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English Government in the Thirteenth Century

English Government in the Thirteenth Century

Edited by Adrian Jobson
Copyright Date: 2004
Edition: NED - New edition
Published by: Boydell and Brewer,
Pages: 166
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  • Book Info
    English Government in the Thirteenth Century
    Book Description:

    The size and jurisdiction of English royal government underwent sustained development in the thirteenth century, an understanding of which is crucial to a balanced view of medieval English society. The papers here follow three central themes: the development of central government, law and justice, and the crown and the localities. Examined within this framework are bureaucracy and enrolment under John and his contemporaries; the Royal Chancery; the adaptation of the Exchequer in response to the rapidly changing demands of the crown; the introduction of a licensing system for mortmain alienations; the administration of local justice; women as sheriffs; and a Nottinghamshire study examining the tensions between the role of the king as manorial lord and as monarch. Contributors: NICK BARRATT, PAUL R. BRAND, DAVID CARPENTER, DAVID CROOK, ANTHONY MUSSON, NICHOLAS C. VINCENT, LOUISE WILKINSON

    eISBN: 978-1-84615-233-7
    Subjects: History

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
    (pp. vii-viii)
    Adrian Jobson
    (pp. ix-x)
    (pp. xi-xiv)
    (pp. 1-16)
    Adrian Jobson

    ‘Administrative history only becomes possible when an organised administrative system has been established.’¹ Since T.F. Tout first outlined this axiom in the 1920s, the study of administrative history has broadened. Much of this work has concentrated upon the thirteenth century, which was one of the most important and creative periods in the evolution of government and administration in English history. At the heart of the administration was a central bureaucracy that was organised around a series of departments, namely the chancery, exchequer and thecuria regis.² These departments were not recent innovations; many were already in existence when Richard I...

  7. Why 1199? Bureaucracy and Enrolment under John and his Contemporaries
    (pp. 17-48)
    Nicholas Vincent

    It is one of the greater misfortunes of English medieval history that the words quoted above have had to be invented. Historians of the Plantagenet realm can call upon an extraordinary range of administrative, financial and literary records. From the year 1199 onwards, this wealth of documentary evidence swells into a positive embarrassment of riches. After 1199, the documentary floodgates burst, and we are swiftly overwhelmed by a torrent of rolls, registers, schedules and other such wonders. The royal chancery was the source from which much of this deluge flowed. But although we have aDialogue of the Exchequer, we...

  8. The English Royal Chancery in the Thirteenth Century
    (pp. 49-70)
    David Carpenter

    The English royal chancery was the greatest of all the medieval chanceries and the thirteenth century its greatest age. English royal government was ‘document driven’. The chancery in the thirteenth century wrote, and authenticated with the great seal, the instruments through which the king spent and controlled his revenues, dispensed justice, distributed patronage and expressed in myriad other ways his personal will. No wonder control over the chancery was a major ambition of the reformers in 1258.¹

    For the chancery the thirteenth century stands as a peak between the valleys of the twelfth and fourteenth centuries either side. Compared to...

  9. Finance on a Shoestring: The Exchequer in the Thirteenth Century
    (pp. 71-86)
    Nick Barratt

    In October 1301, Edward I wrote to the exchequer from his campaign headquarters in Scotland. Typically, he was demanding funds for an ambitious attempt to construct a floating bridge across the Firth of Forth, so he could pursue his enemies through the winter.

    ‘Know that we wonder greatly why you have sent us as little money as you have sent up till now, and in particular, we are surprised you have sent it in such small instalments . . . we would have achieved such a success against our enemies, that our business in these parts would have been brought...

  10. The Mortmain Licensing System, 1280–1307
    (pp. 87-96)
    Paul Brand

    On 14 November 1279 King Edward I issued the Statute of Mortmain.¹ The statute prohibited all future alienations in mortmain in England, which meant any permanent grant of land or any other form of real property (such as a rent or the advowson of a church) to religious houses or any other kind of ecclesiastical office-holder (including bishops, rectors of parish churches and chantry priests). Any breach of this prohibition was to render the property liable to forfeiture. The immediate lord of whom the property was held was given a year to take possession of it for himself. If he...

  11. The Local Administration of Justice: A Reappraisal of the ‘Four Knights’ System
    (pp. 97-110)
    Anthony Musson

    The local administration of justice has never been one of those areas that naturally excites the historian. In its concern with structural and procedural features it can easily be regarded as arcane and insular. Giving a paper that concentrates on the assizes and gaol delivery, or more accurately that seeks to reappraise existing views on the subject, runs the obvious risk of being too esoteric for its audience or wallowing in the minutiae of a highly technical area. To view this subject in such terms, however, is to misunderstand and misrepresent its importance with regard to much wider themes, about...

  12. Women as Sheriffs in Early Thirteenth Century England
    (pp. 111-124)
    Louise J. Wilkinson

    At a time when women were normally excluded from exercising any formal role in royal government, the early thirteenth century witnessed the unusual appointment of two female sheriffs in England. During the civil war of 1215–17, Lady Nicholaa de la Haye, the twice widowed heiress of the Lincolnshire barony of Brattleby, became the crown’s leading local official in this county, and conducted a spirited defence of Lincoln castle.¹ Similarly, at the end of King Henry III’s minority, Ela Longespée, the widowed countess of Salisbury, was granted the shrievalty of Wiltshire. Although the appearance of two female sheriffs hardly represented...

  13. King and Lord: The Monarch and his Demesne Tenants in Central Nottinghamshire, 1163–1363
    (pp. 125-140)
    David Crook

    In the thirteenth century the kings of England were well on the way to becoming the executive heads of what later came to be known as the nation state, ruling the kingdom with the advice of their leading men, employing a growing number of administrators and judges, and levying national taxes to finance their wars. However, although their own demesne was by the late twelfth century much reduced in extent from the time of the Domesday survey,¹ the number and importance of the manors which were part of it for at least a significant proportion of the thirteenth century was...

  14. INDEX
    (pp. 141-151)
  15. Back Matter
    (pp. 152-152)