Feudalism and Conflict in Medieval England

Classified in History

Written at on English with a size of 2.75 KB.

Roger of Hoveden’s Chronicle (early 13th c.)

This is a bilingual edition of a fragment of the chronicle written in the early 13th century by Roger of Hoveden, an Anglo-Norman monk. It is written in the form of a letter to Pope Alexander, so it is full of religious expressions.

The Normans in England

The Normans took possession of England after William “the Conqueror” won the Battle of Hastings against Saxon king Harold in 1066, a date that marks the beginning of the medieval period in England according to most historians. They brought the French language to England and professed the Christian religion.

Feudalism in England

With the coming of the Normans, a very medieval concept was introduced - feudalism, which was a social system of dependence and hierarchy with clearly defined classes: the king or “Primus interpares”, the nobility, and the peasantry. Around the king was the royal curia, or court, made up of advisers and officials.

Conflict between Crown and Church

Church and nobles had a big influence in society, and conflicts started between the Crown and the Church for the independence of the Church. It is one of these conflicts that explains the murder described in the text.

Reign of Henry II

Henry II, son of William “the Conqueror”, was a powerful ruler and his reign contributed significantly to royal and territorial administration, which was very modern. He, known as the “Lion of Justice”, enforced the law with the help of a team of judges and established courts in many towns.

Establishment of the Exchequer

He also set up the Exchequer (Ministry of Economy), an organ intended to supervise monetary and fiscal matters. A very important contribution from the reign of his father was the Domesday Book, finished in 1086, used by Henry II and his successors for taxation purposes.

Conflict with Thomas Becket

In 1162 Henry decided to appoint his friend, the Chancellor Thomas Becket, to the vacant archbishopric of Canterbury, the highest religious figure in the state. In this way, he believed that he would be able to control the Church. But a quarrel began between the two friends; Henry wanted to reform the Church courts, while Becket decided his devotion was rather with God than with the king and refused to help him.

Exile and Return of Becket

In 1164, Becket exiled to France and looked for the support of French Catholics and the Pope. While he was in France, Henry ordered the Crowning of Prince Henry to the Archbishop of York and Becket became furious, since he saw his authority was being denied. After being officially, although not personally, reconciled with the King during their reunion in France in 1170, Becket returned to England.

Entradas relacionadas: