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Land, Law, and Lordship in Anglo-Norman England$
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John Hudson

Print publication date: 1997

Print ISBN-13: 9780198206880

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198206880.001.0001

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(p.1) 1 Introduction
Land, Law, and Lordship in Anglo-Norman England

John Hudson

Oxford University Press

This book examines seignorial control of land in order to illuminate both the power of Anglo-Norman lordship and the functioning and development of law within society. The book examines the areas of co-operation or conflict between kings, lords, and vassals. It also explores the extent the honour was an independent social and political unit; how the relationships and land-holding within honours worked; the characteristics of a good lord; the constraints which existed upon the exercise of seignorial power and patronage; and the aspirations of vassals, especially with regard to land. Above all, the book asks how the aims and actions of lords and vassals were facilitated or constrained by power and ideas, and particularly by what might be referred to as legal norms. The book argues that some loose description of certain affairs as legal is still valid, both in terms of analytic utility and of the thought of the time. It concludes that power had certainly an effect on the normal conduct of affairs concerning land-holding and law, but the use of power to flout the workings of law and justice was condemned.

Keywords:   control of land, Anglo-Norman lordship, law, society, kings, lords, vassals, honour, political unit, land-holding, patronage

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