The England of Edward and Harold: economy, society and government

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  • Charters - medieval document which included grants of land or promises of trade
  • 4 Earldoms; Northumbria, Mercia, Wessex, East Anglia - ruled by earls. -> Shire -> Hundred -> Hide (measurement of 120 acre(ish) land that was taxable
  • Laws passed by royal decree, often assisted by the Witan
  • Writs - sealed letters sent from the chancery
  • Rebellious areas often 'ravaged' by armed forces (1051 Dover)
  • Religious state - Church was a powerful force & owned about 1/5 of the land in England - used for advice, administration (monks were often literate) and propaganda
  • Sheriffs upheld the law and presided over the moots (shire courts) and had rights of purveyance (supply food supplies to the monarch) - one for every 32 shires
  • Thegns supllied armed service, maintenance


  • 60 mints nationwide - every five years all coins were to be handed in and exchanged
  • Enabled Anglo-Saxon government to raise large amounts of money however much lost buying off danes in 1012 and '18 'Danegald' - 2/3 of issued coinage                  

    Organisation of society

  • Workers, fighters and prayers with exceptions of merchants and craftsmen. Majority of country peasants (10% urbanisation)
  • Peasant life heirarchy consisted of; thegn (held estate by right of charter), geneat (bailiff/riding-servant who served thegn), cottar (worked for Lord and held five acres of own land), gebur/boor (main worker on the land - 2/3 days work a week for lord) 


late-Saxon England had a relatively…


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