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The Earls of MerciaLordship and Power in Late Anglo-Saxon England$
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Stephen Baxter

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780199230983

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2008

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199230983.001.0001

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The Identity of the House of Leofwine

The Identity of the House of Leofwine

(p.17) 2 The Identity of the House of Leofwine
The Earls of Mercia

Stephen Baxter (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This chapter uses a prosopographical approach to explore the course of English politics between 994 and 1066 from a new perspective. It reconstructs the careers of Ealdorman Leofwine and his descendants, earls Leofric, Ælfgar, Eadwine, and Morcar. This was the only family which retained comital power throughout this period: so what accounts for this family's political persistence? It is argued that the family made some wise political choices, and enjoyed its fair share of good fortune. A corrective to the literature is offered, which has tended to focus on the course of ‘national’ or ‘court’ politics, the house of Godwine, and on consensual unity. The chapter shows that there was an important local dimension to political development, and stresses the importance of factional rivalry.

Keywords:   prosopography, Leofwine, Leofric, Ælfgar, Eadwine, Morcar, house of Godwine, court politics, local politics, faction

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