J. R. Maddicott

in The Origins of the English Parliament, 924-1327

Published in print May 2010 | ISBN: 9780199585502
Published online September 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780191723148 | DOI:

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This chapter charts the evolution of national assemblies from Æthelstan's reign to the Norman Conquest. It shows that these were truly national gatherings, drawing in large numbers of men from all parts of the country. Known by contemporaries as the ‘witan’, they could also be viewed as representative bodies which spoke for the whole nation. They did so frequently and regularly, meeting normally at the great feasts of the church, and acquiring through their regular meetings the characteristics of an institution. They were essentially concerned with the business of government: the discussion of national affairs, legislation, state trials, and royal acts of patronage. But they also served to demonstrate the king's charisma and authority by providing occasions for royal crown‐wearing and display.

Keywords: assemblies; witan; charisma; crown‐wearing; legislation; patronage; nation

Chapter.  25424 words. 

Subjects: Medieval and Renaissance History (500 to 1500)

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