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Title: Royal succession in England, 1066-1154
Author: Garnett, G. S.
Awarding Body: University of Cambridge
Current Institution: University of Cambridge
Date of Award: 1988
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This dissertation attempts to show how William the Conqueror's claim to be the legitimate, designated, direct successor of Edward the Confessor played a large part in determining not only the nature of post-conquest royal accessions, but also the structure of land tenure. It seeks to analyse how the application of the antecessor argument resulted in a new precision in the definition of the gap between the death of a king and the constitution of his successor. Because the argument, which forms the basis of Domesday Book, provided the framework for post-conquest dependent tenure, this novel precision was also evident in the definition of escheat. But despite the parallel, the interregnum could not be analysed in terms of escheat, because the kingdom was not held of any lord to whom it could revert on the death of a tenant. The king was a necessary exception to the terms of the system which depended ultimately on him. After sketching the legal context of post-conquest royal successions, I try to show why the precisely defined period of interregnum was marked by so great a degree of disorder. In part this resulted from conflict within the royal/ducal kin arising from the inapplicability to the acquired kingdom of pre-conquest mechanisms for ensuring the relatively peaceful descent of the duchy. But these conflicts meshed with the expression of resentments engendered by the king's use of his unique powers over tenure to exploit claims based on Norman hereditary conventions when he did not deny them. I examine how the concept of interregnum, based on this experience and defined in terms of the antecessor scheme, assumed a crucial role in debates about disputed succession, particularly during Stephen's reign. And I show how what I term the problem of interregnum was successfully solved for the first time in post-conquest England in the settlement of 1153. Like all his Anglo-Norman predecessors, the future Henry II only became king at the moment of coronation; but unlike them he was secure in his claim at the moment of the previous king's death. It is impossible to establish with much certainty the precise liturgical form used at Anglo-Norman coronations prior to 1154. But I show that the case for the introduction of the third recension ordo in or around 1066 is not supported by the manuscript evidence, and that an Anglo-Saxon ritual probably continued in use for some considerable time after the conquest. Although the ceremony had assumed a novel and crucial pre-emptive role in constituting a king, the ritual form remained unchanged.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available