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Title: The late Anglo-Saxon royal agent : the identity and function of English ealdormen and bishops c.950-1066
Author: Blanchard, Mary Elizabeth
ISNI:       0000 0004 6497 9721
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2016
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This thesis examines the identities and functions of late Anglo-Saxon royal agents (c. 950-1066), focusing on bishops and ealdormen. To establish who royal agents were, the thesis explores the family relationships among the leading men in the ecclesiastical and secular spheres, especially those linking men administering ealdordoms to the senior clergy. It also examines the offices of royal agents in late Anglo-Saxon England and argues that the duties of ecclesiastical and secular officials were not fundamentally different. While traceable kin networks appear among senior clerics and among high secular officials, few familial links connect the senior clergy to ealdormen. Thus, this thesis divides these kin-groups into those who gained secular offices, 'lay families', and those who sought power through the ecclesiastical positions, 'church families'. The analysis of the strategies adopted by 'lay families' and 'church families' to secure and maintain political power indicates how the aristocracy served both the king and their own ambitions in the governance of late Anglo-Saxon England. Although these royal agents came from different family groups, their obligations as royal agents appear remarkably similar with the exception of their military functions. This information provides a better understanding of the pool of men from whom English kings generally chose their officials, how rulers may have kept this group from becoming too small, and what was expected of these royal agents. The lack of (recorded) nepotism across episcopal and secular lines provides a more nuanced understanding of the aristocracy in Anglo-Saxon England. Furthermore, by offering an examination of both the identities and the functions of royal agents, this thesis provides a better understanding of the late Anglo-Saxon kingdom and its administration. In addition it creates a clearer picture of the aristocracy, the king, and the Church as well as the relationships between all three.
Supervisor: Foot, Sarah Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Prosopography ; Bishops--England--History--To 1500 ; Great Britain--Kings and rulers--History--To 1066 ; Church history--Middle Ages ; 600-1500 ; Church and state--England--History--To 1500 ; Great Britain--Politics and government--To 1485