By R. J. A. White
This is often an agreeable narrative, effortless to learn, of the heritage of the English kingdom via twenty centuries. it's meant for the reader who wishes a finished survey that brings out the real strains of improvement yet doesn't clog the tale with too many evidence, dates, treaties and battles. Underlying the account is a qualified scholar's acquaintance with ancient scholarship, conveyed as a stimulating succession of principles. The reader will get a powerful feel of the evolution of English society: the aggregate of legislation, customized and innovation in its constitutional background; its curious mix of features. there are lots of vigorous - and infrequently incredible - quotations from the resources. Its compass is the entire box of English heritage from the Roman career to the top of the 19th century; a short postscript brings the tale as much as the current day.
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Additional resources for A Short History of England
Military feudalism' seems never to have bred much in the way of militarism in England. The Norman aristocracy soon took on the colour of the English. They preferred farming. Of course a century after Cromwell's major-generals had gone clanking into history, Tom Paine and the English Radicals were still harping on 'the crafty illegitimate of Normandy' as the progenitor of King George III, and on 'the robber barons' as the ancestors of the aristocratic monopolists of the unreformed House of Commons.
There was no 'seating-plan' available for this feast, and many of the new landholders must have been strangers to the rural landscape. On many a morrow after the battle of Hastings, England was lively with adventurers riding up hill and down 50 THE ANGLO-NORMAN STATE dale looking for manors. One would very much like to know how Eustache de Vache from Flanders and Fulke de Breauteville from Brittany solved the immediate and practical problem of finding their way to Hainoure or Cotenoure or Smitcote in the Erewash Valley.
The shire and hundred courts of Saxon times, which might be fairly regarded as the ancient popular institutions of the English, continued to meet under the new order, and in 1109-11 Henry I ensured the continuity of the old English institutions within the world of Norman innovation by issuing an order that the shire and hundred courts be held as in tempora regis Edwardi et non aliter ('in the time of King Edward [the Confessor] and not otherwise'). This was a significant measure in the cause of continuity, coming as it did from a king who was married to a princess directly descended from King Alfred, and who opened his reign with a Coronation Charter of Liberties, promising— for what it was worth—amendments in matters of justice SHORT HISTORY OF ENGLAND secundum lagam regis Edwardi ('according to the laws of King Edward').