English Society in the Eleventh Century: Essays in English Mediaeval History

English Society in the Eleventh Century: Essays in English Mediaeval History

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English Society in the Eleventh Century: Essays in English Mediaeval History

English Society in the Eleventh Century: Essays in English Mediaeval History

Read FREE!

Excerpt

I have treated in a former work some of the questions of social history connected with the period of the formation of Common Law. In the present volume I should like to follow up these investigations into an earlier and more obscure period--into the eleventh century, which witnessed the definite settlement of the Danes, the overthrow of the Anglo-Saxon system, and the beginnings of Norman rule. Both the setting of problems and their treatment have to be different on this occasion from what they were in the book on Villainage. Instead of dealing with clearly formulated legal records and detailed extents of manorial possessions and services, we shall have to use chiefly the short, barren abstracts of Domesday Book, and stray notices as to legal customs and historical events. But, on the other hand, it is easier to form a view as to the relative influence and intercourse of the orders and classes of society, of the relations between the different functions of its life.

The central record of the study, the Domesday Survey, proved invaluable as a description, unique in history, of the state of a great country in the eleventh century, in the beginning of a new and momentous period in the life of Europe. However interesting and important early French Surveys, early German and Italian documents may be, they describe local and particular instances, while the Royal Inquest of 1086 stretches over all the social groups . . .

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