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WHY WERE SOME TENTH-CENTURY ENGLISH KINGS PRESENTED AS RULERS OF BRITAIN?*

  • George Molyneaux
Abstract

Some tenth-century English kings, especially Æthelstan and Edgar, were commonly presented as rulers of Britain. The basic reason for this is that they had a loose but real hegemony over the other rulers on the island. This hegemony did not collapse in subsequent centuries, but English kings were less often described as rulers of Britain. The intensification of royal rule within the English kingdom in the second half of the tenth century made kings’ power inside the kingdom increasingly unlike their power elsewhere in Britain: it consequently became harder to think of Britain as a single political unit.

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References
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1 Anglo-Saxon Chronicle (ASC) D 927. The ASC is cited from Keynes, S., Dumville, D. N. et al. , eds., The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle: A Collaborative Edition (9 vols. so far, Cambridge, 1983–). Citations are by manuscript and year, as corrected by D. Whitelock, D. C. Douglas and S. I. Tucker, The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle: A Revised Translation (1961). It is possible that the Cumbrian king Owain was also present: William of Malmesbury, Gesta Regum Anglorum, ii.134, ed. and trans. R. A. B. Mynors, R. M. Thomson and M. Winterbottom (2 vols., Oxford, 1998–9), i, 214.

2 Keynes, S., ‘The West Saxon Charters of King Æthelwulf and his Sons’, English Historical Review, 109 (1994), 1109–49 especially 1147–9. My comments on the relative frequencies of different charter styles are based upon Susan Kelly's unpublished catalogue of royal styles (a copy of which she kindly sent to me) and Kleinschmidt, H., ‘Die Titulaturen englischer Könige im 10. und 11. Jahrhundert’, in Intitulatio III. Lateinische Herrschertitel und Herrschertitulaturen vom 7. bis zum 13. Jahrhundert, ed. Wolfram, H. and Scharer, A. (Vienna, 1988), 75129.

3 Keynes, S., ‘England, c. 900–1016’, in The New Cambridge Medieval History, iii:c. 900 – c. 1024, ed. Reuter, T. (Cambridge, 1999), 456–84 at 472–3; Downham, C., ‘The Chronology of the Last Scandinavian Kings of York, ad 937–954’, Northern History, 40 (2003), 2551. For Edmund as king of Albion in 945 and 946, see P. H. Sawyer, Anglo-Saxon Charters: An Annotated List and Bibliography (1968), revised S. E. Kelly, The Electronic Sawyer, accessible at www.trin.cam.ac.uk/chartwww/eSawyer.99/eSawyer2.html, accessed 8 June 2011 (hereafter cited as ‘S’), nos. 505, 509.

4 John, E., Orbis Britanniae and Other Studies (Leicester, 1966), 4663, and, for the examples cited, Blunt, C. E., ‘The Coinage of Athelstan, 924–939: A Survey’, British Numismatic Journal, 152 (1974), 35160 at 47–8; Lapidge, M., ‘Some Latin Poems as Evidence for the Reign of Athelstan’, Anglo-Saxon England, 9 (1981), 6198 at 98; Æthelweard, Chronicle, iv.9, ed. and trans. A. Campbell (Edinburgh, 1962), 56; Byrhtferth of Ramsey, Life of St Oswald, iv.17, ed. and trans. M. Lapidge (Oxford, 2009), 136. On Albion, see Crick, J., ‘Edgar, Albion and Insular Dominion’, in Edgar, King of the English, 959–975, ed. Scragg, D. (Woodbridge, 2008), 158–70. It may or may not be coincidence that the tenth-century English revival of the word Albion followed fairly closely the adoption by Gaelic writers of Alba as a term for the Scottish kingdom. Alba had originally meant ‘Britain’, but it is unlikely that Scottish kings were propounding a claim to the whole island: Broun, D., Scottish Independence and the Idea of Britain from the Picts to Alexander III (Edinburgh, 2007), 20–4, 71–97. Edgar sometimes appears as rex totius Britanniae on coins, but less commonly than Æthelstan: Blunt, C. E., Stewart, B. H. I. H. and Lyon, C. S. S., Coinage in Tenth-Century England from Edward the Elder to Edgar's Reform (Oxford, 1989), 173–8.

5 Barlow, F., ed. and trans., The Life of King Edward who Rests at Westminster Attributed to a Monk of Saint-Bertin, 2nd edn (Oxford, 1992), 6, 10, 12, 14, 16, 18, 40, 116 (English), 18, 20, 34 (Britain).

6 A. Campbell, ed. and trans., Encomium Emmae Reginae, ii.19 (1949), 34. In this context, Britannia clearly means ‘Wales’, since Anglia and Scothia are also listed.

7 Davies, R. R., The Matter of Britain and the Matter of England (Oxford, 1996); Davies, R. R., The First English Empire: Power and Identities in the British Isles, 1093–1343 (Oxford, 2000). For an exceptional post-Conquest use of the style Dei gracia tocius Brittanie monarches, see Bates, D., ed., Regesta Regum Anglo-Normannorum: The Acta of William I (1066–1087) (Oxford, 1998), no. 286.

8 Pliny, , Natural History, iv.16, ed. and trans. Rackham, H., Jones, W. H. S. and Eichholz, D. E. (10 vols., Cambridge, MA, 1938–63), ii, 196–8; Orosius, , Historiarum Adversum Paganos Libri VII, i.2, ed. C. Zangemeister (Vienna, 1882), 28; Isidore, , Etymologiarum sive Originum Libri XX, xiv.vi.2, ed. Lindsay, W. M. (2 vols., Oxford, 1911); Bede, , Ecclesiastical History of the English People, i.1, ed. and trans. Colgrave, B. and Mynors, R. A. B. (Oxford, 1969), 1416. On the Roman idea that Britain constituted another world (alter orbis), separate from the orbis Romanus, see Erdmann, C., Forschungen zur politischen Ideenwelt des Frühmittelalters (Berlin, 1951), 89, 40, 42.

9 Bede, Ecclesiastical History, ii.5, ii.9, iii.6 (148–50, 162, 230). Cf. Adomnán, , Life of Columba, i.1, ed. and trans. A. O. and Anderson, M. O. (Oxford, 1990), 16.

10 S 89, 155. Cf. Alcuin, , Letters, ed. Dümmler, E. (Monumenta Germaniae Historica, Epistolae Karolini Aevi, ii, Berlin, 1895), no. 64.

11 Asser, , Life of King Alfred, preface, ed. Stevenson, W. H. and revised Whitelock, D. (Oxford, 1959), 1.

12 Cf. Mann, M., The Sources of Social Power, i:A History of Power from the Beginning to a.d. 1760 (Cambridge, 1986), 7, who defines ‘extensive power’ as ‘the ability to organize large numbers of people over far-flung territories in order to engage in minimally stable cooperation’ and ‘intensive power’ as ‘the ability to organize tightly and command a high level of mobilization or commitment from the participants, whether the areas and numbers covered are great or small’. The terms ‘intensive’ and ‘extensive’ represent ideal types, or poles on a spectrum of intensity/extensity, not a binary division.

13 Drögereit, R., ‘Gab es eine angelsächsische Königskanzlei?’, Archiv für Urkundenforschung, 13 (1935), 335436; Chaplais, P., ‘The Origin and Authenticity of the Royal Anglo-Saxon Diploma’, Journal of the Society of Archivists, 3.2 (1965), 4861; Chaplais, P., ‘The Anglo-Saxon Chancery: From the Diploma to the Writ’, Journal of the Society of Archivists, 3.4 (1966), 160–76; Keynes, S., The Diplomas of King Æthelred ‘the Unready’, 978–1016: A Study in their Use as Historical Evidence (Cambridge, 1980); P. Chaplais, ‘The Royal Anglo-Saxon “Chancery” of the Tenth Century Revisited’, in Studies in Medieval History Presented to R.H.C. Davis, ed. H. Mayr-Harting and R. I. Moore (1985), 41–51; Kelly, S. E., Charters of Abingdon Abbey (2 vols., Oxford, 2000–1), i, pp. lxxi–cxxxi; S. Keynes, ‘Edgar, rex admirabilis’, in Edgar, ed. Scragg, 3–59 at 12–23.

14 Stengel, E. E., ‘Kaisertitel und Suveränitätsidee: Studien zur Vorgeschichte des modernen Staatsbegriffs’, Deutsches Archiv für Geschichte des Mittelalters, 3 (1939), 156; Erdmann, Forschungen, 1–51 especially 37–43. See also Fanning, S., ‘Bede, Imperium, and the Bretwaldas’, Speculum, 66 (1991), 126. The notion that a man might be called imperator on the grounds that he possessed two (or more) regna is particularly clearly expressed in Annales Fuldenses, 869, ed. Kurze, F. and revised Rau, R., in idem, Quellen zur karolingischen Reichsgeschichte, 2nd edn (3 vols., Darmstadt, 1968–9), iii, 74–6. R. Drögereit, , ‘Kaiseridee und Kaisertitel bei den Angelsachsen’, Zeitschrift der Savigny-Stiftung für Rechtsgeschichte. Germanistische Abteilung, 69 (1952), 2473 especially 57–73, argued that imperator only occurs in forged documents. His case is countered by Stengel, E. E., ‘Imperator und Imperium bei den Angelsachsen. Eine wort- und begriffgeschichtliche Untersuchung’, Deutsches Archiv für Erforschung des Mittelalters, 16 (1960), 1572 especially 54–66; John, Orbis Britanniae, 52–5. S 392, 404, 406 are not reliable evidence that Æthelstan was styled imperator.

15 Drögereit, ‘Kaiseridee und Kaisertitel’, 57–8; Stenton, F. M., Anglo-Saxon England, 3rd edn (Oxford, 1971), 353; Lapidge, M., ‘The Hermeneutic Style in Tenth-Century Anglo-Latin Literature’, Anglo-Saxon England, 4 (1975), 67111.

16 Latham, R. E. et al. , eds., Dictionary of Medieval Latin from British Sources (Oxford, 1975–), s.v. imperator.

17 Hohler, C. E., ‘Some Service-Books of the Later Saxon Church’, in Tenth-Century Studies: Essays in Commemoration of the Millennium of the Council of Winchester and Regularis Concordia, ed. Parsons, D. (Chichester, 1975), 6083, 217–27 at 67–9; J. L. Nelson, ‘The Second English Ordo’, in eadem, Politics and Ritual in Early Medieval Europe (1986), 361–74 at 361–9; Nelson, J. L., ‘The First Use of the Second Anglo-Saxon Ordo’, in Myth, Rulership, Church and Charters: Essays in Honour of Nicholas Brooks, ed. Barrow, J. and Wareham, A. (Aldershot, 2008), 117–26.

18 ASC DE 975. Cf. ASC BC 959.

19 For references, see Kleinschmidt, ‘Titulaturen’, 93–8, 106, 110–11, 112. Cf. Regularis Concordia, i, ed. and trans. T. Symons (Edinburgh, 1953), 1.

20 For references, see Kleinschmidt, ‘Titulaturen’, 99–103.

21 S 403, 412, 413, 416, 418, 418a, 1604. In all but two of these witness lists, the name directly after Ealdred is Uhtred dux. This strengthens the identification with Ealdred of Bamburgh, who had a brother called Uhtred: Historia de Sancto Cuthberto, xxii, ed. and trans. T. Johnson South (Cambridge, 2002), 60. See also S 379, 417.

22 The likely year of Ealdred's death can be inferred from the Annals of Clonmacnoise, which survive only in a seventeenth-century English translation. The death of ‘Adulf mcEtulfe king of North Saxons’ is recorded under 928, along with Æthelstan's Scottish campaign, which sources with more reliable absolute chronology place in 934: D. Murphy, ed., The Annals of Clonmacnoise (Dublin, 1896), 149. Ealdred's successors attested S 407, 425, 434, 520, 544, 546, 550, 552a (Osulf, in the first three with Uhtred), 766, 771, 779, 806 (Eadulf), 881 (Waltheof), 921, 922, 926, 931, 931b, 933, 934 (another Uhtred). Cf. D. Whitelock, ‘The Dealings of the Kings of England with Northumbria in the Tenth and Eleventh Centuries’, in The Anglo-Saxons: Studies in Some Aspects of their History and Culture Presented to Bruce Dickens, ed. P. Clemoes (1959), 70–88 at 76–84.

23 S 400, 407, 413, 416, 417, 418a, 420, 425, 426, 427, 434, 1792. For Strathclyde/Cumbria, see P. A. Wilson, ‘On the Use of the Terms “Strathclyde” and “Cumbria”’, Transactions of the Cumberland and Westmorland Antiquarian and Archaeological Society, new series, 66 (1966), 57–92; Woolf, A., From Pictland to Alba, 789–1070 (Edinburgh, 2007), 152–7.

24 Malcolm's attestation is in S 779. The Welsh attestations are in S 520, 544, 550, 552a, 566, 633, 1497.

25 Keynes, S., An Atlas of Attestations in Anglo-Saxon Charters, c. 670–1066 (Cambridge, 2002), Table xxxvi.

26 Cf. Williams, A., ‘An Outing on the Dee: King Edgar at Chester, a.d. 973’, Mediaeval Scandinavia, 14 (2004), 229–43 at 236 n. 35; Woolf, Pictland to Alba, 174; Keynes, ‘Edgar’, 26–7, 50–1.

27 The campaign is mentioned in ASC ABCDEF 945, but Welsh involvement is known only from Roger of Wendover, Flores Historiarum, ed. H. O. Coxe (5 vols., 1841–4), i, 398. Roger wrote in the thirteenth century, but his knowledge of Edgar's coin reform demonstrates that he had access to material on the tenth. For an attempt to identify the Welsh king, whom Roger names as ‘Leolin’, with Hywel, see Breeze, A., ‘Armes Prydein, Hywel Dda, and the Reign of Edmund of Wessex’, Études Celtiques, 33 (1997), 209–22 at 218–22.

28 ASC DE 973.

29 John of Worcester, Chronicle, 973, ed. and trans. R. R. Darlington, P. McGurk and J. Bray (2 vols. so far, Oxford, 1995–), ii, 422–4; William of Malmesbury, Gesta Regum, ii.148 (i, 238–40); Thornton, D. E., ‘Edgar and the Eight Kings, ad 973: textus et dramatis personae’, Early Medieval Europe, 10 (2001), 4979; Williams, ‘Outing on the Dee’; Breeze, A., ‘Edgar at Chester in 973: A Breton Link?’, Northern History, 44 (2007), 153–7.

30 Ælfric, , Life of St Swithun, xxviii, ed. and trans. Lapidge, M., The Cult of St Swithun (Oxford, 2003), 590609 at 606 with discussion of the date of composition at 577.

31 Barrow, J., ‘Chester's Earliest Regatta? Edgar's Dee-Rowing Revisited’, Early Medieval Europe, 10 (2001), 8193.

32 S 667; C. P. Lewis, ‘Edgar, Chester, and the Kingdom of the Mercians, 957–9’, in Edgar, ed. Scragg, 104–23.

33 K. Jonsson, The New Era: The Reformation of the Late Anglo-Saxon Coinage (1987), 128–30; D. M. Metcalf, An Atlas of Anglo-Saxon and Norman Coin Finds, 973–1086 (1998), 208.

34 H. A. Wilson, ed., The Benedictional of Archbishop Robert (1903), 145; Turner, D. H., ed., The Claudius Pontificals (Chichester, 1971), 93; Nelson, J. L., ‘Inauguration Rituals’, in Early Medieval Kingship, ed. Sawyer, P. H. and Wood, I. N. (Leeds, 1979), 5071 at 63–70; Nelson, ‘Second English Ordo’, 369–74.

35 Thietmar of Merseburg, Chronicon, ii.31, ed. R. Holtzmann (Monumenta Germaniae Historica, Scriptores Rerum Germanicarum, new series, ix, Berlin, 1955), 77–8. On Edgar's embassy, see K. J. Leyser, ‘The Ottonians and Wessex’, in idem, Communications and Power in Medieval Europe: The Carolingian and Ottonian Centuries, ed. T. Reuter (1994), 73–104 at 95–8; Keynes, ‘Edgar’, 49.

36 Three Welsh kings who witnessed a charter at Winchester on 28 May 934 (S 425) attested at Nottingham ten days later (S 407): they appear to have been accompanying Æthelstan as he headed for Scotland.

37 ASC ABCDEF 934; John of Worcester, Chronicle, 934 (ii, 388–90). In the section of John's Chronicle concerning the period before about 970, verifiable sources are usually rendered with reasonable accuracy: R. R. Darlington and P. McGurk, ‘The “Chronicon ex Chronicis” of “Florence” of Worcester and its Use of Sources for English History before 1066’, Anglo-Norman Studies, 5 (1982), 185–96.

38 Williams, I. and Bromwich, R., ed. and trans., Armes Prydein: The Prophecy of Britain from the Book of Taliesin (Dublin, 1982), especially lines 1722, 69–86. For discussion, see Dumville, D. N., ‘Brittany and “Armes Prydein Vawr”’, Études Celtiques, 20 (1983), 145–58; Breeze, ‘Armes Prydein’, 209–18; Etchingham, C., ‘North Wales, Ireland and the Isles: The Insular Viking Zone’, Peritia, 15 (2001), 145–87 at 183–6. Dumville favours a date between c. 935 and c. 950, but perhaps as late as c. 980. Breeze contends that the poem was written in 940. Etchingham extends the date range into the eleventh century.

39 Asser, Life of King Alfred, lxxx (66–7); William of Malmesbury, Gesta Regum, ii.134 (i, 214). Cf. Lynch, J. H., Christianizing Kingship: Ritual Sponsorship in Anglo-Saxon England (Ithaca, NY, 1998), 189228. For an intriguing suggestion about the baptismal name of Constantine's son, see Woolf, Pictland to Alba, 192–3.

40 ASC 878, 893, ABCD 943.

41 ASC D 927, ABCD 945, DE 973.

42 T. Miller, ed. and trans., The Old English Version of Bede's Ecclesiastical History of the English People, iv.20, v.18 (4 vols. in 2, 1890–8), i, 314, 464; Magennis, H., ed. and trans., The Old English Life of Saint Mary of Egypt (Exeter, 2002), lines 119, 402. Cf. Bede, Ecclesiastical History, iv.18, v.20 (388, 530); Paul the Deacon, Life of St Mary of Egypt, ed. and trans. Magennis, Old English Life of Saint Mary, lines 134, 416. I identified this corpus through searches of Cameron, A., Amos, A. C. and Healey, A. diP., eds., Dictionary of Old English (Toronto, 1986–), consulted at http://oxlip.ouls.ox.ac.uk/doe/, accessed 8 June 2011; Healey, A.diP., ed., The Dictionary of Old English Corpus in Electronic Form (Toronto, 2009), consulted at http://weblearn.ox.ac.uk/site/human/english/materials/chronology/oldenglish/, accessed 8 June 2011. It is also notable that efenwyrhtan is translated cooperatores by John of Worcester, Chronicle, 973 (ii, 422).

43 Carnicelli, T. A., ed., King Alfred's Version of St. Augustine's Soliloquies (Cambridge, MA, 1969), 69.

44 Asser, Life of King Alfred, lxxx (66–7); ASC ABCD 937; Symeon of Durham, Libellus de Exordio atque Procursu istius, hoc est Dunhelmensis, Ecclesie, ii.18, ed. and trans. D. Rollason (Oxford, 2000), 138.

45 Armes Prydein, especially lines 9–11, 131, 147–54.

46 ASC ABCDEF 945; Roger of Wendover, Flores Historiarum, i, 398. Edmund may well also have been involved in the death of the king of Gwynedd, who was killed ‘by the Saxons’ in 942: Dumville, D. N., ed. and trans., Annales Cambriae, a.d. 682–954: Texts A–C in Parallel (Cambridge, 2002), 16.

47 Jayakumar, S., ‘Some Reflections on the “Foreign Policies” of Edgar “the Peaceable”’, Haskins Society Journal, 10 (2001), 1737.

48 ASC DE 973.

49 Hudson, B. T., Kings of Celtic Scotland (Westport, CT, 1994), especially 73–6, 97–101, is particularly tendentious.

50 The clearest instance is D. P. Kirby, ‘Hywel Dda: Anglophil?’, Welsh History Review, 8 (1976–7), 1–13.

51 Broun, Scottish Independence, 1–24, 161–212.

52 S 400, 407, 413, 416, 417, 418a, 420, 425, 434, 520, 544, 550, 552a, 566, 633, 1497, 1792.

53 The relevant section is Asser, Life of King Alfred, lxxx–lxxxi (66–7). On audience, see Kirby, D. P., ‘Asser and his Life of King Alfred’, Studia Celtica, 6 (1971), 1235 at 17; Campbell, J., ‘Asser's Life of Alfred’, in The Inheritance of Historiography, 350–900, ed. Holdsworth, C. and Wiseman, T. P. (Exeter, 1986), 115–35 at 122–8; Kempshall, M., ‘No Bishop, No King: The Ministerial Ideology of Kingship and Asser's Res Gestae Aelfredi’, in Belief and Culture in the Early Middle Ages: Studies Presented to Henry Mayr-Harting, ed. Gameson, R. and Leyser, H. (Oxford, 2001), 106–27.

54 That the parties to an amicitia agreement did not need to be equals is illustrated by Henry the Fowler's contracting amicitiae with men whose lord he was: Althoff, G., Amicitiae und Pacta. Bündnis, Einung, Politik und Gebetsgedenken im beginnenden 10. Jahrhundert (Hanover, 1992), 2735. See also Althoff, G., Family, Friends and Followers: Political and Social Bonds in Early Medieval Europe, trans. Carroll, C. (Cambridge, 2004), 6790.

55 Dumville, ed. and trans., Annales Cambriae, a.d. 682–954, 14, with discussion by T. M. Charles-Edwards, ‘Wales and Mercia 613–918’, in Mercia: An Anglo-Saxon Kingdom in Europe, ed. M. P. Brown and C. A. Farr (2001), 89–105 at 102–5.

56 ASC ABCD 945; Hudson, B. T., ‘Elech and the Scots in Strathclyde’, Scottish Gaelic Studies, 15 (1988), 145–9; Woolf, Pictland to Alba, 156–7, 182–5, 270–1.

57 De Primo Saxonum Adventu, ed. T. Arnold, Symeonis Monachi Opera Omnia (Rolls Series, 75, 2 vols., 1882–5), ii, 365–84 at 382. For discussion, see M. O. Anderson, ‘Lothian and the Early Scottish Kings’, Scottish Historical Review, 39 (1960), 98–112; G. W. S. Barrow, The Kingdom of the Scots: Government, Church and Society from the Eleventh to the Fourteenth Century (1973), 148–61; B. Meehan, ‘The Siege of Durham, the Battle of Carham and the Cession of Lothian’, Scottish Historical Review, 55 (1976), 1–19, especially 12–17; Woolf, Pictland to Alba, 211, 234–6.

58 The text is edited by B. T. Hudson, ‘The Scottish Chronicle’, Scottish Historical Review, 77 (1998), 129–61 at 148–51. Cf. Woolf, Pictland to Alba, 177–81, 209–11.

59 Historia Regum, ed. Arnold, Symeonis Monachi Opera Omnia, ii, 3–283 at 93. For a map, see Woolf, Pictland to Alba, 162.

60 Cf. R. R. Davies, Domination and Conquest: The Experience of Ireland, Scotland and Wales, 1100–1300 (Cambridge, 1990), especially 1–24.

61 Contrast Thornton, ‘Edgar and the Eight Kings’, 77–9; Barrow, ‘Chester's Earliest Regatta?’; Jayakumar, ‘Some Reflections’, 31–5.

62 Davies, Domination and Conquest, 47–108; Davies, R. R., ‘“Keeping the Natives in Order”: The English King and the “Celtic” Rulers 1066–1216’, Peritia, 10 (1996), 212–24.

63 For references, see Maund, K. L., Ireland, Wales, and England in the Eleventh Century (Woodbridge, 1991), 120–41; Woolf, Pictland to Alba, 232–40, 254–5, 270.

64 ASC CDE 1000. Cf. Woolf, Pictland to Alba, 222–3.

65 Davies, W., Patterns of Power in Early Wales (Oxford, 1990), 41–7, 80–91; Woolf, Pictland to Alba, 342–50.

66 Woolf, Pictland to Alba, 214–19.

67 ASC DEF 1027. On the date and context, see Hudson, B. T., ‘Cnut and the Scottish Kings’, English Historical Review, 107 (1992), 350–60; Woolf, Pictland to Alba, 244–8; Bolton, T., The Empire of Cnut the Great: Conquest and the Consolidation of Power in Northern Europe in the Early Eleventh Century (Leiden, 2009), 136–50.

68 ASC CD 1054; Woolf, Pictland to Alba, 260–70.

69 ASC C 1056, D 1058, DE 1063. Cf. Hudson, B. T., ‘The Destruction of Gruffudd ap Llywelyn’, Welsh History Review, 15 (1990–1), 331–50; Maund, Ireland, Wales, and England, 125, 138–9.

70 English military interventions in Wales are also known to have occurred in 967, 978, 983, 985, 992, 1012, 1035, 1046, 1055 and 1056. Some or all of these campaigns may well have had royal approval or support. For references to 992 and later, see Maund, Ireland, Wales, and England, 121–5. For earlier references, see J. Williams ab Ithel, ed., Annales Cambriae (Rolls Series, 20, 1860), 19, 20 and the annals for 967, 978, 983 and 985 in Jones, T., trans., Brut y Tywysogyon or The Chronicle of the Princes: Peniarth MS. 20 Version (Cardiff, 1952); Jones, T., ed. and trans., Brut y Tywysogyon or The Chronicle of the Princes: Red Book of Hergest Version (Cardiff, 1955); Jones, T., ed. and trans., Brenhinedd y Saesson or The Kings of the Saxons (Cardiff, 1971).

71 Davies, First English Empire, 195.

72 Ibid., especially 48–53, 79–88, 113–71, 191–203.

73 Ibid., especially 89–112, 195–6, 198–9.

74 See especially Davies, R. R., ‘The English State and the “Celtic” Peoples 1100–1400’, Journal of Historical Sociology, 6 (1993), 114.

75 Davies, First English Empire, 199–200. Cf. Wormald, P., ‘Engla Lond: The Making of an Allegiance’, Journal of Historical Sociology, 7 (1994), 124 at 10–18; Foot, S., ‘The Making of Angelcynn: English Identity before the Norman Conquest’, Transactions of the Royal Historical Society, 6th series, 6 (1996), 2549.

76 Molyneaux, G., ‘The Old English Bede: English Ideology or Christian Instruction?’, English Historical Review, 124 (2009), 1289–323; G. Molyneaux, ‘The Formation of the English Kingdom, c. 871 – c. 1016’ (D.Phil. thesis, University of Oxford, 2010), 24–67.

77 Adam of Dryburgh, De tripartito tabernaculo, ii.13, in J. P. Migne, ed., Patrologia Latina (221 vols., Paris, 1844–64), cxcviii, col. 723. Cf. Broun, D., ‘Becoming Scottish in the Thirteenth Century: The Evidence of the Chronicle of Melrose’, in West over Sea: Studies in Scandinavian Sea-Borne Expansion and Settlement before 1300: A Festschrift in Honour of Dr Barbara E. Crawford, ed. Smith, B. Ballin, Taylor, S. and Williams, G. (Leiden, 2007), 1932.

78 For references, see Kleinschmidt, ‘Titulaturen’, 89–116.

79 S 632, 725; Life of King Edward, 64–6, 86; J. Gillingham, ‘The Foundations of a Disunited Kingdom’, in Uniting the Kingdom? The Making of British History, ed. A. Grant and K. J. Stringer (1995), 48–64. This is but one of Gillingham's several articles bearing on this issue.

80 For rather equivocal comments on the contentions of those whom one might call the ‘Anglo-Saxon statesmen’, see Davies, ‘English State and the “Celtic” Peoples’, 4; Davies, R. R., ‘The Medieval State: The Tyranny of a Concept?’, Journal of Historical Sociology, 16 (2003), 280300 especially 286, 288–90.

81 Campbell, J., ‘The Late Anglo-Saxon State: A Maximum View’, Proceedings of the British Academy, 87 (1994), 3965, is one of many statements to this effect.

82 ASC D 1051 states that Edward the Confessor abolished the heregyld in the thirty-ninth year after it had been instituted. He had previously dismissed at least some of his mercenary sailors (ASC C 1049, CE 1050). The reference to the thirty-ninth year corresponds to the record of forty-five Danish ships having entered Æthelred's service in 1012 (ASC CDE 1012). The tax may not, however, have been suspended for long: Barlow, F., Edward the Confessor, revised edn (New Haven, CT, 1997), 106 and n. 5. On the scale of taxation, see Lawson, M. K., ‘The Collection of Danegeld and Heregeld in the Reigns of Æthelred II and Cnut’, English Historical Review, 99 (1984), 721–38, with Lawson and Gillingham's subsequent debate in volumes 104 (1989) and 105 (1990). The role of shires and hundreds in tax assessment and collection is demonstrated by the Northamptonshire Geld Roll: A. J. Robertson, ed., Anglo-Saxon Charters, 2nd edn (Cambridge, 1956), 230–6.

83 Wormald, P., ‘Charters, Law and the Settlement of Disputes in Anglo-Saxon England’, in The Settlement of Disputes in Early Medieval Europe, ed. Davies, W. and Fouracre, P. (Cambridge, 1986), 149–68; Wormald, P., ‘Giving God and King their Due: Conflict and its Regulation in the Early English State’, Settimane di studio del centro italiano di studi sull'alto medioevo, 44 (1997), 549–90. Wormald's views on the marginalisation of feud should be treated with caution: Hyams, P. R., Rancor and Reconciliation in Medieval England (Ithaca, NY, 2003), 71110.

84 R. H. M. Dolley and D. M. Metcalf, ‘The Reform of the English Coinage under Eadgar’, in Anglo-Saxon Coins: Studies Presented to F.M. Stenton on the Occasion of his 80th Birthday, ed. R. H. M. Dolley (1961), 136–68; Stewart, I., ‘Coinage and Recoinage after Edgar's Reform’, in Studies in Late Anglo-Saxon Coinage in Memory of Bror Emil Hildebrand, ed. Jonsson, K. (Stockholm, 1990), 456–85; Metcalf, Atlas.

85 E.g. Campbell, J., ‘Observations on English Government from the Tenth to the Twelfth Century’, Transactions of the Royal Historical Society, 5th series, 25 (1975), 3954; H. R. Loyn, The Governance of Anglo-Saxon England, 500–1087 (1984), 81–171; P. Stafford, Unification and Conquest: A Political and Social History of England in the Tenth and Eleventh Centuries (1989), 134–49. Williams, A., Kingship and Government in Pre-Conquest England, c. 500–1066 (Basingstoke, 1999), 73150, is somewhat more nuanced in chronology. Campbell particularly acknowledged change over time in his ‘Late Anglo-Saxon State’, 53.

86 For a map of Edward the Confessor's lands, as recorded by Domesday, see Hill, D. H., An Atlas of Anglo-Saxon England (Oxford, 1981), 101. Kings acquired much land that had once been in ecclesiastical possession, but the extent to which they directly expropriated churches is unclear: Fleming, R., ‘Monastic Lands and England's Defence in the First Viking Age’, English Historical Review, 100 (1985), 247–65; Dumville, D. N., Wessex and England from Alfred to Edgar (Woodbridge, 1992), 2954.

87 ASC ABCD 914, A 915, 917, 918. Edward the Elder's legislation states that harbourers of fugitives in the north and east must make amends in accordance with friðgewritu: ii Ew, 5.2 (unless otherwise stated, legal texts are cited from F. Liebermann, ed., Die Gesetze der Angelsachsen (3 vols., Halle, 1903–16), using the system of reference set out at i, p. xi). These ‘peace-writings’ may have been the terms upon which submissions had been made to Edward, pace Wormald, P., The Making of English Law: King Alfred to the Twelfth Century, i:Legislation and its Limits (Oxford, 1999), 438–9.

88 E. O. Blake, ed., Liber Eliensis (1962), 98–9. For interpretations that play up the extent of expropriation, see Dumville, Wessex and England, 152–3; C. R. Hart, The Danelaw (1992), 134–5, 226–7; Wormald ‘Engla Lond’, 8. The text states that ‘there was no land in the whole of Huntingdonshire that was so free that it could not be lost through forfeiture (tam libera que per forisfacturam non posset iri perditum)’ save for two hides at Bluntisham and two near Spaldwick. Hart renders this ‘there was no free land but that was forfeited’ except the hides at Bluntisham and near Spaldwick, a slight but possibly significant mistranslation.

89 Stafford, Unification and Conquest, 157; Hart, Danelaw, 569–604 especially 570–2; Wickham, C., Problems in Doing Comparative History (Southampton, 2005), 25. Cf. the now-untenable assumption that the rise of the Carolingians led to a mass imposition of Austrasian magnates in Neustria: Werner, K. F., ‘Important Noble Families in the Kingdom of Charlemagne – A Prosopographical Study of the Relationship between King and Nobility in the Early Middle Ages’, trans. Reuter, T., The Medieval Nobility: Studies on the Ruling Classes of France and Germany from the Sixth to the Twelfth Century (Amsterdam, 1979), 137202 at 146–73.

90 Asser, Life of King Alfred, lxxvii (62). Cf. N. Banton, ‘Ealdormen and Earls in England from the Reign of King Alfred to the Reign of King Æthelred II’ (D.Phil. thesis, University of Oxford, 1981), 89, 96–100, 141; Nelson, J. L., ‘“A King Across the Sea”: Alfred in Continental Perspective’, Transactions of the Royal Historical Society, 5th series, 36 (1986), 4568 at 60–1.

91 Stenton's attribution to Edward the Elder of the shiring of the West Midlands has been particularly influential: Stenton, Anglo-Saxon England, 336–7. I develop the argument of this and the following four paragraphs much more fully at Molyneaux, ‘Formation’, 89–243.

92 Lantfred, Translatio et Miracula S. Swithvni, viii, ed. and trans. Lapidge, Cult of St Swithun, 252–333 at 290; ASC C 980; Liber Eliensis, 85, 98–9, 109, 116; W. D. Macray, ed., Chronicon Abbatiæ Rameseiensis (Rolls Series, 83, 1886), 50, 93. There are grounds to think that Norfolk and Suffolk were not established as shires until well into the eleventh century: Marten, L., ‘The Shiring of East Anglia: An Alternative Hypothesis’, Historical Research, 81 (2008), 127.

93 For southern shires before the end of the ninth century, see ASC 757, 802, 840, 845, 851, 853, 860, ABCD 897. The earliest clear accounts of shire meetings are S 1454, 1456, 1458; Liber Eliensis, 85, 98–9, 109; Chronicon Abbatiæ Rameseiensis, 50. In the south, where shires are known to have existed earlier, the men of the shire may sometimes have assembled to address judicial matters (III As is suggestive in this regard), but there is no sign that they did so regularly before the latter part of the tenth century.

94 S 1456, 1458. Cf. W. A. Morris, The Medieval English Sheriff to 1300 (Manchester, 1927), 1–39 especially 18–21.

95 III Em, 2; III Eg, 5, 7.1; IV Eg, 3.1–11; I Atr, 1.2–1.3; III Atr, 1.2, 3.1–3.3; II Cn, 15.2, 17–17.1, 19, 20–20a, 22–22.1, 25.1, 27, 30–30.2, 31a; A. G. Kennedy, ‘Cnut's Law Code of 1018’, Anglo-Saxon England, 11 (1983), 57–81 at 79 (cl. 26.3). Some of these references are to wapentakes, the equivalent of hundreds in areas of Scandinavian influence. The Hundred Ordinance is undated but cannot be earlier than Edmund's reign, since it refers to him: Hu, 2. For an attempt to trace hundreds back to the early tenth century, see H. R. Loyn, ‘The Hundred in England in the Tenth and Early Eleventh Centuries’, in British Government and Administration: Studies Presented to S.B. Chrimes, ed. H. Hearder and H. R. Loyn (Cardiff, 1974), 1–15 at 3–6.

96 I Ew, 1–1.1; II As, 12, 13.1 but cf. IV As, 2; VI As, 10. That a port was the same kind of place as a burh can be inferred from II As, 14–14.2, which states that no one may mint coins except in a port, allocates quotas of moneyers to certain towns and assigns each unnamed burh one moneyer. For the association of reeve and burh, see I As, prol. ‘Burhs’ is so widely used that it would seem precious to insist on byrig as the plural.

97 IV Eg, 2–12.1, which stresses that the provisions should apply in all parts of the kingdom.

98 II As, 20–20.8.

99 III Eg, 7–7.2. The other half was to go to a person known as the landhlaford, again a change from Æthelstan's legislation.

100 The groups of one hundred men mentioned in VI As should not be confused with territorial hundreds.

101 III Eg, 5.1.

102 Blackburn, M. A. S., ‘Alfred's Coinage Reforms in Context’, in Alfred the Great: Papers from the Eleventh-Centenary Conferences, ed. Reuter, T. (Aldershot, 2003), 199217.

103 On regional variation, see Stewart, I., ‘English Coinage from Athelstan to Edgar’, Numismatic Chronicle, 148 (1988), 192214. The fundamental reference work is Blunt, Stewart and Lyon, Coinage in Tenth-Century England, with analysis of metrology at 235–47. For debate on the extent of royal control of minting, see Jonsson, New Era, 31–78, 185–92; Metcalf, D. M., ‘Were Ealdormen Exercising Independent Control over the Coinage in Mid Tenth Century England?’, British Numismatic Journal, 57 (1987), 2433; Jonsson, K., ‘The Pre-Reform Coinage of Edgar – The Legacy of the Anglo-Saxon Kingdoms’, in Coinage and History in the North Sea World, c. 500–1250: Essays in Honour of Marion Archibald, ed. Cook, B. and Williams, G. (Leiden, 2006), 325–46. I do not endorse Jonsson's contention that ealdormen restricted the movement of coin within the kingdom, but the argument for minimal royal control of minting is strong.

104 S 362. Cf. Nelson, ‘“A King Across the Sea”’, 53–5.

105 The extent of kings’ lands cannot be determined before Domesday Book, but in 1066 Edward the Confessor was the greatest landholder in the kingdom: Baxter, S., The Earls of Mercia: Lordship and Power in Late Anglo-Saxon England (Oxford, 2007), 128–38.

106 ASC D 952, DEF 969; Roger of Wendover, Flores Historiarum, i, 414–15. Roger assigns the punishment of Thanet to 974, but his chronology is unreliable: Dolley, M., ‘Roger of Wendover's Date for Eadgar's Coinage Reform’, British Numismatic Journal, 49 (1979), 111 at 3–7.

107 For ravaging after Edgar's reign, see ASC CDE 986, CD 1041, E 1051; John of Worcester, Chronicle, 1041 (ii, 532); Kapelle, W. E., The Norman Conquest of the North: The Region and its Transformation, 1000–1135 (Chapel Hill, NC, 1979), 117–19.

108 Asser, Life of King Alfred, lxxx (66–7).

109 S 346.

110 Æthelweard, Chronicle, iv.3 (49, 50); Hearne, T., ed., Hemingi Chartularium Ecclesiæ Wigorniensis (2 vols., Oxford, 1723), 1, 242. The regnal list is preserved in an early eleventh-century manuscript: Ker, N. R., ‘Hemming's Cartulary: A Description of the Two Worcester Cartularies in Cotton Tiberius A. xiii’, in Studies in Medieval History Presented to Frederick Maurice Powicke, ed. Hunt, R. W., Pantin, W. A. and Southern, R. W. (Oxford, 1948), 4975 especially 55, 68–72.

111 Byrhtferth of Ramsey, Life of St Oswald, iii.14 (82–4).

112 ASC ABCD 903, ABCDEF 934, 945, D 948, DEF 969.

113 ASC D 927; Af, 1; II Ew, 5. Cf. ASC D 947.

114 ASC A 917, ABCD 945, DE 973; II Ew, 1.1.

115 ASC ABCD 914, A 917, 918.

116 ASC A 920.

117 Cf. Davies, R. R., Lords and Lordship in the British Isles in the Late Middle Ages, ed. Smith, B. (Oxford, 2009), especially 1, 6–7, 15–18, 158–78, 197–217.

118 Contrast M. R. Davidson, ‘The (Non)submission of the Northern Kings in 920’, in Edward the Elder, 899–924, ed. N. J. Higham and D. H. Hill (2001), 200–11.

119 Since no genuine charters are extant from the second half of Edward the Elder's reign, it is impossible to say whether he was accorded styles that presented him as ruler of Britain. The probability is that he was not, since Æthelstan's early charters do not include such styles. On the hiatus in the charters, see Dumville, Wessex and England, 151–3; P. Wormald, ‘On þa wæpnedhealfe: Kingship and Royal Property from Æthelwulf to Edward the Elder’, in Edward the Elder, ed. Higham and Hill, 264–79 especially 275.

120 Marten, ‘The Shiring of East Anglia’. There are grounds to suspect that even in the late eleventh century at least some people regarded the Tees as the northern limit of the English kingdom: Kapelle, Norman Conquest, 11–13.

121 Whitelock, D., Brett, M. and Brooke, C. N. L., eds., Councils and Synods with Other Documents Relating to the English Church, I, a.d., 871–1204 (2 vols., Oxford, 1981), i, 146; Encomium Emmae Reginae, ii.14 (30). Cf. Molyneaux, ‘Formation’, 17–24.

122 Æthelstan: S 407, 412, 413, 416, 418, 419, 425, 426, 458. Edgar: S 700, 702, 706, 709, 716, 744, 762, 764, 767. These lists are not comprehensive.

* I am grateful to Thomas Charles-Edwards, George Garnett, Rory Naismith, Alice Taylor, Chris Wickham and Alex Woolf for comments on drafts, and to Nick Karn for supervising the undergraduate dissertation in which I first explored some of the themes of this article.

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