The Role of Royal Government

Brock W. Holden

in Lords of the Central Marches

Published in print August 2008 | ISBN: 9780199548576
Published online September 2008 | e-ISBN: 9780191720680 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Historical Monographs

The Role of Royal Government

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  • Medieval and Renaissance History (500 to 1500)


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This chapter examines the role of the Royal Government in the border region of Herefordshire and the adjacent Marcher lordship. It argues that the king played a greater role in the shaping of the March than is sometimes allowed. Although the customs of the Marcher lords were largely respected and their independence at times given free rein, most notably under Richard I, they were still tenants-in-chief and could not afford to ignore the king. The kings of England took varying approaches to the March. Henry I intruded new men into the region on a scale not seen again until the middle years of Henry III's reign. Henry II halted Marcher ambitions by reaching an accommodation with the Lord Rhys, a satisfactory agreement as long as the two men lived. Richard I had too pressing concerns elsewhere, and for a space of time the March reverted to a cockpit for baronial ambitions and vendettas.

Keywords: royal lordship; demesne; sheriffs March; Herefordshire; Wales; Marcher lords; feudalism

Chapter.  12473 words. 

Subjects: Medieval and Renaissance History (500 to 1500)

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