as Vicars or deputies of Christ. He was to be Wi lliam Rufus' most aggravating adversary. dema nding homage from bishops and abbots was almost as bad. One of Henry I's initial moves upon becoming king was to call Anselm back. They were hardly better than any other laymen. but even of rulers. He was partic ularly insistent that the king could not invest bishops with their staffs and ri ngs. the staff and the ring. A major result was the investiture contr oversy with the German emperor.

rules that even kings had to follow. was the pope. the so-called Danegeld. That church was no longer just an expression or an idea. prof itable.they themselves enjoyed power and acceptance that any other contemporary Eu ropean ruler would have envied. Bishops were not just servants of the crown. The resources and tools were all there: The king owned vast estates directly. Anslem and Paschal succeeded in attaching the English church even more clo sely to the western European headquartered in Rome.and they di d -. limited as it was. thus opening England to all sorts of in timate cultural contacts. In 1107. The assessments and the personnel were in place to collect a direct tax on land.the pope Paschal II. But the ending of the investiture controversy established a principle very dear to the reformers. but a real wo rking organization. amplified the effects of the Norman Conquest. if properly managed. William I had made England part of a larger state. or any other continental country. The king's rights of justice were extensive and.at that point he was on the outs with every important Christian m onarch. His subjects. continued to get their candidates elevated to bishoprics. Both processe d made the twelfth century the time when England was less insular than ever befo re or since. All three kings were far more secure in England t han in their homeland of Normandy. Anselm returned home and everybody was happy. The agreement between the king and the pope over the appointment of bishop s was only a limited victory for the reformers. This meant that the Norman kings could exploit E ngland to support their position in France. English Government under Henry I Royal policy under William I. just as before. as elsewhere. The victory of the reform papacy. and rights over property. and to draw upon their talents for their own purposes. thus making the church even more than before a tie between England and the wider world beyond. Bishops continued to be the equ ivalent of cabinet ministers or of presidents of crown corporations. the ultimate refere e and legislator. jumped at the chance to settle with one of the great kings of the west -. Kings in England. William II. with its own law. Indeed. both English and Norman. The church was a body with its own rules. and Henry I was dominated by war . owed him military service. And government in England was far more develo ped than government in Normandy. If the kings provided the land with a reasonable level of security and justice -. the English settlement was used as a model for later agreements with the French king and the German emperor. as did t he prelates of the church. The constant continental wars of England's kings had a very definite effec t on English royal government. the remainder of which was on the continent. at the beck and call of kings and princes. courts. The agreement between Paschal II and Henry I was a recognition that the English church was a department of the universal or Roma n church. An effort towards efficient exploitation of England is particularly notice . The guarantor of those rules.

as it almost did in the time of Edward the Confessor. which was founded during his reign. Earls and barons were thus replaced with simple knights . and to stop othe r men from usurping his rights to add to their family estates. He was determined to preserve t he fullest extent of his freedom and his own hereditary rights. when his right to the throne c ould easily have been questioned. It was said by contemporary chroniclers that Henry raised men up from the dust to serve him. and was constantly reminding the sheriffs th at they must obey him. but it was easy for such me n to think that their sheriffdoms and the profits therefrom were just another fa mily possession. Two of them had a drastic effect on his income. To win the support of his subjects in 1100. Henry swore to discontinue charging his barons arbitrarily large s ums for for the right to inherit -. I think it likely that his reign of 35 years was something of a turning po int in English history. whose record shows that he was greedy and c ruel. If he lost control. or clerics from the royal household. and made the sheri ffs more important again. men who were not rich or influential enough to defy the royal will. It was a period when the established noble families were beginning to think of their baronies and honors as hereditary possessions. who had a semi-regal position. pure and simple. usually the man who held the most land in a given shire. Royal control of sheriffs had see-sawed over the centuries. sheriffs had been overshadowed by powerful ear ls. but he undoubtedly had less money to throw around than Rufus had. a gathering of his closest adv isors.able in the time of Henry I. However. the Conqueror gave the office of sheriff to g reat barons. if sheriffs became independent ma gnates. First.or to marry. Although I am no fan of Henry. Henry said he would not take the income of vacant churches which ha d provided William Rufus with perhaps one fifth of his income Second. it is p ossible that England might have fragmented politically. In the time of Canute and Edward the Confessor. Henry ruled in a period when the conquering Normans were entering the second and third generations of lordship. The service that Henry performed was to keep the m inor tyrants on a strict leash. and thus had to work harder to raise reve nue. Henry promised various measures of good govern ment. Henry's treatment of sheriffs is a good case in point. He preserved and even extended the royal power he had inherited from his N orman and Anglo-Saxon predecessors. he could control the country. The most famous method of doi ng this was the Exchequer. made up of estimated profits from jus . This was a good tactic for a time of conquest and occupation. the Ex chequer was a special session of Henry's council. his grassroots administrators. There was a se t amount owing from every shire each year. Henry kept as few of his promises as he could. even though continued to grant the title. to receive from the sheriffs the money they owed the king. then his power would be in danger.a tax called relief -. In origin. If the king could control his sheriffs. Had there been a weak king. Henry also supervised his sheriffs directly. and act as his officers. He replaced powe rful local sheriffs with lesser men. William the Conqueror had effectively destroy ed the great earls. Henry I realized this danger.

T he reality of the eleventh and twelfth centuries was more complex. even primitive method of keeping track of this information. Henr y's reign marks the beginning of a royal push to subject the shire and hundred c ourts to closer royal supervision. in pre-Conquest times. it was the best method of governmental accounting used anywhere in Europe. it demonstrates the growing use of written records in government i n twelfth century Europe. Finally. it is obvious that specialists were necessary to run such an office . ultimate appeal to the king. as I have sketched it in the past. Second. and to subordinate private courts to royal ju stice. The Exchequer was a simple.tice and royal estates. including matters like rape. But his own innovations presaged the day when the king's household and the central government would no longer be identic al. The sheriffs would have to pay the amount (called the fa rm of the shire) or produce receipts for expenditures accounting for the differe nce." Pleas of the crown were. ambush. The Exchequer always met at London. The English court system. It was the beginn ing of a trend. and did not follow the king around. that o f 1130. The pipe rolls were so called because the finan cial parchments at the end of the year were sewed together and then rolled up in to a great cylinder. but also purely financial matters. the king was the offended party. There were ma ny private courts: franchises granted to important earls or church corporations. Henry worked very hard at pulling more business into his courts. The written record most applicable to Henry's primitiv e exchequer were the pipe rolls. shire courts. Public courts had become private possessions. treason. First. so also he worked at extending the king's role in the field of justice. Henry increased the pleas of the crown to incl ude thirty-seven different offenses. To make the most profit out of this expansion of royal justice. and also a technique for keeping the sheriffs on their toes. but it is clear that there were others before and after it. As Henry tried and succeeded in taming his sheriffs. In such cases. It was a systematic way to keep track of the royal finances and the perf ormance of the king's most important local agents. In Henry's time he was the state. We only have one pipe roll from the time of Henry I. This is a period when better-educated clerics ("clerks") were available to st aff the royal government. Such "royal clerks" often made careers in government. such offenses as housebreaking. honour courts. Some exam ples: Henry greatly expanded the number of cases that could be considered "pleas of the crown. sounds very s imple and rational: Hundred courts. the Exchequer was the first department of the central government to settle down in one location as a permanent body. and in making them tr uly accountable. Third. manor courts. Henry comm issioned traveling royal justices to go out to shire courts to hear the pleas of . and breach of the king's speci al peace. and r obbery. and all fines from tho se found guilty went to the king. like not paying Danegeld or concealin g the discovery of buried treasure. The significance of the exchequer lies in several things. which belonged to the crown. neglect of military duty. later Westminster.

and judgement . Because of greater prosperity. It was not unknown for bribery to influence the outcome. on his ability to inspire fear in those who might cross him.and perhaps most of all. earl of Gloucest er. and to buy and sell urban propertie s. This was the traditi onal method of selling privileges. William drowned in the Channel when his shi p went down in 1120. the existence of a large cash economy. if a bit ahead of the pack. They were in a position to pay for that freedom. Lords everywhere were selling privileges a nd justice to anyone who would buy.a realm thought of as a family possession and not as a comm unity of citizens -. made impossible the s uccession of an illegitimate son.the richer townsfolk who held land and paid taxes -their right to make wills. as the lord of most English boroughs. when things went to hell in a handbasket. intelligence. Civil war broke out. Henry made all his barons swear to accept as their queen his daughter Matild a. Many people wished to buy privileges. When Henry of England died in 1135. He could charge for access to the curia regis. he was missed by many when he was gone. the court held in the king's pres ence. But I would not li ke to give the impression that Henry was unique. Peasants. to marry freely. towns. I do not think this is an unfair portrait. For all of his hangings. His motivation was hardly altruistic -. he o nly had one legitimate son. Henry was in a position to m ake a killing in the market.the crown. and castrations of criminals. now stronger than before. Indeed. Church law. over a proper ty dispute) was final. Ironically. Despite producing a vast number of bastards. etc. mutilations. William. This was very profitable for a simple reason. and this was yet another source of profits. sold charters of privileges t hat guaranteed burgesses -. or for access to his most important justices. the widow of the German emperor Henry V (and thus known as "the Empress").depended on his ability to pass it on to a suitable and und oubted heir. He had much to sell. Henry's single failure. and willing buyers. strong central governments were now easier to erect tha n at any time since the fall of Rome. church communities were willing to pay for peace and order and freedom from arbitrary harassment if they thought their prince could guarantee those things. I have portrayed the government of Henry I as one in which just about anyt hing was for sale. and they found an alternative candidate . the growing number of well-educated clerics t rained in law and logic. The Civil War of Stephen and Matilda If Henry I's reign saw the building of bureaucracy and energetic royal con trol over the kingdom. the settlement came undone. townsmen. too. Henry. . To pursue their occupations.yet his greed and his harshness co ntributed to welding England together more securely as a single political commun ity. which almost undermined everything he built. Nor were the direct fines the only method of making money off of justice. Too many b arons could not accept a woman as ruler. he was typical of 12thcentury princes. such as the respected Robert. town speople needed greater freedom from exactions and labor services than the averag e peasant. A last way that Henry made money should be mentioned. was beyond his control. The future of Henry's realm -. his power like that of previous kings was a personal one that depended on his own vigor.. because any decision reached there (for example. but I w ill mention only one set of customers.

So there was a scramble for the thr one. well known and well liked by the Norman and English aristocracy. He was the son of one of the Conqueror's daughters. or potential party. Henry was able to obtain oaths of recognition both in England and Normandy . Soon after this. a lord of some consequence. and the warrio r aristocracy that owned almost everything saw no role for women on the battlefi eld. and Matilda's own husband Geoffrey of Anjou. also known as Maud. Matilda's ille gitimate half-brother Robert. would succeed to his lands and powers. Stephen crossed to Normandy and rounded off his co up d'etat by gaining the support of the Norman aristocracy. who was well placed to put capture Normandy. So there was a search for another candidate. as Matilda (former ly married to the German emperor Henry V) still called herself. But the one who scrambled was not Count Thibaut -. once he declared for his half sis ter. Stephen got himself crowned by the archbishop of Canterbury. Anjou was the traditional enemy of Normandy. most of the time. Bishop Henry also swayed the church in his brother's direction. either from prin ciple. As the Henry II And His Sons . but not honest support for his proposal. Matilda's party. king of Scots. count of Blois. he was in England when Henry died. who was highly capable and hig hly respected. How then could Matilda be an effective king and duke? Then there was the matter of her husband -. There were those who had reason to support the empress. or Theobald. served as the center of a powerful alliance in the west of England. So at the end of December. His brother Henry was b ishop of Winchester. then they would get Geoffrey as thei r king. The only problem was that he d idn't seem very interested. The Angevins (people from Anjou) attacked Normandy and the Scots northern England. earl of Gloucester. who.Henry lost his only legitimate son in 1120. Unlike Matilda. he tried to gain the acknowledgment of his major vassals that his daughter. and thus in a position to help Stephen seize the royal trea sury. but they plundered indiscriminately and undermined Matilda's cause. Matilda. King Henry I died when Matilda was in Anjou and not in a position to secure an immediate coronation. Stephen aggravated his problems by being.it was his younger broth er. T here was always war between the two countries. a man who migh t well have been king in another century. War was a man's game. It did not take them long to settle on Matilda's cousin Thibaut. was not negligible . her second husband who was Geoffrey. who by tradition had the right to consecrate En glish kings. Stephen's most dangerous opponent was Robert of Gloucester. Stephen.or rather. In December 1135. count of Anjou. which was still kept in that city. So as his reign drew to a clo se. or self-interest: David. too nice to co ntrol his subordinates. It appeared to the Normans that i f they acknowledged Matilda as their queen. And that was intolerable. family attachment.

Henry. both agriculture and commerce increased dr amatically. More people could buy and more could live by selling. England at this time was very much affected by important pan-European deve lopments. At the same time. Western Europe as a whole expanded.and Henry was both -. th ey became the aggressors. During the the century and a half following the Norman invasion of England (1066 to 1216) the rulers of England had extensive continental holdings. inc reased. Spanish Christians were simult aneously conquering the Muslim-ruled part of their own country. trade of all sorts. and forests were cleared. one when a talented and determined ruler -. northern and western Europe had alwa ys before been economically backward. Indeed. it was in a subordinate position to countries more centrally lo cated in the "Old World. Specialists in trade and industry gathered together in ol d towns or in brand new ones.for inst ance. and expedition s to the Middle East continued until nearly 1400. Its agriculture was less productive than that of the older countries of the Middle East and the Mediterranean. Let's begin this lecture by sketching some of the main features of the 12t h century as they affected England. The first Crusade was launched in 1095. grands on of Henry I through his daughter Matilda ("the Empress")." Which was the chicken and which was the egg is hard to say: did unproductive agriculture doom northern Europe to a stagnant commer cial economy. the mid-twelfth century was a a dynamic and interesting period. This is a great pe riod for urban growth. At th e same time. and recreated an urban style of living that had ha rdly existed in most of western Europe since the sixth century. As a result. and as fa r as trade went. There was an increase in population. rebuilding royal authority in England after a period of civil war. or was the lack of markets responsible for stagnant agriculture? In the 11th and 12th centuries. on the contrary. in staples as well as luxuries.especially better plows -made practical better yields out of the same lands. the development of new tools -. wastelands that h ad seldom or ever been cultivated were brought under the plow. Eleanor and their Empire We begin the second half of this course with the reign of Henry II. . Economic factors: Compared to other parts of the world. which was Henry's father's badge or symbol. and work for them to do. both materially and culturally: this is sometimes called the Twelfth Centu ry Renaissance.could make a big mark. son of Count Geoffre y of Anjou. and the name Plantagenet came from the broom plan t. Henry is the first of the "Angevin" or "Plantagenet" dynasty: Angevin is derived from Anjou. No longer were the Latin Christian countries victimized by pagan or Muslim neighbors. Henry II came to power (in 1154) facing a number of challenges -. During the same period European culture as a whole was becoming more vigor ous. In agriculture. And the conquest and Christianization of the pagans of the Baltic began in the twelfth century.

This territory. Henry through luck and the hard work of his parents. The availab ility of resources made experiments possible. very much as Beowulf had been. became much more common. It was not a simple matt er of renewed contact with more developed Greek and Arabic cultures. which were tales of a dventure and love usually set in a fictional or fictionalized land where wonders were common. The new. like the Song of R oland. Henry II was king of England. Henry II's intimate political involvement in French affairs is rather stag gering to the modern mind. His paternal inheritance. the only Englishma n to become pope was elected in the time of Henry II.The new prosperity had definite cultural effects. helped the process along . Soon enough. courtesy. and enjoyed an ill defined overlords hip over Wales and northern Britain. Henry II and and his queen. England participated in it fully. d evelop its own literary tradition. As ruler of England. smaller. Whatever the reasons. Let's start with the most familiar part of the so-called empire. and practical problems. the revival of logic as a method of dealing with intellectual. This is also the era when the knightly class adopted the tournament as the ir central ritual of prowess. Thus the troubadour poetry and the romances. For instance. An international intellectual class (made u p well-educated clerics) came into existence. his maternal inheritance. as international as it had been in late Roman times. relig ious. is often called the Angevin Empire by modern historians (no one called it that in the 12th century) .the most influential stories of Arthur and his Round Table were inv ented in this period to please the knightly class -. The romance tradition early on became attached to the legend of Ki ng Arthur -. During his lifetime. Western European rulers in genera l did not have the power to be despotic. amounted to a claim to nearly half of t he kingdom of France. with England added in.though many worldly clerics both wrote and appreciated them. They were king and queen of England -. They were living manifestations of intense contact between England and the continent. In any case. Henry was able to incr ease the effectiveness of that vague overlordship. up till now a pretty rough bunch. although still restricted to a smal l minority. The first chivalric epics. Our universities owe their origins to this period. on the aristocratic and clerical level.but they were both born and raised on t he continent. which thinks of England and France as nation-states o f quite distinct character. spent most of their liv es there. because Matilda live d on for years after Henry became king. The same time saw the knightly aristocracy of western Europe. had succeeded to the position held by his mother's fat her. Henry I. the mater nal inheritance.or perhaps because of it. held important ancestral properties there. This is not quite an accurate designation. Western Europe's culture in the twelfth century was. and presented a picture of the knight as a tender lover as well as a t ough fighter. Such learning. Nor was culture restricted to the Latin-literate clergy. and his wife's property. taken together. he was p . were entirely devoted to war. Eleanor of Aquitaine. Poems were devoted to both adventure and love. a more courtly element crept in. All of this progress and change had taken place despite a general politica l fragmentation -. however. The eleventh and twelfth centuries saw a renaissance in Latin and classica l learning. but more cohesive communities that had grown up in the ruins of the empire of Charlemagne provide d an environment where variety and experimentation could flourish without a lot of unwelcome attention from despotic emperors. and an international networks of s chools was created. and what we think of as chivalry.

otentially very powerful. the ninth Duke William of Aquitaine. This was an entirely different kettle of fish from Anjou or the Anglo-Norman realm. In m any parts of it. on no very strong evidence. which he could only exploit through constant hard riding from one corner of h is empire to another and. He nry's paternal ancestors had been a crafty. love to northern France and England. was one of the very first troubadours. he had never exercised the kind of power over his diverse lordships that Henry I or Geoffrey of Anjou had in th eir lands. Geoffrey. Normandy had become one of the most firmly governed of the French principalities. Nor mandy before 1100 had been a bellicose place. In part it may have been a difference of style. Thus the Aquitainian court was one of the first places that the new chivalric culture of the twelfth century appeared. Henry II inherited the county of Anjou and the attached areas of Maine (often in the past disputed with Normandy) and Touraine. The Angevin lands were no doubt prosperous in this period. Eleanor came from a family that was not only rich and powerful. but a difficult land to control. The sole unifying factor holding the duchy together was the person of the ruler. Eleanor was the only child of William X of Aquitaine. writing erotic and courtly poetry in the dialect of southern France. The most important of Henry's deputies was his own wife Eleanor. such as Brittany. They were located on the Loire river. William had decided that Eleanor's principality could not survive unless she was married to a lord of sufficient prestige and power. Bernard in particular disapproved of Eleanor's wor . wherever she went. Here ag ain. a good source of tough warriors fo r its duke. The third part of Henry's empire was his wife's great principality. but a personal ascendancy. Eleanor's territory was in fact a number of distinct counties and lordships. From his father. Henry II had great prospects if he could get his act together. Henry II was also duke of Normandy through his mother. the famous promoter of the strict Cistercian order. a miserable place to be when Vikings used it as a raiding highway. who held various rights in various places. But I think we can take it for granted that Eleanor was a patron of good living. perhaps. Louis an d Eleanor did not get along very well. Louis also had a paramount legal position that w ould help him defend the integrity of Aquitaine from other greedy types. She playe d a key role in English politics for nearly half a century. His choice was Louis VII of France. the aid of a few trusted deputies. who firmly nailed do wn everything they were able to grab. There was no institutional basis f or this predominance. the du chy of Aquitaine (also known in part as Gascony). This Angevin principality was. but personal factors and chance sabotaged it. Thus Eleanor's part of Henry's empire demanded special attention from its ruler. Her grandfather. Henry had no more than a bundle of diverse rights and propertie s. ruthless bunch. it was culturally very active. like the Norman one. a strongly governed one. it was prosper ous. but fashio nable as well. Eleanor herself is often credited with a central role in spreading the ideals of courtly. first Abbot Suger and then Bernard of Clairvaux. Henry I had changed that. There were no unifying in stitutions that covered the entire principality. that is refine d. southern Fr ench style. The Angevin Empire was not an institution. so it was unstable. It was a good plan. It was big. if he could enforce the kind of obedience that his gra ndfather had enjoyed. The court of Paris was very pious and took much of its tone from prominen t monks. As king a nd ultimate overlord of France. but it was not strongly governed. Finally this maternal inheritance included the traditional predominance of Normandy over som e of the neighboring areas. Despite the lofty title of duke that her father had enjoyed. but in the more peaceful twelfth century it must have been quite wealthy. too.

Henry's policy in France. It is significant that as soon as the annulment came through. he had a fighting c hance. Th ey got a divorce in the only way it was possible in the twelfth century -. From the vassal's point of view. a new uke of e that d that ope. of the French k ing. her free and easy personal style gave rise to a scandals -. Eleanor had only daught ers. it was in his interest to encourage them to observe this feudal code. wanted when he was thirty or so to be the absolute boss. Th ere was a conflict of interest here. their military subordinates. surprisingly enough. Also. and by 1152. As the years went on.the Aquitain e was hers. an their combined properties would make their court the premier court of Eur In the early years. many times over. Eleanor also provided Henry with not one but four male heirs. Henry got tired of Eleanor. Many of the troubles that afflicted Henry in the second half of his reign came from the alienation between him and Eleanor. The perennial problem of kings and princes in the middle ages was to maint ain control over their vassals. But in the 1150s and the early 1160s. Henry. Since Henry was the lord of innumerable vassals. usually called feudal law. both Louis and Eleanor were fed up with each other. the problem was t o gain recognition from the prince that the fiefs he. Eleanor was a key fig ure in Henry's regime. Henry found it difficult to deal with his sons once they gre w up. and Eleanor was always there to encourage them to revolt.Henry entrusted the English regency to her more than once when he had to be on the co ntinent. The marriage probably wou ld have survived. He felt it incumbent upon him to be a good vassal. on whose loyalty th eir effective power depended. Without the personal loyalty of the Aquitanian aristocrac y. I imagin she felt that she could teach this promising young man a thing or two. not his. if a male heir had been born. which she took part in along with Louis. Henry had no chance in that part of his empire. Henry II. the new partnership worked well. though. Louis of France. not to be taken from his family for any trivial reasons. who was d Normandy and count of Anjou and about to win the English throne. Thus it was necessary for him to se t a good example to them. who had been glad to have a well-endowed and politically experienced wife when he was e ighteen. who w as his overlord in Normandy. she was an active partner -. held. Eleanor made alliance with the second most powerful man in France. So Henry took lovers and shut Eleanor out of his confidence.notably the rumor that she had committed adultery with her uncle in the course of the Se cond Crusade. So Henry was the first E . feudal custom established that there were certain circumstan ces in which a vassal was entitled to revolt against his lord -. whic h specified their respective rights and duties. His willfulnes s towards others is well attested. Anjou and elsewhere in his continental possessions. however. however. they suddenly discovered that they were too closely related for their marriage to be valid. Henry imprisoned Eleanor off and on. the vassal. hinged on maintaining good relations with Eleanor's first husband. For instance. She found ways to ma ke trouble for him.after fifteen years.but any other t ype of betrayal allowed the lord to confiscate the vassal's fief. but he could never afford to get rid of her -. and got the pope to annul it. Henry was the vassal. with her. In these years.ldly ways. were her editary possessions. and tried to shut her out of politics. But Eleanor was not just a figurehead. there was no rift between Henry and Eleanor. To resolve it lords and vassals were evolvi ng during the twelfth century a code of conduct. and they could concentrate on turning their theoretical powers into a r eality.

Henr y backed off. and Quebec. most of Canada. was able to use the revenues he enjoyed as king of England to finance an adventurous policy in France. It means the indigenous system of principles. one law. viewed his efforts and career. How did Henry manage this? Last we looked. so that an attack on the city would be an attack on him. but because of the specific political situation that he fac ed when he became king in 1154. procedures and precedents that evolved in England and which is t he basis for the legal systems of Britain. and other En glish-speaking countries. and likely Henry himself. following a long period of chaotic poli . Henry became a great legal innovator not because he had any great ambition s in that direction. like the earlier Norman kings. He was able to act the part of the greatest prince in Europe. we have to look at how he restored royal power in England. Much of Henry's later life was blighted by his struggles with his own wife and sons. But the first decade or so of his reign were a great success. Louis. and gauge his considerable succes s. for support. more or less .and in this he was largely successful. Th e phrase common law has a second meaning as well. Eleanor's family had a long-standing claim to the area. Henry's legal initiatives lie at the basis of the common law system. This situation can be summarized under three points. Point one: By the twelfth century.nglish king in a long time to swear fealty for Normandy and his other French ter ritories. of a law system. To understand Henry's position. but entere d Toulouse anyway. This was possible because Henry. for all English people. Henry was in a position to seize the county of Toulouse in the far south of France. England was in chaos and roya l authority had been sorely diminished by the rivalries of Empress Matilda and K ing Stephen. This is probably how contemporaries. Yet Henry's historical reputation in England derives mainly from another a spect of his activity. or should be. the USA. Count Raymond of Toulouse appealed to his over lord. which involved him in wars he could never finally win. What is the common law? The older meaning of the word is the simpler. since from his time royal justice had a monopoly over almost all serious crimes. in much of conti nental Europe. in a form modified in medieval and modern times. Common law is distinct from Roman or civil law which s urvives today. His o wn goal was to enforce the ideal of the common law in its first sense -. in Louisiana. In 1159. Louis had no army big enough to beat Henry. But the various solutions he and his advisors c reated for the problems of the 12th century were good enough to allow for the de velopment of the common law in the second sense. Henry is the father of the common law of England. It m eans that there is. Law and Administration under Henry II In our last lecture we discussed Henry II in his role as a French prince t rying to build and maintain a great empire out of the various territories that h is parents and his wife had given him. There was a time when Henry passed up a rich conquest rather than be seen as defying his lord the king illegitimately. royal law.

For Henry II. A tradition of strong government and effective if harsh royal justice had been thrown into doubt by nineteen year s of civil war. things had settled down a bit: strongpoints had been built. Henry was happy to have the money if they took that option. So i . just as in Henry I's time. to the state it was in the days of King Henry I. Thus in England there was a great desire for justice. or at least suspected. for an alternative to brute force as a way of settli ng disputes and restraining violence. He held title to vast lands. Henry also established that earl was a titular honor. One of the mainstays of Norman royal power had been the obligation of tena nts-in-chief (direct tenants of the king) to fight as knights in the king's army . p olitical units had been created. This was called "knigh t service. Henry knew. Two examples: The destruction of "adulterine castles". Could he actually enforce his peace and justice in them. Thus Henry was much occupied. They wanted a king to give stability to the country. Their existence weakened royal authority i n the English countryside. all his life.each ruler sought to create a body of officials who could carry out his will w ithout resort to force. would. and Henry very determinedly got rid of them. The "good old customs of King Henry I" was the phrase that justified Henry's regime. and make his rule a rea lity. or would effective power be acquired by his vassals on the spot? Point two concerns England specifically. the ki ng's personal power. because no ruler was a ruler unless he could gain the consent of his s ubjects to accept his judgements in disputed manners. accompanied by a certain number of their own tenants. This administrative competition centered on the right of justice. Point three is Henry's own desire to restore the royal prerogative. who had fallen under the domination of local e arls. In 1166. Lesser members of the political community hoped that a strong king would give f airer justice than the magnates. It wa s a phrase with a great deal of appeal to his English subjects. in defining and defending roya l rights. A third instance deserves more commentary: military obligation. unsupervised. Henry faced this challenge in an acute form. This was in part a fiscal measure. Magnates who se great-grandfathers had been glad to fight were now just as happy to stay home and pay "scutage" or shield-money instead of performing their knight service. Any me dieval king had to be very concerned with the enforcement of his subjects to fig ht (under certain defined circumstances). redefining things to his advantage when he coul d. These were castles built without royal license in the time of Stephen. t he appeal to the order of his grandfather's time was also a claim to his rightfu l inheritance. His claim to the throne had been accepted by the greater lords l argely because they feared to lose what they had gained if unrestrained competit ion between them continued. that many of his great lords had enfeof fed more knights than the number they had formerly owed to his grandfather. Henry held an inquest or investigation into the knight service owed by the military and cle rical aristocracy to the king." This obligation had become imprecise over the years.tical competition. not an office and not a claim to terr itorial jurisdiction. Rulers not only waged war on each other. were recognized as royal officials. Henry energetically asserted what he saw as his rights in this area. but also competed administratively . He made sure that sheriffs. ruling families had become established dynastie s.

the plaintiff got the land. went hand in hand . and everyone ha d reason to worry about holding on to what they had.) Though Henry was interested in taxing fiefs and using them to raise troops . which commanded the sheriff or royal jus tices to call together a jury of local men. It was Henry's intention to make them serve with the higher number of knights. all the free people . great and small. so that they could discuss and approve changes in taxation. On the other hand." fiefs that could support a knight. justice. Many of his most sweeping change s were made in council with his vassals. Henry required every free man. . In other words. whether he was a knight or a vassal or not. If the jury said he had. This shows that even as pushy a king as Henry II could not go too far beyond the consensus of the upper class as to what was rea sonable. The inquest of 1166 is just one example of how Henry shook things up. This issue of security of property was much on people's minds beca use during the civil war lots of land had changed hand by force. He was only able to use the result of his inquest to collect scutage at the higher rate once. a bbots. Henry thought of himself as the king of all the people. or pay scutage for them. He also want ed to establish how many "knight's fees. Henry had to make his innovations in consultation with bishops. Let us look at a specifically legal innovation that illustrates how royal self-interest and the interest of landowners. Even the restoration of tr aditional legal norms wouldn't solve this worry. The writ of novel disseisin. How did an 18-year-old attain this position a fter an era of civil war? An important reason that Henry quickly became an effective king was that he offered the English upper class a stability that most wanted. At a later date. If a man's ancestor had held the land on his day of death. because it called for trial by battle to settle questions of landownership. The writ of mort d'ancestor had a jury a man's claim to a hereditary tenur e. with no questions. but not the sum total of it. Henry and his officers devised a number of standard writs.n the inquest he asked each tenant-in-chief how many knights he had owed Henry I and how many he had enfeoffed since then. they were all his to exploit. (Knight's fees after his time became a standard assessment unit for taxation. Henry almost always got what he wanted out of such coun cils. or other government policies. or standard leg al procedures that provided free tenants a certain security. We should ask why. In fact. I've already started sketching a picture of Henry a s a powerful and energetic king. to h ave certain weapons to use in the king's service. who under oath would declare if inde ed the plaintiff had been recently dispossessed. Someone who had been recently dispossessed (d isseized) by force could buy this writ. It also shows that he could go too far. he was not content to exploit only the military aristocracy. One of the issues that exercised the rich was legal protection for their t itle to land. he got the land back. but then baronial and episco pal pressure made him back off. the re were in England so that aristocratic property could be taxed systematically. and his most important tenants-in-chief. Feudal service and the obligat ions of vassalage was an important part of royal power. and the plaintiff was his closest heir. replacing some of the obligation formerly assessed on hides and hundreds.

But deeply religious men were equally suspici ous of the ordeal. They were not new -similar panels had settled disputes in the past. the accuser was punished. when Henry became king. But Henry II made extens ive use of them in his reforms of the criminal justice system.the evolution of the jury into a body that decided guilt or innocence took another century or so. or harboring cr iminals. if any. (In the aftermath of civil war there were even more goon s. It depended on the sw orn accusations of individuals to bring criminals before the courts. after a large royal council on the issue of crime . They we re also a great boost to royal power. that is. and this co uld be risky for the accuser. Ten years later juries were given the power. The Grand assize and the various possessory writs were a popular innovatio n because they were simple. especially among rulers and their judges. Hu man judgement would be more successful in bringing the bad guys to book. The vulnerability of oath-h elping to manipulation is obvious. Also. Henry II did not replace the traditional methods. The sheriff was to arrest these peo ple and they were to be tried before special touring royal justices. or subjected him or her to some other test. Th is more complicated question of legal right as opposed to simple possession was settled by a long complicated procedure called the Grand Assize. thugs and bandits around than usual. ordeal and oath-helping. Indeed. These peopl e were still tried by ordeal. and t hat human justice was and should be sufficient for human problems. clear-cut ways of settling upper-class disputes over land. But even the Grand Assize was an improvement over trial by battle. Oath-helping involved the accused finding a certain number of respec table supporters to swear to his or her trustworthiness. It forged a direct link be tween the king and the whole knightly class. since 1154. His reign introduced the grand jury. s till used in the United States to indict defendants. w ere falling into disfavor. at the expense of earls and barons. and it produced a permanent record of who owned the land. the traditional methods of finding guilt. was high. or perhaps the obligation. This is the very beginning of the power of the jury to judge -. The main use of the jury was to provide the royal government with information on which judgements could be made . confi dence in human judgement. It made the king the ultimate protector of all free men against their feudal lords. There was a feeling in the early part of Henry II's reign that crime was g etting out of control. not usually bodies with the power to make judgements. The man who had sei zed the land might say that he had taken it because he had legal right to it. which also invo lved a jury. They began to feel that the appeal to God was unworthy. If the accused was found innocent. and those found guilty were hung or mutilated as t he law required. and thus expanded the jurisdic tion of royal courts at the expense of feudal courts. The ordeal appealed to God's judgement by throwing th e accused into cold water to see if he floated. to determine that they should be tried. to identify men of bad reputation who passed the ordeal to leave the country anywa y. possession of which made them the upper class in the first place. The intellectual curren ts of the 12th centuries cast doubt on both methods. In 1166. juries from every hundred and village were summoned to the county court to dec lare the names of those reputed to be guilty of murder. larceny. . Juries were a key device in Henry II's legal system.) Part of the problem was the cumbersome legal system. but he did try to supple ment them to make justice more effective.Of course these writs did not solve all land problems.

like the use of juries or inquests by earlier kings like William the Conqueror or Charlemagne. archbishop of Canterbury. The others we re Henry's wife Eleanor and his sons. however. with no backchat.Anglo-American juries contrast with the powerful judges of the Roman law tradition. were not expressions of popular political power -. Because of the foundations he laid. Twelfth century juries. the people were supposed to help impl ement that will. royal power continued to increase in t he reigns of his sons Richard and John. In many cases the people may have been happy to cooperat e.the one organization that could match. Henry establishment of a permanent court a t Westminster. we will talk about the setbacks that Henry suffered in th e latter part of his life. Henry spent his reign systematically building up royal power in England. Usually . but others probably resented what was an onerous intrusion into the lives of local communities. Becket and Other Foes In this lecture. But in the short term. that was no part of the king's plan. The conflict between Henry and Thomas Becket could be seen as a conflict o f principle. The f irst of these enemies was Thomas Becket. or of ou r legal system with its presumption of innocence and commitment to due process. Richard. was using the ne w tools of literacy and sophisticated legal doctrine.or at least not simply that. Thereafter. This court became in time the court of common pleas. Rather those policies were the tools of what can be called Angevin autocracy. Let's look at the matter of principle first. That juries and parliaments might become expr essions of the popular will. the jury is usually. so that plaintiffs did not necessarily have to follow the king ar ound. as perhaps the most successful of twelfth-century princes. Henry. save his battle with the churc h -. were personal ones -. was an e xpression of royal power at the grassroots level. or overmatch Henry in legal and inst itutional resources. however popular or unpopular they may have been at th e time. who make all the decisions themselves. ho wever. Henry's innovations.Nowadays. and the possibilities of an increasingly mon etary economy to make himself one of the strongest kings England ever had. that of magnifying the royal po wer. Perhaps powerful men who like Henry are bent on innovation must create pow erful opposition. Local people were being compelled to co-operate with royal justices to en force the king's peace.) On the level of the realm as a whole. Henry's consultative assemblies of b arons and great churchmen played a similar role. . His most dangerous enemies. both itinerant ones and permanent ones at Westminster. however. was a big part of m aking royal justice available to all. The use of juries in Henry II's time. He nry. Eventually it would provoke a reaction.and Henry must bear a great d eal of responsibility for turning friends and family into implacable foes. and quite rightly. the learned men produced b y the schools and by his own court. people were called together to hear the proclamation of the royal wil l by the king or his officers. were not intentionally the foundation of our democratic system. I should mention briefly that the use of specifically appointed royal just ices. Henry did indeed create some opposition of this sort. Henry won all his battles. bodies that might oppose the king. Geoffrey and John. Occasional resistance to or criticism of royal policy was possible. was very popular. but it became a major crisis because of the personalities of the tw o major antagonists. seen as an adjunct of de mocracy -. (If also perhaps an acknowle dgment of how much power remained at the grassroots level.

like many royal servants enj oyed the privileges and the revenues of a church office without actually perform ing the duties -. Previous generations of reformers had often relied on royal support. the purification of the church. Thomas Becket has bee n recognized for centuries as a martyr. Clerics were not s upposed to wield the sword. After all he was not a priest or a monk. Henry trusted his judgement and loyalty. Becket's father was a London merchant who later fell on hard times.) So when Archbishop Theobald died in 1162. The justification for this program was of course the usual one for any ecclesiastic al reform. in other words CEO of the diocese. the one that attacked Toulouse unsuccessfully. no one was surprised. Henry II had come to the throne as the restorer of Henry I's good governme nt. at the time. What was surprising was the way Thomas Becket acted. was a worldly man and recognized as such. In England they had quite a bit of success during Henry I's and Stephen's reign in gaining more autonomy for the English clergy a greater role for the pope in refereeing ecclesiastical disput es in England. and while acting as liaison between Theobald and Henry when t he new king came to England in 1154. At one point he gave command of a royal army to Becket. (This mili tary role did raise a few eyebrows in ecclesiastical circles. Becket. Henry dec . lu ck. For about a century. No would have imagined him even as a principled defender of ecclesiastical liberties. but it was new. pure and simple. Thus.this was entrusted to low-paid deputies. although a member of the clergy and holding churc h office. and so they sought to reduce this influence. would probably have got most of what he wanted from the English c hurch if it had not been for Becket. and soon enough he had made Becket chancellor of England. Becket became a wealthy man when Henry had him appointed archdeacon of Can terbury. and the favor of powerful patrons had made it to the big time. namely. and to make themselves. the undisputed overlords of the church and its property. It was an importan t office. some trouble was inevitable. Luck a nd a family friend got him a job as a clerk in the household of Archbishop Theob ald of Canterbury. The habit of working with and for the kin g was very old. Most English bishops were willing to go to some lengths to accom modate Henry as he went about restoring royal influence over the church. He was well known for his lo ve of display and his frank enjoyment of wealth. The young king took a liking to the older m an. H enry. but t welfth century reformers felt that royal control of the church led to corruptio n. when it came to the church. however. For mos t of his life he was a careerist. If he showed no aptitude for a spiritual life. a series of reforming popes had been fighting to make the clergy independent of all laymen and women. It takes an effort to realize that he wa s. if not of the first rank. The early Thomas Becket. Yet no one was shocked: he was a common enough type .These efforts brought him up against the other great organization with English i nterest. who did the unpleasan t jobs. a professional administrators and a courtier who had got his training in the c hurch and was employed by it. and for being one of the king's favorite drinking buddies. Reforming ideology was very attractive to m ost ranking churchmen. This wa s a normal way of behaving. the church. this implied a rolling back of the privileges of the biggest interest group in the kingdom. as the head of the clergy. the English bishop least likely to become a saint. a man who through ability.

the exile of the chief bishop of the kingdom was a great inconvenience to everybody concerned. He was fighting the German emperor and the emperor's anti pope. and could claim the "privilege of clergy" -. Those who think of him as a saint believe he underwent a conversion from his worldly life. royal officials treated him like a traitor and obstru cted his efforts to reclaim his episcopal property. Two other things about Becket made the bishops uneasy. The pope. sin ce the kiss of peace was an important sign of reconciliation. That such peop le could get away with murder offended lay opinion. He earned a reputation as a thoughtless ho thead. Murders and rapists were not hung. now deadly enemies. First.quite literally. Becket finally fled to the continent. clerics accused of crimes. It soon became evident that no real reconciliation had taken place.ided that his chancellor should succeed to the highest position in the English c hurch. The basic qualification was the ability to read simple Latin.the privilege of being tried by a church cou rt. he had been an ally of the kings in bullying the churches fo r war taxes. The p ope had other worries. but a courtier bein g made archbishop was another matter entirely. and Becket was consecrated. Finally an issue came up that brought the two old friends into direct conf lict. Most of the bishops were willing to make some accommodation. A worldly archdeacon was one thing. Alexander III. were convinced to kiss and make up -. did little to help. and he needed Henry's support and recognition. Becket was equally unwilling to let bygones be bygones. stood fo r absolute clerical independence in this matter. no less worldly if less prominent than the early Thomas Becket. When B ecket returned to England. . This was the matter of criminal clerics. The unresolved crisis stretched nerves to the breaking point. where he lived f or years in exile. but alienated the other bishops by first convincing them to follow his lead. Louis VI I. The Engl ish bishops were against him. Second. decided to destroy him. and pursued his feud against some of the other bisho ps. who felt betrayed by Becket." In the twelfth century. under the discreet protection of the king of France. But his tactics were poorly cho sen. Henry proposed to eliminate or modify this privilege of clergy so that ser ious criminals could not get off with simple penances. The less sympathe tic see him as a proud man who had always been a subordinate but now had the opp ortunity to be his own boss. the two former friends . But very soon thereafter. Henry got his way. and harassed h im in every possible way. and in 1170. Henry. then capitulating to the king. t he new archbishop began to obstruct the royal will. He not only earned Henry's lasting enmity. to everyone's surprise. If Becket was isolated. He had gone to the schools of Paris but never finished any course. even violent ones. especially since a large number of men living ordinary lives. The punishments imposed on t hose found guilty in these church courts were notably milder than those imposed by lay courts. They expected him to be the king's tool. Becket was almost isolated. pure and simple. Many lay people objected to this double standard. had been ordained into some minor clerical rank. but merely expelled from the c lergy and required to do penance. then going back to a stubborn opposition. Despite Louis's self-interested support. he had no gr eat amount of education. but Thomas. This was shocking. were supposed to be tried before ecclesiastical courts. "criminous clerks.

Henry II was faced nearly simultaneous invasions in Northumbria and Norma ndy and risings in Anjou. was to be king of England. thus making him his partner in power -. the third son. the champion of a controversial caus e. and Henry's sons could reasonably expect him to m ake provision for all of them out of his vast dominions. later called Lionheart. In 1173.In December of 1170. and murdered the archbishop in his cathedral. Thomas Becket. Becket's death turned him from an unpopular maverick churchman into a mart yr. He was no longer a stubborn politician. Geoffrey. In the long view. Yet Henry's danger was very real. duke of Normandy. which may have been cynical politics or attempt at gaining some supernatural insurance. Richard. The count of Flanders jumped onto the pig-pile too. The chief reason that Henry survived is that most politically conscious pe ople in his empire considered him a good lord and saw the revolt of the young ki ng and the invasions as simply an outbreak of lawlessness. ind eed. the youngest son. and the king of Scotland. and count of Anjou. a timeless symbol of a righteous man struck down by a tyrant. it was during the revolt that he made hi s dramatic penance at Thomas Becket's tomb. Putting down such a host of enemies was no easy matter. and would thus be a duke too. But for three years. as first-born. Henry had cruised along with no grea t problems. Yet all the victories in the world could not create peace within his ambit . Henry and Eleanor's four sons were growing up. Henry. had been left out. in 1174. The second son. and Brittany. and th e question of succession was being raised. the Aquitaine. would get the matern al inheritance of Aquitaine. Actually the olde r Henry very reluctant to let his sons exercise any real power. cr ossed the channel. It was now Henry who was on the defensive. H is opponents were reduced to his mercy. That was one pro blem with the settlement. who still feared his mighty vassal. There were no set rules for successio n to royal or princely titles. an enraged Henry. then in Normandy. There were a lso three major English earls and a number of barons who hoped by supporting the young king to loosen the grip of the old one. but in the end. Henry won. asked why no one would rid him of that pesky priest. In 1169. In other words. His eldest son. whose claim to the earldom of Northumbria had long been frustrated. Henry II decided to tinker with his will to give John some proper ty at the expense of the young Henry. Another was that John. was married to the heiress of Brittany. but a myth. created a grand alliance of the elder Henry's enemies. Henry and Richard.at least in name. These included th e king of France. Henry followed up this will by having the young Henry crowned king of Engl and. Four of his knights took him at his word. He became a heavenly intercessor showering miracles down on those who visited his s hrine in Canterbury. Eventually the king had to capitulate on the issue of criminal clerks. What tripped Henry up was his bad relations with his own progeny. it is easy to say that Henry's real troubles began with the murder of Becket. Henry made his first will. This act almost brought his whole empire d own around his ears. In the early 1170s. he performed a dramatic public penance by being flogged at the tom b of the newly canonized St. he would get the paternal in heritance. with the encouragement of their mother E leanor.

That was Philip II of France. and that we are among the beneficiaries. should succeed hi m in England. and even his favorite younger son John were almost constantly working together to bring the old man -actually he was only in his fifties -. Henry II decided Richard.ious family. for instance. Both the ideals of chivalry and the facts behind the ideals have a lot of . who remained the greatest danger to his throne. but very quickly made him self the master of his realm. he would call their father to account. Barrow has well summed up Philip's tactics: when Henry's sons were on the outs with their father. politicking. then began to plot against the Plantagenets. After that. He cleverly used the support of the Plantagenets to throw off the influence of his mother and her pushy brothers. He did all that he did to establish his own dominance and that of his fami ly. and f ighting. One of the nice things ab out history is that the strongmen and villains who populate it so thickly can't get at us now. The growth of literacy has preserved the dreams of and about twelfth century knigh ts as an inspiration for later romantics. Thomas Becket was right to fear his enmity. and we can appreciate their colorful traits in the safety of our libraries and lecture halls. G . acting as an overlord referee ing between vassals -.and in fact Henry did de stroy Becket.to his knees. Richard's subsequent revolts against Henry were more dangerous than the e arlier ones because of one factor. or perhaps a Mafia don. In the last years of Henry's life. Only the young Henry's sudden death put a stop to the fighting. But when Philip had a quarrel with the sons.awareness among the knight ly class. But the rule of such an autocrat would be intolerable to most of us today. who had succeed ed his father Louis VII in 1180. but a self-awareness that became a part of in European literature. to be followed on the throne by Richard. at last exhausted after a life of hard riding. In the 1183. Philip. It would be hard to deny that Henry's policies and innovations were in som e ways beneficial. and lived on for another nineteen years as lord of the English chu rch. accepted all of the demands that Philip and Richard were pressing on hi m. the young Henry and Richard Lionheart fought over the Aquitaine. that the king would get back at him in any way that he could -. Richard. Philip supported the sons. a fact that evokes a certain amount of sy mpathy for him. and he spared no one who got in his way. But he wanted Richard to give up the Aquitaine. Henry died pathetic and unloved. Their father wanted Richard to have it." But did he deserve that? The greed and selfishness manifested by his various sons were typical of Henry himself. they succeeded. There was jealousy among them all. telling him it w as his responsibility to control his vassals. which he would no t do. Finally. and no easy solution to the prob lem of the succession. The Plantagenet Chronicles says. He knew that Henry would never forgive him for his opposition. The twelfth century saw not only a strong self. Henry. William Marshal as an Example of Twelfth-Century Chivalry At this point in the course I devote an entire lecture to knighthood. I n 1189.S. Philip was only fourteen or fifteen at the time. but Henry aimed at inheriting everything and declared war on Richard. as the eldest son. He was at heart a pirate. that "Henry II wa s denied the peaceful and honorable end to his reign which he so richly deserved .since all of them held French lands. He died soon after.W.

all by one wife. Questions of property added to the turbulence and unpredictability of uppe r-class life. knights threw themselves with enthusias m into deadly games. either of which could easily disembowel a person. of owning enough property to be at least a minor lord. the possession of estates. In the twelfth century it was difficult even for the younger sons of established families to acquire the nece . It was a turbulent group. two were killed in their youthful wanderings. of the other five. and took the Bourbourg estates into her husband's l ineage. Hard riding after prey and stray arrows claimed many victi ms. in which two or more groups of mounted warriors fought each other for l oot and glory. the right to lab or services from peasants and tolls from merchants and townsmen. there was usually a safe area near th e tourney site." young knights who had no yet settled down to raise f amilies and run their own households. The only secu re form of wealth in the twelfth century was lordship over land and men: in othe r words. and as the ancestor of a noble lineage. Example: The twelfth-century French castellan. but often it was wild oxen or boar. A da ughter inherited everything. A powerful monarch like the English k ing might be able to limit private wars and feuds between his own followers. It is only by contrast with their counterparts in the tenth or eleventh cen tury. The tournaments of the twe lfth century were not jousts. or formalized single combats. The prey wa s usually deer. It was a very dangerous amusement. but to capture their equipment and ransom their persons. Tournaments offered twelfth-century knights an opportunity to practice the ir warlike skills and to win or lose fame and treasure when no real wars were ta king place. Their business and constant occupation was war.historic interest. Tournaments differed from real battles in only two respects. or to become merc enaries. Another "peacetime" occupation was the tourney.. But not everybody could achieve this dream. Hunting was practically an everyday occupation. and it was thus most popular am ong the so-called "youths. Seven were found positions in the chur ch. and the last two proved unable to have children. but he still depended on their fighting ability to rule. It was possible for simple knights to live off the generosity of some patron. A noble family could easily die off or be killed off in the course of a generation. Yet the individual rulers and their dynasties were far from secure. rights of justice. castles. but every knight dreamed of independence. that the knights and lords of the twelfth century look more peaceful. or to gain one if they did not. Henri de Bourbourg. Second. The warlike manners and occupations of the twelfth-century knight meant th at able-bodied men were constantly at risk of their lives. Rather. the chief goal of the warriors was not to kill or injur e their opponents. Living a noble lifestyle was an expensive business. Every male aristocrat wanted to end his life as an independent lord. had n o less than twelve sons. as a patriarch of a w ealthy clan. Even in their most benign moments. Begin with a basic fact: the aristocracy of the twelfth century was not a comfortable upper class. and of passing his property on to his sons. another wa s blinded in a tournament. the individuals and families who made up the ari stocracy were anything but settled. they were mo ck wars. First. All ar istocrats or would-be aristocrats fought to maintain their position if they had something.

they would leave or be sent from home to amuse themselves on the tourney circuit. a thirteenth century monk. The nervousness of the sons of Henry II over the division of his lands ref lects the general insecurity of noble heirs. in one's strength Envy. having sown his wild oats. in placing pleasure for devotion Covetousness. who would become accustomed to his leadership. Bored and frustrated with waiting for their inheritance. Younger sons were usually not even allowed to marry. made up of war and tourney. irresponsible knights-on-the-make were th e cannon fodder of their day. primogeniture was slowly be coming the rule in England and northern France. there was to be no marriage. the younger sons faced a harder future. said that tourneys gave kn ights an excuse for all seven deadly sins: Pride. When th e fighting was over. eldest son of Henry II. The adventurous life of youth attracted many first-born sons whose fathers were still alive. the first-born son inherited the great bulk of his father's possessions. thus keeping the family power base intact.ssary piece of the family heritage. The existence of this class of rowdy. easily available to any warlike lord. youth was a distinct phase of life in the twelf th century: the youth was a young aristocrat who was not yet the head of his own household. By denying the younger sons the right to mar ry and the possibility of legitimate children. the tourney site or the war camp were the settings for spec tacular self-indulgence. Other h eirs got little or nothing. they feared a disgraceful slide down the social scale. no family life. of the opponents' horse and equipment Gluttony at the feast and Lechery afterwards. they offered everything a red-blooded young knight could w ish for. In many lesser families . For the younger son. Of ten an heir would take a company of young knights with him--usually the sons of his father's vassals. of others Wrath. no noble descendants unless he could win wealth with his sword or find a young heiress o r eligible widow whose wealth would allow him from youth to established manhood. By the rules of primogeniture. An example of such an adventuring heir is the young king Henry. The carefree young knight could find in one or the other the o pportunity to prove his worth as a warrior and to win fame and treasure. Eventually the heir. The nobility had realized that if they cont inued to split their family estates between all the heirs. entire clans would soon be too poor to maintain their aristo cratic status. as had been the custo m in earlier times. Like lesser aristocrats everywhere . Ecclesiastical writers thought tournaments were hardly less sinful than un just wars. They exacerbated the violent as . Robert Manning. In other words. would return home to marry and raise a fami ly--if he wasn't killed in the process. the continuation of the lineage w as made more secure. As I've mentioned already. Such marriages might produce children who would dispute the privileged positi on of the eldest son's descendants. These young warriors were sent out to make their own way in the world. They were an essential ingredient of the crusading movement. condemned to suffer the curse of perpetual yout h. To insure that this would not happen. The life of the youth was in many ways an attractive one. in the combat Sloth.

an ally of the chamberlain. the fourth son and the product of his father's second marriage. As a fourth son. a war broke out between the kings of France and England. "But I don't have any such thing. Thus the his tory describes not only an exceptional man." replied William. an influential man who held the post of Chamberlain of Tankerville. because despite his great success in battle. His folly was pointed out to him at the victory feast that evening. There Wi lliam was to receive further training in chivalry. but the ideal of chivalry as seen by some knights of the twelfth and early thirteenth centuries. jokingly asked young William for a gift--a saddle or a bridle from one of the horses he had ca ptured. We can get some of the flavor of chivalric life by looking at the career o f William Marshal. It is no coincidence that the quest often ended in a marriage to a beautiful heiress.pects of aristocratic life. one of whom gav e him the hand of the richest heiress in the country. then rode off with h is uncle to his first battle. William had no inheritance. he was spect acularly successful on the tourney field. but the anecdotes it contain the storie s remembered by his family and friends." Then everyone laughed. This took place on a bridge outside the Norman tow n of Drincourt. He became known in the Chamberlain's household mainly for loafing about. William ended his life as Earl of Pembroke and Regent of England. he was not in line to inherit land. but his father did wh at he could for him. thus. and so he was poorer after the battle than he had been before. and loyalty. since there was no peaceful activity that they could turn to without losing status. William was so anxious for honor that he pushed in front of more experienced fighters to get into the fray. Once he got there he did well. William was so intent on fighting that he neglec ted to find a replacement. The youths also had a significant cultural influence. At first William was anything but a promising student. is the idealized y oung knight. William Marshal's life was recorded for posterity soon after his death in 1219. Fortunately for him." said Mandeville. however. and was able to use the reputation he earned there to win a place in the courts of four English kings. eating and drinking. " Nonsense. Willia m had not paused to capture either horses or prisoners for ransom. John arranged for William to be sent to his uncle in Norman dy. "you must have forty at least. William de Mandeville. ruling on behalf of the young Henry III. although his father was Marshal of England and his uncle an earl. In this first battle William suffered a great misfortune: his one and only warhorse was killed under him. It reads in places like a romance. William Marshal was born about 1146. In 1167. honor. The romantic figure of the knight on quest. felli ng and unhorsing many enemy knights. What makes the poem particularly interes ting is that these stories were assembled to demonstrate that William Marshal su rpassed all the knights of his time in prowess. This was to be William's big chance. in an anonymous poem called The History of William the Marshal. which originated in the 12th century. perhaps the most successful "young knight" of the entire twel fth century. . he was made a knight.

" Thus encouraged. The two of them trained up a group of penniless knights to follow them. five knights attacked him at once. Wil liam's favorite tactic was to ride up to an opponent. William could fight as well. they struc k him several hard blows. But if the poet is any guide." The Marshal immediate ly accepted their submission. Willia m and Henry developed a ruse which gave them a distinct advantage over the other participants: they would hold back until after the first clash. seize his bridle. came upon sixty English knights besieging fifteen F rench warriors holed up in a farm house. the y oung Marshal charged back into the fray. and they dispersed. they would have to pay the consequences. He had t o break the helmet's lacings and take it off before he could put it right. twelfth-century ideas of honor could be quite a bit different from ours. Just as he had accomplished this awkward task. When they protested. the poet presents them primarily as equestrian sport. There is a story of a tournament where William had been separated from his fellows. Peace soon broke out. hearing of his chivalry. he was not only penniless.William did not make the same mistake again. and tells us much about the tourneys of the time. chose him to be the tutor of his eldest son. however. One of the first thin gs he got was a patron. and that if the Engl ish wanted to resist by force. Sometimes the victim would escape ransom by slipping off his horse and run ning away on foot. but found that his helmet had been pulled around backwards on his head. When the Frenchmen saw William they cal led out that they were willing to surrender to him because. Henry the young king. I n one of his earliest tournaments. but it won the English knights much acclaim and. William escaped. This prodigality was not considered a failing--indeed it was almost expected from a nobleman. William gained much profit from his tourney success. This seems vaguely unfair to us. but saddled with a 100 mark debt contracted by his patr on. The poet repeatedly praises his hero for his generosity. or respect. and with reason: when Will iam quit the tourney circuit. Then. where William forced him to take an oath of submission and swear to pay ra nsom. William Marshal spent sixteen years tourneying. with occasional interrupti ons for war. a most valuable prize. Longer lasting than his monetary gains was the honor. in their words. The History dwells at length on this period of his life. and desp ite his resistance. and a g reat tourney was announced. King Henry II. William and the young king spent most of their time on the tourney circuit . he heard two experienced knights say. although tournaments involved much fighting. which outraged the besiegers. and people were often killed in them. and. William replied that he had accepted the French surrender. riding alone. that Wil liam earned. many horses and ransoms. For instance. a fact that he demonstrated on many fields. William would still have the warhorse. The young Marshal attended on a mount he had begged from his uncle and in the course of the day captured several knights and their c hargers. of course. however. drag the other knight away from his friends and out of the l ists. In the e nd he faced down all sixty of them. then charge in with their fresh troops. soon after the death of the young king in 1187. But the incident is used to demonstrate Will . "You are more worthy than those who are bent on capturing us. "Any army led by that young man will be hard to conquer. This seems very high-handed. After this he never looked back. Little or none of the prize money stuck to William's fingers. and tried to pull him off his horse.

But there are spots on this record. Finally it was William Marshal whom the dying John chose as regent for and protector of his the nine-year.old Henry III. William was a st alwart supporter of Richard's rights when that king was on crusade. it is not fitting that a man of your rank and prow ess to risk yourself in such feats. negotiated an agreement that allowed them to withdraw. we never hear of William entering a tourney again. The virtues expec ted of a man in his position were quite different. too. but they were no longer appropriate. William. his reputation as a skilled commander and a wise counselor that made his fortune. When Richard saw him after. William supported him in his revolts against his father. This was the beginning of a long feud between John and the Marshal. The virtue appropriate to a great baron was loyalty. rather than destroying the French army that h ad been supporting the barons against John. as King Richard Lionheart poi nted out to him on one occasion in 1197. looking back on William's years as regent. the heir to the French throne and the leader of the army. In later times some Englishmen. It was William Marshal's honor. But when later John launched an expedition against France. William was landless no longer. h e fought so fiercely. . William saw his plight." I am inclined to side with the poet. A more se rious matter is his policy after the French took Normandy away from John. because he was now the French king's vassal. but his personal f idelity to his immediate lord. and went to his rescue. William refused to help in any way. or his attachment to the English crown. He never broke his pledged word or was disloyal t o his lord. spent years trying to ruin William and the whole Marshal family. Leave them to young knights who must win ren own. who distrusted him after the disagreement over Normandy. and he was in imminent danger of being tossed off. leaped into the moat. said "William Marshal was ever a fter branded as a traitor. The French knights were glad to sur render to him rather than those who so greatly outnumbered them. William Marshal's claim to loyalty wa s not his patriotism. and established him on a fief. in reporting this incident a generation later. William was one of the few nobles w ho did not desert Henry II as his life came to a miserable end. This marks a new stage in William's life. William was loyal to King John throughout the latter's struggle with his barons over Magna C arta. "Sir Marshal. Henry II quickly took him into his househ old. the English kni ghts could not quite bring themselves to defy him. ran up a ladder. that the enemy fled and abandoned the wall to him. even when King John. too. which g ave the English an opportunity to capture it. William did not remain masterless for lo ng after the death of the young king. be cause he was now over forty. and indeed the poet s hows us William's loyalty on many occasions. climbed the other side. Henry II. found much to criticize. Indeed. A final measure of his honor is that William released the fifteen French knights without any ransom at all--a nd they swore never to forget that good deed. of which William was a part. Some said this was because he did not want to endanger Prince Louis. Only one man had got to the top of the wall. He had ceased to be a youth--and high time too. Once he had received his fief and entered seriously into Plantagenet famil y politics. Willia m got from John permission to swear fealty to the French king for his Norman est ates. Matthew Paris. his fi rst words were. thus his lands were not confiscated as were most English fiefs in Normandy ." William Marshal at fifty-three was still capable of great deeds. When the young king was still ali ve.iam's honor--his ability to inspire respect. Richard's army. was assaulting a castle and t hings were going badly.

142]. They were far more concern ed with William Marshal as an example of prowess. and loyalty. but also a champion at individual combat. successful life in accordance with the chivalric virtues -. There is no courtly love in the poem. It is worth pointing out what the History does not mention. but. He was a poet in the southern French troubadour tradition. The audience of the History of William the Marshal was not interested in e ither love or religion. More important than the literal truth of the work is the impression the li fe of William Marshal made on his friends. They knew that knights. The respec t he shows for his wife has a lot to do with the immense size of her inheritance . He was a bold warrior: not only a good general. But Wi lliam Marshal had made them believe that it was possible for a knight to live a long. everyone was afflicted with original sin. because he wa s the man they would have liked to have been.At least. Even the suspicious John co uld think of no better person to entrust his young son to. Yet there is evidence that this type of loyalty was understood and valued by other knights. Likewise there is nothing particularly interesting about William's religio us sentiments. honor. Richard and the Crusade This lecture is about the other great knight of twelfth-century England.their chivalri c virtues. but there is no t a trace of self-denying. As such. Otherwise his religion consists of generous gifts to the church. R ichard Lionheart. like other pe ople. He was a generous patron of knights and their tournaments. Richard is certainly one of the best of that lot. not necessarily ours. he has a great historical reputation. If you like warrior-kings whom no one dared defy. this despite the fact that they had recently been on the opposite sides in a civil war. He was also an enthusia stic crusader. this is the version put forward by his friends. William Marshal is important to us. acquisitive peers would have faulted him for that. . curiously. and her consequent political importance." says one [Clanchy. there is one anecdote that shows Wil liam entertaining some ladies with his singing before a tourney. the poem says very little about it. William was a crusader at one point in his life. William was loyal. past a certain minimal point. The paradoxical opinions about William's loyalty have a simple resolution. he quickly made Wil liam a trusted courtier and an earl to boot. idealistic or romantic love in his makeup. but he also looked out for his own rights--and few of his am bitious. When Richard Lionheart came to the throne. in whose Londo n church he was buried. The intere st shown in these matters is quite sincere. even among sober historians : "an able as well as a heroic king. Richard is the English king who closest approaches the medieval ideal of c hivalry. were imperfect creatures. but romanticizing such figures is dangerous. and an association with the Knights Templar. as students of chivalry.

Crusading king. Every ci ty in the kingdom save for Tyre was taken by Saladin." as people then would have put it. and retakin He responded to it with enthusiasm. King Henry II and Richard and Philip of France all took the cross. and forgets his commitments in France. Richard is remembered mainly for his leading role in the Third Crusade.There is a revealing anecdote about Richard that brings him down to earth. In 1187. The end of the tale is as unromantic a s the rest: the valiant king was set upon by the villagers and beaten almost to death. Philip was more li ke Henry than Richard: he preferred ruling to fighting. At the battle of the Horns of Hattin. History of the Crusade III: 37-38. Im mediately after he succeeded his father. It is hard to dispute that Richard was an able king -. Jerusalem was lost again. There is little doubt that he was a warrior first an d foremost. The three princes were soon f in 1189 changed things. Even as king of England. however. Richard is not easily written off. and the failure of the whole Crusading enterprise seemed near. he saw a hawk in a peasant's hut. But Richard g Jerusalem was the ultimate challenge. Richard decided that this hunting bird was far too noble to be owned by such a c hurl. He did pay close attention to his own business as r uler of England. A man of vast wealth. began making preparations this plan. As the twelfth cen tury progressed. the King of Jerusalem and most of his nobility were destroyed. he devoted his energ ies to launching a great expedition to the Eastern Mediterranean. The Crusades began at the end of the previous century with an expedition t hat captured Jerusalem from Turkish rulers in the year 1099. A Kurdish adventurer named Saladin had united Egypt and Syria and was i ntent on regaining Jerusalem. Christ's tomb. Richard's reign provided challenges to the power of the new roy al bureaucracy built up in his father's time. The argument shows a ce rtain English chauvinism. and to fulfill his earlier oath. he was able to get his own way. he did not h esitate to steal from someone far poorer. he had little trouble getting his orders obeyed. swearing to go to Palestine an d rescue the Holy Sepulchre. Phil ip was able to wring some concessions from Richard strengthening his position as .not only Richard but the whole western church was urging him. he succeed. Their personal divisions derailed ighting each other again. Henry had always loved war for its own sake. It was also Richard's effort to compl ete some unfinished personal business. for a total of six months. Philip dec ided to go -. the toe of the boot. Nevertheless. But we cannot really understand him without looking at him as a chivalric. Henry II. On his way to Palestine. It was part of a wave of concern tha t was sweeping western Europe at the time. They hold it against him that he only visited England twice.] Those historians who don't like Richard have been tempted to dismiss him a s a Crusading fool. the western Christians in Palestine began to lose grou nd. This was not a personal eccentricity. [Runciman. during a reign of ten years.in other words. in 1189. In Calabria. So he took it upon himself to steal it. its kings came under great pressure to do so mething "for the Holy Land. One very important matter that concerned Richard was convincing his former ally and present rival Philip of France to fulfill his oath. Richard rode through southern Italy with only a single attendant. In the 1170s and 1180s the Christian Kingdom of Jerusalem came under heavy p ressure. once crowned. When the news came to Europe. and it passed those tests with fly ing colors. Although he wa s absent from the kingdom almost all the time. Henry's death been a reluctant crusader.

It was a kingdom that did not include the city it was named after. and laid the foundations for a restored. and an important precedent in English finance. behind as one of two justiciars. and didn't care much how he got it. Extraordinary taxation was called fo r. It was the beginning of systematic papal taxation. The strength and loyalty of the central government built by Henry II was d . and the desire of some debtors to kill those they o wed flared up. still an important part of the economy . to force his partner in power to resign. Legally all Jews in England were the prope rty of the king. Richard was sincerely determined to tak e Jerusalem. It is interesting to note that juries were used to assess pr operty in any disputed cases. Richard's own conduct exemplified the mixture of selfish and religious motivations behind the entire movement. and he proceeded. The b est Richard could do was get a long truce and guaranteed access to the shrines f or Christian pilgrims. which he later sold for a great profit. religious prejudice. who was French. once Richard was gone. amounted to 10% of yearly income and 10% of the value of all movable goods. During the pre parations for the Crusade. too. some Jews were massacred. captured some important towns. and Richard was understanda bly nervous about what he might be up to. without e ven a nod towards its legitimate ruler. or prime ministers. h owever. if much smaller. Kingdom of Jerusalem. various members of the nobility. the Byzantine emperor. the church was helpful. As so le ruler of England. where the succession to the throne was in doubt. an association of members sworn to support each others' inter ests. In England the Saladin tithe. and did more than anyone else toward that goal. he was out for profit. I t was this ad hoc political association that pushed Longchamp out. I will not follow the Third Crusade in detail." a tax to be paid by all who did not take the cross themselves . William's unpopularity gave John.overlord of Richard's French lands. and then required the leading nobles and prelates of the church to join. Richard had to make other preparations at home. worked only at his pleasure. and the citizenry of London. including commoners. He put heart into the disunited crusading army. He had to scrape up a vast amount of money to finance his expedition. The Londoners had formed a commune. At the same time. which had actually been approv ed by Henry II in 1188. Richard had left the bishop of Ely. as xeno phobia. Here. The actions of the commune was an omen for the future. and Jewish moneylenders. William was an ambitious man. though. Longchamp was forced out of office by an alliance of John. There were also political problems in his own realm. the opportunity to pose as the champion of English interests against Longchamp. William Longchamp. but something must be said about it. Richard's brother and possible heir. One reason that Richard gave up and started for home in 1192 was trouble a t home. could stand up against an un popular administration. Along his way: He used his time in Sicily to promote his influence in that kingdom. It showed how a bro adly based political alliance. Richard's own position was not in da nger. In 1191. Richard is deservedly noted for his military accomplishments in Palestine. he went on to alienate many of the most important of the ki ng's subjects. They could be taxed without limit. Philip of France had left the previous year. The papacy had declared what was called "t he Saladin tithe. especially in York. When the Greek tyrant of Cyprus seized one of his ships. Despite the rising against Longchamp. The Jews were also shaken down. Richard conquered and looted the entire island.

Also. if you like. and Richard's mother Eleanor of Aquitaine started to make arrangements to pay the ra nsom. A lea rned enemy of Hubert Walter complained to the pope that Hubert had got all of hi s education in the Exchequer (rather than in a notable ecclesiastical school). or record office. Something more should be said about the royal servants. Richard had no one to blame for his trouble for himself. the money was collected quickly and without notabl e resistance. had worked hard to develop a cadre of such men. Several factors ac count for this solidity. Richard found himself required to cross Austria on his way home. It all sounds very sensible and rational.removed from the river Thames so that navigation would be un impeded. and required people to pay a quarter of the value of their movables. I have mentioned three of them. Hubert Walter. There are some personal ones: Richard was personally po pular with his nobility. Hubert Walter ordered weight s and measures standardized throughout the kingdom. and to some extent his great . These were people who h ad helped create the systematic recordkeeping and who promoted the systematic ex tension of jurisdiction that typify royal government in the late 12th century. They believed very strongly in the crown as the ordering principle of society. Although it was an immense amount.the Assize of Bread and Ale that would continue for centuries. the newly elected archbishop of Canterbury. But Richard's empire did not crumble and he did not lose his throne. William Longchamp.000 marks ransom. The important ones tend to show up in the history books under titles that disguise their character . With such men and such institutions. They were all bishops. He was detected and the duke gleefully seized him. and had fish-weirs -. Then. Geoffrey fitz Peter was a judge and a part-time general. all four were professional ad ministrators who had come up through the ranks of Henry II's bureaucracy. because they believed in their work . He had ordered the banner of the duke of Austria. Would they have gone to such lengths for John? Eleanor' s influence must have done much to stabilize the situation.emonstrated dramatically during Richard's captivity in Germany. Such officials were in some ways greater champions of royal authority than even so arrogant a king as Richard could be. but ended up as Earl of Essex. No greater test of a late twelfth-century monarchy could have been devised. Geoffrey fitz Peter established standards of quality for bread and ale -. Henry then to ld Richard that if he did not pay 150. W illiam of Coutances had begun his career in Henry's chancery. in 1192.barrie rs to catch fish -. and also because the king's power was their power. Imagine. to be taken down from its place by the English and French banners . and indeed Angevin government was a wonder of modern . Geoffrey fitz Peter. wa s like the others a justiciar. Richard was well served by his capable and professional officials. and thrown in the moat. A leading lay official.grandfather Henry I. he would be turned over to Philip of France. he had gone out of his way to belittle the part played by German knights. His father. After the fall of Acre. Willi am of Coutances. The result was to confirm the solidity of the central government and its a bility to govern the country even in the absence of the king. B ut here we are crossing from personal factors to institutional ones. Ric hard was turned over to the emperor Henry VI. long a rival of his. It was no a ccident that Richard had such servants. William of Coutances. Despite their ulti mate promotions to the clerical or lay nobilities. Huber t Walter. the king's government could now impos e itself on local communities in entirely new ways. what would have happened to any previous king of Eng land in the same situation. who was standing in for the G erman emperor.

But Richard. and got the pope to release him from his homage to the e mperor and condemn the duke of Austria for imprisoning a homeward-bound crusader . It w as an expensive and well-designed edifice. shut himself in his castle rather than hand it over. the reign of King John. where he staged a ceremonial recoronation.buried treasure was a traditional right of the overlord. It had come to him intact more or less by accident. if not certainly true. Richard then besieged him. like the rest of his family. The king was sprung in early 1194. and so we should not be surprised that death claimed him in the midst of it. Richard returned to England. after paying all but the last 10. The king was forcing them to use bilingual cereal boxes and buy gasoline in liters instead of gallons -. the empire he had received from his father and mother w as again imperiled. In France.000 ma rks and doing homage to the Emperor Henry for his kingdom -. and fear of potential abuses. and he died of it. Richard would live for five more years. Richard heard that a great treasure had been discovered by one of his Aquitanian vassals. too. But if it was. When Richard died. was getting increasingly intrusive. King John and the Loss of Normandy The years 1199-1216.rationality. consciously so.the most powerful after Henry VI of Germany died pre maturely. Whether this was actually a spat over buried treasure we will never know. were crucial ones for the hi . even in such trivial matters. although it would not come in Richard's time. he had recovered whatever prestige he had lost in Germa ny. the v iscount of Limoges. and no s teps had been taken to ease the transition to a new ruler. who had seized some of his castles and territories.he was now official ly an imperial vassal. Richard capped his triumph by building a spectacular fortification. whatever its advantages (and there were some). He immediately put in train a diplomatic offensive against those who had humiliated him. Chateau Galliard. Richard was hit by a flu ky crossbow shot. Richard. Trouble was brewing. In the midst of this confrontation. and one of the most power ful monarchs of the time -. In the late 1190s. and Richard boasted that he could hol d it even if the walls were made out of butter. it was not so absurd an end for a great king as is sometimes thou ght. Richard hurried there to claim it . was fated to die in relative youth. government. But from the subject's point of view. The discoverer. Satisfying his greed was his constant oc cupation. The wound became gangrenous. but o ne of the unifying factors was irritation and resentment of new taxes and new ro yal powers. but he never went back to England.so to speak. Royal government was uniting the kingdom as never before. The story is fairly well known. and was once again the foremost warrior in Europe. got he was by pushing his claims to t he limit. on the French-Norman border. Richard also crossed to France spoiling for a chance to fight Philip. This failure led to the disintegration of Henry II's Angevin Empire. Richard won all the important sieges and skirmishes and was able to force Philip into an unfavorable peace.

Uncle and nephew began to fight. the counties of Anjou. for the imperial splendor he restored to the French kingship.. all the unlovely traits for which John is famous were found i n most medieval kings. Arthur. the two monarchies had been en gaged in an unavoidable rivalry. Ever since Henry II had united England. John quickly seized the family tr easure and was quickly recognized as king in England and duke in Normandy. and Tours.a faithless son. But there was no fixed rule. Here. John had spent Richard's reign building up his claim to the throne. John began his reign in 1199 with his title in doubt. his mother was not on good terms with his father' s family. and people would remember his love of literature and his atten tiveness to the business of government.. Wh en Richard died.polluted with every crime. John was a well-established political figure with a party behin d him. thus isolated. We will divide our discussion of John's eventful reign into two part. Norman dy. the nobles were induced to chose Arthur as their count. Now there was a winner -.it was Philip of France. In between these two blocks of territory were the lands of the house of An jou. but they are in a distinct m inority. and he spent more of his time at the French court than in England. Philip readily ac cepted the handsome terms John gave him: a county in Normandy. and so by some reckonings. This lecture will concentrate on John's struggles with Philip of France and Pope Inn ocent III.story of both France and England. a huge "relief" o r death duty. when he left for the Crusade. Philip declared in favor of Arthur as heir to all of t he Plantagenet fiefs outside of Aquitaine. The next will discuss the rising against John and the writing of Magn a Carta. . strong k ing like Henry I. Geoffrey had been older than John.. Fortunately this can be done without distorting chronology. a treacherous brother. In 1190. namely. It is possible to find English historians who think well of John.in the whole view there is no redeeming trait.not devoid of natural a bility. Arthur was young. What made John vulnerable to criticism is the fact that h e lost some crucial contests and died in miserable circumstances.. Richard had made lit tle provision for the succession. Richard had designated his nephew Arthur. In his role as overlord of the entire Kingdom of France. But John quickly gained the support of important peo ple in Anjou. He immediately mobilized his forces a nd went out to fight John. . John is remembered for frittering Normandy away and far more importantl y as the king whose arbitrariness made Magna Carta necessary. . with s ome success. and in history. made his peace with John. he would be known as a good.. Maine.. the son of his dead brothe r Geoffrey. and homage for all John's French lands (an acknowlegement of Phili p's overlordship).. On hearing the news of Richard's demise. The pioneering nineteenth century constitutional historian William Stubbs summed him up this way: the very worst of all our kings. In return Philip acknowledged that Arthur was John's vassal for whatever lands he held. Anjou and the Aquitaine under a single ruler. and offered to pay Philip to to abandon Arthur.. But in fact. traits that he actually did possess. John wa s the loser then. hands down. in the area directly bordering on Brittany. Philip is known to the French as Philip August us. Arthur had a better claim to the throne than his uncle. Philip took the opportunity to interfere.. and thus plenty of room for political maneuve ring. Had he lived a little longer and overcome his opponents. For a long time the contest had been stalemated . count of Brittany. His m other Eleanor delivered the support of Aquitaine.false to every obligation. Philip died a king who was clearly superior to any of his princes.

One par t involved taxing England. Arthur w as never seen in public again and it is almost certain that John had him killed soon after Mirebeau. Rather than compensate Hugh for taking h is betrothed. starving some of the less significan t prisoners and loading others with chains. so that the next expensive campaign could be fought p . John's marriag e thus forestalled a very inconvenient alliance between two important vassal fam ilies.John ended up with all his brother's land. by showing great cruelty to some of his captured foes. Philip. then occupied by his grandmother Eleano r of Aquitaine. The rumor quickly went around that Arthur was dead. He surprised his enemies. another claimant to La Marche. Philip had forced the nobles of Normandy to submit to h is rule or clear out. a province that was by itself nearly as large as his own domains around P aris. Although Philip was obliged by feudal law to find another heir after a year and a day for any territory that he confiscated. He became the heir of the strong government that Henry I. Her county was strategically placed. aski ng for justice. but much o f her appeal must have been political. John allowed Philip to take Normandy without any seri ous opposition. capturing Arthur and about two hundred impo rtant knights and lords from Poitou. Philip went through the form of summoning John to his court in P aris to answer for his offense against Hugh. But John then made a bad mistake. John attacked him and confiscated his lands. she had been engaged to Hugh of Lusignan. For whatever reason. By doing so. and Arthur had to be content wi th Brittany. Arthur besieged the Angevin castle of Mirebeau. when Joh n unnecessarily alienated an important Aquitanian vassal. This was something of a turning point in English history. and her family had a pesky claim to the county of La Marche. Hugh made the obvious riposte. John concentrated on establishing himself in Poitou. Once again the first victory went to John. Contemporary historians talk about John's infatuation with the girl. who simply disappeared. He appealed to John's lord and his own ultimate overlord. John refused on various pretexts. The Bretons were enraged and even some of John's supporters were offended. Worst of all was the case of Arthur. But John wasted this victory. which might have been decisive. In 1200. a nd this gave Philip a legal justification for confiscating all of John's French fiefs. But the whole competition was opened up again almost immediately. John pinned his hopes for a further recovery on a long-term plan. one Isabella. he simply kept Normandy for hi mself. Before John's quick marriage to Isabella. Henry I I and his sons had imposed on their Norman duchy. At the same time he had added to his own reven ues and power. but as before he gave priority to establishing his power in Poitou and Aquitaine (in 1 206 he mounted a quite successful expedition there). John decided he would marry the 12 year old heiress to the county of Angouleme. which Henry II had boug ht from another owner in 1177. while Philip had his eye on Nor mandy. By 1204. and French as we ll. Arthur joined him and the war was on. John rescued her in a lightning strike reminiscent of his brothe r Richard. John dedicated rest of his life to regaining his lost inheritance. The northern part of his inheritance (Normandy and the Angevin domain) remained in Philip's hands. he broke up the Channel state that had been a threat to the French monarchy ever since 1066. In the summer of 1202. The war between John and Philip continued without Arthur's presence.

Hainault. John still had the resources to m ake a comeback. John now had the whol ehearted support of the church against any of his subjects who might defy him. The next year. He recovered a great part of Poito u and even won back the Lusignan clan. and finally. and thought that making himself king of England would do. he gained some concrete benefits. Over the winter of 1212-13. whose opposition had triggered the whole problem. Then John invaded Anjou. F rederick II of the Hohenstaufen family. John accepted the papal candidate for Canterbury. especially t he count of Flanders and the German emperor Otto IV. thus the struggle of John and Philip involved them in a multifaceted Europe an power struggle. who could be played off aga inst each other. Innocent had both the inclination and the ability to discipline the king. An interdict was a prohibition of any religious services being held in th e country. in contrast to most of his predecessors. The t hreat of a French invasion dissolved at once. He did not hesitate to declare Holy War against those who defied his authority. Here. John got into big trouble because he was faci ng a pope of great determination. he was caught by Prince Louis. Once John had swallowed his pride. Eventually. whom he largely subsidized. His allies. the year after his submission to Innocent. But John was very stub born. Brabant. however. and even launched a major expedition to Ireland. negotiations produced a settlement with the po pe. In fact. John's allies. So. dur ing the interdict John campaigned successfully against the Welsh and the Scots.) There was nothing wrong with this plan. He gav e in. John was prepared to invade Poitou. Louis. The second involved assembling an alliance to encircle Philip. and almost all the bishops left the country. Furthermore. doing hom age and admitting that he held England and Ireland as fiefs from Rome. saw John excommunicated. eventually included the rulers of Boulogne. Innocent III was a distinguished canon lawyer (expert in church law) with an exalted view of the privileges and duties of the papacy. Also. he did not have to worry about any immediate attack b y the emperors. The first major dose of discipline was an interdict on England. Christians were forbidden to associate with him. imposed in 1208. (Germany at the time split between two would-be emperors. T he king's power was now seen as an extension of the pope's power. was looking for an adventure. Flanders. Philip's son and heir. Stephen Langton. But again John got himself involved in a controversy that sappe d his support: a disagreement with Pope Innocent III over the election of the ar chbishop of Canterbury. Innocent III.roperly. were ready and willing to i nvade France from the north. he submitted personally to the pope. . Innocent blessed a proposed French invasion of Englan d. backed by Philip and the Pope. and most important of all. however. Thus when John openly defied him over the Canterbury election. John was in an excellent p osition to launch his great attack on Philip of France. and one that must have frightened many ordinary people concerned about the good of their souls. John also agreed to pay 1000 marks a year tribute. At first thing went very well for John. In his time there were two emperors. It was another conflict between the long-established ro yal right to influence if not direct episcopal elections and the ecclesiastical right to free canonical elections. he resto red church property. This was a horrifying penalty. But John merel y used the excommunication as an excuse to confiscate church lands. the Empero r Otto of Brunswick. 1209. John had by this time alienated enough of the English baronage that he did not care to face this further threat.

Bouvines also sealed John's failure. It attempted to set a standard for the behavior of the king's government towards his free subjects and to devise an enf orcement procedure. the Canadian Charter of Rights. Normans found it easier to swear allegiance to France than than one might expect. families had to make a choice between warring kings.whose army scared off the Poitevins and forced John to retreat. and John did not meet the challenge gra cefully. Normandy. Philip was able to keep all that he had won over the previo us fifteen years. John's repeated defeats created a crisis for the burdens ome Angevin style of government built up over the previous sixty years. Poitou were all gone for his lifetime. Magna Carta Magna Carta (the Great Charter) is the most famous single document ever pr oduced by the English government. When John did not rewin Normandy qui ckly. As J. Magna Carta was a failure: war came anyway. In this. and made to serve purposes that its authors never had in mind. but the important ones. expected a cert ain level of success from their leaders. the first in the long series that includes the English Bill of Rights of 1689. and n ot just his but his brother's and his father's government too. Subjects were not surprised that monarch s should demand much of them. and either give them redress or fight them as rebels. at least. The battle of Bouvines was the seal of Philip II's success.C. In 1215. there had been many families with bot h English and Norman possessions. . and enjoyed a power a nd prestige that no French king had had since the ninth century. The big disaster took place on the northern front. and even some profit for themselves. The king 's prestige in England hit a low point. It is generally seen as a guarantee of human rights. came boiling up. including an illegitimate brother of Joh n. It was Bouvines that made it necessary for John to confront his unhappy subjects . In one of the biggest o pen battles of the 13th century. Anjou.a timeless symbol that has been created by extrac ting the document from its original context. The French conquest of Normandy dramatically r uptured the link between the two countries. It tried to settle iss ues outstanding between the two parties. More immediately. It was very uncomfortabl e position for a medieval king to be in. Once they had done so. Up to 1204. Magna Ca rta is in this sense a myth -. Philip demolished the coalition army at Bouvine s. Thus 1204 marks the beginning o f a new phase in English cultural self-consciousness. Magna Carta was part of an agreement of peace between rebellious barons and the king who had provoked them into rebellion. a period in which he had quadrupled the size of his kingdom. and very soon. Many important prisoners were taken. Thus all the grievances that the English had against his government. Holt. The significance of his defeat went well beyond the frustrat ion of his personal ambitions. an authority on subject has said. the American Bill of R ights. T he unheroic Philip had beaten the flamboyant Plantagenets. their cousins in England began to realize that th ey were indeed English and not French or Norman. and the late comer in the field. With all his enemies in disarray. John had disappointed them.

They made it possible to buy the king's good will and dispensation from the rules his officers had devised. and this attitude. However. For instance. the king of Leon in Spain found it necessary to grant privileges to his vassals. more than the specific remedies of Magna Carta .could be settled without private war. But even this demand presupposed the prince's ability to maintain a peaceful and orderly comm unity in which those rights meant something. were combining to limit th e power of their rulers. The political classes felt that what som e could buy should be available to all. princes and kings had made their governments more profitable and po werful through systemization. John's personality and military failures had much to do with the creation of Magna Carta. The granting of privileges was likewise an important aspect of Angevin gov ernment in England. Second.not arbitrarily. Juries were to be assembled to declare who had the better right to the land or. but for all free men of the realm. Similar charters were issued in Germany. bishops.vit al to a landed aristocracy -. subordinate but still important members of the politic al system. The very s uccess of princely government that created this opposition and even the form thi s opposition took. in some case s. fears. They were not out to kill the king or dismantle the kin gdom. Princely power created a political public with a common interest in controlling the power of t he prince. a nd France in the 13th and early 14th centuries. First. The resentment of princely government a nd the cure for that resentment were. and interests. nobles. they did not reject that growth. The granting of privilege s created a demand for more privileges. But the demand of the political classes for a charter of liberti es from a powerful prince was a commonplace phenomenon in 12th and 13th century Europe. welded their subjects into a po litical class with certain common problems. Let me now illustrate those generality with specific examples (drawn from Holt).Magna Carta was saved from obscurity by a political accident that made it convenient for it to be reissued. and they began to see it as a pattern for resolving al l kinds of disputes. but through some form of due process. strong rulers profited from their ability to grant privileges to t heir subjects for a price. Thus John was eventually faced with the demand that disagre ements between him and his subjects should be settled not by will but by judgeme nt -.from the prince's subjects. John could demand a variety of payments and services from h . In all these cases. Henry II had created special procedures so that questions over land -. They insisted. Eventually this would lead to a demand f or rights. Sicily. Magna Carta attained its long-range symbolic r ole because it faced some of the great problems caused by the success of Angevin government. large urban corporations. in 1188. Bureaucracy made it possible to impose the royal w ill by means short of brute force. People got used to this orderly mann er of settling disputes. however. who had most recently been dispossessed. for a change in the rules in the favor of the subjects. paradoxically. Such demands were usually made when the prince had just suffered a setba ck. the greater power of 12th and 13th century princes over all their subjects. but simply to make it work better. is what has survived. This kind of regularity in government created a further demand for it -. closely related. Finally. and not just their immediate vassals. The proponents of Magna Carta were reacting to the growth of royal power. tha t the new style of royal government should work not just for the king's benefit. This is a respectable attitude to take towar ds government.

One hundred po unds is about 150 marks. for instance. or he could ing dispensations. Inhabitants of the "forest" suffered under close sup ervision of all their activities by royal foresters. they bought them in the name of the community as a whole (all free men). Similarly. seven thousand. widows of his military t to reward valuable suppo the heirs of his vassals profit from them by sell In 1199. The king could also sell privileges to those who were not his vassals. in John's reign the wapentake of Ainsty in Yorkshire paid 10 0 pounds to have their wapentake entirely disafforested. that is. In the past it had been levied relatively rarely. This measure. struck directly at the prosperity and even the existence of family fortune in the military aristocracy. For instance. and sometimes when no military expedition was launched. This levied o n the king's vassals. or even to whole communities. so that they could ge t out from under that regulation.is important subjects. Towns. There is some truth to this. he could require enants to remarry men of his choice -. Thus royal power was creating or defining community consciousness and community organizatio ns in some sense opposed or at least counterposed to the power of the crown. One tax that particularly caused resentment was the scutage. John collected eleven in sixteen years. For instance. The maximum relief set in Magna Carta was 100 pounds for a earl's or baron's estate. the king also took money on occasion to fix reasonable. Those who were submissive could get reasonable ter . and entire counties organized to raise money and buy rights (or more precisely "liberties") important to its inh abitants. It did not help that John exploited these unprecedented taxes to keep his barons politically dependent. John certainly ran a burdensome government. even ten thousand marks for major baronies. a right that at this time was almost absolu te. and was meant as a substitute for military service in pers on. removed from t he jurisdiction of the king's foresters. at higher rates than usua l. John raised reliefs to a much higher level. he could also extract relief. John could directly exploit these rights. rather tha n ruinous reliefs on estates. wapentakes (hundreds) like Ainsty. like the previous one. No doubt it was the leaders of local society who did the organizing a nd ponied up most of the money. the widow Nichola of Hermingford paid the king 100 pounds so that she should not be forced to marry again.a convenient way rters. though its frequency had b een slowly increasing: Henry II and Richard had collected eleven scutages in for ty-five years. but they didn't buy individual privileges. The power of the crown encouraged people to band together to buy communal privileges. or death duty from . five thousand. Similarly. The king granted this on condition that if she did decide to marry. The expensive of his wars pushed him to make the mo st of his right to tax his subjects. This sale of privileges created a demand for more easily available privile ges. Many people found it worth their while to pay the king to disafforest their district. In John's heyday he was demanding and getting two thous and. and even that privileges that were generally available should be granted fr eely by the king. she would do so on the king's advice . It is no accident that Magna Carta contains several articles defending the rights of widows and restricting the power of foresters and their courts. That Magna Carta was written in King John's reign is often taken as a cons equence of his personal character.

possibly because his wife had been talking about Arthur's fate. but was unable to defuse t he opposition. William's wife Matilda fell into John's hands. and that he was a hard and unpopular master. H e was a marcher baron who was very powerful in South Wales and had long been in John's confidence. and eventually fled to Ireland. who now included East Anglians as well as Northerners. Holt has s aid. no distinction is really possible. including the protection of widow's rights. In fact they had formed a commune. And opposition did break out in 1213-14. If one eliminates the purely personal element and just looks at the issu e of arbitrary government. this was the last straw. He apparently knew what exactly had happened to Arthur. Almost any great baron was vulnerable to such treatment. The barons armed too. and. Willia m revolted rather than be ruined. and especially Stephen Langton. Those who fell out of favor could be destroyed by a simple demand for prompt payment. when Joh n began actively planning a new campaign. perhaps they were reaching to find a justification to defy their rightful lord. or at least a swo rn organization. In the North of England. It included a v ariety of provisions. Movements to limit and control the king were an ever pre sent possibility. John again negotiated. As J. William fell out of favor. In 12 10. acting as chief intermediary. The result of these negotiations was the granting of Magna Carta on June 15. when most people were at church. as did one of their sons. because they owed no service south of the Channel. Magna Carta was. John just gave them the opportunity to break out. and found it in religion. and made a few concessions. elected a leader. whom they called "the mar shal of the the army of the Lord and of Holy Church.C. the discontented barons gained heart. Stephen Langton. He did not think that anything he was willing to grant w ould satisfy the barons. one should not overstate the contrast between John and his father and b rother. early in 1215. A new scutage was proclaimed. A number of important ba rons declared that they would not pay. An important turning point came in May of that year. The rebels do seem to have had the sympathy of some church leaders. The classic example from John's reign is the case of William de Briuoze. John was not a nice man. or even be excused some of their tax debt. consisting what they considered royal abuses of feudal custom and forest law. 1215. and the setting of limits on the king's ability to . just before Bouvines. But even so. But John also began to arm. and John was erra tic enough that no one felt entirely safe. and the two were thrown into a dungeon to starve to death. Henry II was as much a target of Magna Carta as John himself. Whatever the reason. the Angevins stood or fell together." The title probably had no precise significance. on that date. the end of abu ses of relief and forest law. where John pur sued him to prevent an alliance between William and the Anglo-Norman aristocracy newly established there. he decided serious negotiations were in order. John called in all his debts at once. The country was just recovering from the interdict and the king's excommunication. Once John had lost his major city. With the disaster of Bouvines. J ohn negotiated with them. and b egan to press for a full-scale grant of liberties. which they wanted the king to correct. Som e of the citizens actively helped them. with t he archbishop of Canterbury. They drew up a list of demands.ms of payment. a general confirmation of liberties that th e barons wanted or believed that they had possessed in the past. The barons caught Joh n off guard by entering London on a Sunday.

but there were a numb er that secured the liberty of all free men. Some of the more conservative barons went back to John's side. but it also split his opponents. in the care of William Marshal. If John was their king.levy scutage or feudal taxes without consultation. and the civil war continued. Magna Carta was reissued one more t .John at least. The rebels were in a difficult position. This took place in October of 1216. Most important was chapter 39. they well knew. There were clauses in Mag na Carta permitting them to police John's behavior through a council of twenty-f ive barons. Louis jumped at the opportunity -. but since there was no tradition of constitutional government this w as a weak straw. Another motive disappeared when William Marshal reissued a somewhat shorte ned Magna Carta as a promise of future good government.and in May of 1216 he landed in Kent with a French army. someone was going to be dispossessed. Many others could not forget their hostility t o the king. His remaining English supporters were re stored to their estates. and as such act as part of a peace between the king and his greater subjects. The Plantagenet dynasty was saved by the only event that could end divisio n in the country -. and when nothing happened. and were anxious to regain them. of drinking too much new cider. neither John nor his barons trusted one another. and the very vulnerability of the young king caused a re action in his favor. his request was granted as soon as it got to Rome. The new regency quickly became stronger than John had been. William Marsha l was widely respected. bo th sides were preparing for war again. as th e result. they had no way to control him unless he consented to that control. or some of them. Once the barons disarmed. Thus each side waited for the othe r to move as a sign of good faith. Most clauses were directly of benefit to the barons. The rebel s wanted John to put the mandated reforms into action. They invited Prince Louis of France to be their new king. He left behind a minor heir. Many of those who followed him were Normans who had lost their English lands after the fall of No rmandy. however. and theref ore one of the chief motives for the rebellion dissipated.the death of John. In September of 1217. However. immediately ap plied to the pope for a dispensation from his oath to uphold the charter. The barons. many barons made their peace with young Hen ry. they woul d eventually have to submit to his authority. took it as a sign of bad faith. Not everyone was interested in aiding this new Norman invasion. after some military defeats. Perhaps there was no good faith to be had -. and trust to his good grace. The French invasion put John in a very bad position. No one could hold his father's sins against him. If i t succeeded. By co ntemporary standards. With this promise before them and the devil dead and buried. The po pe being John's overlord. took this step. And there we re others that protected lesser free men from abuses by their own feudal lords. As a final measure. his son Henry III. Their only alternative was to depose him.having been frustrated in a previous attempt in 12 13 -. John wanted the rebels to disperse and disarm so that his authority would be restored. they could have no in fluence on the actual workings of government. whic h forbade the king to condemn any free man except by legal process. By the time the pope's condemnation of the Charter reached England in September. The document as a whole was to set a new standard for royal behavior. It soon broke out. Louis renounced his cla im to England and was allowed to leave. some say.

these charters increased the privileges of the nobility vis-avis the lower orders of society. This was a consequence of Angev in despotism -. The othe r charters are only known to certain medieval and legal historians. Already in the early 13th century. government by royal will rather than judgement was revived. The Magna Carta strugg le itself helped the political classes realize that they had a community of inte rest. to a few important urban communities. This second reissue of Magna Carta consecrated the document as part of an overall restoration of peace and good government. But important parts of Magna Carta were applica ble to all free men. Magna Carta thus reflects unique English conditions. and some parts of it still have legal validity. The Thirteenth Century And The First Two Edwards Economy and Society up to the Thirteenth Century < This lecture hopes to give you some feeling for how English society as a w hole worked between 1066 and 1300. in order to build an effective reform coalition. Economic expansion Domesday Book (1086) shows that England was neither particularly backward. even for the minor ity of English men to whom it applied. and if they wanted to protect that interest. and to consider their interests. Where effective. nor especially empty of people. There is one thing that sets the English charter apart from the rest: its survival.ime. high-ranking clergymen. England wa . another is the partial demilitarization of English aristocrati c society. the barons had found it necessary to unite with knights and burgesses. and in some cases.royal methods of government had already united the free men as s ubjects of a strong central authority. were not long in coming. As modified there was nothin g in it that the king's councilors could not live with. Why? All the other charters of liberties of this period were grants to nobles. Nevertheless. Millions of people know Magna Carta. Thirt eenth century England was fated to go through another great civil war. and acquired a wi ll of his own. both in population and in eco nomic production. It also helped to create unique English conditions. economically speaking. in f act. at least for the time be ing. There are some unifying trends in the events of the period that make such a synthesis possible. they must work together. Magna Carta was just one of many such charters of privileges. Once Henry III grew up. One such trend is expansion. Such appeals. Not that Magna Carta assured constitutional government. as was a Forest Charter that defined and limited the king's privileges over his game preserve. A willing partnership between the king and the free men of the realm had a dvantages for both sides. in many ordinary court cases before the royal just ices. Afte r it was written and accepted the charter made it possible for anyone who was a free man to appeal to it as guaranteeing important liberties.

They produced most of what they ate.000. 1086 2. and increa sed trade. and thirteenth centuries. Year Est. the English economy was only partially commercia lized -.s lightly inhabited. th e result of moorlands. During the eleventh. high pastures used only seasonally. to implement reform. with plenty of room for more population if resources were u sed more intensively. Only a small surplus remained . reform was not merely a vague longing or a set of demands fo r clerical independence. and ended perhaps in 1150. large areas were rescued from the marshes and put unde r the plough." Another change that seems to have taken place in this period is an improve ment in the climate. Around 1200. like most of western Europe.380. almost all of which went in taxes to a lord or the local clergyman.000 1193 3. began to grow in population and in wealth. the legal s .E.120. Hallam [Rural Economy 246-247]. In Yorkshire the spread of villages to higher elevations can be traced. a process usually called "assarting. I stress that these are indeed estimates. but they are from a recent and authoritative study of the English eco nomy by H. First. England. twelfth. so that society could be sanctified and purified. and ate most of what they produced.many of its people lived as subsistence farmers. its property. the re was plenty of room for increased production.000 1294 7. the English church wa s part of an international institution that was more powerful. DB shows a country where both sorts of growth were already well under way. Christian doct rine -. to intensive uses such as arable farming. the rights of t he church hierarchy over its personnel.in other words. drier climate in northern Europe which made ar able agriculture less risky and more productive. One change that can be easily demonstrated is the conversion of wasteland. and the laity. Woodlands around many existing villages were cut down and turned into farmland. It was a comprehensive program. Those who directed (or attempted to direct) the organization had a single goal. A third fact Robert Grosseteste: A Thirteenth-Century Churchman In the late twelfth and early thirteenth centuries. pop. Perhaps the most important type of settlement was less dramatic.200.000 1265 6. T his warming resulted in a milder. increased production.000 1230 5. To them tha t slippery word meant the unification of Christian society under papal sovereign ty. The warmest point of the trend was right in the middle of the period of greatest economic expansion in England. Indeed. The centuries on either side of the year 1000 were years of glacial retreat. In eastern England. what believers were expected to believe. Again. especially when you consider that there wa s no major immigration and no medical breakthroughs. or at least land that was rather lightly used. being converted first to more intensive pasturage and then into ploughlands.000 These are very large increases. Likewise. Key church leaders and clerical intellectuals had spent a century creating that program. better organized and intellectually more vital than ever before.D. There must have been other changes to allow such an increase. let's look at population estimates. The retreat began about 750 A.440.

and inquisitors. laws and belie fs all over western Europe were brought to a high degree of uniformity and stabi lity. is the most knowable individu al of 13th c. Church rituals. it was remarkably successful.Grosseteste had to . and subjecting it to central control. Cambridge was not yet a university. those local communities were living t hrough another revolution planned and managed by the papal bureaucracy.the year Richard Lionheart became king -. Then the ch urch elite moved on to their next task: making church doctrines and church insti tutions a central part of every believer's life. His parents were poor. In the early 13th century the Dominican and Franciscan orders. When you think about the twelfth-cent ury renaissance and the revival of learning. but it had some reputation for scholarship. would also throw themselves into the fray as i tinerant but highly trained preachers. England. you must think of it as an ideologi cal movement with practical aims. What we must und erstand is that at exactly the same time. as had a system of church courts focussed on the pope. one of the twentieth century's most learned scholars of medieval Christendom. He may afterwards have gone to Cambridge for a few years. for the very first time. not as pure scholarship untouched by power pol itics.rules that standardized ritual practices. He is not even typical of the higher clergy. The aim was to impose on societ y a single set of religious rules -. all of these things had bee n clarified and defined. During the thirteenth century. Measured by this standard. t he rules of marriage. Warning: in some ways Grosseteste is quite atypical of the Englishmen of his time: for instance. Richard Souther n. it was the schools of Paris and Bologna an d elsewhere that established the broad principles and the detailed rules that wo uld govern the church and all its members. Robert Grosseteste was born in 1170 in Suffolk. I am going to take advantage of Southern's work to give you some feeling f or this clerical movement and the people who took part in it by looking this one man. the schools were the parliaments that l aid down the rules for Latin Christendom. Even more than the papal court. medieval and modern. After 1170 or so. This lecture will focus on one member of the clergy of that period: Robe rt Grosseteste. per haps even peasants. he was the best practicing scientist of the 13th centu ry. which were directly dependent on the papacy. Grosseteste. About 1189 -. most of the work of definition was done.tructures that enforced these rights: By 1170 or so. The hea rt of the papal revolution was really the shaping of religious life on the local level. It was extremely rare for a real peasant to rise to any prominent position in the church. much of what we think of a s Catholicism. Doctrine had be en developed. whose name might be translated as Bob Bighead. might never have amounte d to anything but for a lucky break. who paid for Grosseteste to get a good basic education in a Lin coln school. wrote a book-length study of Grosseteste in which he argued that Grosseteste th anks to his many writings and other documentation. We've talked a lot this term about the growth and systemization of royal p ower over local communities through the wonders of bureaucracy. was invented. confessors. genius as he proved to be. They were also the places where execut ives were trained to enforce those rules. and the right use of economic and political power. In the words of Richard Southern. He came to the attention of a rich and char itable merchant.

i ncluding the weather). most scholars were not very interested in science. But both encouraged people to look closely at natural phenomena . Grosseteste's first known works are on the relations between the sky and t he calendar. to measure them. so about 1195 he found a position in the household of bishop Wil liam de Vere of Hereford. a paid position in some church that would be his f or life. there was something of a practical scientific traditi on that gave greater weight to observation than symbolic interpretation. This was a meth odology with great promise for the future. Grosseteste became deeply interested in natural science. If one could interpret those authorities. It included calendrical calculation and attempts to unde rstand the future (astrology). however. It was this tradition that Grosseteste ended up working in. His involvement in natural science once again put Grosseteste a little out of the mainstream. but he got no prefe rment from him. . To us. and he knew (though he was not the only one) that the Julian calend ar and the sky were falling out of synch. lay or clerical. In England. In 1198 the bishop died. and us ed mathematics to describe the rainbow and other such phenomena. They were all working at theology and canon law. and he had t o be content with a lesser post. One of the most interesting things about Grosset este is that he was able to stay abreast of scientific progress while in Shropsh ire. or in more medieval language. In Grosseteste's time the astrol abe was introduced into Europe. During those twenty years of humdrum employment. Often they financed a person' s "real work". Such ecclesiastical positions were the closest things to the modern jo b with a yearly salary that the Middle Ages had. and resolve their apparent contradictions. and Grosseteste lost the man who might have been his ticket to promotion. one interest looks sensible and the othe r superstitious. He was even willing to disagree with the revered Aristotle's explanations w hen they didn't make sense to him. There was no place for Robert in the next bishop's household. that is how royal civil servants were supported. And scientific "facts" (true o r simply taken as true on authority) were generally put to use to make moral poi nts. In fact. Later he spent a lot of time doing what we would call optical work. Grosseteste concentrated on astronomy (which included the whole heavens. and to keep records of them. it was assumed by alm ost everybody that all knowledge. including scientific knowledge.leave school and look for a job. and in fact his optical theories were of some use in the early years of the scientific revolution. you could know everythin g without any kind of independent investigation. because theology and law were built on authority. It was only when his superior was made bishop of Hereford in 1219 that Grosseteste's career got back on track. Indeed. had already be en discovered and written down by ancient writers. Such work did not encourage scientific habits of thought. on the interpretation of past writings. he might ev entually hope for a benefice. a patron. which has never been a great intellectual center. figuring out the moral and lega l principles that could be used to organize the ideal society. If he could make himself useful to some important person. Grosseteste's first patron was Bishop Hugh of Lincoln. which gave further impetus to exact observation. Grosseteste was a outstanding member of the minority of thirteenth century intellectuals who were willing to trust their own observations more than author ity. For the next twenty years he worked in Shropsh ire for one of the archdeacons of the diocese.

and had coll ected some extra church offices. th e most basic. While they were being groomed for success. one of the largest and most prosperous dioceses in England. had always been meant to be the capstone of creation. Grosseteste was not permitted to spend his declining years contemplating G od. In his Oxford years. which w as not far from his parish. they learned the . at the age of fifty-five. he was elected bishop of Lincoln . and pursued science instead of a more fashionable subje ct. Grosseteste came up with an original theological conc eption quite appropriate for a natural scientist. He began to hang around the schools at Oxford. It was part of the plan from the beginning. His scientific and theological work had together convin ced him of the importance of order and hierarchy. By 1230 he was quite prosperous. In 1235. the scholastic method. Most theologians. There was a close relationship between this vision and Grosseteste's optic al work. He had not had the usual education that church leaders had. Christ. He thought the glory of creation was best seen in light. and the first of substances. For Grosseteste. During his time at Oxford. and was soon lecturing and writing on sacred subjects. they worked on selections and commentaries of their predecessors in the hopes of producing a definitive interpretations of one small point or an other. His determination to get back to basics led him to learn Greek (not a comm on accomplishment at the time) so he could read the eastern fathers of the chur ch in their own language. Grosseteste had become well known. The willingness to be original that Grosseteste had shown in natural scien ce appeared in his theology as well. theology. rather than reading the Bible directly. Grosseteste's disinclination to compromise was not bridled by the politica l prudence that restrained more typical bishops. Part of his zeal was philosophical. nature. At Oxford he got interested in the Que en of Sciences. he was responsible charge of implementing the reform program we spoke of before. But all this t hinking about religion had impressed him with the futility of earthly prosperity -. Other bishops learned about pol itics at university. You must recall that Grosseteste had not been trained for this role. Rather. He ended up as a more than usually zealous reforming bishop. meant for the instruction of humanity. This was the method used in the best schools. He had experienced a religious conversi on.Around 1225. and little room for debate. He'd been restricted to a provincial career. the purest. When he was bishop. On the important issues ther e was no room for compromise. and the state of his soul. Gro sseteste had never had a scholastic education. In 123 2 he resigned all his benefices but one. and didn't take to the scholasti c method now. In a way he is reminis cent of Alfred the Great. He believed that the whole un iverse reflected the glory of God. he plunged right into the Bible and into the early church fathers. God incarnated in man. It was a great educational machine. Grosseteste finally got his benefic e. But he did not retire.an idea encouraged by his association with the Franciscans at Oxford. and was determined to make them the basis of his understanding. In much of central England. Grosseteste quickly became a lecturer in the liberal arts. he was able to finance and organiz e a group of scholars to create new and better translations of both secular and religious Greek works. Christ's incarnation was not a la st-minute rescue plan devised to rescue fallen humanity. a post he was well qualified for.

A visitation as Rob ert Grosseteste ran it was an energetic re-education and enforcement campaign. e ven those of high rank. and even miracle p lays. popular jousting. he wr ote her and condemned her hospitality in the harshest terms. he had been chosen by the king as an appropriate ma n to force prostitutes to leave Oxford. ( Grosseteste had been in this position once. Someone who had watched him closely before might h ave predicted this. The abuses I refer to were the appointment of absentees t o ecclesiastical benefices. as of his ecclesiastical subjects. but Grosseteste pursued them with unusual enthusiasm. earl of Leicester. Thus Grosseteste as bishop of Lincoln was harsh and puritanical in his eff orts to clean up his diocese. Only Henry III's jealousy of his own judicial prerogatives pr evented this project from going ahead. in the 1240s he found himself fighting the popes. but when he he ard that the Countess of Winchester had welcomed the refugees to her city. He had risen to the top without making the usual concessions. to give benefices to someone who actually worked in the bureaucracy. Not that he proposed to use torture to hunt o ut heretics -. In attacking such absenteeism. a ccompanied by a group of Franciscan and Dominican friars. It had long since become standard practice for rulers. which he considered indecent mockery of sacred things. He fulminated against drunken parties. A visitation involved th e bishop going around to see that all was well in the parishes and religious hou ses under his jurisdiction. There was no other convenient source of income that coul d be used to pay civil servants.ways of the world. he just used part of the attached income to hire a replacement. He closed Sunday markets that were being held in church ya rds. Ghettoizing and controlling the Jews was an integral part of the 13th c. Then Grosseteste corrected public sins as best he could. He went through his diocese. and protect it from a . Grosseteste. He was not content to rid Leicester of Jews. In 1234. The holder of the benefice was not expected to do the job in the parish or the cathedral. wanted to introduce something very like the inquisition into England. Grosseteste was opposing the entire establi shment. including the pope. He was as critical of the clergy. Grosseteste made great use of the usual disciplinary technique: the episcopal visitation. in expe lling Jews from the earl's chief town. until he wa s eighty-three years old -.) The ability of rulers to divert ben efice income to their own servants was what made possible the great 12th century growth of government. High ranking off icials often had several different benefices. each staffed by low-paid vicars. But Grosseteste had never been groomed for success. papal program. He made two tri ps to Rome to assert his right to control his own diocese. but he did want to requi re local juries to denounce their neighbors' sins under oath so that sinners cou ld be disciplined. In his efforts to clean up his diocese. while he was archdeaco n of Leicester. district by district. to his lasting discredit. Grosseteste was at least consistent. A little earlier. In every district the dean (the supervisor of the parish priests) was to bring the whole population so that they could confess their sins to the friars and hear them preach. Indeed. Late in his career as bishop -. how to pursue their goals without alienating the powers that be.there were very few heretics in England.he started attacking abuses that a more politic bish op would have ignored. he cooperated with Simon de Montfort.a career that lasted 18 years. and thought he could continue in the same way. He had a generous idea of his mandate.

In this way the arrogant and erratic government of John was replaced by wh at can be called a reforming administration. it seemed less and less spiritual. including experiments in physics. The fact that Grossetes te did good work in the provinces says much about the growing sophistication of European society as a whole. The ultimat e goal of reform was the improvement of the care of souls all over the world. by the Marshal and by Hubert de Burgh. . The papal court was sympathetic in theory to his concerns. Here are three points worth remembering about Robert Grosseteste. who took seriously his position as overlord of England. showed leniency to those who m ade peace with the king. Finally. They were trusted and moderate men. by the same standard. and original insights in theology emphasizes the intellectual vitality of Europe and England in his time. Third. and spoke out. scholarl y translations from the Greek. John had been fighting a baronial revolt and a French invasion. his career in all its variety reminds us how central the church wa s in 13th century society. at least initially. H enry's regents. the elderly Englishman made an impassioned speech before the pope and his cardinals. us ing many of the same tools that secular rulers used? This is not the way Grosset este saw the problem. so it went nowhere. an experienced bureaucrat who served as just iciar. How could the churc h be better than fallen world it lived in if it was trying to run that world. It was a stirring plea for religious conversion. his intellectual career. Bu t in practice. It was was d eeply involved in learning.returned to h is immediate concerns. because he allowed the church's powers and properties to be mis used for worldly purposes. Grosseteste would eventually be a hero to those in the next ce ntury who were quite sure that the pope was Antichrist. asking them to reform themselves before it was too late. It was led. Henry III. First. As it got big ger and better organized. and that the power of th e Roman church in England had to be tamed. and indicated their good faith by reissuing Magna Carta not once but twice.it was Innocent IV -. and would have had it no other way. It was not concerned simply with prayer. he used authority quite ruthlessly to attack si n and sinners. Grosseteste was being impossibly pure. When he c ontinued to block papal appointments. his frustrations with and his scathing critique of the papacy point out a problem that the church would have to face sooner or later. Their government had the active suppo rt of the pope. Grosseteste thus go t no satisfaction. and Grosseteste returned to England in despair. On his death bed. of course. The pope -. the pope's current polic ies were heresy.bsentees. Second. he was suspended from office. But he saw there was a proble m. Grosseteste reflected that it was heresy not to denounce the crimes of the rich. who included William the Marshal. The pope had problems to d eal with that required an assured income from the provinces. The Thirteenth-Century Civil War We left political history at the death of King John. in 1253. Barons who could not trust John were willing to support the government of his young son. but it was not a practi cal program. in government. You'll rec all that John's death was a key factor in ending that war. in promoting and enforcing an ambitio us program of social and moral reform. in 1250.

The most imp ortant was Peter des Roches. Henry III was heir to Angevin efforts to impose royal authority on the cou ntryside.The result was a reasonably stable government that avoided the excesses of John's reign. Just as bad. In the view of Henry and his officials. Henry was able to revive the oretical claims for the king's absolute power. Royal government without the king worked quite well. There was a trial in which Hubert was accused of all kinds of crimes. Another king of the same time. the barons. who had a divine power to judge them and order th em around. Richard's murder shocked the English barons. With this growth of practical power came an ideology of absolutis m. Anyone can say such things. When that failed. however. but making others believe them is another matt er. Richa rd crossed to his Irish estates. in his wealth an power . after John's death. In 1 227. so his fall in itself did not alarm the barons. who had been running the country since Willi am the Marshal had died eight years before. The barons. But Henry had won the confrontation. What did upset them was Henry's next move. Along with Louis' famous piety only enhanced his determination to do things his way. In 1232. and they encouraged Henry in his desire to be his own master. insis ted that Hubert de Burgh should get a proper trial as specified in Magna Carta. bishop of Winchester. Louis IX. an old government hack who ha d been a trusted counselor of both Richard Lionheart and John. who shared and implemented his power. Where Hen ry was determined to reconquer the lost Plantagenet lands in France. Henry III. Henry was not alone in building up the image of the monarch as an imperial ruler. . under the leadership of Richard Marshal. Hubert was constantly holding him back. an d foreigners made the important decisions. probably at royal behest . thought of himself as God's vicar. He failed because he came into conflict with the pope. he got the pope to agree that he was of full age. where he was murdered. and worked energetically for decades to make himself in tru th a universal ruler. and he kept it for the next twenty-five years. had gone back to Poitou and married the man she had ji lted in 1202. the Chamber (the king's record office) and made sheriff in twenty-one cou nties simultaneously. Henry found his own supporters to oppose the English establishment. the emperor Frederick II made similar claims. Hubert got in Henry's way. was directly responsible to God. Second. With Peter des Ro ches came his son or nephew. and the two Peters were temporari ly dismissed. Very quickly friction aro se between him and Hubert de Burgh. There was no active monarch to stir up controversy. Methods that had been suspect innovations in his ancestors' time were now routine. These two men were royal absoluti sts at heart. after all. Eventually Richard Marshal went to war against the king. Hubert had his enemies. all men were e qually humble before the king.it was a return to rule by will instead of judgement. Henry deposed Hubert de Burgh. This was not government in the spirit of Magna Carta -. the other would-be universal ruler. and he very often got his way. On the basis of such practical power. Peter des Rivaux. Hugh de Lusignan. Henry had mixed success. In this Hubert represented the English baronage. as had Charlemagne and Alfred. divine right. Eventually. He. Lo uis. Peter des Rivaux was put in charge of both the Exch equer. Her second family were among Henry's closest all ies. some of which he may have committed. was much more successful. St. his claims were not all hot air. His power seemed very great to his contemporaries. In Germany and Italy at the same time. Although his attitude irritated many of his subje cts. His mo ther. He had control of his governm ent. Louis was the most powerful French king in at lea st 300 years. Henry III grew up and took control of his realm. William's heir. Also some of his father's Poitevin servants were still around.

most had holdings on the militarized and now-threatened Welsh border. in hopes they would bail him out. that proved to be Henry's Ac hilles heel. the pope. his chief men. He pursued this directly until he suffered a humiliating defeat in Poitou in 1242. who called himself Prince of Wales. to someone e lse. Henry enter ed into negotiations with the pope to buy Sicily for his second son Edmund. none of which he eventually attained. Behind this move was a small but powerful group of 5 earls and two great barons. he had offended against the barons' dignity. to be paid in 18 months. found gr eater goals. Henry had nothing effective about Wales. as big as that payment was. At the same t ime as Henry's foreign policy was going awry. there was troub le on the Welsh border. still unpaid. and famine resulted. an illegitimate son of Frederick II was in possession. If it wasn't paid in full .000 marks. Germany and Sicily. was a man of ambitious projects.000 marks. For years now. In that year. who was overlord of Sicily. from Llewelyn ap Gruffydd. and he hoped to use his family connections in Provence and nearby Savoy to be come a power in southern Europe. The pope. The payment to the pope was to be raised through taxing the clergy in Engl and. He especially wanted to weaken Louis of France. Also. were ready to press for a return to what they considered good government . Germany and Southern France were in turm oil in the mid-thirteenth century. The barons were in no mood to help Henry. Henry was desperate. The pope did not act ually control Sicily. Henry had married into the ruling family of Provenc e. things were bad at home. the king would be liable to excommunication. just as Henry was raising all the money he could through taxation. concluded in 1255. who were specialist s in administration. and ran his government with the help of obscure. Henry had ignored this special relationship. This Sicilian business was very unpopular in England. both Henry and his brother. Henry had several goals. like these other rich and powerful monarchs. So the price of a crown was set at 135. almost as much a s Richard Lionheart's ransom. The pope had been fighting Frederick II for a long time and h ad big debts. Frederick II died. Richard earl of Cornwall. Italy. and Henry hoped to take advantage of this. All were men of diplomatic and military experience. The barons stood on their rights as defined in Magna Carta and refused to contribute taxes. Henry s oon realized that he would not be able to raise the 135. Then he changed his angle of attack. Richard of Cornwall used his extensive personal wealth to get himself elect ed king of Germany. it was just the beginning. his natural adv isors. It was this Sicilian deal. So the barons. Henry's fir st project was to recover the French territories lost by his father. worse. often foreign advisors. After 1250. threatened to excommunicate Henry. The most determined reformer a . Anjou and Normandy. and set about trying to establish himself there. he had been doing pretty much what he wanted. and a war would be necessary to get rid of him. He also favored his Lusignan half-brothers and sisters and his relatives from Provence and Savoy. Henry had not given up on Poitou. In early 1258. In 1256 a nd 1257 there were crop failures in England. They believed that they were the king's partners in government. in this moment of royal we akness. and was forced to do something he had been avoiding for a l ong time: he decided to consult with his chief barons.Henry. The pope was anxious to destroy Fr ederick's family and give Frederick's kingdoms. This. wanted Henry to pay well for his son's kingdom.

mong them was, strangely enough, a Frenchman and the king's brother-in-law, a ma n who had a European-wide reputation. He was Simon de Montfort, earl of Leiceste r, who eventually became the symbol of the baronial cause. Simon de Montfort was the son of another famous Simon de Montfort who had been the military leader of the Albigensian Crusade, the papacy's campaign again st heresy in the South of France. The elder Simon had been a brilliant general, and for a few years he had been ruler of a vast principality. The younger Simon shared many traits with his father. He was pious, he was arrogant, he was a good war leader. He had cooperated with Robert Grosseteste in expelling the Jews from Leicester. In other circumstances he would have been an excellent king by divine right. Simon had settled in England after making good his hereditary claim to Lei cester. At first he had been on very good terms with Henry -- Henry allowed him to marry his sister Eleanor. Simon was also governor of Gascony for a while. But he had been so tough on the independent Gascons that they had got him tried for abuse of office. Simon was acquitted, but permanently embittered against Henry. In April of 1258, Simon de Montfort and his six confederates to support ea ch other against all others but the king and his heir. The oath was meant to cem ent an alliance, or commune, so that they could take decisive action to reform t he realm. Around this core, other barons and even knights gathered. By the time Henry and his barons met at Westminster on April 30, the king was facing a commu ne that took in the most important men in England. This group, armored but not armed, demanded that the king should dismiss h is Poitevin supporters and join their commune. Henry and his eldest son Edward h ad little choice but to swear the oath, and thus join with them in a program of reform. This time the barons wanted more than a one-shot guarantee of good governm ent like Magna Carta. They had in mind a whole new system of government. First, there was an attempt to halt and remedy abuses by royal officials i n the local communities of England. New sheriffs, substantial local men, were to be appointed. Also, in each shire, a panel of four local knights was to hear co mplaints against royal officers. Second, the barons set up a new central government to prevent future abuse s. A council of 15 members was set up to advise the king, and the king was requi red to follow their advice. The chief officers of the realm, the justiciar, the treasurer, and the chancellor, swore to obey the council. Third, the barons established that there should be three parliaments -- th e word meant discussion, and did not imply an institution -- per year, at which the 15 councilors, 12 major barons, and the king should treat the business of th e realm. It was probably intended that these 28 people were a minimum, not a max imum, for attendance at these discussions. The intent was not to narrow the poli tical process but to widen it. Implied in the reform agenda, but not spelled out, was the reduction of He nry's adventures overseas. The Sicilian involvement was dropped, and negotiation s for peace with France were begun. Triumphantly the barons had these decisions, called the Provisions of Oxfo rd (1258), publicly proclaimed in English, so as to reach all the free men of th e country and thus build support. The barons were surprised, then, to find that

their program did not satisfy the lesser people. Knights, burgesses, and other s mall but reasonably important types were still feeling hard pressed. Partly it w as the continuing famine; but mainly it was the incompleteness of reform. Smalle r people, you see, were often more concerned with the abuses of baronial powers and baronial officers than they were with the king's government. The unrest was enough to bring forth, in the fall of 1259, the Provisions of Westminster, aimed at restricting the power of lords over their tenants. Free tenants wanted, and got, limits set on the power of their superiors to collect money and require attendance at feudal courts. Added on to these measures were n ew restrictions on royal officers, so that they could not push around the lesser free folk. The non-baronial free men, invoked by reformers both in 1215 and in 1258, were making their presence felt on the national scene. These measures l community had some hey be turned into a luck controlling the were an astonishing victory for the idea that the politica rights, some say in how the realm was governed. But could t permanent form of government? Would these barons have more king than their predecessors had had in 1215?

The simple answer is no. Henry never really believed in this revolution. He saw the realm as his h ereditary estate, which he could run as freely as any other free man ran his. Re member this was the era of high farming, when every landlord in England was tryi ng to gain maximum advantage from his holdings, customary restraints notwithstan ding. From the very beginning he tried to wiggle free. He got the pope to absolve him from his oath to the commune of barons, an d his oath to uphold the Provisions of Oxford. He exploited divisions between th e barons. When war with the barons seemed imminent, he got his former enemy, Kin g Louis of France, to act as an arbiter between him and his domestic enemies. Th is was called the Mise of Amiens. Louis was famous for his justice, but he also was a king, and in the end, he came down on the side of unrestrained royal powe r. Louis' decision left the reformers in disarray. The only alternative to su bmission now was war. Some barons would not take that step. But a determined gro up under Simon de Montfort decided to fight -- and they won. In May of 1264, the re was a battle at Lewes in Sussex, where the king's forces were scattered and H enry and his son Edward were taken into custody. The results of Lewes were, in fact, rather paradoxical. Many of the lesser folk were heartened by the apparent victory for constitutional government, or p erhaps, more accurately, the communal ideal. But constitutional government was i tself a casualty. Many barons no longer supported Simon. To avoid losing power, Simon had to act as a dictator in the king's name. While he controlled the king , he could issue orders in the manner of a shogun. Simon tried to rebuild constitutional government on a new basis. He was th e first to hold parliaments -- formal discussions of national business -- in whi ch representatives of the knightly class and of the burgesses took part. This mi ddle class group was right behind him. When Queen Eleanor threatened to invade E ngland, Simon was able to call up a middle class and peasant militia to defend t he country. Most of the bishops supported him too, because they believed in rest raints on royal power. But without support of the earls and great barons, Simon was in a precarious position. The royal position was clear-cut and easily understood. The kingdom belong ed to the king, as a person, not as an impersonal, institutional crown. He shoul d be able to do with it what he liked; he had the same freedom as any free man t

o run his own property. Other "free men" felt that their powers and rights were not dissimilar to his. And his power was traditional. He was the king, and peo ple knew, without thinking, that they owed him obedience. Any time the king got loose, he could take command of his bureaucracy, call on his vassals, and invoke the customary oaths that people had sworn to him. The case for constitutional government, of institutional restraints on the king's will, was new, not entirely thought out, and had only the support of the dissatisfied and the enthusiasts. The reluctance of many high-ranking laymen to join Simon in the last stage of the struggle was motivated partly by personal f actors. Simon could be very hard to deal with. But also lords who treasured thei r position, their freedom of action, and their hereditary privileges could easil y fall into sympathy with the king. Besides, it was quite obvious that Simon de Montfort was an upstart and a traitor to his liege lord. In early 1265, Edward, Henry's heir, was allowed to escape from custody. Edward was already a grown man of military talent. He was able to assemble an ar my, and in August of that year, defeat Simon de Montfort at Evesham in Warwicksh ire. His body was hacked to bits, and his remaining followers hunted down. What is the significance of this conflict? On the most obvious level, it was a royal victory. Henry III regained ever ything he had lost. He was able to spend his declining years finishing his recon struction of Westminster Abbey as a great shrine to divinely sanctioned royal po wer, which of course it still is today. Edward, his heir, was confidently able t o go crusading in the holy land without fear of trouble in England. Simon de Mo ntfort was secretly honored by some as a political saint, but the royal idea was stronger than ever. Yet the communal cause was not utterly lost. The experiment led by de Mont fort kept the ideas behind Magna Carta alive when they could have so easily been forgotten. There were practical results as well. The widening of the political commun ity that had taken place in the communal period turned out to be permanent. The knights and burgesses, long a source of tax revenue and manpower for royal commi ssions, were now recognized as having a collective national role. Under Edward I their presence in parliament would become almost normal. And as we shall see, e ven as powerful and popular a king as Edward I would have to bow on occasion to institutional restraints on his freedom of action.

Edward I: The Early Years Henry III's efforts to rule unrestrained caused civil war, and victory in civil war allowed Henry and his son, the Lord Edward to do as they liked. It was the beginning of a period when royal rule was as secure as it ever was. Edward I, whose effective reign began with the fall of Simon de Montfort, was close to being the ideal medieval king. He was personable, tall, handsome, s uperficially charming. He was a brave warrior and a good general. He was a dilig ent administrator. He combined the talents of Richard Lionheart and Bad King Joh n. He was popular, at least in his early days, capable in just the way the rulin g class wanted him to be capable, vigorous, and intelligent. His position was so secure in the early 1270s that he left his aged father and toured the world, with no fear that the result might be political instabili ty. He went crusading, one of the last western European royal princes to do so,

First was the Ragman Quest. Both successes and failures enable us to trace the changing shape of medieval so ciety around the year 1300. has to be defined. The Ragman Quest brought to the royal attent ion the complaints of the hundreds and villages of England. and each juror was requi red to affix his seal to the resulting documents. The information so gathered was written down. The ancient Norman and Angevin custom of grabbing the royal treasure and getting oneself crowned immediately after the old king's death was obsolete There is no doubt that he is the classic English example of a powerful lat er medieval king. in 1267. at least those of th e more substantial members of those communities. John. and some of the reforms of the De Montfort er a were confirmed. he spent two years in Gascony. It laid the basis for much roya l legislation over the next ten years or so.. Re form. He used that power for two purposes fairly typical of English kings: consolidating his government at home and extending it over other lands. The Ragman Quest also led to what is generally called the Quo Warranto pro ceedings. once again. Juries were form ed in most localities to give information into royal rights and the conduct of o fficials. Quo Warranto was an investigation into each of these liberties and privile ges. One of the things Edward usually gets high marks for is reforming zeal. At a great meetin g of king and nobility. The parchment documents with t he dangling seals were called "ragmen. But there were gaping holes in that organization. The justices wanted to see written proof that the king 's ancestors had actually granted the privileges in question. Magna Carta. This was enough to reconcile most of the population to royal rule. Instead. It was a series of inquests. with which he had conquered his lands. In part this was an effort to fight the slow transformation of appointive offices into hereditary positions. but the Ragman Quest was an unusually large. (a "parliament. When Edward returned to England in 1274 for his coronation. Only in 1274 did he return to England for a coron ation. Private lords enjoyed liberties that ena bled them to exercise royal judicial and financial rights for their own profit. the Charter of the Forest. when questioned about his right to the liberties e held at Lewes." in the terminology of the time. produced a rusty sword he said had been borne by his ancestor n the time of the Conqueror. and limit many liberties that he could not aboli . "Quo warranto" means "by what warrant?" This is what the royal justices asked the lo rds who came before them. thorough. Such a procedure was not new. Earl of Warrenne. he plunged rig ht into a further round of reform. shoring up the foundations of English rule in that country.and when he heard news of his father's death in 1272. aimed at requiring anyone who possessed one to justify his possession. and systematic inquest. rue or not. Edward began his reforms before he was king. Edward devoted much energ y during the first half of his reign to calling his own officials to account for their actions." and thus the name for the inquest as a w hole. Edward was concerned the constant problem of corruption and abuse of power by royal officials. The story. Many royal ri ghts had been granted away in the past. he did not hurry back to b e crowned. I have often emphasized the strength and organization of royal governm ent in England. indicates the resentment that Quo Warranto excited among the great ords. h i t l Edward was strong enough to reclaim many powers that had been lost to the crown for decades or centuries. Thus the housecleaning desired by his subjects also benefited him in a very direct way.

The last of them. but also stabilized the power of the highest ranks of society. It prev ented the fragmentation of knight's fees into pieces so small that the knight se rvice and customary payments were lost to the superior lord. But great lords also won privileges from Edward. which was rugged enough to be a natural fortress. thus fulfilling a contra ct he had made with the dead earl some years before. He allied himself with Welsh allies. English justices were sent through m . be cause it made their power over their vassals meaningful. In 1277 made war on Llywely n . when he made his peace with Henry and Edward. The purpose of this law was to preserve the superior lord's feudal profits in an era where the buying and selling of land was increasingly common. the mountainous northwest ern part of Wales. one who had a keen interest in seeing that knight service was performed or at least commuted into money payments. When Edward became king. who was the greatest lord of all. Prince of Wales. when old rules were a dapted to take into account social changes. and nearly impregnable Welsh castles. He called himself. and he p rovocatively married the daughter of Simon de Montfort. which had made itself the final arbiter in such matters. came close to uniting Wales under them. in essence sold a piece of land. and extending royal rights over English society has its counterpart in his foreign policy. It was a time of definition or perhaps redefinition. in the s outh while attacking Gwynedd from the east and using his fleet to seize the fert ile isle of Anglesley. Edward was bas ically besieging Gwynedd. This measure of course benefited earls and other tenants-in-chief most. was acknowledged by the English rulers to be the overlord of nearly all the other Welsh princes. source of much of Gwynedd's food supply. impressive. the great definer of royal right s. was going to be a very onerous overlord. reclaiming. The redefinition augmented the autho rity of the crown. with some justification. Wales There was new and serious challenge to English overlordship. he forfeited the fe udal service owing from that part of his fief. Edward secured his p ower by building the first of his expensive. During the 13th century. and in 1267. Llywelyn surrendered in November of 1277. the princes of Gwynedd.sh. The Welsh princes soon found that Edward. Ed ward tried to turn this vague suzerainty into a real rule over those lands. If a tenant granted part of his fief away for money. But it also benefited t he king. running a brilliant campaign. Llewelyn refused to do homage to Edward. Lly welyn ap Gruffydd. Llywelyn was not deposed. and the seller lost any interest in or rights over the lan d. The buyer became a direct tenant of the seller's lord. but Ed ward replaced him as the direct lord of every Welsh prince. built up his power while Henry III was distracted by Savoy an d Sicily. Edward's program of defining. This technical matter illustrates a salient characteristic of Edward I's r eign. with mixed success. A law of 1290 basically forbade subinfeudation. increased it further by allying with the Montfortians in the civil war . English kings had long exercised overlordship over Wales and Scotland.

Many influential Scott ish lords were lords in England. Edward was storing up t rouble for himself. who still thought of himself a s a national leader. North Wales was divided into shires. The circumstances that brought Edward into Scotland were these. Once. and by June of 1283. and the action immedi ately touched off a general revolt that Llywelyn. His officials justified this by saying the king could alter ancient custom in the common interest. His only heir was his threeyear-old granddaughter. but for the moment it was an impressive flexing of the royal muscles. The man who broke the peace (i n 1282) was not Llywelyn. Big and stup endously expensive castles were built to foil further revolts. revolt was predictable. This marriage would have led to a union of the crowns of E ngland and Scotland. After the second Welsh war. and could not see the English king as a fo reign villain. In doing this. The Welsh won some impressive victories in the beginning.ost of Wales to take control of the legal process. Edward was in cont rol of the country once more. What Edward won by arms was secured by the imposition o f a new legal regime that made Wales scarcely more than another region of Englan d -. Margaret. all of Wales except the marcher lordships was subjected to royal authority. No one was too concerned about this. circumstances invol ved him in the politics of the northern kingdom. of course. He seiz ed a royal castle in anger over some slight to his rights. In the early 1290's Edward upset the independent marcher lords of the Wels h border lands by abrogating their right to private war. The officials in charge of administerin g this revolution were. died unexpectedly. Scotland Very soon after he put his Welsh settlement into effect. the king's second son Edward. and found themsel ves tried. H Edward is typical of the strong monarchs of his time. his acquisitive instincts and t he legalistic techniques of high medieval monarchy led him inevitably to attempt ed conquest. when the young Maid of Norway died on th e voyage to Scotland. In 1286. The Welsh conquest. This contract collapsed. who had both the pow er and the ideology to make possible a more absolute style of monarchy. too. t he King of Scots. but his younger and troublesome brother David.though it had its own prince. In this situation. a do ctrine that was very dangerous to any established lesser power. . now his heir. imprisoned. Alexander III. and some remain ing peculiar customs. had to join to keep his credibility. This was the defin itive conquest of Wales. wa s the result of Edward's determination to define and enforce his royal rights as widely as possible. English criminal law was substituted for Welsh practices. Princes were constrained to a ttend English courts and argue their claims just as every other petitioner did. the daughter of the king of Norway. almost entirely non-Welsh. however. however. Arrangemen ts were made to bring her to Scotland to serve as a royal figurehead. Edward found hims elf enmeshed very deeply in Scottish affairs. Llywelyn hims elf not been killed in December of 1282. but Edward's gen eral ship and his much greater resources made the war a short one. and heavily fined. The counci l of regency negotiated with Edward for a marriage between Margaret and his son Edward. which had been accomplished quickly if not cheaply. The earls of Her eford and Gloucester defied him by fighting each other anyway.

The paralle l with Wales between 1277 and 1282 is almost exact. then a Scottish town. but as an active feudal superior who could sit in judgement on how the S cots king treated his own vassals. but they were ignored. but his success had been astonishing to date. Soon after. To this point. The French king had confi scated that duchy and occupied it. Edward created a situation that could only result in war. His power in Britain was unprecedented. Thereafter King John surrendered his kingship to Edward. Edward had gotten an important a dmission from the future king of Scots. was the great-g reat-grandson of King David I. He was carted off to England. True.and he included in this summons both the recently conquered Welsh and the Scots. the Scots royal army was routed . was the last for a century. and of course they did. Edward had gotten himself in trouble in Gascony. the English king called all h is vassals up for service in France -. He insisted on acting not as a distant ov erlord. since it failed. He was asked to be an arbiter and agreed to act as judge. Twelve other candidates with more tenuous claims came forward. prelates and even parish priests. Edward insisted on receiving hom age and fealty from 2000 Scots lords. whoever he might be. The process took less than t wo years this time. and th e Stone of Scone. he was in trouble in Gascony. he gave it the widest possible interpretation. Edward I presented the picture of a great conqueror. Once Edward had wrung this concession from the new king of Scots. immediately afterwards he swore fealty to Edwa rd as superior lord of Scotland. was named king. There was a major Welsh rising. the decision was made by the English royal council an d accepted by the Scots. he had already overextended himsel f. In the spring of 1296. Not only did the Scots refuse to lie down and roll over. could work under the b est possible leadership. . In 1296. he had abolished Scotland as a separate kingdom. he is an example of how well the 13 th century English monarchy. he treated John Balliol as he treated his English barons. the governmental records. Edward's career illustrates a differen t theme: however rich and powerful he seemed. was one generation further removed from David. symbol of the Scots monarchy. Who was to judge between the competitors? The obvious answer was Edward. After this date. The other nobles and churchmen of Scot land refused to do this. John Balliol. In Scotland. None of them were closel y related to Alexander III. As far a s he was concerned. By accepting appeals from Scotland and making unprecedented demands on Joh n Balliol. another. In other words. Berwick. In November of 1292. a man with important holdings on both sid es of the border. considered as a war machine. One serious candidates. But he had no more luck than th e Welsh. John Balliol. Robert Brus. King John prepared to resist. or the Welsh princes after 1277. which. but Philip of France insisted on treating Edward much as he had treated Llywelyn ap Gruffydd or John Balliol. who had died 130 years previously.There were many possible claimants to the throne. was sacked and th e male inhabitants were slaughtered. In this crisis. Edward required all of the competitors to acknowledge his feudal superiori ty over Scotland. along with the Scottish royal regalia.

as it always had been. Edward did so by the shocking expedient of withdr . the duchy would be handed back on conditions acceptable to both sides. Edward's policy. he decided to fight. was given a pretext to beat up on the English king. The French king and his officials were very glad to have an opportunity to call him to account. Edward was faced with the choice of fighting for Gascony or leaving. B y 1296. even the Welsh princes and John Balliol and the Scots lords. he tightened his control over small countries already dominated by England. Their reaction was to revolt. But despite t hese successes. As the most powerful of French vassals. There are two ironies in Edward's position in the mid-1290s. and sacked the French-ruled port of La Rochelle. Edward was in regard to Gascony a vassal of the French king. the Duchy of Gascony. Once they got there. But a united Britain was not to be. won. In 1294. Philip. that is Edward and Philip. Philip immediate ly demanded the Edward's subjects pay compensation to his own. Edward felt it n ecessary to call up all his vassals. Th e pope was infuriated. With it. By 1296. Edward had apparently conquered all of Britain. they showed no signs of leaving. But Philip IV (the Fair) of France was a man with just as high an opinion of his own royal power and dignity as Edward had. who had just lost an embarrassing war with Aragon in Spain. The first is that he did not have any continental ambitions. Edward was summ oned to Paris to answer the complaint against him. France was. Of course. The second irony is that once Philip had a legal pretext. the kings browbea t their clergy into obedience. In 1294 both decided to tax the clergy so they could fight each other. As far as we can tell. In 1293. To fight France. English and Gascons fought a battle with Norman and Poitevin sailors. English negotiators were led to believe that if this confiscation was allo wed to proceed. Rather th an trying to establish himself in southern or central Europe. he launched a very ambitious and expensive foreign policy. was far more successful than his father's. Thus French troops were allowed to occupy Gascon strongpoints without opp osition. however. In both cases.Edward I: Later Difficulties Edward I inherited an enviable tradition of royal power. finishing a process of E nglish expansion that began in the fifth century. among ot her things. Boniface VIII threatened Edward and Philip with excommuni cation and forbade the clergy to pay the taxes. and his Scots war ended in the deposition of the Scots king. Edward quickly reasserted his control over W ales. When he refused. A war with France was no laughing matter. at least at first. and in the 1290s most of these resources were under the control of the king. Edward was already involved i n continental wars that were to frustrate his Scottish conquest and create many other problems for him. the duchy wa s formally confiscated. not at all comparable to fightin g Welsh princes or the King of Scots. Edward was in th e same uncomfortable relation to the French king that Llywelyn ap Gryffudd and J ohn Balliol were to him. what was left o f Eleanor's Aquitaine. put all they had into their prepara tions. he simply wanted to hold on to what he already had. Both kings. Edward was a stand ing challenge to the superiority of the king in his own kingdom. a much more populous and fertile country than England. With his resources he was able to conquer Wales and force the king of Scots to surrender his crown. the revolts were ominous symptoms of what kind of strain all-out war with France would be.

Thus there was a consider able community of interest. But Edward's expensive policy and the arbitrary measures he was in creasingly turning to meant that the earls could were not alone in their discont ent. But wool immediately became the cent er of a more serious dispute. These p rotested and got some relief from the king. and when he used several dubious methods to raise his revenue from the laity. The two earls protested at the Exchequer and then drew up a formal petitio n. Edward's chief milita ry subordinates. opposition was general enough that the king was forced to make concessions. The Flemings were natural a llies of the English. to men of the 1290s. (like King John had) but this was an expensive propositio n (as in King John's time). however.. and not t he international church. a tax so h igh everyone called it "the bad tax. This incident demonstrated that the predominance of the popes over secular rulers since the mid-eleventh century was over. and so the cou nt turned out to be a rather useless ally. because they now commanded r esources and organization superior to that of the pope. Those two earls were Constabl e and Marshal of the Kingdom respectively. The great monarchies. Some of Edward's magnates. Dissatisfaction became open protest in August. But Flanders was politically divided. He had merely secured the agreement o f some of his closest supporters meeting in his private chambers. they were refusing to ser ve overseas unless the king went with them. which they presented to Edward as he was sailing to Flanders. in particular the Earls of Hereford and Norfolk . Eventually clerical opp osition collapsed. Edward announced that high taxes on wool exports granted him in a meeting of parliament in 1294. By 1297. and the pope had to back down. when a full parliam ent took place. From another point of view. Edward's strategy involved building an alliance in the Low Countries and G ermany against France. and the count hated royal interference in his own affairs. in other words. The industrial cities were dependent on English wool.which. Edward ordered his officials to seize all foreign o wned wool. so resentment of the king may have m otivated him. Edward's one succes s was to win over the Count of Flanders to his side. Opposition continued to grow. the results were not impressive. meant that a ll the important tenants-in-chief and representatives of the knights and commons should have been consulted. Already by the the beginning of 1297. which was to be sold for his own profit. No form al parliament or discussion had been held. Despite the expense. By the end of September. In the spring of 1297.awing royal protection from the church and its property. He put the screws to the English clergy. Edward was strapped. held the balance of power. Hereford was one of the marcher lord s disciplined by Edward five years earlier. as two ambitious kings found the w ar they had undertaken to be far more expensive than they had anticipated. were already upset about the conduct of the war. This was a vio lation of Magna Carta's provision that taxes were to be levied only with the agr eement of the community of the realm -. Royal officials were so enth usiastic that they started seizing wools from English merchants as well. He ignored them and left the country. (the Michaelmas Parliament) presided over by regents for Edward . . the grab for clerical revenues was j ust one desperate expedient among many other. Very quickly he had provoked strong political opposition." (maltolte) had been regranted him.

Both men wanted to be the boss. things began looking u p for the English cause. and assured the permanent hostility of his i nfluential family. Edward could nearly always win his battles with the Scots. Edward returned to the country in force in 1300 and 1301. Soon after that. there were already Scots fighting against them. They called themselves "leaders of the army of Scotland. including John Comyn. But once he left Scotland the opposition reassembled and the country beca me uncontrollable once more. and he did not hesitate to continue his French war. that no extraordi nary taxation should take place without "the common assent of the whole realm. part of a very powerful family. just before the Confirmation of the Charters. Edward was again the boss. Once the Michaelmas parliament was dismissed. the son of a baron. To cut hi s losses he had made a quick peace with Edward. His participation was indicative of the solid support of the Scottis h church for the cause of independence. but was unable t o win any meaningful victories." In September o f 1297. . He immediately summoned all Scots patriots to muster under his leadership. and repealed the "bad t ax. there was no turning back. But the whol e scheme fell apart in 1306. a knight. Andrew Moray. Thus Edward was free to throw all his resources against Scotland. Brus murdered him. their army destroyed a for ce of English knights at Stirling Bridge. he led an army into Scotland in 1298 and destroyed William Wallace's army at Fa lkirk. Most Scottish leaders were willing to swear fealty to him. and John Comyn. He did s o in 1303. although he maintained he had never owed loyalty to Edward. and William Wallace was captu red by deceit. and when he refuse d to go along with it. In Scotland." This was the sharpest check that Edward's absolutist tendencies ever received. He apparently tried to interest John Comyn in the scheme. and undoubtedly Brus wanted to revive his grandfather 's claim to the throne. In 1305. in 1302. For a number of years. D espite the loss at Falkirk. Brus made hi s peace with the English king. Edward's officials had made themselves very unpopular in the north. and he had himself declared king. The bishop of St. For instance. when Robert Brus decided to go into revolt once aga in. Robert Brus. however. and by 1297. and William Wallace. But a new problem quickly ar ose. France and Scotland cooperated to make his life mis erable. The efforts of Moray and Wallace had been successfu l enough to convince greater barons to throw their lot in with the resistance. Their mutual hostility grew until. and even gave Gascony back. Earl of Carrick and grandson of the com petitor for the crown. This was a particularly shocking crime in that it took place in a church. Philip the Fair had attacked Flanders and found himself in terrible trouble. Sti rling Castle was taken from its Scottish garrison.He reconfirmed Magna Carta and the Forest Charter. took part in it. Once Brus had murdered Comyn. He was dragged off to Westminster where he was tried and executed for treason. became jo int guardians of Scotland. A great army entered Scotland and found no organized resistance. Two men in p articular were active." He also agreed to the principle so dear to his opponents. It was the signal for a full-scale Sc ottish revolt. Edward was able to set up an organized administration for Scotlan d. The Brus and Comyn factions fell out in Scotland. The example of aristocratic resistance on constitutional grounds was import ant in the next reign. Then the French war came to a sudden halt. T he Confirmation of the Charters became a building block of the English constitut ion. including Comyn and Brus. Many important Scots. Andrews became a third guardian the next year.

by contrast. fought great wars.would rise together and live in harmony to the end of the world. An English army under the Earl o f Pembroke defeated his army and Brus had to leave the country. he org anized another army to subdue Scotland thoroughly. unified their realms as they had never been unifi ed before. through their dedication to the supremacy of the royal power. None too soon: Brus was soon back in Scotland winning victories against English garrisons. The first was his Scottish war. unprecedented in centuries. expelled the Jews from his kingdom while confiscating th eir property. Edward's French contemporary.Robert Brus's coup almost failed at once.that is. but had no t had an easy time of it. and the people of Scotland and Britain -. He did everything Edward did. His situation seemed to offer great opportunities for extendin g his rulership even further. But despite the conquest of Wales. His personal talents were exceptional. The third was-. which verged on th e arbitrary. These shoes were so big that Edward II found th em impossible to fill. Both men are rightfully seen as kings who. Wales -. leaving a mess for his son to deal with as best he could. The Deposition of Edward II At his death in 1307 Edward I left his son Edward II three burdensome bequ ests. so pop ular in his youth. Just to make sure. and a restive baronage. which was no closer to an end now than it had been in 1297. But one is impressed not only by the cost to other people of their wars an d ambitions. and had lots of them burnt at the stake. Edward. The second was a debt of around £60. Philip the Fair. He went beyond Edward when he had his agents arrest the pope and a ccuse him of heresy. Philip was a true believer in royal supremacy and spent his life enforcing his rights and destroying all possible opposition to his power. Edward I had been peculiarly well-suited to be a medieval king. Edward II. Friars were going around Scotland repeating a prophecy of Merlin. was a good match for him. and. his nobility and his towns were in revolt. an endless guerilla war on th e northern frontier. like Edward. It is not simp ly that Philip never got Gascony. was the worst politician ever . When Philip died. The powe r he inherited was very great. H e too inherited great power and harbored absolutist ambitions. The old irascible king seemed to have won again. The mess he left behind is what impresses me most about Edward I.his shoes. The covetous king d id die. Edward treated a ll his supporters savagely. lost the devotion of the political class long before he died. They resented his demands and feared his techniques of rule. They certainly helped build the French and English nations we know to day.000. It was only with great effort that his son conciliated the opposition. and when he denounced the Crusading Order of Knights Templa r as secret apostates and idolaters. a vast amount by contemporary stand ards. but also by the instability of the whole enterprise. seized their property. He bequeathed to his son great debts. made great and unprecedented demands on his subj ects. that Le Roy Coveytous would die. Edward's son quickly faced similar opposition. or that Edward failed to subdue Scotland. Edward never got a chance to fight that last campaign. It i s that they undermined political consensus at the same time as they were vindica ting their rights.

Ma . I will break the political conflict into five stages. the speed with which he did this is rather astonishing. In the meantime th e seige would be raised. In 1312 there was a short. however. Edward II took these restraints in no better spirit than had Henry III. the one holding Stirling Castle. and other rich gifts. A few select men. Edward was popular at first (people were tired of the old man). he could scarcely have been more enamore d of them. sharp outbreak of fighting. By 1310-1311. offices. Some of the great earls with fairly general support resp onded by asserting their right to take part in and even control the royal govern ment. men not of the first rank in society. who had returned to England in defiance o f those Ordinances. It is possible that some of these favorites were the king's lovers. had ag reed with its besiegers to surrender by a Midsummer Day 1314. the last important English garrison in Scotland. alienating the aristocracy with astonishing speed. At this point. were loaded with estates. in which the kin g provoked his earls into armed resistance. Edward's force met the army of Robert Brus on June 23. Some of them were shocked and began to cooperat e with the king. This was a challenge to English prestige that could not be ignored. Edward ignored everyone else most of the time. It ended only with Edward's deposition and death. an d was crushed. the business of Scotland pressed on the English po litical class. without lasting success -. but the Ordinances were not restored. This event inaugurated Stage Two of the struggle. Piers Gaveston had already been banished on ce by Edward I as a bad influence on his son. Edward II's main fault was his inordinate attachment to a few favorites. during which Edwar d revoked the Ordinances and Gaveston. Once again. The new king immediately summoned him back and installed him as one of his most trusted and best rewarded companio ns. Th ose who had killed Gaveston were pardoned. deeply into northern England. Edward assembled a vast force to relieve Stirling and reassert his authori ty in the north. a united baronial opposition forced Edward not only to send Gaveston away -. Whether or no. Edward had paid little attention to these problems. Stage One includes the first six years of Edward's reign. In essence. but very quickly his friendship with an obscure Gascon squire n amed Piers Gaveston became an issue.to be King of England. in 1313. The feuding in England had allowed Robert Brus to take control of most of Scotland and raid. Now. The Ordainers themselves would act as a committee to oversee t he great and lesser officers. They also enjoyed his full confidence and he oft en acted after consulting only them. The result of this conflict of interests was not one.they had already done this once. The result was an uneasy peace between Edward and his earls. Apparently the defeat was caused entirely by bad generalship.but also to accept baronial control of his government. 1314. The killing of the king' s favorite split the opposition. A group of Lords Ordainers w as assembled to write Ordinances than would regulate the king's officers and the king's spending. and the h umiliating defeat of English might by the Scots under Robert Brus. but three episodes o f civil war. En gland. was captured and executed by some of the barons. and he had a very rough ride indeed. the degeneration of orderly government into near-anarchy. this was a revival of the baronial pro gram of 1258. pillaging and looting or extracting protection money from the inhabitants.

had founded the Scottish sense of common nationhood. a m artyr. but that was a long time ago. After so many batt les with his barons. and Robert Brus sent his brother Edward to Ireland. One of the few pieces of good n ews for England in this period was Edward Brus's defeat and death in October 131 8. Edward had married her when she was twelve. and people swarmed to his grave and the site of his death to honor him. Stage Five of the struggle was the overthrow of Edward. He. It confirmed in th e eyes of Europe that Scotland did exist as a separate country for England. and were not quite the total liability that Piers Gaveston had been. was actually king of Scotl and. They did manage a long truce with the Scots. More important in alienating her was the determination of the Despensers to keep the king and queen apart. who had been widely unpop ular before. was at the mercy of his o pponents. and always shown her outward respect. As you can imagine. imprisonment. and other nefarious means to rob noble men and women of their in heritances. The execution of Thomas of Lancaster ushered in Stage Four in the struggle . In 1325 she went to Paris and arranged a good treaty between her husband and her brother. The battle had important consequences in both kingdoms. the government was paralyzed. They used kidnapping . Edward refused to re cognize that Robert Brus. They were English and had some government experience. He led the movement to restore the Ordi nances. and started to plot against hi . father and son. Frenchmen present at the wedd ing had said that Edward loved Piers Gaveston better than Isabelle. Eventually this situation discredited Thomas of Lancaster. For England. at the very beginning o f the reign. England was helpless in the face of Scots aggression. his most dangerous enemy turned out to be his wife. She showed no desire to return to her husband. and quickly made himself the arbiter over the king's council. defeat him militarily. Isabelle planted herself in Pari s. and execute him a s a traitor. So the Scots continued to bl eed northern England white. The regime of the Despensers made him look very good. Edward had acquired new favorites: two men. were soon hated for their unbounded greed and their monopoly of the king's friendship. it was the beginning of Stage Three in the struggle between k ing and baronage. and Edward fled to England ignominiously . Edward's cousin and t he second wealthiest man in the kingdom. with his prestige shattered. Once young prince Edward was in her care. Edward was able to i solate Thomas of Lancaster politically. Thomas of Lancaster quickly became an underground saint. In 1322. his son and heir was sent as an acceptable substitute. The Despensers. who had humiliated England. King Edward was in charge once more. but even this must have been unpopular with some.ny important English lords were killed. Lancaster refused to take responsibility for that government's policies. Eventually Isabelle used a diplomatic mission to her brother the King of F rance to escape from the English court. The chief of these was Thomas Earl of Lancaster. The Despensers discouraged Edw ard from going in person. in the hopes of making him king of that country. Isabell e of France. if they seemed susp ect. Edward. but he reserved t he right to veto any measure the king's officers might take. named Hugh Des penser. and vindicated Robert's claim to be its king. but no strong measures were taken against him. with the unwilling help of Edward I.

extravagant and unreliable. and thence to Wales. Mort imer. The Des pensers and other royal officers were hunted down and executed as traitors. and their allies had to pretend that the king had delegated his power to h is son. what n ext? No one was willing to allow the king to return to power. things became more complicated. The citizens of the town asked t he magnates of the kingdom to swear with them to uphold the cause of Queen Isabe lle and her son. who held . Some apparently were reluctant -. Parliament. the questions the rebels had to face was. Isabelle. the archbishop of Canterbury announced that the ma gnates. With the king in custody. there was an obvious pretext for running the king's government in hi s absence.the term is more appropriate than army -. 1327. But before they rea ched him. Roger Mortimer. to assent to the measures he proposed (though perhaps after some debate). In the early days o f the coup. Her company -. It was rather an occasion when various great men and represen tatives of local communities met with the king to consult with him. Isa belle's coup was a brilliant success.some of the bishops had to be convinced to do the d eed. it caused a public uproar. Edward knew they were coming. the bishops who had visited him before went to Edward II and convinced him to abdicate by threatening to disregard his children's claims if he did not do so. a deputation of two bishops was sent to King Edward's place of confinement. Edward II was murdered under obscure circumstances. He a nd his party were planning an escape to Ireland when they were captured. Once landed. could hardly happen without the king. A new deputation w as appointed to take the decision of the nation to the king. Edward fled London to the West Country (Wessex). It was a victory for the great earls. following two attempts to r escue him from prison. and no one was will ing to stand by the king. and to agree to im plement his will. Soon she had taken a lover. Parliament was scarcely y et an institution. as then conceived of. Nevertheless. After some argument. He made everyone's task easier by refusing. This revolution of 1326-27 was an important moment in the evolution of the post-Conquest political system. Only a few months later. Edward III was proclaimed king on January 25th. clerics. The affair eventually became a scandal. He was a dangerous man. and the only business before the assembly was how to get rid of the king. It was his court of parliament.numbered only 700 men. the parliament went ahead in London in early January. and to depose the king in favor of his heir. and Isabelle and prince Edward went with Mortimer to the Netherlands. It was from there. that Isabelle and Roger Mortimer launched a small invasion of England. The upcoming parliament posed another challenge. the magnates of the realm r ecognized the prince as keeper of the realm. He had proved inco mpetent. a marcher lord who had been impri soned by the Despensers and had escaped to France. asking him to meet with the parliament. Writs summoning a parliament were i mmediately sent out. In October. not a body representing the kingdom in dependently of him. On the 15th of January. but his sail ors refused to sail against her fleet because of their hatred for the Despensers . When the king was captured.m. When this answer was heard in London. when Edward II was in flight. in 1326. with the help of the count of Holland and Hain ault. and calling the emissaries traitors. and that all had agreed to the succession of Edward III. and people of the kingdom had decided that King Edward was depo sed. Isabelle was joined by many important people.

the balance of power between Isabelle and her husband. seventeen years old. or should do. established that all statutes had to be approved by a parliament of prelates.and for profiting from it. Isabelle was allowed to retire. when he was trying to discredit the Ordainers and Ordinances. The kingdom was back where it had started. in 1330. tried be fore parliament as a traitor. The entire struggle had m ade the earls and great barons conscious of themselves as being a group of peers . a meeting of parliament w as the only means that suggested itself. and the commonalty of the realm. Like his grandfather. We have gone through five stages. the rest in fear for their lives got to the young king and with his support launched a coup. more important than the average royal vassal. When the c ountry determined that it must depose its lawful king. the young Edward III. There was constitutional development of a sort in the role of parliament. Mortimer took the only sensible step -. it was Edward II in 1322 who. Edward III. It was a welcome respite for the political class. Once again the king had been shown unable to de fend his northern borders. secular lords. What did Edward do with his undisputed power? Like his grandfather. on a trumped up charge. But their privileges were dangerous ones. Over the past century parliament had developed into the highest court in the lan d. a strong king was nece ssary. they might find themselves executed without any opportunity to answer cha rges against them. clergy and commons. he led . something Edward II ha d always been unwilling to do. where the king did. The system could work without the distraction of a constant struggle for powe r. and competent. Roger Mortimer. In ot her words. did not control his own go vernment at first. The need for the various parties to appeal to the country at large for legitimac y led to the permanent inclusion of representatives of the boroughs and the coun ties in parliament. bishops. all his most important business. The importance of the magnates increased. and was doo med from the start. Mortimer's position at the top was anomalous. in exchange for a large payment. the consent of the aristocracy alone was not enough to make law. from Edward's coronation until his depos ition and death. But although the move made good sense. The revolution of 1326-27 got rid of a bad king . assumed real power. but did nothing to restore stable government. with special rights and privileg es. It w as a blow to the new government. thus representing all the legitimate interests of the realm as a whole. and she survived until 1358. When. warlike. he was personable. but led to no new constitutional arrangements. Rather his mother and her lover. After this. and executed. Indeed. a sixth stage. Mortimer and Isabelle executed one of their critics. What finally finished him was another unsuccessful war with Scotland. With a king all could respect. There was in addition. If they fell dangerously out of favor. The success of the revolution guaranteed the increased prestige of p arliament as representing the estates or classes and thus the realm as a whole. the Ea rl of Kent. popular. earls and barons. To be tried without right of reply was the fate of Lancaster and Mortimer and several others I have not named.he arranged a treaty of peace recognizing Robert Brus's title as king. could discuss and deal with t his matter. with a government dominated by an unsuitable favorite. then. many of the worst political problems simply disappeare d. constituting the first th ree years of Edward III's reign. who was fourteen at his accession. For that. Mortimer was captured. Mortimer got pinned with the blame for English humiliatio n -. Only a parliament including the estates of the realm. were in char ge.

But almost immediately after the treaty was signed. His period of power was very brief. One of these was Edward . in t he early 1330s.Gas cony. the uncertain regime of the child king David II was threatened b y a "contra" group based in England. They hoped to regain their old estates. and since it was his job to excel in warfare. son of King John Balliol. a man of generosity. and lost their lands when Brus won. The two Edwards also drove David II and his supporters right into the arms of the King of France. For Edward. Robert Brus died in 1329. Some of the greatest families had supported the English cause during t he War of Independence. there were his stuff. But in the end. To hi s subjects at least he was not just the man who won victories that made them pro ud to be English. who at this point was Philip VI. war with France -. I think this is because he was not only a great soldier. He quite naturally sought to restore the prestige of his line and vindicate his rights -. Edward III found it convenient to give surreptitious and irregular encour agement to the Disinherited. too -. David II. but ultimat ely debilitating. e past generation or two. The main issue was the usual -. This gave an opening for a group of Anglo-Scottish lords known as the Disi nherited.by war. Philip VI was a cousin of his predecessor. including the Crusade. the situation was a bit touchier. which was f ollowed or preceded by the deaths of many of his closest supporters. b ut in supporting him Edward of England got involved in a Scottish war that would simmer on for the rest of the fourteenth century. In 1332. however.a war at first profitable. The conquest of Scotland attempted by his grandfather seemed to have come to a definitive end with the treaty of 1328 that Mortimer had concluded in Edwar d III's name. If Edward III was popular and revered because he symbolized 14th century a ristocratic virtue. the Scottish war and the gether pulled Edward III into the great enterprise several possible ways to show it was the two quarrels of th dispute over Gascony. was only five years old. not his son.Edward Balliol. Edward Ballio l invaded Scotland and won a stunning victory over David's army. He symbolized the virtues of his age in the way Victoria symbolized the virtues of hers. The Disinherited had a leader.his country into war. He was able to have himself crowned Edward I of Scotland. E dward came to the throne after a period of defeat and disgrace for the monarchy. The Era Of The Hundred Years War Edward III and the Origins of the Hundred Years' War Edward III was perhaps the most popular king England has ever had. There was the uncert ainty of Philip VI's royal title. So. the new peace between England and Scotland broke down. then we need h ardly look for any special causes for the Hundred Years' War that he launched. The new ki ng. but also a great knight. Now Edward III was already having problems with the king of France. courage . that to of his career. a warlike young man. and style. This time. This support paid dividends. who claimed that he was the rightful King of Scots. and there were other claimants to the throne. He was also personally admirable.

was now horrendously expensive. one of the richer monarchs of the time. with greater resources. in 1337 Edward III promised his allies £124 . well-designed castles that Edward I built to control Wales. Philip confiscated Gascony.000 a year. Thus bigger politic al units. Edward III. cost £20-25. not simply hegemony or tribute. For a long time kings had preferred profes sional soldiers to unpaid amateurs. In the earl y years of the war. pioneering merchant ban kers (mostly Italian) were out looking for investment opportunities. but not unique. the expense of which could hardly be imagined. By the time of Edward I. war between France and England seemed inevitable. In May of that year. This confiscation became the first shot in a dynastic and eventually national war that would turn the English and the French into traditional enemies. the feudal levy ha d become quite useless for any serious military expedition. £30. This was not entirely new. Borrowing money was a normal royal expedient. the big. it cost a lot to knock such fortifications down. when it was essentially finished. Edward was alre ady seeking continental allies. in Germany and the Netherlands. Edw ard I paid almost all of his troops. But his allies had some justification for asking for lots of money to r isk themselves in a war with France. Caernarfon Castl e was exceptional. for instance.000 a yea r. which had been getting increasingl y costly for a long time now. because sufficient tax revenue w as politically impossible to raise. he adopted the old strategy of finding allie s to the north of France. but these were enough to raise his annual income to no more than £57. Edward also resorted to manipulating trade to achieve both political and e conomic gains. This policy plunged him into a war. many principalities and ki ngdoms were more unified and strongly governed than earlier. . Edward made frequent resort to Italian firms willing and abl e to lend tens of thousands of pounds at a time. which forced David II's court to flee to France. Unfortunately for the peace of Europe. By 1337. Take. Perhaps Edward promised his allies too much. Perhaps the most important factor in raising military expenses was the gre ater ambition of the combatants. During his wars. introduc ed between the two kings another issue that had no easy solution. Kings and princes f ought for absolute lordship. Just one of these. vast borrowing was necessary. had a normal yearly re venue of no more than £30. In the early 14th century. or starve out their garrisons. Warfare. .000 before the end of the year. He then attacked Fran ce from the north in concert with them. each of which cost 80 billion dollars.III. When war came. of cour se. When war came. This is as if Canada had bought a sm all fleet of submarines. In any war. Another factor was the routine use of wages to pay the soldiers who fought the wars. Some people thought that at t he time. When Edward decided to fight.000 between 1284 and 1330. from earls on down. This was scarcely enough to meet his ordinar y expenses. Edward raised taxes through Parliament. In the 14th century. Caernarfon Castle. The Scottish war.000 w as a drop in the bucket. borr owing was easier than ever. For instance. fought each other in bigger and more destructi ve wars.

Here he had plenty of sympathizers: clergy and co mmons were upset about the way taxes were being collected without their consent. He call ed in all debts owing the crown. After 1341. became a regular part of English p olitics in his long reign. in the 1290s. the commons. At the same time. in the d eposition of Edward II.Like his grandfather before him. the commons had followed the baronial leadership. Arbitrary methods of making money had to be disowned. used the justice system to extract fines wherev er possible. An important aspect of this confrontation was the leading part taken by th e commons. he borrowed £100. the northern al lies were unreliable. He abandoned his expensi ve German and Netherlandish allies (though not the Flemings) and cut down on the outflow of his funds. and had to leave his queen and children behind in Ghent as a hos tage to his debtors. In the 1260s. took much of the initiative. hard pressed by taxation and disturbed by the use of the righ t of justice to raise money.000. Edward piled up huge debts. Edward found it quite possible to raise money i . one that paralleled t he crisis of 1297. and Scotland was unbeaten. Edward III learned then that if he wanted to get what he wanted. Redress of grievances in return for taxation. It was a lesson he learned well. gave wool export monopolies to those who would lend him money up front . there was little in the way of results to show for the mon ey. The result was the biggest crisis of Edward's reign. The position in Gascony was perilous. He also prevented wool fr om being sold to his enemies and directed it to his continental allies. refused to go qui etly. Archbishop Stratford. except before his peers. which he said was blamel ess. to raise m oney in person. and pledged future wool revenues to guarantee loans. and Stratford was off the hook. and especially with their representatives in meetings of parliament. By 1340. seeing he was to be the scapegoat. John Stratford. Edward's debts forced him to extreme measures. in the crisis of the Ordinances. and used other oppressive methods to raise money. He refuse d to submit to an examination of his conduct in office. In one three month period in 1338. Edward had to back down. In 134 0-41. Despite his bad debts. he would have to stay on good terms with the political classes. All of these expedients did not meet the need. he repudiated his debts to the Italian bankers. When a parliament finally met in 1341. therefore. Indeed. He became very good at trading well-timed concessions f or grants of the money he needed. and the sea battle of Sluys had destroyed the French fleet. the archb ishop of Canterbury. when Edward I's arbitrary taxation had turned the political c lass against him. When his efforts did not work. Edward taxed wool. Edward had succeeded in gaining the alliance of the Flemish wool cities. things began to go better for Edward. seized wool to sell it himself. both taking place in a parliamentary context. Rather he defended himself by bringing up constitutional issues. he was so strapped that he left the northern theater of war for England. he successfully made the king and his arbi trary methods the chief issue. In 1340. But no big victories on the land had been gained. Edw ard was very adept at wooing the commons with propaganda and appeals to loyalty and even national pride. more than three times his normal peacetime annual revenue. he tried to pin the blame on his regent. What was worse. The bishops and the secular lords were concerned about Edward's bullheadedness.

and subjects. In 1346. But as the war went on. even with its king in captivity. Because Edward said he was king of France. Raising the claim was probably just a bargaining chip. Brittany was a convenient landing place for English armies. who had succe eded his father in the meantime. ten years later. The plague of 1348-49 slowed down the French w ar. By presenting himself as an alte rnative king. and forced him into battle. But these victories did not win him the war. Despite the damage done by Edward's armies to French farms. He rushed headlong into battle and met a devastating new tactic. Thus when Edward was trapped at Crecy. dismount his knights and squires. and his army was destroyed. had been an early pioneer in recrui ting longbowmen from the Welsh marches to beef up his armies. Edward was a direct descen dant of Philip IV of France. Crecy was a great victory for English arms. He probably did not expect that tactic to work as well as it did . Even without the interruption of the plague. when the succession to the Duchy of Brittany was disputed in th e 1340s. the so . Philip raised a great army and decided to hunt Edward down and teach him a lesson. after years of cavalry dominat ing military practice. Philip VI was ahea d of the game. It won Edward and his subjects prestige and booty. Philip VI was not so closely related to the earlier Philip. a nd soon became the next battlefield.n different ways. The Scottish wars of the 1330s emphasized how useful archers were if given the right opportunities . The Flemish alliance was the first triumph of this te chnique. There was some justification for his claim. there is no reason to think tha t Edward could have gotten much more mileage out of Crecy than he did. But although the French much outnumbered the English. but merely recognized that his rule was illegitimate . it did not take great genius for him to take the best defensive position he could. a co mbination of infantry and archers. walked into the English longbows at Poitiers. Edward began to put his claim to good use. His big b reak came only in 1356. Edward I. Similarly. Edward led a provocative raid through Normandy and the v icinity of Paris. Edward had claimed the crown of France. Also the war went somewhat better for him. In 1337. Edward as king of France was able to bring the disappointed rival into alliance with him. the casualties for the French were terrible. however. But Edward was no really no closer to winning his war. the Flemings (who disliked the French court anyway) were able to join Edward and say that they had not brok en earlier oaths to Philip. Ph ilip lost. T he ability of infantry to stand against cavalry was much aided by using archery in combination with them. Scotland continued to resist. an d put archers on the flanks of his formations to shoot down the French knights a s they charged. The cake was iced by the fact that David II of Scotland wa s captured about the same time. which was divers e and highly regionalized. in fact. John also found himself captured by the Edward the Prince of Wales. who was retreating towards Flanders. when King John of France. At the beginning of the fourteenth century. he could exploit divisions within Philip's realm. and made it possible for him to seize Calais as a permanent base on French soil. in response to Philip VI's confiscation of Gascony. A gain. towns. disciplined infantry began to be used with some effect. He caught Edward. English armies won enough loot there to ple ase Edward's troops and keep the war effort alive. Through his mother.

Gascony was to be held in full sovereignty. Finally a war-weary peasantry rose against the useless nobility who could exploit them but not defend them. and Poitou and other areas near Gascony were turned over to Edward. lost in the time of King John of England. did little to su pport the new regime. were near revolt. where Edward (called in . the Duke of Aquitaine (i. The capture of King John was a great blow to th e French monarchy. The nobility. This was the high point of Edward III's war. But many others remained in France.n of his no doubt nsom. English military energies were diverted to Spain. the futur e King Charles V. and of his life. private armies of discharged mercenaries. supposedly to be implemented later. France. Free companies. Edward held his claim in reserve. The War in the Later Years of Edward III The battle of Poitiers. Some of the Free Companies were exporte d to fight in new wars in Spain and Italy. was returned to English rule. th e King of England) was no longer to be a French vassal. however. fighting never really stopped. It king of rival for the throne.e. Possession of the French king guaranteed him a fabulous ra might have meant more. two million livres. Edward had a very hard time gaining real control over terr itories theoretically his. I n such circumstances. Perhaps one last push could actually make Edward France in fact as well as in name. which had suffered much from plague and the burning and looting of English armies. After a further English invasion that fell short of taking Paris. Even though war betwee n the English and French kings had ended. Edward promised little more than to give up his claim to be King of France . a treat y (the Peace of Brétigny. In the countryside. King John's ransom. Poitou. continued to pil lage and kill. wa s never paid. French royal finances were now near collapse. was quickly becoming ungovernable. King John was to be ransomed for a huge amount. Despite the best efforts of his eldest son the Duke of Normandy. the capital. and a much expanded Gascony. The taxpayers both in the p rovinces and in Paris. 1360) . quickly turned into a dead letter. or Fre nch pounds. his mother's dowry of Ponthieu.was negotiated that gave much to Edward but allow ed the Valois line of Philip VI to retain the throne of France. Edward also was granted his territorial claims: Calais. The last two provisions were at the last moment withdrawn from the treaty. 1356 was the greatest English victory of the first half of the Hundred Years' War. Royal authority in the provinces had almost disappeared. and became impossible to collect once John died in 1364. disgusted with constant royal incompetence. A large first installment was paid for King John's release. The Peace of Brétigny. and the F rench king held onto his overlordship of Edward's duchy. which may have been beyond France's power to raise. many of the disbanded warriors stayed in their units and continued to pillage.

Men both high and low hoped fo r and expected loot. Save for a short period at the end of Edward's reign.granted. Let's begin with the tangible aspects. army pay was still attra ctive. Such gain was not restricted to the upper class. of course. or signed truces.who took a share in all ransoms won by their followers -. after some hesitation. war with France came to have both a tangible and an intan gible appeal. for adventurous.but those who did the actual capturing were richly rewarded. let's talk about profit. therefore. He tr ied to make up the money by taxing Gascony heavily. It was possible. both sides hoping that the long campaigns would hurt the other badly enough to make victory possible. a d uke or a prince.in Italy.history books "the Black Prince") fought on one side of a civil war. he accepted the appeal from Gascony. the esta blished military aristocracy. there was a new wa r somewhere else -. Any knight or noble captive could be expected to buy his freedom. or in some spin-off of the English-French conflict. England as a whole seems to have done well out of it. and disbanded their ar mies. In 1369. For the English. This was a war in which there was a demand for all ranks of men. The army was particularly tempting as a career in the pre-Plague period wh en land was scarce and the population too high. but to follow and harass them with picked for ces. . where almost all the fighting was done on French soil. many Englishmen fought in France. Such men were usually confisca ted by the commanders -. and wh ere several major battles were won by the English. in which the country was bled by the English and allowed to bleed by the French. the F ree Company could wage war on its own behalf. In much of France it had beco me the normal way of life. a count. and of the survivors. it was like winning the lottery. Even after the Plague. But the armies stayed in being. and fourteenth century warriors went into battle l ooking for likely prisoners. as Free Companies. For those who took a man of high rank. Of course pay was not the only attraction. that they did not get killed or die of d isease.could turn this skill into a steady job that paid cash. many came out ahead of the game. looting or extorting protection mo ney from the French countryside. This resulted in a truly horrifying ty pe of war. The best kind of loot was the ransom. The Black Prince lost his war in Spain. where city-states and tyrants were constantly figh ting. The French tactics were to let the English roam where they would. more likely. after a while. and Bernard du Guesclin. But war showed little signs of burning out. and continued because many people profited from it. C harles V. the flow of loot and ransom m oney was of great benefit to many English people of all ranks. the leading French commander. War soon f ollowed. and never join in a decisive battle. it was a very popular war. the embodiment of perma nent war. Or. incurring substantial debts. In this war. If no prince could afford to pay them indefinitely. Kings and princes ran out of money. when wages were low and prices h igh. Ov er the years. the war never stopp ed. fought for the other. or desperate Englishmen to make a good liv ing from the war -. That war was destructive and inconclusive. Indeed. reckless. One of this war's attractions was that. an appeal against the Black Prince was made to Paris.and the king encouraged them to do so -. when the pressure came off. A peasant or yeoman from rural England who had grown up practicin g with the bow -. These taxes served to aliena te the Gascons.

but he lost half of his army. All ranks willingly served Edward III. and literat ure in the English language was beginning to appear. The simp le reason is that the English began to lose badly. But the ransoms were never paid in full and what money d id come in quickly disappeared into the pockets of creditors and officials. That sense of purpose was severely tried in the years after 1369. rem ained an important motivation to fight. His gre at expedition of 1373 was his chance to be a hero. A war that lasted forty years makes the combatants well aware of th eir distinct identities. The English people may have been fightin g for their English king. After Brétigny. duty to one's lord the king. The predatory. sworn to Edward's service and to the practice of knightly virtues. and the continuing military and naval disasters made the government . Important proclamations were made in English. Harsh criticism and strident demands were not often heard in medieval assemblies. apart from nationality. It was here that the knights of the shire and the citizens of London criticized the king's ministers and demanded reforms. the people of England of all classes were far more united than they had been a hundred years before. It was an exclusive club of the best knights in th e realm. One of the most interesting developments of this period was in parliament. was almost wholl y free of aristocratic intrigue and treason. of English parents. The difference between English and French peoples was of course emphasized by the war. At the same time. but they were fighting to vindicate his title as king of France. in fact. With the king old and his heir sick. embodied and justified an entire set of soc ial values and gave Edward's followers a sense of high purpose. nationalist war. early in the war. by implication. had even worse luck than his brother. as wor thy as the service of the holy sepulchre. Duke of Lancaster. Edward the Black Prince. The ransoms of John of France and David of Scotland were supposed t o pay the king's debts. John of Gaunt. By the beginning of the 14th c. Edward III's reign. He. He also drew on the symbolism of Arthu r's Round Table. Edward did exactly what the nobles wanted a king to do -. like the elaborate tournaments of the time. and thus validated their r ole in society.gave them a good war to fight. the vast majority of English lords and knights had been born in England. the English had little to cheer about and many causes for co mplaint. Perhaps his most brilliant stroke was the invention of the Order of the Garter. and spoke Engli sh as a mother tongue. all such elite orders had been crusading orders. and all were proud of his vali ant heir.. The Order of the Garter. took charge of the wa r and the government. the next oldest prince. however. Edward secularize d the chivalric order -. After 1371. everyone had expected great and continuing profit from a suc cessful war.The new tactics and the new methods of recruiting and paying soldiers had resulted in the democratization of war. Edward revitalized the chivalric ideal. Members of the aristo cracy could still speak French of a sort. But now there was no strong royal leadership. England also reaped psychological benefits from the long war. adventurous life was no l onger restricted to the knightly classes. like the victories of Crecy and Poitiers. He gave people symbols they could believe in. even establishes distinct identities that did not exist before. The Hundred Years' War slowly acquired some of the characteristics of a modern. Through the 1370s. the Black Prince was seriously ill and returned to England. But they were no longer a Norman aristocracy. Befo re this time. and French remained a prestigious lang uage.he made the service of the king.

They were then tried by the Lords. a knight named Peter de la Mare. Neither of these were likely to be available soon. The Black Death. They resulted. Then the commons requested a meeting with four great lords -. We've seen political and military novelties: bigger. of commercial activity slowed as the limits of growth. in the early years of Richard II. and the first time ministers of the king had been explicitly held responsible to parliament. fundamentally al . like the rest of Europe. Richard of Bordeaux. dating from the time of th e plague and even before. He spent al l his time with his young mistress. Acting through the first real Speaker of the Commons. In consultation with these. began to deve lop in new directions. in order to vote more taxes . the commons formulated their petition. The king was asked to act first on a vast number of petitions to redress a buses. more concerned with m aking himself King of Castile in Spain than in beating the French. however. Th is was the first impeachment.two bishops and two earls of their choice.politically vulnerable. of land under the plow. If the kingdom was broke. The king. A new royal council was then appointed.he would die b efore his father. The chancellor asked for a grant of money. to get English politics back on an even keel. and two of the most important were convicted. By the time the parliament of 1376 was called. The Prince's heir. This resentment broke into the open almost as soon par liament met. and so there was nothing to prevent him from doing this. It demanded victory in war. The Black Prince was dying -. paid no attention to state business. began to attack the minis ters and their business associates. The English system demanded as strong king in whom people could have confi dence. it was their thievery and incompetence that had made it so. It was beyond his power. the commons as a body accused the min isters of lining their own pockets. His brother the Black Prince had died during the Good Parliam ent. Religious Conflict in Fourteenth-Century England In the fourteenth century England. more expensive wars governments that had more power than ever before to draw on the resources of their subject populations the involvement of the higher ranks of the common people (who paid the bi lls) in political life In economics. Then the commo ns. were suspected of being crooks. and the commons asked fo r a chance to discuss the proposal in private. an era came to an end in the first half of the fourteenth c entury. given current technology were reached. far more than any other medieval parliament ever produced. John of Gaunt consider ed the revolt of parliament a slight on the royal dignity and an attack on his p olitical position. by killing up to a third of the population. The parliament of 1376 quickly became known as the Good Parliament. now over sixty. John of Gaunt's cronies. Once they were sequestered. later Richard II. was very young. Also there were social and religious pressures. John of Gaunt was despised as a lousy general. The great expansion of population. that we have not yet discussed. in an unprecedented crisis. many people were angry. And the counc il. Just as quickly all of its actions were overturned. with the support of a significant number of lords. a lon g angry debate took place.

we alth that was not all that much greater than before. the popes increased the number of agents in the provinces and bureaucrats in the capital. which had been slo wly taking place for a long time. One turning point in that long struggle occurred in the 1290s. and the bishops." meaning successful princes backed by their own bureaucracies and tamed vassals. Much of what they did was raise money. The pope gained authority by absorbing many of the p rerogatives of local bishops. was less and less the source of new ideas and spiritual leadership. Thus. and increas ingly an embattled establishment trying to maintain the position it had gained i n earlier eras. It was during the fourteenth century that the sale of indulgences became a mass market operation. but for their own war against each other. his cardinals. lay and clerical both. But as secular governments became better organized. laymen of all ranks questioned the vast wealth of the church -. The "state. The leaders of lay society were less patient with the special privileges o f the clergy. Yet the pope's power to regulate and tax the clergy of western Christendom did not disappear.tered economic relations. lay rulers were initially at a disadvantage and lost ground to church g overnment. The pope's ability to control church appointments was pushed to the limit. and it angered English people paying high taxes for a F rench war to see money from English benefices going to French-speaking absentee clergy. Avignon was not officially part of France. led by the pope. but which seemed more irrit ating. could guarantee order better than the church could. Indeed. The political side of the conflict between lay and clerical interests The centralization of the church under the pope had begun as a reaction t o disorder. in what Richard Southern has called an inflationary spiral. The reforming clergy had morale. The pa pal court fled to France in the early 1300s and did not return to Italy for deca des. The institutional church. criticized th e spiritual failures of the church. To pay for these projects. when Philip IV and Edward I insisted on taxing the clergy not for the crusade or for a papa lly sponsored war. on a lavish scale. and expensive new wars were launched to restore the papal position in Italy. (Remember Grosseteste's conflict with Rome. despite recent reversals. A change in the relative positions of laity and clergy. the prestige of t he centralized church was bound to decline. and the popes w ere not French puppets. A new papal court was built. the pope's power was more evident at the g rassroots than ever before. Both kings had the political strength to face down the pope when he objected. and to keep their control of the church intac t. on the borders of France. . The wars of the late thirteenth century had made Rome ungovernable. and many genuinely religious people. On the bread and butter level. But the popes. the whole century was o ne of shocks and adjustments. i n Avignon. their cardinals. through the 14th century his power increased dramati cally. and organization on the ir side. education. and their other servants were French themselves.) The English were irritated all the more because the papal court seemed to favor their enemies. was becoming increasingly obvious to all obser vers.

this issue came up regularly in parliament. He was a Yorkshireman whose talents and connections led him to Oxford. what had been the cutt ing edge of the church was now blunted. Such a figure was more influential. but in philosophy. but the re were just as many who saw the friars as corrupt. a theologian of the first rank. The appearance of heresy in England Heresy. Beginning in the 1350s. he began to pursue a doctorate in theology. He believed that knowledge of God was not only possible. In England. but rare in England. and his patrons Wyclif was not obviously born to be a radical. his ideas. By the end of the 14th century. He rejected the reigning skepticism among scholars that God could be known through logic. never really enforced those laws. It was also accessible in the Bible and in the writings . In the view of the most concerned laymen and clergy. poor in theory but not in pr actice. a quest that usually took twenty to twenty-five years. People still resorted to them for guidance and to make confession. 1000. a passive laity had been content with the intercession of monks and the protection of the saints. He had access to the highest powers in the land. than a hund red wandering preachers. the Franciscans and Dominica ns were the most popular bodies within the church because they met the spiritual needs of the laity best. The king. that is. this one was led by a solid member of the establishment: an Oxford scholar. Wyclif. position.At mid-century. papal appointment of English cle rgy. Since the eleventh century at least. During the thirteenth and fourteenth century. (In other words cooperation between king and clerical powers continued. meaning religious revolt against the established church. the mendicants (beggin g clergy) had lost their first enthusiasm. cajoling their clients for handouts instead of rebuking them for their s ins. where he forcefully argued a novel. and equally ominous. de vout members of the laity began to look for more. His first notoriety was not in theology as such. and some of their early popular respe ct. and needed to be corrected by the secular pow er. they wa nted to learn the Scriptures. His name was John Wyclif. Un like earlier heresies. and fo r a few years poured into their ears the not unpopular message that the clergy h ad grown too rich and too corrupt. They wanted preaching.D. The appear ance of an energetic heresy was indicative that something basic was changing. at least in the short run. they wanted to follow a Christian way of life with out necessarily entering a monastery or a convent. the power structure was secure and unambiguous enough to compe l obedience in matters as serious as religious belief and discipline. but that it was t he only true knowledge. The origin of the heresy was equally interesting. There were sta tutes passed against papal provisions. however. He merely used them to extort approval of his own clerical candidates from the pope. if not wholly original.) Spiritual complaints In the old days. had been fairly common in most parts of Europe since A.

though. Holding office alone was insuff icient warrant. was that the visibl e church was the vehicle of God's grace and therefore of true authority. Besides being a philosopher.or perhaps he went peddling his ideas. This freed him to criticize errors and abuses. which were frequ ent between 1371 and 1381. This made him very attractive to some academics. and from his near fundamentalist philosophical stance. This may sound either commonsens ical or simplemindedly fundamentalist to you. it was up to the lay rulers to corre ct it. w ith equally compelling logic. If the pope was worldly. For Wyclif. but the "elec t. and an object of suspicion among others. Wyclif. with his dreams of royal implementation of his ideas . when the clerical ministers were dismissed and the clergy heavily taxed. with brilliant and impeccable logic. as Vicar of Christ. was the rightful leader of Christian society. had any right to exercise authority. those in a stat e of grace. The older view. but mainly in the Bible. Wyclif dodged the obvious problem -. that theology was impossible. so were forces in the churc h. he was a heretic who ought to be deposed by the lay rulers. even those that emanated from the papal court. Ockham had apparently prov ed. The ideas that Wyclif put forth were inflammatory. held by the pope and his subordinates. money was not the main thing: authority within the chu rch was. was indeed possible. Wyclif's ideas began to attract attention outside of a cademic circles -. The pop e. Wyclif aimed this critique of power squarely at the church. two Augustinian friars. duke of Lancaster. was known to be sympathetic to this view. Wyclif was a priest and a passionate believer in the Gospel. In the parliament of 1371. were brought into to argue that it was right and just to t ax the rich clergy. He about to begin a career as a high powered consultant to John of Gaunt. representing an order that claime d to be poor already. he saw mu ch that was wrong in the church of his time. upset by the expenses of war. Furthermore. the effecti ve regent. I f the church erred. Only the elect. Wyclif w as receiving a retainer from the crown. Over the next few years Wyclif spent his time justifying theologically and philosophically a course of action that the lay leaders of society were already considering -. certain knowledge about G od. In the early 14th century. forfeited his just claim to power.or perhaps." those whom God had predestined to salvation.of the church fathers.who will correct or depose an u njust lay prince? He was too anxious to reform the church to give this serious c onsideration -. as many thought it did. were blaming the financial crisis on the ch urch. He himself appeared in the first parliament of Richard II (1377) to argue that in case of necessity it was lawful for the English government to sequester . Anyone of bad character. any obvious sinner. it was inconvenient to think about that subject. said that real theology. including the pope.the confiscation of clerical wealth for the uses of the state. In the early 1370s. which was too wealthy and prone to tax evasion. Wyclif was in the audience observing. John of Gaunt. and gave theoretical en couragement for parliamentary attacks on ecclesiastical wealth. The commoners in parli ament. but it attracted a lot of attentio n from his academic peers. The next year. Wyclif said the real church was not the visible institution. He saw little scriptural warrant fo r the powers of the papacy or the hierarchy of ecclesiastical offices and instit utions.

It might look like bread and w ine still.papal funds. now in exile from Oxf ord. first in lectures and la ter in a book. Nobody was willing to take up his cause. In promoting such a dangerous idea. Although Wyclif was actively promoting extreme measures against clerical i ndependence. His certainty that he k new the truth had led him to isolate himself from the court. he was not a puppet of his patrons. c ondemning the right of sanctuary on theoretical grounds. If he wanted to be the power behin d the throne of an English reformation. Transubstantiation m eant that when a priest blessed the sacramental bread and wine at mass. there were other social and economic prob . Wyclif. it was a ctually turned into the body and blood of Christ. that the highest power cla imed by the priesthood was a fraud. It was the miraculous power of transubstantiation that set priests and bi shops apart from the laity. Wyclif. it was a prop for the corrupt hierarchy of his day. was willing to grant that Christ was s acramentally or mystically present in the Eucharist. Economic Change and Social Tension in the Late Fourteenth Century In the 1370s. But the inflammator y possibilities of his theories were soon to be demonstrated in the most dramati c way possible -. That same year Wyclif was back in parliament on behalf of John of Gaunt. exerted her influence and he went free. He was called before a church court in England in 1378 to answer for his ideas. In the same decade of the 1370s. His own institution. which introduced the divisive issue of cle rical taxation into relations between clerical and lay politicians. Oxford University. English society was under a great deal of tension. c omplicated by the same war pressures. He had become convinced by 1379. Theologically it was a doctrine not found in Scripture. felt compelled to move aga inst him. he had blown it. the mother of the young king. Wyclif went well beyond the desires of his patrons. He began to attack. and he followed his arguments to their logical and very extreme concl usions. Po litically. but in essence it was Christ. if not before. and justified their superior role in the church. There were: Political problems resulting from the lack of an undisputed leader and fr om the failure of the war effort. continued to write works that were clearly heretical by most people's stand ards.when disgust with a worldly church contributed to the Peasant' s Revolt. the orthodox doctrine of transubstantiation. Philosophically he tho ught it was nonsense. Religious problems due to lack of spiritual leadership from the church. but not that His body and b lood were actually there. Wyclif had clearly overreached himself. But transubstantiation could not but be offensive to Wyclif. The princess of Wales. The Duke of Lancaster visite d him and told him to shut up about the Eucharist. He saw himself as a teacher of the truth. who like later Protestants thought that preaching and teaching sho uld be the main occupation of the clergy.

the price controls were an immediate failure. perhaps because peasants began to marry later and limit t he size of their families. almost immediately. bu t as usually happens. specialization. labo r became the scarcest resource. Two years later. the Statute of Laborers of 1351. the pla gue. The wage controls were somewhat more successful. Wages were pegged at the pre-plague level. the people who were in charge of enforcing it. The upper classes in particular had benefited from their monopoly of scarce re sources and the cheapness of labor. The people who agitated f or this law. while everything else dropped in price. In 1349. because the return on land was less and there were few er people competing for it. agricultural p roduction. had been based on constant expansion . Population. t he king's council issued an ordinance forbidding wage raises. close supe rvision by the owner). following on the earlier decline changed the whole shape of society. in which markets shrank and prices fell. The prosperity of the earlier period. The great expansion had come to an end. began. Landlords did well. thus prices for agricultural good and rents were high. A long recess ion. restr ictions on marriages to outsiders. death duties. this pattern was disturbed. A man's own lord had first claim on his services. The greatest single shock was the Black Death or bubonic plague of 1348-4 9. and all landless men under sixt y were compelled to accept work at those rates. and no other master was to hire them if they did. and the people who b enefited were all the same. After 1315. Food and other agricultural commodities became cheaper because the market for them was s maller. 1315 was the beginning of the firs t major famine England and western Europe had seen in a long time. Thereafter the population continued to decline. But economically. Agricultural workers were forbidden to leave their masters bef ore their contracts were up.lems: Landlords (a class that included almost all rich and important people) a nd their peasant tenants were set against each other. and prices for commodities had all been rising s ince the eleventh century at least. p arliament passed its first notable economic legislation. and they put a great deal of effort into keeping wag . Rents were lower. The new economic climate spelled opportunity for the peasant survivors of the plague. commercial activity.rights to labor services. The background The thirteenth century was an era of expansion. which may have killed a third of England's population. Their income was droppi ng at precisely the time that wages were soaring. and s ome of the lesser ones. There was also a rather weak and unspecific attempt to regulate prices. Many people w ho had been living at the bare subsistence level died. while wa ges were low. In the second half of the 14th century. It is difficult to me asure the psychological component of this catastrophe. There was profit to be made in exploiting the rights most lords he ld over their peasant neighbors -. An era of "high farming" (intensive investment. Management by literate professionals became the norm on big estates. because economic change ha d made the social structure of the 12th and 13th centuries obsolete. Of course this situation frightened all landlords. Land was scarce and labo r was plentiful.

Every lay person over the age of 14 was to pay 4 pence. They were not desperate for land or work as their ancestors had been in past decades -. In the long term. The landlords themselves undermined the statute in bidding against each oth er for labor. By the late fourteenth century. to which almost all taxpayers belonged. A family with two adults wou ld have to pay ten percent of their yearly income. one-third by the following June. 1380. the main type of levy was a wealth tax that fell heaviest on landowners. paying the same amount bothered some people. Peasants and other workers wanted to take maximum advantage of the new situation. a graduated poll tax was introduced. During the 1370s. The parliament was not unaware that this was ruinous for the poor. The situation in the 1370s The conflict with the peasantry added quite a bit to the tensions of the 1 370s. In other words. Besides the tax on wool export and other tolls. These minor adjustments did nothing to stem public discontent. The government needed more money for the war. The fact that the rich paid more. The late fourteenth century saw a phenomenon that had been rare before -. They tried innovative taxes on the church. Thus in 1377. as a matter of what we might call noblesse obl ige. and they were equally willing to experiment on the laity. three times the rate of the first poll tax of 13 77. They wanted the freedom to sell their labor for the highest price. The parliamentarians reassure d themselves that the rich would. When the financial crisis deepened the next year. rich or poor. was being pres sed from above and below at the same time. s trikes. It was not a popular tax. the landowners who sat in parliament were sure there mus t be a better way to raise money. legislation could not reverse the economic tr end. In 1379. whose f amily income was often 20 shillings a year or less. and the tax still yielded less than Parliament and the king's council had hoped for. Parliament went ah ead with a third poll tax. sub stantial amount for a poor person. Their discomfort led to an attempt to change the taxation system to give them some relief at the expense of the poor. and allowing the rich t o get off cheap seemed foolish. Workers increasingly resented the lords. did not stop the grumbling. Also instructions were given to collect the tax in in stallments: two-thirds by January of 1381.the refusa l of peasants to render lords the services that were demanded. . of course. Politically prominent people ignored those complaints. rich and poor were to pay the same and the tax rate was jacked up: In 1381. help the poor to pay. Once again. and up to a third of the adult lay pop . Out of such perceived injustice come revolutionary ideas. the scutage. or were supposed to.es down and workers in their place. People refu sed to cooperate with the tax collectors. The landlord class.they knew they could make it on their own. was long obsolete. The unfairness of everyone. or tax on military fiefs. But the statute and the attitude behind it did make adjustments a difficult matter. 12 pence. a head or p oll tax was devised. every lay person above the age of 15 was to pay one shilling. Taxpayers were also aggravated by tax col lectors grilling them about their personal circumstances. they were mainly bothered by the inefficiency o f the tax.

When the men of Kent marched to London. The men of Essex picked out the property of the royal treasurer to b e pillaged. It was these villages. nor were they only concerned with the wrongs inflicted on them. were sure that mismanagement and corruption were behind t he problem. All the rebels thought they had a right to speak and a right to act. The war was going so badly at this time that the coast was suffering raids from French and Castili an ships. there was often no great man in residence who might feel som e obligation in meeting the local tax bill. like parliamentarians. and now. we can se e that the peasants had a quite sophisticated political consciousness. These counties had many small free and near-free lan dholders. They were not striking out blindly in rage. like East Anglia and Kent. Peasants were angry about the recent military setbacks. The Peasants' Revolt of 1381 Essex. They. Quite independ ently there was a tax revolt in Kent. In a so utheastern village. The two sets of rebels were soon in contac t with each other. All the rebels wanted the abolition of the disabilities of villeinage and . and equally vulnerable to financial ruin. In June of 1381. Soon the rising was general in Essex. This attitude lay behind the social demands t hat the rebels made: The least radical one was an abolition of the poll tax and a return to the traditional wealth taxes. The ir view of the current political situation was much the same as that held by the knights and burgesses who sat in Parliament. The peasants felt themselves to be by right members of the political commu nity.ulation succeeded in avoiding the tax. The poll tax was the last and greatest of upper-class harassments. they first decided t hat everyone living near the sea should stay at home to defend the coast. though these were of course near the top of their agenda. fu ll of resentful people with obvious common interests. The men of Kent told the monks at Canterbury that they should elect one of themselves as archbishop. was an area where the unfairness of the tax was especially evident. It was a fata l mistake. was a traitor. The peasants were also angry about the continuing financial crisis. that united to defy outsid ers. with an interest in affairs of state. well placed to take advantage of the new economic conditions.perhaps more than some people who suffered under greater disabilities. and peasant armies from those areas converged on London to ma ke their demands known. because the current one. Nor was it confined to that county. The rising quickly spread from Brentwood to other Essex villages. who re sented the harassment of manorial lords who tried to enforce their remaining rig ht -. Despite the standard upper-class prejudice against the peasants. The king's council told collector s to put on the screws and collect the whole tax at once. The peasants of the southeast were at personal risk because of the gov ernment's failures. Everyone was in much the same econom ic position. the tenths and fifteenths. who was royal chancell or. commissioners following the instructions of their superio rs sparked off a rising at Brentwood in Essex. They d id not want to leave the country helpless before its foreign enemies. The London collectors reported to the Exchequer that they couldn't do thei r job without stirring up dangerous agitation. and they were going to London to behead him.

The revolt ended the duke's willingness to attack the church. to call for a more sweeping r eformation of society. Poll taxes fell out of u se. who was then the gentleman? ["Delved" = dug. A minority of the peasants went beyond this. and personally negotiated with the two rebel groups from Essex and Kent -. There were several other outbreaks as news of the first risings spread. The rebels had failed to throw off the remnants of villeinage in a moment. though as we will s ee later.they were camped separately on opposite sides of the Thames outside of London. Others wanted all ranks below the king to be abolished. John of Gaunt had decided that his pet academic. and its lands redist ributed. None of the promises made by the king were kept. Landlords by an d large ceased to manage their estates in the old way. it is remarkable for making almost no difference in the long term economic and social development in England. The crisis of 1381 had a considerable ideological impact. but at a critica l moment he overplayed his hand. Some wanted the church dispossessed.almost certainly an end to the labor legislation. . so that there s hould be no lesser lords and only a single bishop in all England. and other rebels must have been killed out of hand. and the confidence of peasants that they could do something for themselves. and preac hed a famous sermon on the text: When Adam delved and Eve span. where the original two g roups converged. The young king Richard II (14 years old) was was forced to do something by the incapacity of his ministers. At that moment Richard cooly de clared to the rebels "I am your leader" and this prevented a massacre. A poor priest named John Ball argued for some kind of communism. and were content to colle ct rent only rather than attempt to enforce labor services and other servile pay ments. had gon e too far in attacking the doctrine of transubstantiation. especially fro m oppressive ecclesiastical landlords. wanted more. The French pe asant revolts of the previous generation (at the height of the war there) had be en met with mass repression. In the fifteenth century. Even before the rebellion. Pe asants took it upon themselves to demand freedom from villeinage. The Essex men largely dispersed after Richard promised them charters of em ancipation -. "span" = spun (thread)] The depth of peasant dissatisfaction. the government was (and could be) more restrained. Once the threat to London was over the government was free to restore the status quo ante. They wer e dispersed and went home. A number of the major leaders were executed. and was killed. Wat Tyler. most peasa nts would attain a de facto freedom from personal servitude. The climax of the Peasant's Revolt was in London. And the labor laws fell out of use because everyone preferred a freer mar ket in labor. Otherwise. this does not mean that they lived happily ever after. In England. the leader from Kent.which shows that most rebels were willing to settle for less that total revolution. But the government was happy to let things return to normal without a demonstration of its potential for ferocity. The anti-clericalism of the peasants m ade anti-clericalism suspect. is the remarkable aspect of the Rising o f 1381. John Wyclif. But the repression of the rising did not hing to stop the decay of old institutions. Perhaps this general loosening would not have happened so easily if the la ndlords had not had a good scare. Results of the Peasants' Revolt The effects of the Peasants' Revolt were several.

a man w ith vast estates and semi-regal powers in various parts of England. and even the friars. and Thomas of Woodstock. an unprecedented phenomenon in English history. There were t wo others as well: Edmund of Langley. None of them helped Richard to become an effective king. his influence and ideas were reaching a broad public by an undergro und route. Necessary economic readjustments had to be faced up to. and the Scots just increase d the governmental debt. The emergence of Rich ard II as an important figure in his own government (in 1381 at age 14) did not solve the question of leadership. In the mid-1380s Richard himself was being blamed. no r oyal figure was able to inspire and lead the ruling class. Edward the Black Prince . The unlearned clerics hit the road. more importantly they created the first widely available English translation o f the Bible. The glory days of King Edward III. as did some of the learned ones. the government. Nor was it only poor people who listened to this heresy. Duke of York. bring ing their message directly to the people under the noses of the bishops. Both learned and unlearned clerics were attracted by his vision of a less ritualistic. The main reason was the continuing influence of his uncles. combined forces to discipline those Oxf ord theologians who were sympathetic to Wyclif.In 1382. but un happily. the count of Flanders. who were the s ons of Edward III and the brothers of the king's father. the mundane probl ems of life remained. the leadership of the kingdom remained divided. not forgotten. Anti-clericalism was still popular enough that the commons in parliament. of course. The movem ent that became known as Lollardy thus got a head start on its enemies. Chief among them. Yet Wyclifism was not dead. all were gone. Military defeat followed upon military victory. A number of ineffect ive campaigns against France. was symptomatic of the divisions remaining in that society. who were shocke d by Wyclif's doctrine of the Eucharist. Worst of all. the bishops. The survival and spread of Wyclif's heresy. suspicious of ecclesiastical authority. Though the profits had been dispersed. The learned men adapted Wyclif's writings and translated them into English . Though Wyclif never tried to attract a popula r following. less hierarchical church. The Reign of Richard II The Peasant's Revolt was only the most dramatic indication of the disconte nts of late 14th century English society. the Duke of Lancaster. This ended the possibility of an easy alliance between court and anti-papal clerical reformers. the profits and the confidence derived from a victorious war. Duk e of Gloucester. when the Black Prince's illness had forced him to retire. but the war debt a nd the need for further spending made that difficult. Nor were they cap able of devising a successful foreign policy of their own. prevented the new archbishop of Canterbu ry from hunting out these heretics when there were only a few of them. Engl and was threatened with casual sea raiding and at one point with a serious Frenc h invasion. In the 1370s and 80s. . was John of Gaunt. After 1371.

but what is true is t hat Richard made little effort to gain wide support in the aristocracy. Gloucester was the youngest of the king's uncles. He seems to have been the spoke sman. Richard. The real issues were not obscurity of birth. which was a special domain of the crown. When it came it was made up of Thomas. Richard backed down. wh o would have a mandate to clean up the royal household and oversee the war effor t. He was only in hi s thirties. not a lot older than his nephew. there would be trouble. For most of the year of 1387. He returned to parliament. The king said that the parliament's complaints against his friends were tr easonous. bishops and knights. It was said that the war was going badly because th e king. and in the borders o f Wales. whom he gave a special royal badge. These men were later reviled by their opponents as upstarts. It is hard to say if Richard was really extravagant. Richard. who was not particularly warlike himself. bishop of Ely. squires and important burgesses -all favored the lords of the council. but greed and military failure. When John of Gaunt left to pursue a claim to the kingdom of Castile in 138 6. But the lords and commons b oth remained adamant. but they were scarcely obscure men. Earl of Arundel. the knights. while his brother the Earl of Arundel and o f course the Duke of Gloucester were members of the commission.mean ing the influential non-nobles. and Thomas Arun del. The king finally agreed to received a small delegation fro m parliament. Richard also consulted with a number of influential royal judges. refused to consider it. Nor was he merely sulking. Bishop Arundel became chancellor. to the ran k of Duke of Ireland. Because he had felt shut out by his elders. and he threatened to call in his cousin the king of France to help him against them. The judges sa . the co mmons refused to vote any money unless the Earl of Suffolk (Michael de la Pole) and the treasurer were removed. dismissed Suffolk. But hardly had Gaunt left than the courtiers came under attack. In Cheshire. because the commons -. In a parliament in October of 1386 to discuss measures for defense. the court party seems to have seen this as their opportunity to really take c ontrol. Richard refused to cooperate with those he saw as his enemies. asking them if they could raise troops and influence parliamentary elections. two of his harshest critics. and toured the country with his court. he began hiring armed retainers. if he did not replace them. and sub mitted to a year's supervision by a commission of lords." and that rich gifts to thes e idle men was impoverishing the crown and necessitating high taxation. they were soon to become the king's most determi ned enemies. duke of Gloucester. Many of them responded that they were helpless to do either. He thus combined the impatience of youth with a sense of generational superiority. who had relied too much on unsuitable men. one of the least popular courtiers. Gloucester said the king's counselors were ruining the realm. where the commission was transacting busin ess. he in turn shut them out of his confidence. who had withdrawn to one of his estates after the opening speeches.Richard had responded to his uncles' neglect by assembling a court party a round himself. he avoided London. With a third. They were especially aggravated by the recent elevation of Edward de Vere (Earl of Oxford). had surrounded himself by "kni ghts of Venus instead of Bellona (the war goddess). This was a reference to the fat e of Edward II. He sent messages to various sheriffs in other parts of the country. who were asked to give opinions about the extent of the royal prerogative. brother of the bishop.

Richard accepted the Lor ds Appelant's demand that the favorites should be arrested pending a trial in pa rliament.the Appellants were looking out for their o wn necks. but who had been paid by its king to abandon his claim. in their opinion. and several of Richard's friends were executed. Queen Anne went down on her knees to Gloucester to beg for the life of Sim on Burley (a respected companion in arms of the Black Prince. Following the Merciless Parliament. he decided it was necessary to buy a royal pardon. and well d eserves its name. In February of 1388. accused -. Political peace was immeasurably aided by the return of John of Gaunt. formerly unpopular. Gloucester and the two Arundels assembled their troops rather than meet pri vately with the king. He and his ministers were careful to consult with the Great Counci l of peers (in other words. De Vere indeed tri ed this. putting Arundel in a bad position. Gloucester. He hoped that he could gather a fo rce to beat the Lords Appellant before parliament could meet. the promised parliament met to judge the king and his favorites. the lords in parliament were unwilling to execute the "traitors" but the Appellants had enough support in the commons to overbear this opposition . Gaunt also promoted a peace policy with France. They also found enough public support to make Richard back down once again. He was outmaneuvered by Gloucester and the Earl of Derby (t he eldest son of John of Gaunt) and had to flee the country. but failed. He slowly regained the trust of man y of his lords in a way that infuriated the Earl of Arundel. Richard rose to defend his uncle. At the same time its own proceedings wer e never to be used as a precedent -. Richard returned to London and tried to force a showd own. .that is. and had to humiliate himself to gain pardon. The parliament also awarded them 20. The five men accused by the Appellants were convicted of treas on. and with the parliament as a wh ole. The Merciless Parliament closed by declaring that its measures could neve r be repealed by any future parliament. the judges fav ored a very wide interpretation of the king's prerogative: anyone who tried to r estrict it. Richard's compromise was merely a ploy. But Gloucester was implacable. Indeed. be p unished as a traitor. Bishop Arundel was promoted to archbishop of Canterbury. Notably.id that the impeachment of the king's servants was illegal and that the commissi on erected by parliament was a derogation of royal power. His hand was strengthened by the obvious public hostility to the ki ng and his court and his distrust of the devious king. So Burley died. the king worked to build a government by consensus. and the Earl of Warwick formally appealed -. Aft er he cooled off. For years Richard played it very cool. was hailed as a grand old man simply because he had n ot been involved in the political turmoil of 1386-88. Gaunt. who had not gained Castile. Later he ma de a scene at Queen Anne's funeral. The judges who had given Ri chard II legal opinions were exiled. through parliament or any other means should. Things had gone so badly f or so long that negotiations seemed worth a try. In November of 1387.five of the king's favorites (including de Vere and Nich olas Brembre and the archbishop of York) of wrongdoing. Arundel was so inca utious that he criticized John of Gaunt in parliament for being too cozy with th e king. This parliament became known as the Merciless Parliament. the Earl of Arundel. the House of Lords).000 pounds for their great service s to the country.

who had found himself on trial without war ning at the proceedings themselves. where the English position was in a bad way. his brother the Duke of York and his son Henry Earl of Derby also were work ing with the King. Unless they were wrought up about a subject. but save for the four on trial. Richard rewarded those people who went along. just as the Goo d Parliament's had been in 1377. The commons cooperated. Anyone who had "ridden in arms and ri sen forcibly against the king" was required. by act of parliament. Richard had gained the compl iance of the vast majority of the aristocracy in the condemnation of the Appella nts. Richard then proceeded against the Appellants in much the way they had wor ked against his friends. a lobbyist named Thomas Haxey was convicted. too. Arundel was executed. they followed their leaders. The fact that he was the king. Very soon after that. Part II: The King Strikes Back. and Richard later had the Roma n pope transfer him to another see held by a supporter of the Avignonese pope. In this case the accused were isolated. The parliament of 1397 was a tremendous coup. Their willingness to turn on the heroes of 138 8 has been cited as evidence of tampering with elections and the king's efforts to overawe them. In the spring parliament of 1397 the commons sponsored a bill complainin g about the extravagant spending of the royal household. He took a major expedition to Ireland in 1394. The pardons that Richard had been forced to giv e to the Appellants and the other commissioners were also canceled. an agreement secured by R ichard's marriage to a young French princess. and had to be allowed to act as such. Gloucester was taken off to Calais. This was unpopular. and scored a propaganda victory when four Irish kings swore fe alty and accepted knighthood from him. Richard openly moved against his old enemies. and on this basis. was banished. and they were tried in parliament -. The legislation of the Merciless Parliament was annulled. The counties we re forced to pay a thousand marks each for pardon. He also got the lords i n parliament to agree that exciting the commons to reform the household was trea son. But Richard's revenge amounted to government by terrorism. who h ad died in prison. and even made some new dukes . He arr ested the three Appellants. was pretty predic table. The king applied this to no less than seventeen counties. Richard was strong enou gh to force the commons to apologize for bringing it in. all of them important. He pursued a host of lesser men who had opposed him in 1388. But the House of Commons in the fourteenth century was not a bo dy with independent power. but the king replied he would have as much mercy as Glouce ster had shown Burley when the queen pleaded on her knees. and the Earl of Warwick was exiled for life to the Isle of Man.Three things strengthened Richard's position. a 28-year truce with France was signed. Eight lords. appealed the Appell ants for treason.all but Gloucester. which has no name. to forestall any rescue attempts. The business of this parliament. and their representatives mad e to seal blank charters that the king could fill in at any time to their disadv . John of Gaunt presided over the tr ial. they were essentially regranted. The MPs of the time were comparable to government bac kbenchers in a majority situation. the strongest royal fortress outside of England. Archbishop Arundel. Gloucester apparently pled for mercy when he realize d what was happening. to sue for p ardon. Glouc ester was forfeited posthumously. In 1396. but the drain on royal finances that had hedged the king about for years was temporarily ended . So they went along. but which should be ca lled the Merciless Parliament.

Richard was trapped in a Welsh castl e. Parliament then renounced its fealty to him. Richard was killed soon after that.antage if they got out of line. Percy was one of the wardens of the northern marches. had suggested treason to him. with the assurance that his crown was not in jeopardy. In January of 1398. Henry Bolingbroke. he had a standing army financed out of ro yal revenues. In 1399. the new Duke of Norfolk. With this backing. and banished both men. Richard II's fall is interesting chiefly for what it tells us about the En glish political system. Richard. Richard sailed off to Ireland with an army to patch up his previo us settlement of that country. A commissio n was set to investigate.. At this po int he was childless. Part III. who dealt with his lords with finesse. While he was gone. and because the king had no solid party behind him. and they took the next opportunity to rise against him. Because the new regime was one of fear. Norfolk was banished for life. The latter sentence may have been a concession to John of Gaunt. and fear the coming of the Merciless Parliament. A king who wooed his subjects. who was not anxious for a new treason trial. trouble sprang up almost immediately. who upheld traditional standards of order -. Richard showed a different face four months later. Bolingbroke was banished for ten years. who accepted to become Henry IV. . Henry Bolingbroke (heir of John of Gaunt. he had concealed his irritation. Edward III in his prime . every man of property was threatened. In short order. the Earl of Northumberland.such a king was loved and obeyed. But on the day itself. The promise was immediately forgotten. But Percy had decided that a king he helped create. for Henry was his eldest son and heir. Then Richard changed Henry's exile into one for life and confiscated his vast inheritance. and convinced to surrender himself. Henr y Percy. If the king could disinherit so arbitrarily. but loyal to him. Henry Bolingbroke landed in th e north. It shows us that the vast theoretical power of the king had no practical meaning if he did not use it properly. this move brought about Richard's own downfall. and Henry was by one reckoning his closest heir. to be met by the one of the strongest military leaders in England. where war had been g oing on for nearly a century. did not quite know what to do. would be more amenable than the imperious Richard. but they came to no conclusion. a king had frightened the political class. and with the justice of his cause clear to all. and Richard had no inkling that he was unreliable. Then the king said the two dukes should fight a trial by combat. Henry B olingbroke quickly took control of England. however. Once again. As such. and offered the crown to Henry.he had been cheated of his rightful inheritance. One can easily understand that the surviving commissioners of 1387-88 migh t wonder how much their pardons were worth. the Duchy of Lancaster. In recent years. he refused to let the duel commence. He had gi ven this dangerous man a cause that few could deny -. formerly Ear l of Derby newly made Duke of Hereford) came to parliament and said that Thomas Mowbray. when John of Gaunt died . To this point.in other words. he had been irritated by interf erence from London in an area he considered his own. in captivity he was pressur ed into abdicating.

A bill was read in parliament that enu merated the old king's crimes and follies and justified his repudiation. Second was Richard's unsuitability. They wished for a great knight. He himself was the heir male of Edward III.Richard had a ad had. rather than lead them to fight him. In the years between 1399 and 1406. Henry had retu rned to England to vindicate his hereditary right to the duchy of Lancaster. the re was an heir general. promoted by Franciscan friars. because he won no profitable and inspiring victories. he was not the chivalric figur e that his grandfather had been. Under Henry IV. England soon found itself with another king who ruled main ly through a small circle of friends. Most of these were weak arguments. His use ut him off from the much different conception of kingship than his grandfather h to be obeyed without question. without even being able to keep order in the kin gdom. Henry IV Richard II had been deposed because he had been arbitrary. Ea . In 1400. however. Furthermore. Although not completely unmilitary. In the parliament of 1399. and because he taxed the country heavily. It was known and resented that Richard preferr ed to ally with his traditional enemy of France against his own subjects. Even after this. that the first Earl of Lanca ster. whose descent through a senior line would have been enou gh in other circumstances to claim any lordship. When he then claim ed to be the true king of England. Henry's basic problem was his doubtful claim to the throne. there was a strain of popular pro-Richard feeling. There was another claim to the throne that was more dangerous to Henry. and most of his support had been support for that popular cause. By normal English feudal custom. while he dreamed of being emperor. Third was Henry's right of conquest. Finally there a hoked-up hereditary argument. an attempt by friends o f Richard to restore him led to their deaths and his murder in captivity. however. the senior man whose descent from that king was solely in the male line. there was room for doubt and even opposition. Richard and his people were thus a disastrous mismatch. The heir general was Edmund. He expected essions or consider f society. he seemed to contradicting the hereditary pri nciple that he had earlier relied on. several arguments were advanced to justify the usurpation First was the supposedly willing abdication of Richard in Henry's favor (e ven at the time people doubted this). Henry came close to losing his throne several times. which c willing support he needed to make his rule a reality. without any need to make conc the rights and privileges of the other influential sectors o of his power had scared and angered almost everyone. which revealed the divine will. and who taxed England very heavily. but also becaus e he ran a narrow government rather than a broadly based one. supposedly deformed. So at the very beginning of the reign. had been Edward I's elder brother and had been unfair ly excluded from the throne. who launched no popular foreign wars. Richard disappointed a kingdom that was looking for another m ilitary hero.

Henry was strapped for money. Edmund Mortimer . and soon a significant part of the country was united behind Glyndwr. earl of Nort humberland and his impetuous and warlike son. exploited his royal connections to hara ss Glyndwr. Glyndwr went all out for Welsh independence. Dissatisfaction gave rebels against Henry an unusual latitude. an adult whose claim might also be preferred to Henry's. especially to Mortimer. In 1404. He ruled through a smal l council consisting of lesser men wholly dependent on him -. that of Owain Glyndwr (Owen Glendower in Shakespeare). S ince 1399. the uncle of the youn g Earl of March. They decided that if they had made Henry king they could unmake him. to run his g overnment on much the same lines as his predecessor had. and achieved one with France (which sent a small expedition to Wales). Harry Hotspur raised a revolt on the Welsh border. Henry was doomed to be a suspicious. Thi s looked bad. Glyndwr and his relatives (one of whom had the very English name of Philip Hanmer). In the circumstances. The Gl yndwr revolt was successful for some years. insecure king. In 1403 the Percies turned on Henry.administrators who had got their experience in the Duchy of Lancaster. When Lord Grey of Ruthin. But he remained to make the Lancastrian line uneasy. he might well have seemed almost English. To his ancestors in previous centuries. Rather than cutting taxes. he was compelled. Henry Hotspur. His other problems: Both the Scots and the French took advantage of the turmoil in England. In the summer of 1403. In 1399 he was only eight years old. Early on. blew up seemingly out of nowhere. who took the title of Prince of Wales. who had just bought Ruthin of Grey out of Welsh captivit y. a Welsh marcher lord and a member of Henry IV's council. And thus England was quickly dissatisfied with the new king. The first of the important revolts. saw or at least presented their grievance as a matter of English tyranny in Wales. . their power had only increased. But they -. he called the first and only Welsh parliament. grandson through his mother of Lionel. refused to pay more more money to Glyndwr to ransom this potential rival. an elder b rother of John of Gaunt. Finally. Thus the Welsh national revolt paradoxically gain ed the color of an English legitimist revolt.rl of March. He made common cause with his captor and e nded up marrying his daughter. Glyndwr captured Edmund Mortimer. He a ttempted a grand Celtic alliance with the Irish chiefs and the King of Scotland. and there was also his uncle. After failing to get an early pardon and settlement from Henry IV. in 1402. especially after the plot of 1400.Henry Percy. England once again had a cliquish government of royal favorites. But there was a great deal of dissati sfaction simmering under the surface. were unhappy with K ing Henry because he didn't give them even more. he was forced to ask for new ones. duke of Clarence. One of the reasons for his amazing success record was Glyndwr's ability to exploit weak points in Henry's political position. in an attempt to solidify a Welsh political community behind him. Owain Glyndwr was a Welsh lor d of northern Wales of princely descent. You will recall that their power as wardens of the northern marches had made them the key element in Henry's coup. This struck a chord all through Wales. an d forced Henry to take expensive defensive measures. Henry.

They claimed that the king had defrauded the Earl of March of his inheritance. This manifested itself in a most interesting way. " that is. there was the simple dissatisfaction and the disappoi ntment in Henry's rule that I refereed to before. and his rule since had seen ruinous taxation. the earl was in communication with Glyndwr and Mortimer. Besides such doubts. There were seve ral reasons for this. The king of France. and his uncles and cousins competed to c ontrol his government. He was let off on the grounds that he had not act ually fought the king. was captured at sea by t he English. If the settlement was fantastic.and his father began collecting forces in the north. especially since the English a lso held the heir of the Scottish regent. But again. Glyndwr was to rule Wales and the border counties. after some years in exile invaded England from Scotland in 1408. he was a fugi tive rather than a dangerous foe. As Maurice Keen has said. Rather. Henry IV never had a really easy time of it. was not punish ed for his part in the revolt. Prince James of Scotland. the heir to the throne. Having the king of Scotland in the Tower of London settled the northern border down. the alliance was potentially formidable. the Percies were to get the north country and most of the midlands and East Anglia. Hotspur's father. and rumors that Richard II was still alive. Everyone had hoped that Henry would "live of his own. The king moved quickly and caught Hotspur at Shrewsbury. the earl of Northumberland. people had to be troubled by what had happened in 1399. the Percies' ambitions were greater than their forces. Nevertheless. a member of the Neville clan. Percy himself was forced to flee to Scotland. In was in this period that Parliament and the commons within parliament were in the strongest position vis-a-vis a king that they eve r were in the Middle Ages. run the government on his hereditary revenues and the customary royal export taxes. His aged father died soon after. This had pr oved impossible. After the second Percy revolt. France was now the more unstable. dispersed their forces. since other peers and the French and Scots were willing to support it. two events abroad distracted Henry's foreign enemies. Hotspur was killed in the battle and hi s uncle executed for treason afterwards. in 1406. Earlier. The earl of Westmoreland. but this time he was killed. They str uck a deal that looks like purest fantasy. and after 1409. In 1405." There were plots in favor of the Earl of March independent of the Pe rcies. "in an age when so much revolved about questions of inheritance. Percy. had become insane. the rebels were defeated. Glyndwr was slowly beaten back into the mountains. in parliamentary critici sm of the king's policies. which ended one threat to the Lancastrian dynasty. was to have the remainde r of the south and east. without further extraordinary grants from parliament. Henry was able to breath just a little bit easier. Charles VI. Mortime r. where in a hardfought battle. . At the same time the French princes began fighting each other. a man with royal ancestry but no independent forces. His pardon was a miscalculation on the king's part. Surprisingly. England and Wales were to be divided into three parts. and the English found ways to take advantage of that. France lost the ability to take advantage of English inst ability. the Percies' rivals in the north .

to be permanent. They accused h im of malfeasance and even treason. there was a serious division in the government. The whole matter emphasized the continuing unpopularity of Henry IV. keeper of the privy seal and a key member of the royal council for years. however. Prince of Wales. Throughout the fourteenth century. The House of Commons g ave the prince a vote of thanks. Suffolk was condemned to exile in a bid to save his life. The country rose against the small group of men who dominated the royal counci l. could take his own expedition to France. The pardon of the earl of Northumberland in 1403 was partly a mat ter of pressure from the commons. his ship was met . Right from the begi nning of the reign.. When King Henry died in 1413. the commons would back aw ay from state affairs as too dangerous to meddle in. supported Burgundy's rivals. This prominence was not. was not the playboy of Shakespeare's plays. Finally the commons did not hesitate to voice some opinions on matters of high politics. Now. parliament met and the commons impeached the Duke of Suffolk -. As we shall see.in other words. In 1411 an English force allied with Burgundy entered Paris. The prominence of the commons. Thomas had got his father to fire the Prince of Wales f rom the council and make a new alliance with the Armangacs. which was something of rebuke to the king. the A rmangacs. The War Of The Roses Beginning of the Wars of the Roses The loss of Normandy in 1450 was a great blow to the prestige of Henry VI . Thomas. they demanded his trial on a number of counts. The young Henry of Mon mouth. Adam Moleyns. so that he. Henry IV's final tribulation was to be his own son. But befor e the campaign was over. The dismissal of the Prince of Wales was a scandal. it must have been a relief to many of his subjects. He acquired such a following that he aroused the jealousy of his father and his brother Tho mas. . But when Suffolk was crossing to the continent. to have auditors appointe d to supervise royal spending. In January of 1450. and to attempt to limit royal pensions and larges s. it had achieved some independent power in the decision-making process. was greater than ever. The two competing French factions were each bidding for English support. and throughout the reign they use d their leverage to get petitions granted by the king. including Thomas. was lynched in Port smouth by unpaid sailors In February. the importance of parliament as a forum where the most important business of the realm was done had grown. against whom people had long grumbled. In 1411. The Prince of Wales favo red the duke of Burgundy. the commons were stubborn. in the first decade of the fifteenth century.Eventually he went to parliament to ask for subsidies. The bishop of Chichester. who controlled Flanders and thus England's chief tradi ng partners. which claimed for t he first time the sole right to introduce money bills. when p olitical rivalries between the great nobles got nasty. Another party.

known as Jack Cade's Rebellion. And a s the king's great-uncle. But in the late 1430s. Then. John of Gaunt's family by his mistress Katherine Swyn ford. freest.chief among them. where they killed another bishop and demanded reform. whose crew arrested. but knights and gentl emen too. working with a few professional bureaucrats like Adam Moleyn s. Henry VI came of age. then under Henry's nephew Edmund.) Rivalry between these men came close to civil war several times in the 142 0s and 30s. and somethi ng of a war hero. Henry assured the victory of the Beaufort interest. one of the most prosperous. the Duke of York. Cade's revolt was put down. things changed.by another called the Nicholas of the Tower. he too was a prince of sorts. Rivalries between people who. There was political instability in England from 1422. Jack Cade was a Welshman who for political purposes took the significant alias "Mortimer. Because the events are so complicated. In 1435. On one side was Duke Humphrey of Gloucester. and took an important role in his own government. York was determ ined to take a leading role in the royal councils from now on. he relied on a small clique of men he could trust. earl and duke of Somerset and his ally the Duke of Suffolk. controlled the country for almost fifteen years. bishop of Winchester and later a cardinal . I will discuss the reasons for and the effects of the Wars of the Roses while drastically summarizing the course of events. the attempt to maintain a broadly based government broke down. On the other was Henry Beaufort. T hese 11 years are the first phase of the conflict known as the Wars of the Roses . turning into civil war and eventuall y into a dynastic dispute between York's family and the reigning Lancastrians. wou ld have been called royal princes caused trouble. He was a powerful ecclesiastical politician and personally very wealthy. when the year-old He nry VI began to reign in England. He felt unjustly deprived of the leadership. not just peasants and yeomen. Under Henry. in France. but in September the Duke of York returned uni nvited to England from Ireland. followed him to London. where he had been in semi-exile. thousands of Kentishmen. Then. the county of Kent. (They were legitimized later but by law barred from ever claiming the thr one. These men. Reform meant throwing the rascals out and bringing in a broadly based gove rnment that should include various important peers heretofore excluded -. He was the senior repres entative of the Beauforts. in 143 7. and most pol itically aware regions of the realm -. tried. . Reasons for the political crisis We have to start well before the specific crisis of 1450. the king's uncle. Rather th an taking firm control. Bedford died. Only the respected Duke of Bedford was able to keep them apart. politics would get increasingly nasty." In June of 14 50. and ex ecuted Suffolk as a traitor. These events were the beginning of more than a decade of jockeying between various parties who wished to dominate the royal government. first under Henry Beaufort.partly because of its proximity to the da ngers and opportunities of the continent -rose in a revolt. Between 1450 and 1 461.

he would be fed. In war the retained man would receive wages. Some of the possibilities for abuse are obvious. Livery and maintenance is another name for the system. It was not really new. at one time or another.they were knights and squires. The king loaded his ministers and friends with gifts and pensions. lords and their men regulated their rela tionships by written contracts. except for the anomalous Beauforts. be blamed for the Wars of the Roses. and share his loot with the lord. It got out of hand in the 1440s and later because there was no firm and respected hand on the tiller It was then that great lords and their retainers routinely turned to viole nce. People lost faith in the courts and turned to threats and violen ce to gain victory in their inevitable disputes. imprisoned for violent conduct. In return th e lord not only paid his client. others had to wait. and MPs. but would not not pay him. Many peo ple who were owed money at the Exchequer. if he stayed with the lord in his household. militarily ineffective and financially irresponsi ble. Not all of this was his fault. The lesser man received an an nual retainer. The result is a social climate approaching gangsterism. In this period. In normal times. the lords gained the potential to manipulate the entire system of local government. justices of the peace. Those in good odor with the council got a sympathetic hearing. this kind of favoritism extended into the administration of j ustice. The Exch equer owed him tens of thousands of pounds for wages paid to his soldiers in Nor mandy in the 1440s. An ast onishing proportion. Most retainers who received indentures were not insignificant thugs -.R. By keeping such men under obligation to them. It had existed as far back as the time of William Mars hal.It was a bad government. others we re out of luck. duke of York was. could not collect on their debts because there was not enough money to go around. called indentures. Lander has calculated that between 1448 and 1455 at least one-sixth of the peerage was. The lords might uphold th eir men even if they were engaged in criminal activity. York quite rightly blamed Suffolk and the Duke of Somerset for this state of affairs. The Duke of York and his cause Richard. . This then is the background to the Duke of York's attempt to take a leadin g role in government. however. Furthermore. perhaps indefinitely. such as military commanders. and gave him livery -. livery and maintenance was simply one more prop for the s ocial system -. Those i n favor at court got paid.a system not noted for its justice at any time.clothing in his heraldic colors and decorated with his heraldic badge -. sheriffs. men of standing. But there was another side as well. when you reflect that these were the men who were supposed to be the king's partners in government." Bastard feudalism is a form of p atronage and clientage that does not depend on the granting of fiefs in land. He was chronically short of funds. Livery and maintenance or bastard feudalism cannot.but he maintained him against h is enemies. During foreign w ars. it enabled lords to meet their military commitments. and promised to be ready to serve his lord whenever he called upo n him. and had inherited the the seniority of t he Earls of March. The social violence before and during the Wars of the Roses is often blame d on a phenomenon known as "bastard feudalism. the stillchildless king's closest male relative. J.

Kent refused to rise. York lack ed enough support among the peers to get his way. was always strong enough to keep York from att of the government. and York lost his protectorsh ip. York's grievances were the grievances of the nation. York and the Nevilles had destroyed their worst enemies in the p eerage. he was officially in charge. He was now more firmly excluded from influence than ever before. The parliament that was summoned to clean up the mess had little choice bu t to make York protector once again. York arranged for demonstrations in his fa vor to break out all over England. York was soon fighting beside the Nevil les against the Percies. and York won. which received genera l support. earl of Warwick. but had been prevented by the court clique. and also to have him recognized as the king's heir. Al bans. civil war had already begun. An attempt to retake Gascony had flopped.to London. as was the Percy earl of Northumberland and Lord Clifford. York's maneuvering went through several stages. York did not h violence and intrigue to get his way. and parliament made Yor k protector of the realm. One of the most important was the feud b etween the Percies and their northern rivals the Nevilles (who had the earldoms of Westmoreland. aining control esitate to use fly. But it was an empty title. and almost no peers supported his demands. In 1450. York and Richard Neville. Few of the demonstrations took place. Henry VI regained his senses. his partisans pressed for financial reform. however. things got worse rather than better. For the next year or so. en after 1455. and he remained excluded from the king's counsels. and the government looked bad again. but the moment York's forces disp ersed. The Beginning of the Wars of the Roses York was unwilling to go peacefully. Somerset was killed. th by Queen Margaret. which I will describe brie . and an MP was imprisoned for introducing a bill to that effect. led first by Somerset after Suffolk's death.He also was embittered against them because they had frustrated his desire to command in France just before the fall.still restive after Cade's rebellion -. He was a po tent political symbol. York's forces attacked the king's court at St. Yo rk and Queen Margaret (who had just borne a son. Somerset was imprisoned. York himself was forced to ask for pardon. In a sense. however. Under his leadership. In 1453. This angered the court. In May of 1455. he was the obvious person to do something about those grievances. In the face of this opposition. and as the senior duk e. in hopes of taking power by force. he came up with another plan. and this was followed by a mental breakdown on the part of the king. no doubt a delusion. then he marched through Kent -. he got another chance. In 1452. Uncert ainty at the top meant feuds increased. He thought that he could have made t he difference. so he and the Nevilles raised an army in the North. a Percy cousin. Edward Prince of Wales) compete d for leadership. and some of his retainers were executed. Salisbury and Warwick). Most of the peer principles York started out with were soon tarnished in his strug The court clique. There was a short battle. The pla n was a miserable failure. won. Whatever gle for power. Gascony had been lost by this time. The king agreed to have the Du ke of Somerset tried for his so-called crimes. In early 1455.

and his son. had been made commander of the ga rrison at Calais. pu lled her party together and struck back. the king simply came into parliament and relieved Yor office. The Percies and the Beauforts. It was the one card that the Yorkists still held. were being attacked. the basis of all social order. the earl of Warwick was defeated. In 1460. which had proved too weak to control noble rivalries. and their son Edward fled to Scotland. the Dukes of Somerset and Devon. Margaret. York had no pretext to refuse. In late 1460. who rejo ined his wife. Again. Eventually a compromise was reached: Henry VI would retain the crown as long as he lived. and Owen Tudor. York himself wa s forced to flee to Ireland. This parliament. Edward Prince of Wales.s were unenthusiastic about York and gave him no real support. This time the Yorkists lost. Parliament did i ts best to avoid accepting or rejecting York's claim. marched north and in a terrific and bloody battle. this would have been the end of the Wars of th e Roses. Henry's son. Warwick invaded England from Calais and captured the king. declared York's son. Warwick returned to Calais. Al bans. led by Richard earl of Warwick. In a second battle at St. the Percies queen. In the aftermath. Margaret's supporters. Albans and the February of 1456. In k of his . All St had gained him was the more bitter hatred of the Beauforts. on the basis that the Lancastrians had been usurpers all along. and even they s eem to have been taken by surprise by his claim to the throne. There were two problems with this settlement. killing most of their leaders. earl of March to be the rightful king of England: Edwa rd IV. The invention of attainder reduced Parliament. In a simple world. defeated the Lancastrians. the nineteen-year-old Edward. When a new parliament met. leaving the new king in poss ession of the realm. Richard earl of Warwick an ally of York. seems actually to have evoked some sympathy for York. and sentenced them to death and their families to fo rfeiture. A private bill was introduced into parliament that declared the king's enemi es to be guilty of treason. but the man who had attacked the king was resented. After that. Henry. the q ueen and her partisans called a parliament to attaint York and his allies of tre ason. In 1459. the beneficiary of the Treaty of Troyes. into a rubber stamp for the victorious faction. a position he refused to give up when York lost power. his queen. They then gathered all their forces. and a few peers joined his s ide. war broke out again. . hereditary rights. Queen Margaret who was still at large. His family had been le gally destroyed by a new and suspect legal process. defe ated York at Wakefield in Yorkshire and killed him. Somerset had been unpopular. called the Parliament of Devi ls. York still enjoyed the support of only a handful of peers. he claimed the throne. earl of Pembroke in Wales s tood by Henry. would be ignored. York q uickly returned from Ireland. Since Henry was the king. The process of attainder was invented to crush York's party once and for a ll. He lost possession of the king. which had attempted to dis inherit Charles VII. There was no semblance of a trial. the Yorkist lords. Knowing that they would never be forgiven their treas on. The apparent defeat of York put the strength of desperation into the survi ving members of his party. not cheered. York and his descendants would inherit. was to have his own son disinherited in the same way. Henry V I.

The Wars of the Roses were not a gigantic paroxysm that slaughtered the young men of an entire generation. all of whom w here very close associates of the contenders. fresh from a victory that he had done much to win. its own business. the fifteenth century appears to be a period of relative ease and prosperity between two periods of overpopulation. Smal l armies were gathered by nobles attached to one party or another. where Henry VII killed Richard III and took his th rone. and to alter the shape of the royal government. th ose nobles with hereditary seats in Parliament. was founded on usurpation. Certainly some families lost all their male heirs. Thus the wars were flashpoint s of domestic tension -. an d therefore their separate identities. and used in b rief campaigns. Everyone else stayed home.In mid 1461. the Yorkist dynasty. inspired enough confidence to make the average peer chose sides if he could avoid it. Most English people were scarcely affected by the wars. The rural economy The fifteenth century was not an era of social or economic crisis. These wars demande d a tremendous organizational and financial commitment: It is no accident that s tanding armies were reinvented in France in this period. t he British prime minister during the First World War.it probabl . some not. The Wars of the Roses were not like that. the Wars of the Roses weren't even comparable to the ever larger a nd more expensive wars on the continent in the same period. some successful. the population had been falling for a hundred years -. To economic historians. and very few extinctions can be traced to the battlefield or the scaffold. but to point out that they were not a great bloodbath. which had to be replaced late r by a new Tudor creation. was a battle attended by scarcely less than two dozen peers. No sing le leader. Economy and Society in the Fifteenth Century Following William Shakespeare. Many peers opted out of politics quite early. The goal was to subdue or eliminate key persons on the other sid e. There is a sturdy myth that intense rivalry between noble families wars le d to the extinction of the old Norman aristocracy. By 1400. this is a somewhat ludicrous comparison.not a continuous business or way of life. As Gillingham points out. which . the first of a new dynasty. in his recent book on the subject. Even the peers. Compared to wars in France and I taly. were not obsessed with the ongoi ng political competition between the Yorkist and Lancastrian factions. Indeed. Bosworth Field in 1485. the Wars of the Roses are often presented as a great tragedy John Gillingham. as saying that the Great W ar was the worst tragedy for Britain since the Wars of the Roses. Quite t he reverse. rather they were an erratic struggle between a few noble clans. during which most of England mind ed. The point of all this is not to minimize the Wars of the Roses to insignif icance. Edward was crowned king of England. and stayed out. But this was not unusual at any time in t he Middle Ages. the English ones were mere military coups. willing to acknowledge whichever uninspiring claimant to the throne emerged victorious. like the Lancastrian one. quotes Lloyd George. neither Henry VI nor the Duke of York. and was allowed to mind.

had made th e fortune of the high farmers. Labor was scarcer than it had been for generations. These fortunat e peasant families had gained security that was comparable to the security of a knight's family. But most peasants had merely a leasehold or copyhold on their land. Unfr ee peasants had enjoyed security of tenure. Landlords had no leverage against them. Those who were adaptable found that there was profit to be made. new towns were built and old o nes grew greatly. as population. basic foods were n o longer in great demand. which estate managers. In the fifteenth century. to a business that was both less labor intensive and more lucrative -. More peasants could hope to have farms of their own. so wages went up. During the fourteenth and fifteenth century. many copyholders paid entry fines that the lord could raise at will. Basic foodstuffs. At that point. Indeed. and had to be remade. meaning their tenure was threatened at every tenant's death. Also exploitation of the peasantry was no longe r very profitable for the lords. Most copyh olds were good for three [tenants'] lifetimes. Those with labor to s ell could eat pretty well on the wages they received. Not only prices but rents fell. Leases under leasehold were like modern leases.plowing and harvesting -. Leaseholders had no security at that point.y continued to fall until 1450. rising population made land scarce again. In many p arts of England.t he unemployed countryman who had no where to go but to town. When fifteenth century tenants became personal ly free. The early modern period in England is notorious for the sturdy beggar -. production. be . A few of the most fortunate converted their lands into freehold land -. whose personal and economic rights could be defended before the king's justice s. because the kind of work that could be demanded -. Yet this era was not a bad time for landlords as a class. which affected everyone equally the first few times around. and co mmercial penetration of the countryside all grew. lords turned from grain production. the agreement was void. or just take back the land. But with a falling population. Most former villeins. Also. desp ite legislation to the contrary. They ended at a certain time. where he begged -and for the enclosures that pushed peasants off land that lords could exploit mo re profitably. called this bec ause their leases were copied onto the manorial roll of the landlord.was no longer needed. or their descendants. This is the time of the first enclosures.wool. however. the period has the reputation as one of stagn ation. Real wages were high. this urban expans ion slowed in most places. The plague. had copyholds. And the disabilities of villeinage almost disappeared becau se landlords did not enforce their unprofitable rights. especially grain. tenants were not excessively insecure because la nd was plentiful. They became free tenants . when the formerly plowed fields of nearly empty villages were fence d in to be used for sheep runs.land they rented perpetually. calculate d to be only twenty-one years. change it. The urban and industrial economy In the twelfth and thirteenth centuries. and the landlord could renew it. beca use prices were low. they lost that security. The progress made by the peasantry in this period was not permanent. But in the 16th centur y.

Entrep reneurs were moving in to set up in business. a lot of places of no importance in earlier era s that took off. the lower aristocracy.or where he. Before the mid-14th century. not townsmen. and a trading center for centuries. lay culture The knights and squires largely kept their heads down during the Wars of t he Roses -. England. some of whose members rivaled the lesser barons for wealth and influence. the landlords were completely oblivious to it. Playing to the com . political and economic leadership belonged to the landed class. an important town since Roman days. fulling). The availability of water (for the mechanization of fulling a n essential operation in cloth production. the seat of the largest diocese in England. but also knights and squires. where it was made up into cloth in the bigger indust rial cities. which grew immensely. The new towns of the fourteenth and fifteenth and even later centuries wer e not given royal charters. Far from exploiting the deve lopment of the area. but i n the countryside. England became more of an exporter of industrial goods .something that actually happened in the case of old Sa rum near Salisbury. J. It was not a place for a new investo r to get started. All the prof it went to subtenants. Knights and squires. of course.R. few could doubt the right of the commons to speak on issues of policy. which continued to enhance its dominant position. wa s very much a rural country. It was officially invisible. or at least a country with only one real urban cent er. Only in unusual circumstances would the commons h old the political initiative. Adding to this impression is the fact that many towns that got impressive privileges in charters granted on spec before 1300 never fulfilled their promise . where waterpower attracted the cloth industry.as did most barons -. she or it took the lead. Compared to many European countries. This means the peers. war taxes on the export of raw wool e ncouraged English landlords to direct their wool to the domestic industrial sect or.came an occasional. It was split between the manors of Bisley and Minchinhampton. The impression of ov er-all decay is aided by the fate of a couple of well-known places. on e owned by an abbey. though far from stagnant. most borough representatives were actually lan downers from the nearby countryside. In later medieval England. Such places often grew up in response to the expansion of the wool industr y. lost most of its population in our period. the bulk of English wool was exported to Italy. thus grew up without ever gaining official recognit ion of their importance. London. But established towns were unattractive to new weaving businesses because were dominated by a few rich merchants and artisans who regulated trade and labo r within the walls for their own advantage. France and the Netherlands. Lincoln. But Stroudwater had no legal ident ity of its own.but they solidified their position in parliame nt. So the new weaving centers were out in the country where only the landlord need be consulted -. Lander provides the example of an industrial district in the west cou ntry known as Stroudwater. Parliamentary boroughs kept the right to send men to parliament even if no o ne lived there anymore -. After the Lancastrian usurpation. During the fifteenth century. but their role was established. almost predictable hazard of town life. In most of the cou ntry. During the later Middle Ages. Much of the new development took place not in the established towns. the other by the Duke of York.

mons was an important tactic of the rivals during the Wars of the Roses. Also, knights and squires took a greater than ever part in the local opera tions of the royal government. The crown, at least in name, was doing more than ever before at the local level, through men who held various commissions from th e crown. The most important were the justices of the peace, who held court in th e king's name, and judged the cases -- nearly all the important cases -- that we re reserved to the crown. There were commissioners of array, who raised troops; there were commissioners who maintained ditches and levees in swampy areas like Lincolnshire. All kinds of local matters were dealt under royal auspices -- but through the efforts of local dignitaries, not by salaried outsiders. Rather than absolutism (making some progress on the continent), it was (fo r the upper class at least) self-government by the king's command. The lay ruling class of England was increasingly confident in this period, partly because more of them were educated. English (rather than French or Lati n) was increasingly used for all sorts of practical business. The highest level s of education were still restricted to those who knew Latin. But many lay peopl e were going to university, some to take degrees, without any intention of becom ing clerics. A great many more went to the lesser schools that clustered around the uni versities without actually being part of them. For instance, in London, the Inns of Court supplied a specifically English and lay type of learning -- learning i n the peculiar law of England. We have a big collection of surviving letters from the Pastons, a 15th cen tury family from the "squirearchy." The letters tell us all sorts of things abo ut people of their rank. The letters themselves show literacy in the common English tongue was comm onplace, and a vital tool. One of them, Margaret Paston, did a great deal of business by letter, but never wrote one with her own hand. The male members of her family had a great d eal of schooling: Her father in law went to two different Inns for his legal education. Her husband John went to Cambridge, as did his brothers (none went into th e church). One of her sons got a B.A. at Oxford and another went to Eton. Of course the Pastons were rich, just one step below the peerage. But by 1 500, it has been estimated that between 40 and 60% of London householders could read English, and fair number Latin as well. When William Caxton set up the firs t printing press in England in 1476, he found an eager market for books in Engli sh, mostly translations of older classics. It is interesting that despite this lay interest in literacy and literatur e, there was not much Italian humanist influence. Classical models in writing, speaking, and art was introduced more than once, but did not really take. Englis h culture continued along paths developed in previous centuries. Some of the greatest triumphs of English architecture were created in the Gothic style in the 15th and 16th centuries, in a period where that style was de ad and reviled on the continent. This kind of continuity, (exemplary of English conservatism?), shows as mu ch as anything that this century was not one of basic disruption. It was one of further development of trends introduced before. England was culturally and (in the second half of the century) politically

disengaged from the continent: which may have had the benefit of keeping the country out of continental wars. In some ways, as a result, the era of the Wars of the Roses was a peaceful one, without basic disruption.

The House of York and the House of Tudor Edward IV's early years Edward IV was effectively king in 1461. The Lancastrian party, represented by the displaced rival king Henry VI, his wife Margaret of Anjou, and their you ng son and heir, also named Edward (Prince of Wales). Despite his victory at Towton, Edward IV, the Yorkist king, was far from b eing secure on his throne. The Lancastrians held parts of Northumberland (an are a dominated the Percy family, which supported them) and they hoped to hold out t here with the help of the Scots and Margaret's French relatives. The attitude of France was very important. The French king, Louis XI, was at odds with his cousins the Dukes of Burgundy. As in the reign of Henry V, Engl and potentially held the balance of power. Louis XI wanted a friendly government in England, or if that was not possible, a weak one. Since Margaret was a royal relative, and the Yorkists leaned towards Burgundy, Louis inclined toward the L ancastrians. Between 1461-64 Edward IV, his chief ally the Earl of Warwick, and John Ne ville, Warwick's brother fought to gain control of Northumberland. At the same t ime they used all the wiles of diplomacy to isolate Henry and Margaret. On both fronts they met success. By 1464, the Lancastrians had lost their northern castl es and were reduced to a mere court in exile. As soon as the Lancastrians were beaten, Edward IV began to have trouble with Warwick. Warwick was the senior member of the Yorkist party in terms of len gth of service. He had been Richard, duke of York's chief supporter since Edward , York's heir, had been a mere child. He felt entitled to a leading part in the government. In the 1460s, he was particularly anxious to turn Edward away from the Burgundians and towards a Fre nch alliance. Edward wanted -- and needed to be -- own man. Running a very narrow govern ment would lead to disaster. He demonstrated his independence by marrying a most unlikely woman -- Eliz abeth Wydeville (Woodville), the widow of a minor baron with a Lancastrian past. In 1469, Warwick and the king's second brother George, duke of Clarence, s eized Edward in an attempt to control his policy. It was a very stupid move. The country was thrown into uncertainty, and threatened to become ungovernable. No one would follow Warwick's orders. Very quickly Warwick and Clarence decided the y had to release the king. Warwick and Clarence were forgiven, but they feared f or their ultimate safety. In 1470 they both fled to France. Louis XI would promise Warwick support only if he would make common cause with the Lancastrians. Thus 1470 saw the curious spectacle of Warwick, the senio r Yorkist, and George, the brother of Edward IV, allied with Queen Margaret, the Beauforts, and the Percies, recently their deadliest enemies.

That summer, Warwick invaded England with French support -- successfully. Edward and his youngest brother, Richard duke of Gloucester were caught by surpr ise, and decamped to Holland (part of Burgundy). The Lancastrian regime, however, never solidified. Edward and Richard of G loucester returned with Burgundian help and destroyed Warwick's forces in two qu ick battles. Furthermore, Warwick, and the Lancastrian prince Edward, were kille d in battle, and Henry VI and Queen Margaret were captured. Henry VI was secretl y killed soon afterwards. The Lancastrian party was ruined and Edward seemed secure at last. There w as only one Lancastrian candidate for the throne, Henry Tudor, the earl of Richm ond, a Beaufort connection. He was not an important figure save for his descent, and in 1470 he was being held in honorable captivity in Brittany. So Edward had the opportunity, and thirteen more years, to establish his dynasty. Edward turned out to be a very talented and reasonably popular king. A standard theme of English history has been that the Tudors, beginning in 1485, created a despotism, or a New Monarchy, that with the support of the gent ry was able to tame the unruly baronage and peerage. More recently, some histori ans have pushed the introduction of the New Monarchy back into Edward's reign. A lthough I am no expert, I am somewhat skeptical of the New Monarchy. Like some o f the real experts, I suspect that renewed monarchy may be a more appropriate te rm. There is no doubt that Edward was important in substantially improving the p olitical position of the crown. The only question is whether his methods were re ally very innovative, whether he introduced a new style of government. Edward's efforts to widen his support and rebuild his finances One of his first acts was to call a parliament where his enemies and their supporters were attainted in great numbers. They were declared guilty of treaso n and they and their children disinherited. As he became more established, howev er, Edward proved willing to sell his forgiveness. By the 1470s, only the most adamant of his enemies were left out in the cold. Edward had to make himself wealthy enough to meet not only his own expense s, but also the demands of his followers, present and future, for leases of crow n lands, pensions, and other favors. He had to do this without extraordinary tax ation. Asking the commons for parliamentary grants was the surest way to forfeit public support. He had to use other methods. Among them were: Resumption tempered with dispensation. Resumption meant that all existing pensions and other crown grants were canceled. This was very popular with most t axpayers. However if resumption had been strictly enforced, it would have made E dward many enemies, as all sorts of important people were tossed off the gravy t rain. What Edward did was to allow those who had grants to apply for dispensatio ns. Edward examined each request himself, and agreed to many of them. Those whos e support he really needed got at least something. So Edward saved money, redist ributed his patronage in what he hoped was an efficient manner, and demonstrated his power, all at once. The introduction of up-to-date management techniques to the crown estates. The benevolence. When Edward traveled across the country, he made a point of dropping in on people known to have money, and asked them for gifts of money.

had always a ppealed to the country at large (partly because his peers showed no great dispos ition to follow his lead). however. Richard of York. at least. talking directly with t he king. So Edward traded. When she said £10. he acted as if he were the rightful king. It might have been more lucrati ve to restructure the out-of-date customs taxes. Successful foreign policy Edward was required by traditional feeling.and naturally they were hated.000 crowns to leave and promised him a pension of 25.most came across w ith something. a large sum. mostly in wool. had r ealized just how important it was. achieved more or less by accident. he was an accessible.thus the name benevolence -.t he latter. they acted out of bad conscience. Edward was thoroughly me dieval in his taste for war. Edward. Many of Edward's methods of government had been used by Richard II and by Henry VI's hated ministers. it was harder for individuals. . to renew the war on France. ties that had saved his bacon in 1470. But for most. the pension made it possible for Edwa rd to be the only king in centuries to die with no debts outstanding. like many other great landlords. Failure to gain the loyalty of the people was one reason that Henry VI had fallen. So in 1475. but Edward gained anyway. the famous butt of malmsey. Engaging in trade as a private individual. Together with his other initiatives. insofar as that was possible. Louis XI paid hi m 75. he was an itinerant king. by contrast. to control a country they saw as host ile to themselves -. and by the old Yorkist claim t hat they represented the traditional martial valor of England. A famous story about Edward shows him asking a rich widow for money. Edward had Henry VI killed. English po litics also benefited from a prolonged period of domestic and foreign peace -. ev en lovable king. Though he was a usurper. though he was no soft touch. but this was politically impos sible. Edward also had close ties with Burgundy. He as ked her what her good will (benevolence) would be towards helping to pay his gre at expenses.To gain the king's good will -.000 crowns a year to s tay away. had his brother George drowned in a barrel of sweet wine. But when Richard II or the duke of Suffolk did such things. After all. to say no to such a request than it was for the commons assembled in pa rliament to do so. The combined campaign failed to come off. according to taste). Cultivating public opinion Edward knew to survive he had to be popular in the country as a whole. he thanked her and gave her a hug an d a kiss. and many responded favorably. moving thr ough the country. Currying public favor had been an important part of government since at le ast the time of Magna Carta and Simon de Montfort. Like his remote ancestors. constantly checking his power base. and winning hearts and min ds. Charles the Bold (or the Rash. he planned an expedition to France in conjunction with the cu rrent duke of Burgundy. Not all kings. She was so pleased that she doubled her contribution. tried his best to be everyone's frien d.

earl of Richmond. and a descendant of John of Gaunt and Edwar d III. the remnants of the Lancastrian inte rest. Recognizances were ruin ous fines that he had adjudged against various peers. If. Richard III was killed in battle at Bosworth Field. and were presumed dead by contemporaries. became Henry VII. a very obscure and inexperienced man at his accession. the infamous Henry VIII. After he got custody of the young princes. During his two year reign he faced a variety of plots. and so he did no . especially since he kn ew how little support he had had during his own usurpation. commande d no great loyalty in England. Richard III had the character to be a capable king. the p olitical nation sat on the sidelines. the Duke of Buckingham. Richard of Gloucester had them denounced as ille gitimate. On August 22.Henry VIII was just 18 when he became king. worked well enough that Henry was able to pass his kingdom on to his son. Henry VII's reign Henry VII. this was not a serious attempt to reconquer the lost continental domini ons. For years he was insecure. Richard claimed that his brother had been engaged before he married El izabeth Wydeville. Henry VII recog nized that little England could not fight this French colossus. Edward IV had left a will naming his brother Richard of Gloucester as prot ector. one who ruled by recognizance. but no one would lift a hand to save him. Edward V and Richard duke of York. Henry VII's most important accomplishment was to survive these attempts. Perhaps the most important continuity between the House of York and the Ho use of Tudor was peace with France. which were to be collected if they ever got out of line again. No one but those Richard had personally enriched were interested in supporting his regime. the second son of Edward IV. He left two sons. France was stronger and more united than it had ever been. Henry Tudor. He secured this dubious hereditary claim by marrying Ed ward IV's daughter. His methods. Although Henry did invade France once. backed by the Wydevilles.. obt ained Henry Tudor's freedom and gave him money for an invasion of England. when the ministers of the new French king. and secur ed them in the Tower of London. and this was enough by church law to invalidate the later mar riage. but unfortu nately they were quite young. Edward V was only thirteen. but the irregular way he came to power destroyed his legitimacy.Richard III's reign Edward died in 1483 at the age of 40. many of which were taken over from Edward IV and Richard III. but he did not get along with the queen's family. Henry VII had died only a few years earlier. anything might h ave happened . and his own protege. Charles VIII. Not that the count ry was actively against him. betrayed in the end by some of his small core grou p of supporters. Thus in 1485. and young Edward and his brother soon disappeared. in th e 1490s. So Edward V was never crowned. however. His impressive accomplishments then came unraveled. 1485. Richard quickly decide d to push for full control. There were a number of revolts against him in the early years of his reign in favor of men who were supposed to be the young Richard duke of York. H e was a suspicious ruler. and implemented by men who had previously served the Yorkists. His uncle Richard mounted the throne as Ri chard III.

On the other hand. Many Lollards were strongly anti-sacerdotal as well. England was on its way to becoming the island k ingdom of modern times. A reorganized. 14 85. we've reached the conventional end of the medieval period. Preaching would bring the message of the Gospel to the laity. in other words the king. You w ill recall that Wyclif wanted the secular power. to dis possess rich church corporations and the pluralists. Wyclif had a ttacked the orthodox theory of the Eucharist. a high-flying academ ic. those clerics who held more than one position at a time. one more capable of effect ive spiritual leadership. Wyclif's state-sponsored reformation never took place. they adduced many common-sense reasons for their skepticism. Like the earlier belligerence toward France. and the church has been accused of being stagnant. Wyclif. Wyclif had no desire to start his own church. Religion in England retained many of the characteristics of the medieval e ra. there are some few symptoms of change. Lollardy and attempts to repress it There is some drama at the beginning of the century in the development of Lollardy. The two elements of anti-clericalism and anti-sacerdotalism together defin ed a religious stance that said laymen did not need the intercession of the cler . the only widespread popular English heresy of the Middle Ages. were unjustified and ev en harmful to the community of Christians. however. poorer church. its monarchs were ceasing to be warlords. to the eternal balancing act necessary to control an i sland of peaceloving landlords. some precursors of the Reformation of the 16th century can be seen. non-intervention evolved into a habit of English foreign policy -. The theological justi fication for clerical privilege was the belief that ordained clerics had a God-g iven power to dispense sacraments that were necessary to salvation. disliked disorder and wanted the English church reformed from the top. Many did not believe that Christ's body was physically present at c ommunion. which made the church a separate order of society. Some of them created Lollardy.t try. but Lollards generally went well b eyond him. and he never consid ered any alternative. the conscious goal of Wyclif and it soon developed in directions that he would have disapproved of. and without ta king on the characteristics of continental despotism. They would devote most of their time in the future. and to forbid papal provisions and taxation in Eng land. Some important characteristics of this move ment were: Lollards believed that the privileges of the clergy and clerical institut ions. Religion in Fifteenth-Century England In politics. Wyclif's agitation inspired others who were willing to go farther than he did. We'll end the course by looking at the state of religion in the fifteenth c entury. and England would end up a holier place. but it was not. It orig inated with Wyclif's moral and philosophical criticism.despite Henry VIII's two attempts to reviv e the glories of Henry V's time. would be created.

Lollard literature made it possible for Lollardy to survive persecution. Lollards were not a unified group or organization. From the very beginning Wyclif had held that the laity should have access to the Bible. But for a decade or so they had given heretical preachers protection and encouragement. held a church council at Oxford where Wyclif's ideas and his best known followers were attacke d. the Lollards were. Se veral of these people became active preachers or propagandists of Wyclifism. gave humanity all knowledge necessary for salvation. Also several of Wyclif's polemical works and original devotional and propaganda works were translated or adapted from Latin or composed in English. Some gave up during the serious repression of the 1380s A number of influential knights present at the court of Richard II. and produced not one but two English translations. or the institutional church. The third group was the large number of ordinary priests and laymen who we re exposed to Wyclif's ideas through the efforts of the pioneers. and repeating and discussing them with among themselve s. the Lollar ds had fundamentalist leanings. Persecution of the Lollards was slow and unsystematic. and pilgri mage. There were protests in parliament against the early anti-heretical actions of the archbishops of Canterbury. following Wyclif's attack on transubstantiation and the shock of the Peasant's Revolt. Henry IV allowed a statute called De heretico comburendo (an Act to Burn Heretics) to be passed by the parliament of 1401 (not without some protest from the commons). and they seriously tried to follow that g uide. They derived from their fundamentalism a hostility to what they called "superstition" -. saints and their relics. where heresy was much more co mmon. or by his zeal and sincerity.the devotion of the majority fel t towards the Mass. There had never bee n any big outbreaks of heresy in England. The most common devotional practice of the Lollards was learning large par ts of the Bible by heart. as we've seen. The Bible. In 1382. The English bible became. like many other zealous Christian groups throu gh the ages. and so the machinery of repression was very primitive compared to that on the continent. archbishop of Canterbury. at least for a few years. The first group was made up of Oxford theologians who knew Wyclif personal ly and who had been convinced by his arguments. William Courtney. What did they put in the place of the institutional church? Like several other medieval heresies and the later Protestants.gy. especially the Gospel. who ha d been exposed to Wyclif's ideas during political debates. a bit on the puritanical side. Following the deposition of Richard II. the Blessed Virgin Mary. They had in the New Testament a clea r guide to how Christians should live. We can identify severa l different groups: Wyclif's ideas inspired a surge of religious activity in several disparate groups. These devotional writings gave Lollardy a greater appeal to substantial la ymen and women than it would have had if it had been transmitted by word of mout h only. It allowed for the burning . Some of his earliest followers took him at his word. to be saved. After the deposition of Richard II the Lollard knights diminished in number and influence. the center of the movement. Finally.

There he began organizing a coup. Oldcastle. Rather the thin but widespread popularity of this anti-clerical. skeptical of the sacr . The connect ion between 15th century Lollards and some of the early support for the Reformat ion is increasingly accepted. Furthermore mystics and other pious people wrote down their experiences and thoughts for others to read . though he knew that his plans were betrayed. Lay piety The growth of lay literacy. Oldcastle's revolt was counterproductive in the worst way. if very much a minority cult. He was sentenced to be burne d. The rather hopeless plan lost all chance of success when a group of London Lollards were arrested in a tavern the night before the coup was to take place. Reading was part of their life. when it inspired a revolt against Henry V. Nevertheless Lollardy. His thousand or fewer Lollards were easily scattered. especially literacy in English. and without any ambition to found a new order. Not all pious laypeople were mystics or Lollards. In 1413. A man of milita ry accomplishment and political influence. Though only two heretics were burned. During the delay Oldcastle escaped from the Tower of London and went into h iding. Yet it w as scary enough to provoke a strong reaction from the authorities and the upper class as a whole. Henry V stayed the execution of his friend in the hopes of getting him to rec ant. The center of the storm was a man named Sir John Oldcastle. From this point. There was the puritanic al. Lollardy lost its Lollardy lo st many of its upper class adherents. From the middle of the 14th century. Because his religious convictions were sincere. Archbishop Arundel found some solid evidence of this and decided to prosecute. It had its effect on the grassroots. It percolated under the surface until 1414. in fact. lords and trained theologians are ne ver found in the surviving movement. though the Lollards did not start that Reformation . Lollardy did not die out. he was known to be a Lollard and a pr otector of Lollards. All of this kind of activity had been monopolized by the clergy before the fou rteenth century. Scripture loving fringe of Lollards and near Lollards. a close friend of the young king and one of Shakespeare's models for Falstaff. continued to spread a nd still had a certain appeal to educated and pious laymen. had for a long time now made it possible for people to live a rich religious life without the clergy. It never had a chance of success. The classics of Latin devotional literatur e were increasingly translated into the common language. It lost any chance of converting the larger society to its own views. because almost no one of any influence was involved. went ahead anyway. lay mystics began to appe ar. and conte mplation. Mystics were people who lived an interior life that an earlier century wou ld have thought appropriate only to monks. these mystics sought to make direct contact with God. They did so with out any formal ties to an established religious order. asceticism.of heretics. Through prayer. knights. Oldcastle refused to deny his beliefs and was found guilty of heresy. not very lear ned movement is an indicator of the growing independent involvement of lay men a nd women in religion. Now it was available to the laity.

One of the most important types of religious activity in the Later Middle Ages was the founding of chantries. Purgatory w as not a pleasant prospect. A richer laity put much of their new money into ma gnificent stone buildings that still survive today. intercession was syste matized. Lots of people thought that this corrupt ed true religion. Even if you confessed y our sins and had them forgiven. In the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. but it is clear that some of the older institutions of the chur ch were losing their relevance for the English. especially those connected with the Carthusian order." But many other enthusiasts threw themselves into the orthodox devotion of the time. all of which we re promoted by the mendicant orders of friars. many of whom made extra pennies teaching the children of the laity how t o read. but many more bought indulgences so that they would be spared the pains of purgatory. These included attending mass. even after death. hearing of masses and even communion. Frequent confession. The strict separation o f the religious life from the life of the world that they symbolized left people cold -. that prayer and intercession would gain God's mercy. But most of the mon asteries were increasingly irrelevant to religious life. ev en if they are saved. even equated it with simony. The sale of indulgences by the papacy was mass marketed to meet the papal bills. was lukewarm.especially since the religion of the 15th century monasteries. A chantry was a private chapel. preached to them. These beliefs were very similar in a w ay to the belief of the early and High Middle Ages. Purgatory was visu alized as being a lot like hell but temporary rather than permanent. Growing irrelevance of the institutional church Greater lay participation in religious life did not mean active revolt aga inst the clergy. a nd directed the daily devotions of the pious were much more central to religious . endowed by a rich penitent. even turned into an industry. Such devotion centered to a great degree on the fear of purgatory. though n ot corrupt. A similar attachment to old forms of piety can be seen in the parish churc hes of the fifteenth century. Ch antries had the additional advantage of providing employment for underemployed p riests. however. you would spend time in purgatory until your soul was purged. If you died with punishment still owing. who lived with the people. confessed them. The friars. prayers on your behalf performed by the living c ould shorten your purgatorial punishment. each sin had a punishment attached that had to b e suffered or otherwise taken care of. were part of a similar and very p opular strategy. The idea was that few human beings. saying prescr ibed prayers. Furthermore. Fortunately the church had long said that various devotional acts could ca ncel out the punishment due to sin. L ots of people who could not afford such a magnificent spiritual safety net left money in their wills to have a certain number of masses said for their souls. This is particularly evident in regard to monasteries. where priests were to say masses for the founder for eternity. A few very strict houses.aments and "superstition. deserved to go directly to heaven. Purgatory was a doctrine developed in the earlier Middle Ages that caught the imagination of the Later Middle Ages. attracted lay interest and patronage. going on pilgrimage. or even contributing money to pious purposes.

They had lost their dominant positio n in the economy. as officially sanctioned beggars. this promise did not apply to t he clergy. We have seen that the crown and the estates in parl iament had put much pressure on the papacy's ability to direct the English churc h during the fourteenth century. the papal court lost the battle. the clerical obsession with money that contemporaries dislik ed. English clergy wer e no longer part of an international class. In England. if very dimly. And nobody protested. The only th ing left to lose was the privileged legal separation from the rest of society. ?? ?? ?? ?? 15 ?? ?? ?? ?? . For instance. He continued to call convocations of the English clergy and get grant s of taxes from them. In the fifteenth century. the pope could exercise such powers only at the sufferance of the appropriate kings and princes. the popes found it impossible to regain the ground t hey had lost. the king was effectively supreme in the church a century befor e Henry VIII. The pre-Ref ormation English church cannot be fairly presented as a scandalously corrupt ins titution. and it retained some of its taxing r ights. At the beginning of the 15th century. O ne can see. At the same time the organizational independence of the church was less th an it had been in centuries. and they could not afford to fight secular rulers whose support they needed . The Great Schism that began in 1378 and continued until 1417 was the main cause. but in most parts of Europe. The church by this point was part of the king's "own" -. In this period competing popes fought to be recognized as head of the chu rch.just as it had been in the time of Edgar or William the Con queror. and no longer had a monopoly of learning or piety. Most clergy did their jobs reasonably well if in an uninspired fashion . they were obvious targets of crit icism. When the Schism was over. But the clergy had lost its leadership position in society. the shape of the national Church of England that will soon come into being. when Edward IV told parliament that he would "live o f his own" and not ask them for grants of money.life. we are coming to the end of a cycle. The papacy remained the main clearing house for dispensations from church law and high clerical appointments. But because the friars were so visible. They could be blamed for the rather mechanistic piety and.

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