The Saxon & Norman Kings

The Saxon & Norman Kings

The Saxon & Norman Kings

The Saxon & Norman Kings

Excerpt

One cannot write biographies, in the usual sense of the word, of Saxon and Norman kings, and there are no portraits of them to show us at all clearly what they looked like. This book was therefore bound to be different in its aim from those on the kings in modern centuries. I hope I have made clear in the introduction what is attempted; to which must be added that although there are a number of pictures of kings among the illustrations, not one was meant to be a portrait in the modern sense. They are, I hope, none the less interesting; but inevitably they need more explanation than a collection of portraits, and fairly full notes have been provided, distributed between the List of Illustrations and the captions.

The text is a rendering, tel quel, of some of what I have learned over the years from pupils, friends and teachers. A few of my many debts must be specially noted. What I owe to Mr. H. E. Walker cannot be easily summarised: what I say about the origins of Wessex (see page 216) and the Bayeux Tapestry draws heavily on his suggestions and insight. My wife and Dr. H. Mayr-Harting read the whole book in manuscript, and the latter has also read it in proof; both have suggested improvements and eradicated many errors and infelicities, though they are not to be reproached for those which remain. I have also had generous help and advice from Dr. P. Chaplais, Mr. J. V. H. Eames, Professor M. Gluckman, Mr. P. Hunter Blair, Dr. E. Peters, Mr. A. Thompson and from the publishers.

I am very grateful to the following for granting permission for extracts to be quoted: to Mrs. Marjorie Chibnall and Messrs. T. Nelson and Sons Ltd. for the extracts from John of Salisbury's Historia Pontificalis; to Professor Dorothy Whitelock, and Messrs. Eyre and Spottiswoode Ltd., for the extracts from English Historical Documents, vol. I; to Professor F. Barlow and Messrs. Nelson for the extracts from The Life of King Edward the Confessor; to Dr. Margaret Murray and . . .

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