Ch 03 Feudal England

Additions to Ch.3-The Economy of Middle Ages England

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ADDITIONS TO CHAPTER III

Wiki: Economy of England in the Middle Ages

 The economy of England in the Middle Ages, from the Norman invasion in 1066, to the death of Henry VII in 1509, was fundamentally agricultural, though even before the invasion the market economy was important to producers. [1]

 Norman institutions, including serfdom, were superimposed on an existing system of open fields and mature, well-established towns involved in international trade. [2]

 Over the next five centuries the economy would at first grow and then suffer an acute crisis, resulting in significant political and economic change.

 Despite economic dislocation in urban and extraction economies, including shifts in the holders of wealth and the location of these economies, the economic output of towns and mines developed and intensified over the period. [3]

 By the end of the period, England had a weak government, by later standards, overseeing an economy dominated by rented farms controlled by gentry, and a thriving community of indigenous English merchants and corporations. [4]

  The medieval English saw their economy as comprising three groups - the clerics, who prayed; the knights, who fought; and the peasants, who worked the land.

The 12th and 13th centuries saw a huge development of the English economy. [5]

This was partially driven by the growth in the population from around 1.5 million at the time of the creation of the Domesday Book in 1086 to between 4 and 5 million in 1300. [5]

England remained a primarily agricultural economy, with the rights of major landowners and the duties of serfs increasingly enshrined in English law. [6]

More land, much of it at the expense of the royal forests, was brought into production to feed the growing population or to produce wool for export to Europe. [6]

Many hundreds of new towns, some of them planned, sprung up across England, supporting the creation of guilds, charter fairs and other important medieval institutions. [7]

The descendants of the Jewish financiers who had first come to England with William the Conqueror played a significant role in the growing economy, along with the new Cistercian and Augustinian religious orders that came to become major players in the wool trade of the north. [8]

 Mining increased in England, with the silver boom of the 12th century helping to fuel a fast-expanding currency. [9]

Economic growth began to falter by the end of the 13th century, owing to a combination of over-population, land shortages and depleted soils. [10]

The loss of life in the Great Famine of 1315-17 shook the English economy severely and population growth ceased; the first outbreak of the Black Death in 1348 then killed around half the English population, with major implications for the post-plague economy. [10]

The agricultural sector shrank, with higher wages, lower prices and shrinking profits leading to the final demise of the old demesne system and the advent of the modern farming system of cash rents for lands. [11]

The Peasants Revolt of 1381 shook the older feudal order and limited the levels of royal taxation considerably for a century to come. [12]

The 15th century saw the growth of the English cloth industry and the establishment of a new class of international English merchant, increasingly based in London and the South-West, prospering at the expense of the older, shrinking economy of the eastern towns. [4]

These new trading systems brought about the end of many of the international fairs and the rise of the chartered company. [13]

Together with improvements in metalworking and shipbuilding, this represents the end of the medieval economy, and the beginnings of the early modern period in English economics. [

Timeline of Queen Matilda
The Middle Ages encompass one of the most exciting and bloodthirsty periods in English and European History.

This comprehensive Timeline of Queen Matilda of the Medieval period details the major events significant to the lives and events of famous people who lived during this era.

Key dates provide a fast and simple way to cover history via the Timeline of Queen Matilda, aka Empress Matilda. Dates of great events and dates relating to the births, deaths and the durations of reigns.

Dates of all of the major events and people who were important are briefly explained in the Timeline of Queen Matilda.

The fastest way to obtain interesting facts, history and information on the times of the Medieval era.

Biography of Queen Matilda

Timeline of Key Dates

Timeline of Queen Matilda of Key events

 

Matilda was never actually crowned as Queen of England but she was the rightful heir as the She was the daughter of King Henry I of England. Her cousin Stephen de Blois (King Stephen) seized the English throne

1102

Queen Matilda was born in 1102, her exact date of birth is unknown

1120

Matilda's elder brother William Audelin and heir to the English throne died in a ship wreck

1125

Matilda, was briefly married to the German Henry V, the Holy Roman Emperor but he died in 1125

1125

Matilda returns to Normandy

1127

In January 1127 King Henry I forced the Barons to swear allegiance to Matilda

1128

Matilda marries Geoffrey of Anjou and they had three sons Henry, Geoffrey, Count of Nantes and her youngest son was called William

1136

Matilda's eldest son, Henry, was born on March 5, 1133 (later, King Henry II of England)

1135

King Henry I dies on December 1

1135

Stephen seizes the throne of England on December 22

1136

The civil war between Stephen and Matilda begins

1139

Matilda arrives in England and her greatest supporter was Robert Earl of Gloucester, who was an illegitimate son of Henry I and step-brother to Matilda

1141

Stephen captured at the Battle of Lincoln in February when Stephen laid siege to Lincoln Castle. He was then imprisoned

1141

April - Matilda was claimed Queen of England

1141

June - Matilda entered London for her coronation but had no support in London and was forced to flee the city.

1141

September 14 - The Rout of Winchester. Stephen's imprisonment was ended when he was exchanged for the Earl of Gloucester who had been captured by Stephen's supporters

1142

Matilda continued plotting against Stephen with the aid of Geoffrey de Mandeville

1143

September - Stephen arrested Geoffrey de Mandeville taking his lands and making him an outlaw and depriving Matilda of one of her most powerful allies

1145

King Stephen captured the castle at Farringdon from Matilda

1147

Robert, Earl of Gloucester died and Matilda gave up her fight for England and she conceded the throne to Stephen

1147

Start of the Second Crusade

1147

Matilda left England for Normandy and spent the rest of her life in a convent

1147

The eldest son of Matilda, Henry, attempted to invade England but he failed

1149

Henry again attempted to invade England but he was driven back to Normandy by Stephen

1153

Henry once again invaded England and Stephen was forced to agree that Henry, the son of Matilda, should be heir to the throne of England instead of his own son, Eustace

1154

King Stephen died in October. In December Henry, the son of Matilda, succeeded King Stephen as King Henry II of England

1167

Matilda died at Rouen in France on 10 September 1167

1167

Matilda was buried in Rouen Cathedral

Additions-Normans,Northmen & Vikings

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NORMANS NORTHMEN & VIKINGS

Additions to Ch.III

 

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

 The Normans were the people who gave their name to Normandy, a region in northern France.

They were descended from Viking conquerors of the territory and the native population of mostly Frankish and Gallo-Roman stock.

Their identity emerged initially in the first half of the 10th century, and gradually evolved over succeeding centuries.

The name "Normans" derives from Nortmanni (Northmen), after the Vikings who founded Normandy.

They played a major political, military, and cultural role in medieval Europe and even the Near East.

They were famed for their martial spirit and Christian piety.

They quickly adopted the Romance language of the land they settled off, their dialect becoming known as Norman, an important literary language.

The Duchy of Normandy, which they formed by treaty with the French crown, was one of the great large fiefs of medieval France.

The Normans are famed both for their culture, such as their unique Romanesque architecture, and their musical traditions, as well as for their military accomplishments and innovations.

Norman adventurers established a kingdom in Sicily and southern Italy by conquest, and a Norman expedition on behalf of their duke led to the Norman Conquest of England.

Norman influence spread from these new centres to the Crusader States in the Near East, to Scotland and Wales in Great Britain, and to Ireland.

In Russian historiography, the term "Norman" is often used for the Varangians, as for example in the term "Normanist theory".

In French historiography too, the term is often applied to the various Viking groups that raided France in the 9th century before settling down to found Normandy.

Additions - Foreign Relations-Scutage-Money-Crusades-The Great Charter

Hits: 1988

 

- FOREIGN RELATIONS ( NORMANENGLAND)
SCUTAGE - THE MONEY ECONOMY
THE CRUSADES - RICHARD 1
THE GREAT CHARTER - MAGNA CARTA

ENGLANDS FOREIGN RELATIONS

 

 The Normandy Kings used England as a base from which to extend their domains in France.

The bi-national character of kings and barons, were more at home in France than in England .
They spent half their summers campaigning in France using English men and treasures. However more important are the economic links forged between London and the Rhine (directly opposite the Thames across the Channel), the Mediterranean and the Baltic states. Ports of Lynn,( now Kings Lynn) Boston and Ipswich were used to trade with Flanders. Iron, salt, cloth, wine,wool, (spices from the East,) Lead, tin and cattle from the south coast to Caen.
Weavers and other textile workers came from the continent and settled here. The Flemings settled in Wales.

 

SCUTAGE –the growth of a money economy had the effect of encouraging the barons to take money payments from their own serfs instead of the customary labour dues ( Day and Boon Work)

 

THE CRUSADES were only relevant in so far as they were an effort to search for land to plunder and dynastic conquest. They were not untaken by kings at first but barons. Areas of France and Italy invaded by the Northmen, who were most active, at the same time there were counter – attacks against a new invasion of Moslems who threatened to cut trade routes to the East and even threatened Constantinople. A religious motive was added by setting the Holy Places at Jerusalem, as the objective, but Palestine was then,as now, the strategic key to Levant. The Moslem invasion had also put a stop to the stream of pilgrims going to Jerusalem, which were, as now, a highly organized business. The Third Crusade, to recapture Jerusalem from the Moslems, involved Philip of France and Richard 1 from England. For the first time British ships entered the Mediterranean, and the adoption by Richard of St George as his Patron Saint. This was the result of a direct alliance with the maritime republic of Genoa. The Crusade was a failure, extremely costly in lives and money.

However it lead to permanent connections between Italy and England.


The result of the Crusade was a progrom against the Jews, as money lenders, and they were barred from trade and industry. Used by the Crown, the Jews acted as a sponge, to gather money, but when the protection of the Crown was relaxed the Jews were exposed to massacre and pillage.


The Crown was short of money following the Crusades and sold "Charters" to the ever enlarged towns who still depended on agriculture for their wealth. As the towns grew they began to make bargains with their lords, undertaking to pay a lump sum or yearly “farm”  to be quit of their obligations to perform labour services. Merchants Gilds grew up. ( next article)The rise of corporate towns or “Communes”, freed from the system, personal relations and services, which led to the formation of new classes ready to enter the political field.
Richard’s short reign was important.

 

The revolt to these changes by Richard’ brother John, was the last occasion in English history in which any feudal magnate ever attempted to establish an authority opposed to and independent of that of the State.

 

“THE GREAT CHARTER”Magna Carta

 

John stood alone. He could not call out the “army” of supporters, which in the past had been the trump card of the Crown in its struggles with the nobility. Unwillingly he submitted, and at Runnymede on June 15th 1215, he accepted the programmes of demands embodied by the barons in Magna Carta.

 

This was a turning point in English History but mostly for the wrong reasons.

 IT WAS NOT A CONSTITUTIONAL CHARTER.

It did not embody the principle of “no taxation without representation”.

It did not guarantee parliamentary government, since Parliament did not exist then.

It did not establish the right to trial by jury, since, in fact, the jury was a piece of royal machinery, to which the barons had the strongest objections.

 

What it did do was to set out in detail the ways in which John had gone beyond his rights as a feudal overlord and to demand that his unlawful practices should stop.

 

It marked the alliance between the barons and the citizens of London by insisting on the freedom of merchants from arbitrary taxation.

 

In other ways, as it attempted to curtail the power of the royal courts, the Charter was reactionary.

 

And, while its most famous clause declared that “No freeman shall be taken or imprisoned or disseised (of his freehold) or exiled or in any way destroyed, nor will we go upon him or send upon him except by the lawful judgment of his peers and the law of the land”

 

The second word “freeman” excluded any possible benefit the overwhelming mass of the people who were still in villeinage.

 

However open revolt followed and it opened a new avenue that the barons could conduct a political struggle as a class rather than as individuals, so it prepared the way for the entry of new classes on to the political field and it led to the development of Parliament as the instrument through which the first nobles and after the bourgeoisie defended their interests.

 

The moment the barons dispersed, John denounced the Charter and gathered an army. The civil war that followed was interrupted by John’s death in October 1216.

 

His son was only 9 yrs old and he was quickly crowned and government was carried on in his name. The principles in the Charter became accepted as the basis of law. It was reaffirmed by every King from Henry 111 to Henry V1

 

The Charter was not re examined critically, until the 19th century, as a feudal document and discovered its real meaning and importance. (Shakespeare never refers to it for example).

 

The barons won there greatest victory but only at a price of acting in a way which was not strictly feudal, of forming new kinds of combinations both among themselves and with other classes.

There are three words that may need explaining:-

Levant
Genoa

Progrom

Levant - refers to land from Turkey to Egypt The Eastern Mediterranean

Genoa - Its coat of arms, St Georges Cross, became Englands flag, adopted by Richard 1 

Progrom  - against Jews. Its a long story and I will address it in Education/Reference

Additions -The Norman Conquest & Feudalism

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Additions to CHAPTER III

THE NORMAN CONQUEST 

AND FEUDALISM IN ENGLAND THE CONQUEST

The “Freemen of Domesday" were a declining class.

By 1086,those free before Conquest became “unfree” after it.
All became serfs.

The Normans introduced a rigid feudal law into England.

 

“Possessing nothing but their own bellies” with no legal rights against the lord of the manor except that they might not be killed or mutilated without a proper trial. This meant an improvement of the status of the slave but a step backward for the rest of the population. General misery for all.

 

Every trick of the lawyer was used to add to these burdens.

The village mill, for example was the lord’s and all corn must come to it to be ground.
Millers abused this and all were rogues according to medieval literature.

 

The King claimed all forests, the lord of the manor all village waste land, so no more turf or wood cutting and no pasture for the serf’s swine.
Common land that had been won, disappeared.
The Game Laws that have lain like a blight upon rural England for centuries began at this time.

However:- 

(By the Thirteenth century, economic forces began to work powerfully in another direction, transforming the serf into a free wage-labourer or a small-holder paying rent for his land instead of labour services)

 

State ; Baron ; Church

The Conqueror’s two sons, William 11 and Henry 1 continued to strengthen the power of the state.
Henry was the bright one, as he could read and write and he was responsible for a number of changes.

Administration was taken out of the hands of private individuals, making it an affair of the “State”.
A crime now was also an offence against the Kings peace for which it was the "right and duty" of the State to exact punishment.

 In earlier times, crime was only an offence against the victim or his family.

 
Trial by "Jury"  
“There’s money in Justice” the King's maxim of the time, wishing to attract cases to its own Court.

 

Henry introduced the “Exchequer” and the developed the Kings Council and Kings Bench all to collect money.

 

Out of this feudal body a permanent bureaucracy evolved to carry out the role of the King's Central Government.

 

On Henry’s death, a successor was needed, because he only left a daughter, Matilda.
Squabbling led to 20 years of war.
All the worst of feudalism, which had been suppressed, under Norman kings now had free rule.

 Hundreds of local tyrants massacred, tortured, plundered the unfortunate peasantry and chaos reigned everywhere.
“Never were martyrs tormented as these were” writes a chronicler. They were wretched times.

 

In 1153 a compromise between Crown and nobles was reached. Stephen of Blois, Henry’s nephew, would reign until his death and then Matilda’s son, Henry of Anjou was to succeed him. The next year Stephen died.

 

Henry 11 added England and Normandy to his large European domain.
He was an absolute ruler and began to break down the power acquired by the barons and nobles. Hundreds of castles were destroyed and in their place built  unfortified manor house that were the characteristic dwelling places of the upper classes in England throughout the remainder of the
“Middle Ages”

 

The State machinery which Henry 1 had set up was overhauled and extended Henry of Anjou (11) became the most powerful monarch in western Europe.

 

In 1170 part of the general purge the Inquest of Sheriffs took place. Half were dismissed and replaced by others more closely connected with the royal exchequer.

 

The King was having a problem with the Church which was becoming more powerful through Rome. The central figure in England was Thomas Becket. The son of a rich London merchant, he became Chancellor and carried out Henry’s centralizing reforms. Henry wanted to extend these and made Thomas, Archbishop of Canterbury.

Thomas had other ideas and opposed the King as vigourously as he had worked with him.
Henry had Thomas murdered and the scandal that followed forced Henry to drop plans and to allow the Church Courts to continue to deal with all criminal charges against clerics. The “benefit of clergy” went on right up to the Reformation.

 

The victory of the church was not complete, however, criminal cases, it surrendered, but not civil cases and during this period there grew the Common Law, a body of law holding good throughout the land and overriding all local laws and customs.

 

This Common Law was based in the main on the principles and practice of Anglo-Saxon Law of the pre Conquest days. It was more powerful than Roman Law which dominated Europe and so the split up to today.


THOUGHTS OF TIME Cont. 

So we see here that the power of the Crown ruled over all others. The Barons and Upper Classes tried to gain a foothold and so did the Church but it was the Crown and continued to be the Crown that held the power. Common and Church law? Should they be supported better and reinforced?

To be continued

CHAPTER III

THE NORMAN CONQUEST 

AND FEUDALISM IN ENGLANDTHE CONQUEST

The “Freemen of Domesday" were a declining class.

By 1086,those free before Conquest became “unfree” after it.
All became serfs.

The Normans introduced a rigid feudal law into England.

 

“Possessing nothing but their own bellies” with no legal rights against the lord of the manor except that they might not be killed or mutilated without a proper trial. This meant an improvement of the status of the slave but a step backward for the rest of the population. General misery for all.

 

Every trick of the lawyer was used to add to these burdens.

The village mill, for example was the lord’s and all corn must come to it to be ground.
Millers abused this and all were rogues according to medieval literature.

 

The King claimed all forests, the lord of the manor all village waste land, so no more turf or wood cutting and no pasture for the serf’s swine.
Common land that had been won, disappeared.
The Game Laws that have lain like a blight upon rural England for centuries began at this time.

However:- 

(By the Thirteenth century, economic forces began to work powerfully in another direction, transforming the serf into a free wage-labourer or a small-holder paying rent for his land instead of labour services)

 

State ; Baron ; Church

The Conqueror’s two sons, William 11 and Henry 1 continued to strengthen the power of the state.
Henry was the bright one, as he could read and write and he was responsible for a number of changes.

Administration was taken out of the hands of private individuals, making it an affair of the “State”.
A crime now was also an offence against the Kings peace for which it was the "right and duty" of the State to exact punishment.

 In earlier times, crime was only an offence against the victim or his family.

 
Trial by "Jury"  
“There’s money in Justice” the King's maxim of the time, wishing to attract cases to its own Court.

 

Henry introduced the “Exchequer” and the developed the Kings Council and Kings Bench all to collect money.

 

Out of this feudal body a permanent bureaucracy evolved to carry out the role of the King's Central Government.

 

On Henry’s death, a successor was needed, because he only left a daughter, Matilda.
Squabbling led to 20 years of war.
All the worst of feudalism, which had been suppressed, under Norman kings now had free rule.

 Hundreds of local tyrants massacred, tortured, plundered the unfortunate peasantry and chaos reigned everywhere.
“Never were martyrs tormented as these were” writes a chronicler. They were wretched times.

 

In 1153 a compromise between Crown and nobles was reached. Stephen of Blois, Henry’s nephew, would reign until his death and then Matilda’s son, Henry of Anjou was to succeed him. The next year Stephen died.

 

Henry 11 added England and Normandy to his large European domain.
He was an absolute ruler and began to break down the power acquired by the barons and nobles. Hundreds of castles were destroyed and in their place built  unfortified manor house that were the characteristic dwelling places of the upper classes in England throughout the remainder of the
“Middle Ages”

 

The State machinery which Henry 1 had set up was overhauled and extended Henry of Anjou (11) became the most powerful monarch in western Europe.

 

In 1170 part of the general purge the Inquest of Sheriffs took place. Half were dismissed and replaced by others more closely connected with the royal exchequer.

 

The King was having a problem with the Church which was becoming more powerful through Rome. The central figure in England was Thomas Becket. The son of a rich London merchant, he became Chancellor and carried out Henry’s centralizing reforms. Henry wanted to extend these and made Thomas, Archbishop of Canterbury.

Thomas had other ideas and opposed the King as vigourously as he had worked with him.
Henry had Thomas murdered and the scandal that followed forced Henry to drop plans and to allow the Church Courts to continue to deal with all criminal charges against clerics. The “benefit of clergy” went on right up to the Reformation.

 

The victory of the church was not complete, however, criminal cases, it surrendered, but not civil cases and during this period there grew the Common Law, a body of law holding good throughout the land and overriding all local laws and customs.

 

This Common Law was based in the main on the principles and practice of Anglo-Saxon Law of the pre Conquest days. It was more powerful than Roman Law which dominated Europe and so the split up to today.


THOUGHTS OF TIME Cont. 

So we see here that the power of the Crown ruled over all others. The Barons and Upper Classes tried to gain a foothold and so did the Church but it was the Crown and continued to be the Crown that held the power. Common and Church law? Should they be supported better and reinforced?

To be continued

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