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The English Nobility in the Late Middle Ages: The Fourteenth-Century Political Community [Paperback]

Chris Given-Wilson
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Book Description

October 21, 1996 0415148839 978-0415148832 New Ed
First Published in 2004. Routledge is an imprint of Taylor & Francis, an informa company.

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'Given-Wilson is sensible and judicious, but also when necessary, incisive. As an introduction to the medieval nobility his book is ideal.' – Times Literary Supplement

Product Details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Routledge; New Ed edition (October 21, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0415148839
  • ISBN-13: 978-0415148832
  • Product Dimensions: 0.7 x 5.5 x 8.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #770,007 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Four themes dominated the life of the medieval nobleman: warfare, politics, land, and family. All these made up English political society, not just for the great dukes and earls but also for the lesser peers and the gentry who formed the power base in the counties. The author thoroughly examines the English social structure, discussing what contemporaries meant when they talked of the nobility and analyzing in detail the territorial and familial policies of the great landholders. For instance, although William the Conqueror did not, as a matter of policy, dispossess the Anglo-Saxon nobility, that is, in fact, what had happened by the time of Domesday Book, twenty years later. By 1086, there were, at the top of society, about 170 great tenants-in-chief, men who held their land directly from the king, and enough of it to be described as barons. All but two of these men were Norman (or Breton, or Fleming). Among them, these 170 controlled about half the land of England. Another seventeen percent of the land was retained by William as his own demesne, and another quarter of the land was granted to the Church. The remaining eight percent was divided among all the other lesser tenants-in-chief and the minor royal officials. But even so, there were immense differences at the top, with Robert, count of Mortain (the king's brother), controlling a hundred times as much territory and income as, say, Robert of Aumale. In fact, about one-quarter of England was in the hands of ten men: Robert of Mortain, Odo of Bayeux (the king's other brother), William FitzOsbern, Roger de Montgomery, William de Warenne, Hugh d'Avranches, Eustace of Boulogne, Richard de Clare, Geoffrey of Coutances, and Geoffrey de Mandeville. Read more ›
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