In the course of producing this work, I have incurred innumerable debts, none of which it is possible to repay. Just as my household knights were perpetually indebted to King John for the gifts he gave them, I, too, am forever bound in gratitude to those who have made it possible for me to write this book. It is to Ann Williams that I owe my first debt, for without her inspirational teaching, I would never have found medieval history. The late R. Allen Brown inspired my interest in the post-Conquest period and, more importantly, allowed me the luxury of exploring the material until I found a topic of my own. During Allen's long illness, John Gillingham and David Crouch both provided moral support and good counsel. David allowed me to trawl through his vast collection of charters, for which I owe him special thanks. David Carpenter cheerfully took on the unenviable task of finishing oif someone else's research student, and has since proved to be a valued supporter and critic of my work. Susan Reynolds has kindly read and commented on my work and provided encouragement at vital moments in its creation. Maria Sophia Quine, my long-suffering wife, has read more drafts of this work than she would care to remember. She has graciously allowed my household knights to overshadow her fascist thugs for far too long.
In addition to these professional debts, I have personal debts that should be acknowledged. The first is to Des Seal and Robin Ridley, both of whom provided me with friendship and beer throughout the PhD thesis experience and after. The second is to the Institute of Historical Research, which provided the congenial atmosphere in which I met many fellow scholars who were to become my friends. To these friends I owe my sanity, for, in the comfort of the SOAS bar and elsewhere, they provided intellectual stimulation, good company, and, most importantly, blessed relief from the 'drudgery of the rolls'. At St Mary's College, Strawberry Hill, Christopher Harper-Bill, as my