The Earls of Mercia: Lordship and Power in Late Anglo-Saxon by Stephen Baxter

By Stephen Baxter

This booklet constitutes an enormous reappraisal of the past due Anglo-Saxon nation at the eve of its loss of life. Its central concentration is the relatives of Ealdorman Leofwine, which got strength in Mercia and retained it all through a unprecedented interval of political upheaval among 994 and 1071. In doing so it explores a paradox: that earls have been terribly prosperous and strong but quite insecure. The booklet comprises the 1st prolonged therapy of earls' powers in past due Anglo-Saxon England and indicates that even supposing they wielded enormous army, administrative and political powers, they remained at risk of exile and different kinds of political punishment together with lack of territory. The booklet additionally deals a path-breaking research of land tenure and the mechanics of royal patronage, and argues that most of earls' estates have been held from the king on a revocable foundation all through their interval in workplace. as a way to make amends for such insecurities, earls used lordship and non secular patronage to build neighborhood networks of energy. The ebook makes use of cutting edge equipment for analyzing the illustration of lordship in Domesday ebook to reconstruct the affinity of the earls of Mercia. It additionally examines how the home of Leofwine made strategic use of spiritual patronage to cement neighborhood strength constructions. All this created extreme pageant among the earls of Mercia and their opponents for energy, either at court docket and within the localities, and the publication explores how factional contention decided the process politics, and eventually the destiny of the past due Anglo-Saxon nation.

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Extra resources for The Earls of Mercia: Lordship and Power in Late Anglo-Saxon England

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They enjoyed a share, but not a monopoly, of regalian dues, and they regularly attended the king’s court. In addition, and perhaps most striking of all, the size and structure of late Anglo-Saxon earldoms was unstable, being subject to rapid and radical change at the will of the king and his counsellors. In short, earls never enjoyed a monopoly over the kingdom’s formal power structures; nor were they able to undermine them, or replace them with informal power structures of their own. In these respects, the experiences of late Anglo-Saxon earls were strikingly different from that of their continental counterparts, the dukes and counts of post-Carolingian Francia.

520–1; EER, 38–40; Adam of Bremen, Gesta Hammaburgensis ecclesiae pontificum, in Quellen des 9. und 11. Jahrhunderts zur Geschichte der Hamburgischen Kirche und des Reiches, ed. W. Trillmich and R.

Lfwine 29’; A. Williams, ‘Princeps Merciorum Gentis: the Family, Career and Connections of Ælfhere, Ealdorman of Mercia 956–83’, ASE 10 (1982), 143–72, at 144, 147 n. 21, 161, 171 n. 138. ³ S 880, 881. n. n. ‘Leofwine 52’. Both Ealdorman Leofwine and the thegn of that name subscribe S 880. ⁵ S 891. The Hwicce was an independent kingdom until eclipsed by the expansion of Mercia in the eighth century. During the late Anglo-Saxon period, it formed the territorial basis of the diocese of Worcester comprising roughly Gloucestershire, Worcestershire, and part of Warwickshire: see D.

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