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Title: Royal administration in East Anglia, c. 917-1066
Author: Purkiss, Richard
ISNI:       0000 0004 9355 364X
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2019
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This thesis examines the administrative development of East Anglia between 917 and 1066, the period which saw the region integrated into a growing English kingdom. It explains how this process operated at a regional and local level by considering what claims underpinned it, how new administrative structures were introduced, and what gave royal officers power in the localities. In answering these questions for East Anglia, the thesis reinterprets the basis of English government in the tenth and eleventh centuries. What is conventionally viewed as an advanced ‘Anglo-Saxon state’ drew its strength not so much from military and bureaucratic organisation as from the widespread and direct relationship between the king and his subjects. The first two chapters take the king’s perspective to deal with royal claims. Territorial expansion by successive members of the West Saxon dynasty rested on sworn submissions and the resulting personal loyalties, rather than profound tenurial or ideological change. The privilege known as soke is reinterpreted as a device for manipulating the relationship between king and freemen for the king’s fiscal and military convenience, with implications for both administration and land tenure. Two further chapters consider the origins of East Anglian hundreds and burhs. These institutions emerge as generally irregular adaptations of earlier structures, although they were forced into a uniform pattern. Both served as frames for organising freemen often subject to no one but the king. The fifth chapter shows that royal office-holders in East Anglia frequently owed their appointment to the private resources which they could mobilise in the king’s interests, as the offices themselves long remained institutionally unstable. This study brings evidence from a neglected region to bear on developments which were common to the whole realm. If tenth- and eleventh-century England was not as uniform and ordered a kingdom as has been imagined, unsuspected features in its governance ultimately make it appear scarcely less precocious.
Supervisor: Foot, Sarah Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: History