Ch 02 The Growth of Feudalism

Ch.02 -The Growth of Feudalism - Additions-The Claim of William the Conqueror to the English Throne

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A PEOPLE'S HISTORY OF ENGLAND-
ADDITIONS TO CHAPTER II

The Claim of William the Conqueror to the English Throne

William
The whole reason for the Battle of Hastings in 1066 stems from a promise made by Edward the Confessor to William in 1051. As stated in other sections, this promise was considered as binding by William but was construed somewhat differently by others, especially Harold Godwinson.

Did William have a valid claim ? The simple answer appears to be none. The justification seems to have originated from later documents by the French chroniclers, William of Jumieges who wrote the History of the Normans in 1070 and William's biographer William of Poitiers who completed his work in 1077. The whole crux of their argument rests on the promise made by Edward the Confessor in 1051.

Why did Edward the Confessor make such a promise ?
The answer was one of gratitude. When the Danish King Canute ruled the country, the Saxon royal family fled to the continent and were sheltered in Normandy. Edward had a great affinity for the place, as he had spent most of his formative years there. It is not surprising therefore, that the celibate King Edward would do such a thing. With no heir to the throne and no prospect of one, he sent William of Jumieges, who was at this time the Archbishop of Canterbury, to Normandy with his decision.

The effect of the decision
When his decision became general knowledge is not known. He must have understood all too clearly the effect it would have in England. he would have a difficult task persuading the nobility, especially the Godwins who were opposed to any form of foreign infiltration. Edward had introduced many of his trustees to England and installed them in positions of power already. Even the home of English Christianity was run by a Norman, Robert of Jumieges. Nevertheless, a grudging acceptance had slowly developed. Even Godwin accepted that he could do little to change the mind of Edward, even if he wanted to. A childless king would have allowed all sorts of possibilities for his son's aspirations.

Harold Godwinson the objector
The acceptance of Edward's decision was not shared by Harold. He had always been the dominant son in the Godwin family and was The Earl of East Anglia at the time. He possibly saw a chance that he could be King himself someday. On a personal level, he was always very friendly with Edward and was visited on a regular basis by Edward and his wife at the Godwin's home at Bosham. Edward understood that Harold being the main dissenter, needed to be persuaded that he was serious in his promise to William. To this end, he summoned Harold in 1064 and ordered him to go to Normandy to confirm his pronouncement on his behalf. His oath of allegiance made under pressure over holy relics to William in Normandy, effectively made him his vassal.

Perspective
Harold's oath of allegiance was seen quite differently on either side of the English Channel. In Normandy, Harold swearing over holy relics was all that was needed for William's chroniclers to justify his kingship in later documents. On the English side it was seen as an oath made under pressure and had no legal or binding authenticity.

The legalities of William's claim
What seems to have occurred is the misuse of precedent and royal protocol, combined with the selected massaging or deletion of historic fact. It was later used to justify the Norman case. the argument comes down to whether Edward had any legal jurisdiction to offer the Crown to William. There is no precedent for this to have happened under Anglo Saxon law. The nearest you can come to designation is the choice that was made by the Witan, which was generally one of necessity for the furtherance of the countries good. A unilateral decision by the monarch had never occurred even to bequeathing his throne to another Saxon. The Normal English way, was by birth ( primogeniture ),by the Witan or by force.

Why did William feel he legally had a claim?
Different countries cultures have different ways of choosing their leaders. Where as no precedent was set for English Kings to nominate their heirs, this was not the case in Normandy. From the time of Rollo, it was usual for the incumbent to name his successor before his death. Usually it would have been the eldest son, but not always. The logic was that the nobles would swear an oath of allegiance to him before the present incumbent died. This had its advantages in that you knew who you were going to get years in advance. This process of grooming was less developed in England. This was how it was done in Normandy, so William would probably have seen nothing wrong with the process. Possibly, neither would Edward who, as mentioned above spent many years in Normandy.

Altering the records
It is interesting to note the way history was distorted and facts twisted by the Norman chroniclers to justify the invasion in 1066 and William's Kingship. William of Poitiers made a suggestion that Harold was never a true king of England at all because he was consecrated by Archbishop Stigand, who was the replacement in 1052 for the Norman, Robert of Jumieges, who was removed before his death under the jurisdiction of Godwin. Stigand was immediately excommunicated. This fact gave the Normans the ammunition to declare Harold a usurper, and hence, not a true king. Unfortunately for William, Harold had realised that this may have caused a problem, had ensured that Ealdred, the Archbishop of York, had carried out the ceremony (as he had also done for William). Even in the Bayeux tapestry, the propaganda shows Stigand next to Harold during the ceremony. The above facts was the justification for Rome to offer the Papal Banner to William in 1066.
  
 Coronation of William on the 25th December 1066Harold's Claim To The English Throne.

 Harold
We have spent some time attempting to defeat the Norman's argument which justifies their case for the English throne. We must now ask whether Harold had any better claim.Who was Harold ?
The life of Harold is discussed fully in other sections, but not his legitimacy to the English throne. Harold Godwinson was the son of Earl Godwin. Godwin was the chief power broker in Wessex, which in itself was the most powerful kingdom in England. Godwin came to prominence during the reign of King Canute. They became good friends and this led to Godwin becoming entitled. He had no royal blood in him. Harold Godwinson, his eldest son, was the sister of Edith. Edith married Edward the Confessor.Not entitled
The only relationship Harold had with the royal line was by marriage. What made it worse was that his father had a hand in arranging Edith's marriage. This was a political marriage which we assume was to further the aspirations of the Godwin family. If it were not for another two claimants ( discussed later ), Harold could have been considered the natural choice and would probably have been elected officially by the Witan. From an early stage, it may have been the Intention of Godwin that his son would eventually become the king, especially as no heir apparent could seriously threaten him.

A King in uncertain terms
An indication of the insecure ground Harold was standing on was indicated by the Anglo Saxon Chronicle where it uses the phrase that- Harold had been designated, elected and anointed. The word designated is important as it indicates that even then, it considered the legitimacy of Harold's coronation to be somewhat suspect. The coronation of Harold immediately after Edward's death is suspicious, as normally there used to be a period between the death of a monarch and the crowning of another.Out of Context
The exclamation allegedly spoken to Harold by Edward the Confessor on his deathbed is in itself subject to question. He is supposed to have offered his wife and kingdom to Harold. Why should he change his mind when he had stuck to his guns for the previous fifteen years?. Did he ever say these words? Who was round Edward on his deathbed who would have been brave enough to contradict the all powerful Godwinson's? If he did say these words, what did they mean? It is thought that these dying comments were more of a command than a carte blanche statement for Harold to be King of England. They may have been an order for Harold to act as William's vassal until his arrival to ensure a smooth transition. Whatever Edward meant, Harold took it one way. A collision course was set.
 
 

The Claim of Edgar Aetheling to the English Throne.

 

Edgar Aetheling
Edward had a half brother named Edmund II Ironside of England. Edmund had a son named Edward the Aetheling. He in turn had a son named Edgar the Aetheling. When Canute came to power Edward was dispatched to the Hungarian court for his own protection. On Edward and Edgar's return in 1054, Edward died in strange circumstances. Edgar stayed in Edward the Confessor's court for his own protection.Why did they return ?
This is a difficult question to answer. Their safety was assured in Hungary, yet they still returned. It could not have been at the invitation of Edward the Confessor because he had nominated William as his heir. The sight of the Aethelings would have been the last thing he would have wanted. He could possibly have invited them back as a trap, which might have explained the death of Edward Aetheling, as the younger Edgar would not be seen as a threat to the Confessor's plans for William. He had plenty of time to dispose of Edgar in his court. The more likely scenario was an invitation by the Godwin family as a ploy to unsettle the King and William. If Edgar did have any aspirations to the throne, they came to nothing, because he later pledged his allegiance to William, after he became King of England. The power of the Godwin family should not be underestimated. In some respects, Edward the Confessor could be considered almost a puppet King of England.
  
 Other Possible Claimants to the English Throne.

Sweyn Estridson
He was the grandson of Sweyn Forkbeard and nephew of Canute. He could have made a valid claim as ancestor of two past kings. Sweyn Forkbeard and Canute took England by force, were not Saxon. Sweyn Estridson ( Sweyn Estrithson ) had problems in his own country with the threat of invasion from Norway, so he never made a claim for the English throne. He did support William in his.

Magnus of Norway
A pact was made between Harthacanute and Magnus that indicates that either would have become King of England if one or the other died childless. Harthacanute died very young and Magnus was involved in a dispute with Denmark. He never pushed his claim.Harald Hardrada
Hardrada was a pirate of the first order. If he was ever to have become the King of England, he would have had to have taken it by force. He was killed by Harold at Stamford Bridge, prior to the Battle of Hastings.

Last Updated on Sunday, 17 April 2011 03:52

-Additions - List of Medival Land terms

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A PEOPLE'S HISTORY OF ENGLAND

ADDITIONS TO CHAPTER II

List of medieval land terms

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The feudal system, in which the land was owned by a monarch, who in exchange for homage and military service granted its use to tenants-in-chief, who in their turn granted its use to sub-tenants in return for further services, gave rise to several terms, particular to Britain, for subdivisions of land which are no longer in wide use. These medieval land terms include the following:

·                                 a burgage, a plot of land rented from a lord or king

·                                 a hide: the hide originally referred to the land-holding that supported a family in the early medieval period, sharing its roots with words used to describe related issues, such as the family deriving directly from the sexual relationship between a man and a woman. The hide was later used to define areas of land, which could vary from 60 to 120 old acres (approximately 30 modern acres) depending somewhat on the quality of the land. The hide was not ubiquitous in Anglo-Saxon England, with, for example, land in Kent being assessed in sulungs (approximately twice the size of the average hide).

·                                 a Knight's fee: is the amount of land for which the services of a knight (for 40 days) were due to the Crown. It was determined by land value, and the number of hides in a Knight's Fee varied.

·                                 a hundred: a division of an English shire consisting of 100 hides. The hundreds of Stoke Desborough and Burnham in Buckinghamshire are known as the Chiltern Hundreds.

·                                 a franconian Lan used in Poland since the 13th century, consisted of 43.2 morgs = 23 to 28 hectares. The term Lan was also used to indicate a full-sized farm, as opposed to one split up into a number of smaller sections.

·                                 a wapentake: a subdivision of a county used in Yorkshire and other areas of strong Danish influence. It is similar to hundred or a ward. It was used in Yorkshire, Lincolnshire, Nottinghamshire, Derbyshire, Leicestershire and Rutland.

·                                 a shire was originally a type of a subdivision of a county; some shires evolved into administrative areas equivalent to a county; a shire was headed by a Shire Reeve (becoming Sheriff, in Saskatchewan the Mayor of a Rural Municipalitiy is a Reeve); shires were most commonly subdivided into hundreds, but other types of subdivisions were also made

·                                 a rape: Sussex was divided into six rapes, which were intermediate divisions between the county and the hundred. A rape was to have its own river, forest and castle.

·                                 a lathe: Kent was divided into five lathes, from the Old English laeth, meaning district.

·                                 a riding: was a division of land in Yorkshire equivalent to a third of the shire. The name is derived from the Old Norse thriding, meaning "one-third".

·                                 a ward: a ward is a subdivision of a shire, equivalent to a wapentake or a hundred. It was used in Northumberland, Cumberland, Westmorland, and Durham.

Additions -The Growth & Decline of Feudalism-Islamic Science 800-1100AD

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ADDITIONS TO CHAPTER II

A PEOPLE”S HISTORY OF ENGLAND
CH. II THE GROWTH AND DECLINE OF FEUDALISM

 ISLAMIC SCIENCE  800- 1100 AD

 ISLAMIC SCIENCE BROUGHT GREEK LEARNING ALIVE AFTER IT HAD STALLED.

 ISLAMIC SCHOLARS HAD NO EMOTIONAL ATTACHMENTS AND APPROACHED THEIR LEARNING IN A DETACHED ATTITUDE.

 MUSLIMS WERE MORE ATTRACTED TO MYSTICAL ASPECTS OF PHILOSOPHY PARTICULARLY NEOPLATONISM AND THE THEOLOGY OF ARISTOTLE.

 NUMBER MAGIC WAS EXPOSED AND BECAUSE OF THE LOWER SOCIAL POSITION OF THE SCIENTISTS IN ISLAMIC CULTURE THEY WERE ABLE TO TAKE AN INTEREST IN MEDICINE AND NATURAL KNOWLEDGE.

 PICTURES SHOW ISLAMIC MEDICAL MEN COMING TO THE AID OF A MAN ATTACKED BY A SNAKE.

 RHAZAS AND AL KINDI TOOK MEDICAL SCIENCE FURTHER, BUT OTHERS  WERE STUCK WITH THE IDEA OF- MAN THE MICROCOSM IN THE MACROCOSM OF THE WORLD.

 THAT MAN WAS THE EPITOME OF A DIVINE CREATION.

 IN THE FIELD OF MATHEMATICS ISLAMIC SCIENCE MADE HUGE ADVANCES IN  THE FIELD OF NUMBERS, GEOMETRY AND COMPUTATION.

 IN ASTRONOMY THE ARABS CARRIED ON THE GREEK TRADITION OF STAR IDENTIFICATION AND WORSHIP.

 THEY MADE FEW ADVANCES IN GEOGRAPHY WHICH WAS A BRANCH OF ASTRONOMY, BUT THEY MAPPED ASIA AND NORTH AFRICA.

 ISLAMIC MEDICINE ADVANCED BY UNDERSTANDING A RANGE OF DISEASES AND OFTEN WORKED WITH JEWISH DOCTORS ON CLIMATE EFFECT,HYGIENE,AND DIET.

 IN THE FIELD OF OPTICS AND THE STUDY OF EYE DISEASES, ARAB PHYSICIANS UNDERSTOOD THE SENSE OF A PASSAGE OF LIGHT THROUGH TRANSPARENT BODIES AND LENSES USING CRYSTAL OR GLASS.

 THE BEGINNING OF SCIENTIFIC CHEMISTRY WAS PIONEERED BY ISLAMIC DOCTORS. IN ALCHEMY ONLY THE PUREST SUBSTANCES WERE SOUGHT. PERFUMERS AND METALLURGISTS MADE THE GREATEST CONTRIBUTIONS.

 THE LEGACY OF ISLAMIC SCIENCE IS CLEAR. THEY RESCUED GREEK SCIENCE AND IN THE ALEXANDRIAN SCHOOL THE FOUNDATIONS OF ALGEBRA AND TRIGONOMETRY WERE DEVELOPED.

 THE DECAY OF ISLAMIC CULTURE

 THERE WAS NO SPECTACULAR COLLAPSE BUT THE BEST DAYS WERE OVER BY 1100 AD. YET AVERROES AND IBN KHALDUN CONTINUED THE GOOD WORK.

 THE ISLAMIC AND BYZANTINE EMPIRES WERE UNABLE TO MAINTAIN THE ORGANISATION NECESSARY TO CONTROL AN EXTENSIVE STATE.

 BY THE TIME OF THE CRUSADES, FEUDAL DISPUTES HAD WEAKENED THE INFERIOR MILITARY. THE PROCESS WAS ACCELERATED BY THE WAVES OF BARBARIANS FROM THE STEPPE LANDS.

 HOWEVER THIS DOES NOT EXPLAIN THE DECLINE OF EGYPT  AND NORTH AFRICA WHICH THE MONGULS NEVER PENETRATED.

 ISLAM WAS TO SURVIVE BUT IT NEVER REGAINED THE SAME SCIENTIFIC IMPETUS  AFTER ITS ECONOMIC PROGRESS FAILED.

 ISLAMIC SCIENCE WAS NOT WASTED BUT HANDED ON TO THE GROWING SCIENCE OF FEUDAL CHRISTENDOM.

 BOTH THE GLORY AND LIMITATIONS OF ISLAMIC AND CHRISTIAN SCIENCE IN THE MIDDLE AGES STEM FROM THE SAME ROOT,AND THAT IS THEIR ASSOCIATION WITH THE POLITICAL AND ECONOMIC BASIS OF FEUDALISM.

Additions -Feudalism

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A PEOPLE'S HISTORY OF ENGLAND

ADDITIONS TO CHAPTER II

Feudalism

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Feudalism is a political and military system between a feudal aristocrat (a lord or liege), and his vassals. Feudalism flourished from the ninth century to the fifteenth century. In its most classic sense, feudalism refers to the Medieval European political system composed of a set of reciprocal legal and military obligations among the warrior nobility, revolving around the three key concepts of lords, vassals, and fiefs. Although derived from the Latin word feodum (fief), then in use, the term feudalism and the system it describes were not conceived of as a formal political system by the people living in the Medieval Period.

 

Definition

There is no broadly accepted modern definition of feudalism. The term, which was coined in the early modern period (17th century), was originally used in a political context, but other definitions of feudalism exist. Since at least the 1960s,[1] many medieval historians have included a broader social aspect, adding the peasantry bonds of manorialism, sometimes referred to as a "feudal society". Still others since the 1970s have re-examined the evidence and concluded that feudalism is an unworkable term and should be removed entirely from scholarly and educational discussion, or at least used only with severe qualification and warning.

Traditionally, American and British historians have used the term "feudalism" to describe a political, military, and social system that bound together the warrior aristocracy of Western Europe between ca. 1000 and ca. 1300 the elements of which were:

·                                 The personal bond of mutual loyalty and military service between nobles of different rank known as vassalage/lordship;

·                                 Fiefs held by vassals/men from their lords in return for specified service, which was usually a combination of military and social duties and miscellaneous payments;

·                                 Jurisdictional and political power in the hands of nobles who held franchises, immunities or banal rights;

·                                 Decentralized rule with a weak king who was theoretically the lord of lords and the ultimate source of all rights over land.

In this paradigm, feudalism is essentially a military recruitment system, in which land tenure is exchanged for knight service.[2]

Outside a European context, the concept of feudalism is normally used only by analogy (called semi-feudal), most often in discussions of Japan under the shoguns, and sometimes medieval and Gondarine Ethiopia. However, some have taken the feudalism analogy further, seeing it in places as diverse as ancient Egypt, the Parthian empire, the Indian subcontinent, and the antebellum American South.[3]

The term feudalism has also been applied—often inappropriately or pejoratively—to non-Western societies where institutions and attitudes similar to those of medieval Europe are perceived to prevail.[4] Ultimately, the many ways the term feudalism has been used has deprived it of specific meaning, leading many historians and political theorists to reject it as a useful concept for understanding society.[5]

History

Main article: Early Middle Ages

As the Roman Empire declined, emperors gave land to nobles in exchange for loyalty. [6] Military power concentrated at the level of lords, who traded land in exchange for protection, as the Roman army could no longer be counted on.

Characteristics

See also: Examples of feudalism

 

 

Roland pledges his fealty to Charlemagne; from a manuscript of a chanson de geste

Lords, vassals, and fiefs

Three primary elements characterized feudalism: lords, vassals, and fiefs; the group of feudalism can be seen in how these three elements fit together. A lord granted land (a fief) to his vassals. In exchange for the fief, the vassal would provide military service to the lord. The obligations and relations between lord, vassal and fief form the basis of feudalism. Before a lord could grant land (a fief) to someone, he had to make that person a vassal. This was done at a formal and symbolic ceremony called a commendation ceremony composed of the two-part act of homage and oath of fealty. During homage, the lord and vassal entered a contract in which the vassal promised to fight for the lord at his command. Fealty comes from the Latin fidelitas and denotes the fidelity owed by a vassal to his feudal lord. "Fealty" also refers to an oath that more explicitly reinforces the commitments of the vassal made during homage. Such an oath follows homage. Once the commendation was complete, the lord and vassal were now in a feudal relationship with agreed-upon mutual obligations to one another. The vassal's principal obligation to the lord was to "aid", or military service. Using whatever equipment the vassal could obtain by virtue of the revenues from the fief, the vassal was responsible to answer to calls to military service on behalf of the lord. This security of military help was the primary reason the lord entered into the feudal relationship. In addition, the vassal sometimes had to fulfill other obligations to the lord. One of those obligations was to provide the lord with "counsel", so that if the lord faced a major decision, such as whether or not to go to war, he would summon all his vassals and hold a council. The vassal may have been required to yield a certain amount of his farm's output to his lord. The vassal was also sometimes required to grind his own wheat and bake his own bread in the mills and ovens owned and taxed by his lord.[citation needed]

The land-holding relationships of feudalism revolved around the fief. Depending on the power of the granting lord, grants could range in size from a small farm to a much larger area of land. The size of fiefs was described in irregular terms quite different from modern area terms (see medieval land terms). The lord-vassal relationship was not restricted to members of the laity; bishops and abbots, for example, were also capable of acting as lords. There were thus different 'levels' of lordship and vassalage. The King was a lord who loaned fiefs to aristocrats, who were his vassals. The aristocrats, through subinfeudation, were lords to their own vassals, Knights, who were in turn lords of the manor to the peasants who worked on the land. Ultimately, the Emperor was a lord who loaned fiefs to Kings, who were his vassals. This traditionally formed the basis of a 'universal monarchy' as an imperial alliance and a world order. Vassals were often granted not only land itself but also the right to collect certain tolls or taxes and private jurisdiction on their land.

Historiography

Invention

The term "feudal" was invented by Renaissance Italian jurists to describe what they took to be the common customary law of property. Giacomo Alvarotto's (1385-1453) treatise De feudis ("Concerning Fiefs") claimed that despite regional differences the regulations governing the descent of aristocratic land tenure were derived from common legal principles, a customary shared "feudal law".[7] According to another source, the earliest known use of the term feudal was in the 17th century (1614),[8] when the system it purported to describe was rapidly vanishing or gone entirely. No writers in the period in which feudalism was supposed to have flourished are known to have used the word itself.

The word "feudalism" was not a medieval term but an invention of 16th century French and English lawyers to describe certain traditional obligations between members of the warrior aristocracy.[9] It was often used as a pejorative by later commentators to describe any law or custom that they perceived as unfair or out-dated.[citation needed] Most of these laws and customs were related in some way to the medieval institution of the fief (Latin: feodum, a word which first appears on a Frankish charter dated 884), and thus lumped together under this single term.[citation needed] "Feudalism" comes from the French féodalisme, a word coined during the French Revolution.[citation needed]

Evolution of the term

Feudalism became a popular and widely used term in 1748, thanks to Montesquieu's De L'Esprit des Lois (The Spirit of the Laws). In the 18th century, writers of the Enlightenment wrote about feudalism to denigrate the antiquated system of the Ancien Régime, or French monarchy. This was the Age of Enlightenment when writers valued reason and the Middle Ages were viewed as the "Dark Ages". Enlightenment authors generally mocked and ridiculed anything from the "Dark Ages" including feudalism, projecting its negative characteristics on the current French monarchy as a means of political gain.[10]For them "feudalism" meant seigneurial privileges and prerogatives. When the French Constituent Assembly abolished the "feudal regime" in August 1789 this is what was meant.

Adam Smith used the term “feudal system” to describe a social and economic system defined by inherited social ranks, each of which possessed inherent social and economic privileges and obligations. In such a system wealth derived from agriculture, which was organized not according to market forces but on the basis of customary labor services owed by serfs to landowning nobles.[11]

Marx

Karl Marx also used the term in political analysis. In the 19th century, Marx described feudalism as the economic situation coming before the inevitable rise of capitalism. For Marx, what defined feudalism was that the power of the ruling class (the aristocracy) rested on their control of arable land, leading to a class society based upon the exploitation of the peasants who farm these lands, typically under serfdom.[12] "The hand-mill gives you society with the feudal lord; the steam-mill, society with the industrial capitalist."[13] Marx thus considered feudalism within a purely economic model

Later studies

In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, John Horace Round and Frederic William Maitland, both historians of medieval Britain, arrived at different conclusions as to the character of English society before the Norman Conquest in 1066. Round argued that the Normans had imported feudalism, while Maitland contended that its fundamentals were already in place in Britain. The debate continues today. In the 20th century, the historian François-Louis Ganshof was very influential on the topic of feudalism. Ganshof defined feudalism from a narrow legal and military perspective, arguing that feudal relationships existed only within the medieval nobility itself. Ganshof articulated this concept in Feudalism (1944). His classic definition of feudalism is the most widely known today[12] and also the easiest to understand, simply put, when a lord granted a fief to a vassal, the vassal provided military service in return.

One of Ganshof's contemporaries, the French historian Marc Bloch, was arguably the most influential 20th century medieval historian.[12] Bloch approached feudalism not so much from a legal and military point of view but from a sociological one. He developed his ideas in Feudal Society (1939–40; English 1960). Bloch conceived of feudalism as a type of society that was not limited solely to the nobility. Like Ganshof, he recognized that there was a hierarchical relationship between lords and vassals, but Bloch saw as well a similar relationship obtaining between lords and peasants. It is this radical notion that peasants were part of feudal relationship that sets Bloch apart from his peers. While the vassal performed military service in exchange for the fief, the peasant performed physical labour in return for protection. Both are a form of feudal relationship. According to Bloch, other elements of society can be seen in feudal terms; all the aspects of life were centered on "lordship", and so we can speak usefully of a feudal church structure, a feudal courtly (and anti-courtly) literature, and a feudal economy.

Revolt against the term

In 1974, U.S. historian Elizabeth A. R. Brown[5] rejected the label feudalism as an anachronism that imparts a false sense of uniformity to the concept. Having noted the current use of many, often contradictory, definitions of feudalism, she argued that the word is only a construct with no basis in medieval reality, an invention of modern historians read back "tyrannically" into the historical record. Supporters of Brown have suggested that the term should be expunged from history textbooks and lectures on medieval history entirely.[12] In Fiefs and Vassals: The Medieval Evidence Reinterpreted (1994), Susan Reynolds expanded upon Brown's original thesis. Although some contemporaries questioned Reynolds's methodology, other historians have supported it and her argument.[12] Note that Reynolds does not object to the Marxist use of feudalism.

The term feudal has also been applied to non-Western societies in which institutions and attitudes similar to those of medieval Europe are perceived to have prevailed (See Other feudal-like systems). Ultimately, critics say, the many ways the term feudalism has been used have deprived it of specific meaning, leading many historians and political theorists to reject it as a useful concept for understanding society.

 

 


AD
597 - The Roman brand of Christianity is brought to Britain for the first time by St. Augustine, the missionary sent from Pope Gregory to convert the Saxons. Augustine lands in Kent and is welcomed by King Aethelbert whose Frankish Queen is already a Christian practicing at her church of St. Martin's, Canterbury. Augustine converts Aethelbert and his court to Christianity and founds a monastery at Canterbury. Commencement of the erection of a monastery at St. Augustine's, Canterbury, built from the Roman ruins of the old city. Death of King Ceol of Wessex. He is succeeded by his brother, Ceolwulf.598 - Kings Mynyddog Mwynfawr of Din-Eidyn & Cynan of Gododdin ride south to fight King Aethelfrith's Bernician army against enormous odds at the Battle of Catterick. The British are victorious. Probable expansion of North Rheged to fill the vacuum left in North Yorkshire.602 - St. Augustine of Canterbury meets with the Welsh Bishops at Aust near Chepstow. He accuses them of acting contrary to Church teachings, failing to keep Easter at the prescribed Roman time and not administering baptism according to the Roman rite. He also insists that they help in the conversion of their enemy, the Saxons, and look to Canterbury as their spiritual centre. The Welsh tactfully decline. Augustine is proclaimed Archbishop of Canterbury and commences the erection of his stone-built Cathedral.604 - The Welsh Bishops meet for a second time with St. Augustine of Canterbury. He neglects to rise to greet them, lectures them again and insists they submit to him. The Welsh send him packing. They refuse to recognise the authority of a church within their enemies' territory under such a disrespectful bishop. The See of Rochester is established and Justus appointed its first bishop. Death of King Sledda of Essex. He is succeeded by his son, Saebert. King Saebert is persuaded to convert to Christianity through the intervention of his uncle, King Aethelbert of Kent. The See of Essex is founded. King Aethelbert of Kent founds the cathedral church of St. Paul in London. St. Mellitus is appointed the first Saxon Bishop of London (& Essex). King Aethelfrith of Bernicia invades Deira and kills its king, Aethelric. Prince Edwin, son of the late King Aelle of Deira (and possibly nephew of King Aethelric) flees to the Court of King Iago of Gwynedd. Aethelfrith marries King Aelle's daughter, Acha, and takes the kingdom.605 - Birth of Prince (later King) Oswald of Bernicia. Death of Bishop Augustine of Canterbury. He is buried in St. Augustine's Abbey, Canterbury and later revered as a saint. He is succeeded by St. Laurence of Canterbury.606 - Death of King Pybba of Mercia. He is succeeded by his kinsman, Ceorl.611 - Death of King Ceolwulf of Wessex. He is succeeded by his nephew, Cynegils. King Cynegils shares power to some extent with his eldest son, Cwichelm, who may have been given Upper Wessex.613 - King Aethelfrith of Bernicia invades Gwynedd in order to route out his old enemy, King Edwin of Deira. A united British force (Gwynedd, Powys, Pengwern and Dumnonian warriors) clashes with his army at the Battle of Chester. King Iago of Gwynedd and King Selyf Sarffgadau of Powys are both killed but the victor is unclear. The Battle of Bangor-is-Coed follows in quick succession. King Bledric of Dumnonia is killed in the fighting and 1000 monks are massacred by the Northumbrians. King Edwin of Deira flees to the Court of King Raedwald of East Anglia. Birth of Prince (later King) Oswiu of Bernicia. The stone Abbey Church at St. Augustine's Abbey, Canterbury is completed and dedicated to St. Peter and St. Paul.614 - King Cynegils & his son, Prince Cwichelm, of Wessex invade Dumnonia and defeat the local army (possibly under a King Clemen) at the Battle of Bindon. Birth of Princess (later Abbess & Saint) Hilda of Deira.c.615 - King Aethelfrith of Bernicia visits King Raedwald of East Anglia at Rendlesham and persuades him to hand over the former's old enemy, King Edwin of Deira. In return, Raedwald is promised rich rewards, yet war is threatened if he fails to comply. Raedwald's wife however, reminds him of his obligations as Edwin's protector and the King begrudgingly declines the offer. King Edwin of Deira marries Princess Cwenburga, daughter of King Ceorl of Mercia. 616 - King Edwin of Deira, with the help of King Raedwald of East Anglia, conquers Northumbria at the Battle of the River Idle. King Aethelfrith of Bernicia & Deira is killed in the fighting and his children are forced to flee north. His heir, Prince Eanfrith, seeks refuge with his mother's family, probably in Gododdin, and then moves further north into Pictland; Princes Oswald, Oswiu and others escape to Court of King Eochaid Buide of Dalriada where they are converted to Christianity by the monks of Iona. Death of Kings Aethelbert of Kent and Saebert of Essex. The former is succeeded by his pagan son, Eadbald, who promptly marries his step-mother, in accordance with pre-Christian custom. King Eadbald loses overlordship of Essex, where the new kings, Saebert's sons, Sexred, Saeward and Sexbald, throw out the Christian missionaries and return to paganism. Bishop (& Saint) Mellitus of London (& Essex) flees with Bishop Justus of Rochester to France. King Eadbald of Kent is persuaded to convert to Christianity by St. Laurence, Archbishop of Canterbury.617 - King Edwin of Deira invades and conquers Elmet. King Ceretic of Elmet is killed in the fighting. Death of King Raedwald of East Anglia. He was probably buried in the Great Ship discovered in the Royal East Anglian Cemetery at Sutton Hoo. Shortlived succession of his brother, Eni.618 - Raedwald's son. Eorpwald, takes the East Anglian throne from his uncle, King Eni.619 - Death of Archbishop Laurence of Canterbury. He is buried at St. Augustine's Abbey, Canterbury and is later revered as a saint. He is succeeded by St. Mellitus.620 - The church of St. Mary is built at the Royal Abbey complex of St. Augustine's, Canterbury.c.620 - Angles probably under King Edwin of Deira invade South Rheged, and expel King Llywarch Hen who flees to Powys. Edwin's armies also move north into Southern Strathclyde and Gododdin. Prince Eanfrith, heir of Bernicia, marries a Pictish Royal Princess and fathers Prince (later King) Talorcan (I) of the Picts.c.623 - King Edwin of Deira is baptised by Prince Rhun of North Rheged, according to the Historia Brittonum. This was probably at the Royal Court of Gwynedd. He soon relapses back to paganism.624 - Death of Archbishop Mellitus of Canterbury. He is buried at St. Augustine's Abbey, Canterbury and is later revered as a saint. He is succeeded by Bishop (& Saint) Justus of Rochester.625 - King Edwin of Deira marries Princess Ethleburga of Kent. As a Christian, she brings her personal chaplain, Paulinus, north with her. St. Paulinus has already been consecrated Bishop of York. With the help of Pope Boniface, the new Queen encourages her husband to convert to Christianity.626 - Death of King Ceorl of Mercia. He is succeeded by Penda, son of his predecessor. Prince Cwichelm of Wessex sends an assassin to murder King Edwin of Deira. Edwin is saved from the assassin's dagger by the timely intervention of one of his thanes who is killed in the process. Edwin's daughter, Eanflaed, is born the same night and he promises to give her for baptism to St. Paulinus, if he is victorious over the instigator of this crime. Edwin discovers Cwichelm's treachery and marches on Wessex. Prince Cwichelm and his father, King Cynegils of Wessex, march north to meet the Northumbrians at the Battle of Win Hill & Lose Hill, possibly with the aid of King Penda of Mercia. Despite their army's superior numbers, the Wessex duo are defeated and flee south. Edwin keeps his promise to St. Paulinus.c.626 - The rivalry between King Edwin of Deira and King Cadwallon of Gwynedd, which has grown since childhood, reaches a climax. Edwin invades the Isle of Man and then Anglesey. Cadwallon is defeated in battle and is besieged on Puffin Island. He eventually flees to Brittany.627 - St. Paulinus converts King Edwin of Deira back to his lapsed Christianity at the Royal Court of Yeavering. The King is baptised in Paulinus' proto-Cathedral in York and persuades his sub-monarch, King Eorpwald of East Anglia to follow suit. Death of Archbishop Justus of Canterbury.c.627 - Possible building of the Western section of the Wansdyke, by King Cynegils of Wessex, in an attempt to counter aggression from King Penda of Mercia.628 - King Cynegils and his son, Prince Cwichelm, of Wessex clash with King Penda of Mercia at the Battle of Cirencester. Cynegils' son, Cenwalh, may have married King Penda's sister as part of the subsequent peace treaty by which the Mercians take control of the area. King Penda probably establishes the sub-Kingdom of the Hwicce at this time. Anti-Christian uprising in East Anglia. King Eorpwald is killed by one Ricbert, and his half-brother, Sigebert, flees to France. Ricbert takes the throne. The exiled Prince Oswald of Northumbria accompanies King Connad Cerr of Dalriada to Ireland to fight against Maelcaich and the Irish Cruithne at the Battle of Fid Eoin.629 - St. Paulinus meets Blecca, the Praefectus Civitatis of Lincoln, and converts him to Christianity.630 - The West Saxons invade Gwent. King Meurig defeats them, with the help of his aging father, at the Battle of Pont-y-Saeson.c.630 - King Penda of Mercia besieges Exeter (possibly held by King Clemen of Dumnonia). King Cadwallon of Gwynedd lands nearby, from his Deiran imposed exile in Brittany. He negotiates an alliance with King Penda of Mercia and a united British and Saxon force moves north to re-take Gwynedd. The Deirans are defeated at the Battle of the Long Mountain and Cadwallon chases them back to Northumbria. The British ransack Northumbria and bring the kingdom to its knees. St. Felix arrives in Britain from Burgundy with the intention of evengelising the Angles. He stays a while at Canterbury.631 - Death of King Ricbert of East Anglia. The half-brother of his predecessor, King Eorpwald, returns from exile in France and takes the throne as the Christian King Sigebert. With the new King's encouragement, St. Felix is sent by Archbishop Honorius of Canterbury to evangelise his people. St. Felix establishes his see at Dunwich.c.631 - King Edwin of Deira re-fortifies the City of York, probably including the building of the so-called Anglian Tower.632 - The West Saxons cross into Wales and defeat King Idris of Meirionydd on the Severn.633 - King Edwin of Deira and his Northumbrian army meet the British, under King Cadwallon of Gwynedd, in the Battle of Hatfield Chase. King Edwin is killed in the fighting and Cadwallon is victorious. Edwin's cousin, Osric, succeeds to the throne of Deira and Prince Eanfrith of Bernicia returns from Pictland to claim his rightful crown. Both are pagans. St. Paulinus, Bishop of York, flees south and is made Bishop of Rochester. Cadwallon is later besieged at York by King Osric. The former is again victorious.634 - Despite suing for peace, King Cadwallon of Gwynedd slays both King Eanfrith of Bernicia and Osric of Deira rather than negotiate with them. Eanfrith's half-brother, Oswald succeeds, as son of Aethelfrith of Bernicia and Acha of Deira, to a united Northumbria. He is given a force of men (including monks from Iona) by King Domnall Brecc of Dalriada and marches south to claim his inheritance. He clashes with King Cadwallon of Gwynedd at the Battle of Heavenfield. Despite having superior numbers, Cadwallon is killed, and King Oswald victorious. The former Queen Ethelburga of Deira packs up her infant sons and step-grandson and flees to France for fear that, as offspring of her husband, King Edwin, Oswald will have them murdered. The Deiran Royal Court at Yeavering is probably abandoned at this time. Oswald re-introduces Christianity to Northumbria, though James the Deacon is still ministering to the people of Swaledale. The chief among the monks who accompanied the King from Dalriada attempts to convert the Northumbrians, but meets with little success. Oswald calls on Iona to send an evangelical Bishop. King Sigebert of East Anglia retires to the monastery of Burgh Castle and entrusts the kingdom to his cousin, Egric, who had already been deputising in part of the country. St. Birinus arrives as a bishop from Genoa to convert the people of Mercia. He, however, decides to halt in Wessex instead. He preaches to King Cynegils of Wessex near Cholsey. Birth of St. Cuthbert in Tweedale and St. Wilfred in Northumbria.635 - King Penda of Mercia aims to gain control of Middle Anglia and therefore attacks his rivals in East Anglia. Ex-King Sigebert is forced to leave his monastery in order to join King Egric of East Anglia in battle against the invaders. Sigebert and Egric are both killed in the fighting. Sigebert is later revered as a saint. Egric's brother, Anna, succeeds to the East Anglian throne. St. Aidan, Bishop of Scattery Island, arrives to evangelise Northumbria and founds the Bishopric and Priory of Lindisfarne. Under pressure from King Oswald of Northumbria, King Cynegils of Wessex, is persuaded to allow St. Birinus to convert him to Christianity. Cynegils' eldest son, Cwichelm, resists. Cynegils is baptised at Dorchester-on-Thames and gives Birinus the town for his cathedral. Birinus is made the first Bishop of Wessex. Oswald acts as godfather and agrees to enter into a strategic alliance with Wessex against Mercia. The agreement is cemented by the marriage of King Oswald to King Cynegils' daughter, Princess Cyniburg.c.635 - St. Finnian and St. Aebbe, half-sister of King Oswald of Northumbria, found the monastery of Coldsbury at St. Abbs.636 - St. Birinus converts Prince Cwichelm of Wessex to Christianity. The latter dies soon afterward. He is supposedly buried at Scutchamer Knob in East Hendred.637 - King Oswald of Northumbria probably sends troops to Ireland to assist King Domnall Brecc of Dalriada in his alliance with King Congal Caech of Ulster during the Irish dynastic wars. They are defeated at the Battle of Mag Rath.638 - King Oswald and his Northumbrian army besiege and conquer Edinburgh. His half-brother, Prince Oswiu of Bernicia, marries Princess Rhiainfelt, heiress of North Rheged. Northumbria probably embraces North Rheged in a peaceful takeover. Oswiu may have been sub-King there for a time.c.640 - St. Maildulph settles in Malmesbury.640 - Death of King Eadbald of Kent. He is succeeded by his sons, Earconbert as overking and Eormenred as King of West Kent. St. Aebbe moves her monastery from St. Abbs to Coldingham Priory. Foundation of Hartlepool Abbey by Princess Hieu (of Ireland) who becomes the first Abbess.641 - Prince Oswiu of Bernicia conquers Gododdin as far north as Manau, on behalf of his half-brother, King Oswald.642 - King Penda of Mercia commands a united British and Mercian force against King Oswald of Northumbria. The British contingent includes the army of Kings Cadafael Cadomedd of Gwynedd, Eluan of Powys and Cynddylan of Pengwern. Oswald is killed at the Battle of Oswestry, as is Prince Eowa of Mercia, probably sub-King of Wrocenset. Oswald is buried at Bardney Abbey and is later regarded as a saint. He is succeeded by his half-brother, Oswiu, in Bernicia, but he is found to be unacceptable to the Deirans. The Mercians become dominant in Midland Britain. 643 - King Oswiu of Bernicia sends to Kent for Princess Eanflaed, daughter of King Edwin of Deira. She sails north to Bamburgh and the two are married. Despite this, Oswiu still fails to secure Deira. King Penda of Mercia seizes control of Lindsey and Elmet. Death of King Cynegils of Wessex. He is succeeded by his son, Cenwalh, who promptly repudiates his Royal Mercian wife. 644 - Despite armed objections from King Oswiu of Bernicia, Oswine, the son of the late King Osric of Deira, manages to establish himself as King of Deira, possibly with Mercian support. Death of Bishop Paulinus of Rochester.645 - King Cenwalh of Wessex is driven from his kingdom by his one time brother-in-law, King Penda of Mercia. He flees to the Court of King Anna of East Anglia. Penda overruns Wessex.647 - Death of Bishop Felix of Dunwich. He is buried at Soham and later revered as a saint.c.647 - Princess (& Saint) Hilda of Deira is persuaded by St. Aidan to enter the monastic life at Hartlepool Abbey.648 - St. Wilfred enters Lindisfarne Priory. King Cenwalh of Wessex returns to reclaim his kingdom and succeeds. He gives 3,000 hides of land around Ashdown to his nephew, Cuthred, possibly sub-King of Berkshire.c.648 - King Cenwalh of Wessex invites St. Birinus to establish the Old Minster in Winchester. Together they have a small stone church built.649 - Death of Abbes Hieu of Hartlepool. She is succeeded by St. Hilda.650 - Death of Bishop Birinus of Wessex. He is buried at Dorchester-on-Thames and later revered as a saint. King Cenwalh of Wessex invites the Frankish priest, St. Agilbert, to succeed him.c.650 - The Mercians, under King Penda, move on East Anglia, destroy the monastery at Burgh Castle and expel King Anna who probably flees to Magonset. It may have been at this time that Penda takes control of Magonset and installs his son, Merewalh as King there. King Oswiu of Bernicia founds Melrose Abbey. St. Aidan sends St. Eata to be the first Abbot with St. Boisil as his Prior. Oswiu seeks Irish support against the forces of King Penda of Mercia. While in Ireland he has a liaison with Fin, the (grand) daughter of Colman Rimid Ui Neill. Prince Aeldfrith is born soon afterward. Re-establishment of London as a Saxon trading community at Aldwich.651 - King Oswiu of Bernicia has King Oswine of Deira murdered at Gilling, after the later backs down from armed conflict. Oswine is buried at Tynemouth Priory where he is later revered as a saint. He is succeeded by the late King Oswald of Northumbria's son and Oswiu's nephew, Aethelwald. King Aethelwald of Deira appears to initially accept his uncle's overlordship. Queen Eanflaed donates the estate of Gilling for the foundation of a monastery in recompense for her second cousin's murder. Death of St. Aidan, Bishop of Lindisfarne. He is succeeded by St. Finan. Death of St. Boisil, Prior of Melrose. He is succeeded by St. Cuthbert.652 - King Penda's Mercian army invades Bernicia and besieges King Oswiu at Bamburgh.653 - King Penda of Mercia establishes full control of Middle Anglia and makes his son, Peada, king there. In return for the hand of the daughter of King Oswiu of Bernicia, Princess Alchflaed, Peada accepts baptism, into the Christian church, by Bishop (& Saint) Finan of Lindisfarne, at Wattbottle. The Middle Anglians have already been influenced by East Anglian Christianity and King Peada allows St. Cedd to envangelise his kingdom further. King Sigeberht II of Essex is then also persuaded by Oswiu, his overlord, to adopt Christianity as part of a general mobilization against King Penda of Mercia. Northumbrian missionaries under St. Cedd are despatched to Essex where he founds the monastery at Bradwell-on-Sea. Talorcan I, the nephew of King Oswiu of Bernicia is crowned King of the Picts through right of his mother. He probably accepts Northumbrian overlordship. St. Wilfred leaves Lindisfarne for Kent, then travels on to Lyons and Rome.c.653 - King Aethelwald of Deira rejects his uncle's overlordship and turns to King Penda of Mercia instead. Penda mounts another attack of Bernicia. 654 - King Penda of Mercia and his armies invade East Anglia and kill King Anna. The King is buried at Blythburgh and a monastery is founded at Iken to commemorate his life. Anna's brother, Aethelhere, succeeds as King of East Anglia and accepts Mercian overlordship. St. Cedd returns to Northumbria to be consecrated as Bishop of Essex, with his seat in St. Paul's, London. He is given land by King Aethelwald of Deira on which he founds Lastingham Priory.c.654 - Foundation of the first religious community at Waltham Abbey, with a wooden church.655 - King Penda of Mercia and a united Greater Mercian and British army march on the Bernicians. Oswiu of Bernicia, with an army only a third the size, retreats to Stirling, the mostly northerly city in his kingdom. It lay in the oppressed sub-Kingdom of Manau-Gododdin. From here, Oswiu sends envoys to offer Penda money in return for holding off his armies. Penda appears to have taken the cash and distributed it amongst his British allies. However, having been taken from the oppressed Northern British in the first place, this is viewed as a restitution of rightful property. Penda and his allies invade Bernicia anyway, and the two armies meet at the Battle of Winwaed. Kings Cadafael Cadomedd of Gwynedd and Aethelwald of Deira, however, withdraw before the battle begins. This contributes to Penda's defeat and he and his ally, Aethelhere of East Anglia, are both killed in the fighting. Aethelhere's brother, Aethelwold, succeeds to the East Anglian throne. King Oswiu's son, Ecgbert is released from Mercian hostageship. The Bernicians overrun Mercia, but allow Penda's son, Peada, to continue his rule in Middle Anglia, probably due to his Christian faith. King Peada helps the Mercian nobleman, Saxulf, to found Peterborough (Medshamstead) Abbey (Cathedral). The latter becomes the first Abbot. Bishop (& Saint) Finan of Lindisfarne sends St. Diuma to be the first Bishop of Mercia, Lindsey and Middle Anglia. Oswiu's daughter, Aelfflaed, is given as a novice to her second cousin, St. Hilda, Abbess of Hartlepool, in compliance with a promise King Oswiu had made should he be victorious at Winwaed.656 - King of Oswiu of Bernicia invades Pengwern and kills its king, Cynddylan, and his brother, King Eluan of Powys, in battle. The Pengwernian Royal family flee to Glastening. Mercians take control of Pengwern and may have invaded Powys at this time. Murder of King Peada of Middle Anglia through the treachery of his wife. Direct Northumbrian rule of all Mercia.c.656 - King Aethelwald of Deira is removed from office by his uncle, King Oswiu of Bernicia, and replaced by the latter's son, Ealhfrith, as sub-king in a united Northumbria.657 - The foundation of Whitby Abbey. St. Hilda and her cousin, Princess Aelfflaed, move from Hartlepool to Whitby, where St. Hilda is made Abbess. King Edwin of Deira's body is transferred to Whitby Abbey, where he is revered as a saint. The foundation of Ripon Abbey by monks from Melrose. St. Eata, Abbot of Melrose becomes first Abbot of Ripon.658 - The Ealdormen of Mercia rebel against Northumbrian domination and re-establish their independence under Penda's son, Wulfhere. Death of Bishop Diuma of Mercia, Lindsey and Middle Anglia. He is buried at Charlbury and later revered as a saint. King Cenwalh and the Wessex Saxons make a push against Dumnonia (possibly under a King Culmin). They are victorious at the Battle of Penselwood and the Dumnonia-Wessex border is set at the River Parrett. St. Wilfred returns to Northumbria.c.658 - St. Etheldreda, daughter of the late King Anna of East Anglia, marries King Tondberht of South Gyrwe. The East Anglians gain overlordship of this area of Middle Anglia.660 - King Sigeberht II of Essex is murdered by his brothers, Swithelm and Swithfrith, and other kinsmen for being "too ready to pardon his enemies" that is to say, the Christians. St. Cedd flees north to the Court of King Aethelwald of East Anglia. Swithelm becomes King of Essex, possibly with Swithfrith as joint-monarch for a period. King Cenwalh of Wessex becomes dissatisfied with his local Bishop, St. Agilbert of Dorchester, as he does not speak West-Saxon. The King splits the See of Wessex in two. Wine becomes the first Bishop of Winchester. Agilbert resigns in protest and travels north to Northumbria. The Mercians take control of Dorchester and appoint Aetla as Bishop. Death of King Talorcan I of the Picts, possible overthrow of Northumbrian overlordship in the kingdom. King Merewalh of Magonset is converted to Christianity.c.660 - King Ealhfrith of Deira begins to follow a religious policy independent of his father, King Oswiu of Northumbria, by rejecting the ways of the Ionian Church in favour of those of Rome. Foundation of the monastery of Repton, by monks from Peterborough. King Merewalh of Magonset founds Leominster Priory.661 - King Cenwalh of Wessex invades Dumnonia. He is victorious at the Battle of Posbury. Saxon settlers found Somerset in Eastern Dumnonia. Death of the Wessex sub-King, Cenberht. He is probably succeeded by his son, Caedwalla. King Wulfhere of Mercia and his army sack the Berkshire Downs around Ashdown and move south to conquer the Meonware and the Isle of Wight. St. Wilfred is given Ripon Abbey by King Aldfrith of Northumbria. St. Eata is removed and Wilfred becomes Abbot. Death of Bishop Finan of Lindisfarne. He is later revered as a saint and succeeded by St. Colman.c.662 - King Swithelm of Essex is converted to Christianity and baptised by St. Cedd at the Court of King Aethelwald of East Anglia who acts as his sponsor. East Anglia may have held some sort of overlordship over Essex at this time.663 - Bishop Wine of Winchester moves the Bishop's Seat north again to Dorchester and the Mercian Bishop Aetla is removed.c.663 - Probable invasion of Pictland by King Oswiu of Northumbria. He establishes overlordship of, at least, the Southern Pictish sub-kingdoms of Fortriu and Fib (and possibly Circinn).664 - The Synod of Whitby is hosted by St. Hilda. It is called to discuss whether the Northern British should comply with the doctrines of Rome, rather than follow the Irish Celtic practices of Iona. Bishop (& Saint) Colman of Lindisfarne, Abbess (& Saint) Hilda of Whitby and Bishop (& Saint) Cedd of Essex speak for the established Celtic ways (with Cedd as interpreter). They are opposed by Abbot (& Saint) Wilfred of Ripon and the former Bishop (& Saint) Agilbert of Dorchester. The latter are triumphant and St. Colman resigns his See in protest. He is replaced by Tuda who dies of the Plague soon afterward. Tuda is then succeeded as Abbot, by St. Eata former Abbot of Ripon who brings his prior, St. Cuthbert, from Melrose Abbey to Lindisfarne. St. Wilfred is appointed Bishop of Northumbria and transfers the See from Lindisfarne to York. Bishop Cedd of Essex also dies of Plague, along with his brother, Cynebil, at his foundation of Lastingham Priory. Cedd is buried there and later revered as a saint. He is succeeded, as Abbot, by his brother, St. Chad, but the See of Essex at London remains vaccant. Death of King Earconbert of Kent. He is succeeded by his son, Ecgbert I, who promptly has his cousins, Aethelred and Aethelbert murdered in order to secure his position. They are subsequently revered as saints. A great plague sweeps the country. Death of King Aethelwold of East Anglia. He is succeeded by his nephew, Eadwulf. Death of King Tondberht of South Gyrwe. His widow, St. Etheldreda, marries Prince Ecgfrith of Northumbria.c.664 - King Oswiu of Northumbria removes his son, King Ealhfrith, from his throne in Deira. The Bernician throne controls all of Northumbria.665 - Death of King Swithelm of Essex. He is succeeded by his cousins, Sighere and Sebbi. The followers of King Sighere of Essex apostasize. King Sebbi of Essex remains Christian. Conflict between the two monarchs appears to have been exacerbated by the struggle for overlordship between Mercia and Wessex. Sighere supports the latter, Sebbi the former. King Wulfhere of Mercia eventually establishes himself as overlord of Essex (and London). Bishop Jaruman of Mercia is despatched with Christian missionaries to reconvert the people of Essex. Wulfhere insists that King Sighere of Essex marry his niece, St. Osyth, daughter of sub-King Frithuwold of Surrey. St. Wilfred claims there is no-one with the authority to consecrate him as Bishop in Britain and so travels to Compiegne (France) to be enthroned by the Archbishop of Paris. Overwhelmed by the oppulance of the Frankish Church, Wilfred delays his return. King Oswiu of Northumbria becomes impatient and deposes him as Bishop of York in favour of Abbot Chad of Lastingham. St. Chad travels south to be consecrated by Archbishop Deusdedit of Canterbury, but finds he has died of the Plague. His successor, Wigheard, is journeying to Rome for consecration. Bishop Ithamar of Rochester is also near to death and the only available Bishop is Wine of Dorchester. St. Chad is consecrated Bishop of York by Bishop Wine of Dorchester along with two Welsh Bishops called in to make up the compulsorary threesom. The authority of the latter are disputed by the Saxon Church.666 - St. Wilfred eventually returns to Britain but is shipwrecked in Sussex. When he finally reaches Northumbria, he finds he has been deposed and is forced to retire to Ripon, as Abbot. He then embarks on a mission through Mercia. St. Eorcenwald founds Chertsey and Barking Abbeys.667- Death of Bishop Jaruman of Mercia. His See becomes vaccant.668 - Death of Archbishop-Elect Wigheard of Canterbury of the Plague while returning from his consecration in Rome. He is succeeded by Theodore.669 - Archbishop Theodore of Canterbury arrives in Britain and, because of his irregular consecration, removes St. Chad from the Bishopric of York. St. Wilfred is reinstated as Bishop of York and Chad humbly returns to Lastingham. King Wulfhere of Mercia later asks the Archbishop for a prelate to replace the late Bishop Jaruman. St. Chad is appointed and he establishes the See at Lichfield. King Ecgbert I of Kent grants the old Saxon Shore Fort at Reculver to a priest named Bassa in order to found a religious community there.c.669 - King Ecgbert I of Kent loses the overlordship of Surrey to King Wulhere of Mercia.

 

670 - Death of King Oswiu of Northumbria. He is buried at Whitby Abbey and succeeded by his son, Ecgfrith, who appoints his brother Aelfwine as sub-King of Deira. Both are accepted by the Deirans as maternal grandsons of the late King Edwin of Deira. Bishop Wine of Dorchester falls out with King Cenwalh of Wessex and leaves his Bishopric. St. Agilbert is invited back, but declines. His nephew, Leuthere, succeeds in his place. Bishop Wine buys the See of London from King Wulfhere of Mercia. This has been vaccant since St. Cedd's death. The move is not popular amongst other churchmenc.670 - King Wulfhere of Mercia hands the Meonware and the Isle of Wight over to his new ally, King Aethelwalh of Sussex. Wulfhere sponsors Aethelwalh's conversion to Christianity and the latter marries Princess Eafa, daughter of King Eanfrith of Hwicce, another Mercian sub-king. Mercian missionaries arrive in Sussex and found the monastery at Bosham. Death of King Merewalh of Magonset. He is buried at Repton and probably succeeded by his son, Merchelm672 - Death of King Cenwalh of Wessex. His sub-Kings divide the kingdom amongst themselves, though his widow, Queen Seaxburh, does manage to establish some claim to overlordship. St. Wilfred, Bishop of York, completes his stone buildings at Ripon Abbey, including a crypt. Large numbers of Royalty and nobility attend its consecration. Wilfred encourages Queen (& Saint) Etheldreda of Northumbria to enter the religious life. She leaves her husband and becomes a nun at Coldingham Priory. The Synod of Hertford is held. Death of Bishop Chad of Lichfield of the Plague. He is buried in Lichfield Cathedral and later revered as a saint. Archbishop Theodore of Canterbury takes advantage of Bishop Bisi of Dunwich's illness to force him to resign. Theodore divides the see in two, based upon Dunwich and (probably North) Elmham, under Aecce and Beaduwine respectively.673 - Death of King Ecgbert I of Kent. He is succeeded by his brother, Hlothere. St. Etheldreda returns to East Anglia and founds the Abbey of Ely, with herself as Abbess. On her journey, she founds a religious community at West Halton and probably Flixborough also. Miraculous occurrences while St. Etheldreda stops at Stow encourage her former husband, King Ecgfrith of Northumbria, to found a church and religious community there too. Birth of the Venerable Bede. Death of King Domangart of Dalriada. He is succeeded by his nephew, Maelduin, who probably submits to King Ecgfrith of Northumbria as his overlord.c.673 - King Frithuwold of Surrey flourishes under Mercian domination. The marriage of his daughter, St. Osyth, to King Sighere of Essex breaks down. Osyth desires the religious life and flees from the Royal Essex Court to Bishop Beaduwine at North Elmham, where she becomes a nun. Her husband accepts the situation and grants her land at Cicc where she founds St. Osyth's Priory. Sub-King Coenred of Dorset flourishes. The Picts revolt against Northumbrian overlordship. King Ecgfrith marches north and, with the help of his under-king, Beornhaeth, he defeats them in Manau-Gododdin. King Drest of the Picts is ousted.674 - Queen Seaxburh of Wessex is removed from power by her late husband's second cousin, Cenfus. King Cenfus dies within the year and is succeeded by his son, Aescwine. Death of King Eanfrith of Hwicce. King Eanhere contines to rule alone. St. Etheldreda, former Queen of Northumbria, gives large areas of land to St. Wilfred, Bishop of York, to found Hexham Abbey. He builds three stone churches there, including one with a crypt. Her husband, King Ecgfrith of Northumbria, similarly gives land to St. Benedict Biscop, sometime Abbot of St. Augustine's, Canterbury, to found an abbey at Monkwearmouth. Benedict sends for Frankish stonemasons to build his new church. c.674 - King Wulfhere of Mercia leads an army against King Ecgfrith of Northumbria, but is defeated in battle and forced to submit to Northumbrian overlordship. 675 - King Aescwine of Wessex checks the military advance of King Wulfhere and his Mercian army at the Battle of Biedanheafde. Death of King Wulfhere of Mercia. He is succeeded by his brother, Aethelred I, and, nominally at least, by his son, Berthwald, who takes on overlordship of the Hwicce and Wessex border area as sub-King, perhaps of Hendrica and Chilternset. King Aethelred of Mercia founds the monastery at Breedon-on-the-Hill on the site of St. Hardulph's hermitage. King Hlothere re-establishes Kentish supremacy in London. Death of King Eanhere of Hwicce. He is succeeded by Osric. King Osric establishes the Bishopric of the Hwicce at Worcester and founds Bath Abbey. Prince Hean, nephew of sub-King Cissa of Berkshire, founds Abingdon Abbey. Death of Bishop Wine of London. He is succeeded by St. Eorcenwald. 676 - Death of King Aescwine of Wessex. He is succeeded by his cousin, Centwine, brother of the late King Cenwalh. King Aethelred of Mercia invades Kent in an attempt to enforce overlordship and diminish Kentish influence in Surrey and London. His armies cause so much destruction to the diocese of Rochester that the see is abandoned. St. Aldhelm founds Malmesbury Abbey on the site of the hermitage of his old tutor, St. Maildulf. 678 - St. Wilfred, Bishop of York, is at the height of his power and owns vast estates throughout Northumbria. Unhappy at Wilfred's interference in his marriage, King Ecgfrith of Northumbria conspires with Archbishop Theodore of Canterbury to have him banished from Northumbria. The Bishopric is divided between Abbot (& Saint) Eata of Lindisfarne who is given Hexham, and Bosa, a monk of Whitby, who is given York. Eadhaed is given Lindsey. Wilfred travels to Rome to protest. 679 - The Synod of Hatfield is held. The armies of King Aethelred I of Mercia and King Ecgfirth of Northumbria clash at the Battle of the Trent. Sub-King Aelfwine of Deira is killed in the fighting and Mercia retakes Lindsey. Bishop Eadhaed of Lindsey is expelled. He becomes Abbot of Ripon. Northumbria is properly united. King Osric of Hwicce founds the Abbey of St. Peter in Gloucester with his sister, Cyneburg, as the first Abbess. Death of Abbess Etheldreda of Ely, former Queen of both South Gyrwe and Northumbria. She is buried at Ely Cathedral, succeeded by her sister Princess Seaxburh of East Anglia, and later revered as a saintc.679 - King Aethelred I of Mercia marries Princess Osthryth, sister of King Ecgfrith of Northumbria.680 - Death of Abbess Hilda of Whitby. She is buried in her Abbey and later revered as a saint. St. Wilfred returns to Northumbria, with Papal support, but is imprisoned by King Ecgfrith of Northumbria and again exiled. St. Wilfred travels to Sussex. He discovers a small Irish community of Christians, under one Dicul at Bosham, but their attempts at converting the natives have been unsuccessful. Wilfred, however, manages to evangelise the people of both this country and the adjoining Meonware. The Venerable Bede enters the monastic school at Monkwearmouth. c.680 - Princess Milburga, daughter of King Merewalh of Magonset, becomes a nun and founds Wenlock Priory where she becomes the first Prioress. Sub-King Caedwalla becomes overly ambitious in a power-struggle with King Centwine for Wessex overlordship. He is banished from Wessex and wanders through the Chilterns and then Andredsweald. 681 - King Aethelwalh of Sussex gives St. Wilfred lands in Selsey to found a cathedral. He becomes the first Bishop of Selsey. The diocese of Hexham is divided in two: St. Eata, Bishop of Hexham is transferred to Lindisfarne and Tunberht takes on Hexham. King Ecgfrith of Northumbria requests that the monks of Monkwearmouth found a new monastery at Jarrow. They build a complex of stone buildings there. c.681 - The wandering ex-Wessex Sub-King, Caedwalla, seeks St. Wilfred as his spiritual father but does not convert to Christianity. Sub-King Bealdred flourishes in Somerset and Wiltshire. 682 - The West Saxons, led by King Centwine, drive "the British [of Dumnonia] as far as the Sea" (possibly around Bideford). 683 - Death of King Sighere of Essex. His cousin, Sebbi, continues to rule alone. c.683 - Abbot Cuthbald of Peterborough and Bishop Seaxwulf of Lichfield found several daughter Houses for Peterborough, including Brixworth Priory. 684 - King Ecgfrith of Northumbria sends troops, under Dux Berhtred, to ravage Meath in Ireland. 685 - Death of King Hlothere of Kent. He is succeeded by his nephew, Eadric. The exiled Prince Caedwalla of Wessex invades Sussex and, though he kills King Aethelwalh, is driven out by the new joint Kings Berhtun and Andhun. Abdication of King Centwine of Wessex in order that he may enter a monastery. He is succeeded by his distant cousin, Caedwalla, who manages to fully re-unite the sub-kingdoms of Wessex. Death of sub-King Cissa of Berkshire. He is buried in Abingdon Abbey. St. Cuthbert visits Carlisle. Bishop Tunberht of Hexham is deposed. Cuthbert is elected Bishop of Hexham, but agrees to switch jobs with Bishop Eata of Lindisfarne instead. The Picts, under King Bruide ipe Bili, revolt against their Northumbrian overlords. Cuthbert advises King Ecgfrith of Northumbria not to invade Pictland. Undeterred, Ecgfrith marches his army north to engage the enemy at the Battle of Nechtansmere. The Picts, possibly with Scottish and Strathclyde Briton help, thoroughly defeat the Saxon guard. The latter permanently withdraw from Pictish and Scottish lands north of the Forth and also from much of the British territory north of the Tweed. Death of the childless King Ecgfrith of Northumbria. Supporters of the House of Aethelric secure the succession of his illegitimate half-brother, Aeldfrith, possibly with Irish and Scottish help. Aeldfrith is brought south from Iona, where he is studying. Death of King Osric of Hwicce. King Oshere continues to rule alone. 686 - King Caedwalla of Wessex establishes overlordship of Essex. With his new ally, King Sighere of Essex, Caedwalla invades Kent. King Eadric of Kent is expelled and Caedwalla's brother, Mul, installed in his place. Sighere rules in West Kent. King Caedwalla of Wessex conquers Surrey and the Isle of Wight and executes the latter's king, Aruald, and his two brothers. He probably also overruns the Meonware. Caedwalla invades Sussex for a second time, kills King Berhtun of West Sussex and conquers the kingdom. King Andhun of East Sussex probably flees. St. Wilfred persuades King Caedwalla to let him evangelise the Isle of Wight. The former is later reconciled with Archbishop Theodore of Canterbury who persuades King Aeldfrith to reinstate Wilfred as Bishop of Hexham following the death of St. Eata. 687 - King Mul of Kent and twelve companions are burnt to death during a Kentish uprising. His brother, King Caedwalla of Wessex ravages the kingdom in revenge. Death of ex-King Eadric of Kent. Bishop Bosa of York is removed from office and St. Wilfred is given the See of York. St. John of Beverley is made Bishop of Hexham. Abbot Eadhaed of Ripon is also removed and the Abbacy restored to Wilfred. Bishop Cuthbert of Lindisfarne resigns his office and retires to his hermitage on Inner Farne where he dies. He is buried in Lindisfarne Priory and later revered as a saint. Bishop (& Saint) Wilfred of Ripon temporarily administers the See of Lindisfarne

Chapter 2 Additions -Tonsure

Hits: 1901

A PEOPLE'S HISTORY OF ENGLAND

ADDITIONS TO CHAPTER II

 

Tonsure

 

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Roman tonsure

Tonsure is the practice of some Christian churches, mystics, Buddhist novices and monks, and some Hindu temples of cutting the hair from the scalp of clerics, devotees, or holy people as a symbol of their renunciation of worldly fashion and esteem.

 

History

The origin of the tonsure remains unclear, but it certainly was not widely known in antiquity.

\There were three forms of tonsure known in the 7th and 8th centuries:

·                                 The Oriental, which claimed the authority of Saint Paul the Apostle (Acts 18:18) and consisted of shaving the whole head.

·                                 This was observed in the Eastern churches, including the Eastern Orthodox Church and the Eastern Catholic Churches.

·                                 Hence Theodore of Tarsus, who had acquired his learning in Byzantine Asia Minor and bore this tonsure, had to allow his hair to grow for four months before he could be tonsured after the Roman fashion, and then ordained Archbishop of Canterbury by Pope Vitalian in 668.

·                                 The Celtic, the exact shape of which is unclear from the sources, but in some way involved shaving the head from ear to ear.[1]

·                                 The shape may have been semicircular, arcing forward from a line between the ears, but another popular suggestion, less borne out in the sources, proposes that the entire forehead was shaved back to the ears.[2]

·                                  

·                                 More recently a triangular shape, with one point at the front of the head going back to a line between the ears, has been suggested.[1]

·                                  

·                                 The Celtic tonsure was worn in Ireland and Great Britain and was connected to the distinct set of practices known as Celtic Christianity.[3]

·                                  

·                                 It was greatly despised by those affiliated with the Roman custom, who considered it unorthodox and associated it with the heretic Simon Magus.[4]

·                                  

·                                 The Roman: this consisted of shaving only the top of the head, so as to allow the hair to grow in the form of a crown.

·                                  

·                                 This is claimed to have originated with Saint Peter, and is the practice of the Latin Rite of the Catholic Church. While not required, it is still a common practice of Roman Rite Friars, such as the Franciscan Missionaries of the Eternal Word.

These claimed origins are possibly unhistorical; the earliest history of the tonsure is lost in obscurity.

This practice is not improbably connected with the idea that long hair is the mark of a freeman, while the shaven head marks the slave (in the religious sense: a servant of God).

Other theories are that the tonsure mimics male pattern baldness in an attempt to lend artificial respectability to men too young to display the real thing[, or that the tonsure is a ritual created by balding superiors in act of vanity and power over young non-bald subordinates

Last Updated on Sunday, 17 April 2011 04:07  

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