Monarchy and government

  • Created by: mrevv
  • Created on: 31-10-19 14:19

Power of the English monarchy

  • Only the king could raise an army to protect the country
  • Appointed by God and ran the church
  • Appointed church and secular leaders
  • Decision maker and keeper of justice
  • Treasury at Wincester, in charge of the mints
  • Chancery writing office for royal writs
  • Houscarls, thegns, bishops, archbishops, abbots and government chosen for the Witan
  • He gave out land, titles, and offices.
  • Centralisation was rare in other European countires (France was divided)
  • Itinerant household limited his power, little power in the North, collective nobility powerful.
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Earldoms and shires, Local government

  • 90% lived in the country
  • Earls (Wessex, Mercia, Northumbria and East Anglia) kept the peace
  • Could not mint coins, hold courts and could be replaced by the king.
  • Counties/shires and sheriffs collected taxes and ruled courts for the king.
  • Land gave you tenents, gifts, tax, livestock and crops
  • 5000 gentry in the thegnly class
  • Shires-hundreds with reeves-vills and reeves
  • Alfred created boroughs, shires came later.
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The legal system

  • King presided over serious crimes (murder, treason, arson, ****)
  • King's peace created a hierarchial structure.
  • Shire courts took place twice a year by a sheriff.
  • They sorted smaller disputes such as theft and violence.
  • Writs and charters were read at shire courts
  • Hundred courts sorted local land disputes
  • Oaths, trial by water and trial by hot iron carried out judgements
  • Ed did not publish any codes, known for executing justice. 
  • For instance, Ethelstan wrote 10 codes
  • Each region had its own legal customs and traditions
  • Cnut allowed different rules for different areas
  • Blood feuds wer common as people took justice into their own hands.
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