The First Century of English Feudalism, 1066-1166: Being the Ford Lectures Delivered in the University of Oxford in Hilary Term 1929

The First Century of English Feudalism, 1066-1166: Being the Ford Lectures Delivered in the University of Oxford in Hilary Term 1929

The First Century of English Feudalism, 1066-1166: Being the Ford Lectures Delivered in the University of Oxford in Hilary Term 1929

The First Century of English Feudalism, 1066-1166: Being the Ford Lectures Delivered in the University of Oxford in Hilary Term 1929

Excerpt

There is a particular reason why any one lecturing on English feudalism in the spring of 1929 should introduce the name of John Horace Round into his first sentence. To every student of English feudal society, Mr. Round's death in the summer of 1928 was a notable event. It marked the close of forty years of passionate devotion to the interests of medieval scholarship, and the disappearance of a personality, little known in recent years, but always present to the minds of those working along the lines with which Round's name was associated. Few scholars in England have ever dominated a whole field of scholarship as Round, in the years of his full power, dominated all inquiry which centred upon the problems of early feudal society. The time has not yet come for any final estimate of his work, and the task will never be easy. Round never produced a long, continuous, piece of historical writing. His strength lay in analysis rather than synthesis, in the power of his attack upon individual problems, and the insight with which he perceived the inadequacy of accepted explanations. In reality, his books are all collections of essays, and innumerable other essays, each making a definite addition to our knowledge of English feudalism, are scattered in periodicals such as the Ancestor and the Archaeological Journal, in the publications of local societies, and in contributions to the Victoria History of the Counties of England. And yet, detailed as Round's work might be, occupied as he continually was with the minor personalia of English feudalism, he never forgot that the facts which he ascertained were only of value as materials towards a better understanding of history. None of his work can be neglected in any estimate of his contribution to learning, for all of it is marked by the quality which gives distinction to the great essays published in Geoffrey de Mandeville or Studies in Peerage and Family History. But as yet it cannot be appreciated as a whole.

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