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Flashcards in Anglo Saxon Society Deck (23)
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What powers did the King have?

Law making, Fyrd (army), Landowndership


Who was King of England in 1066?

Edward the Confessor


What was the Witan?

The Witan was a council that helped advise the King on issues such as religion, war, law, tax etc


Who were the Earls?

The most important men in Anglo-Saxon England. They had an earldom such as Wessex. They collected 1/3 of tax in their area, enforced laws and had military power.


Why was Edward the Confessor a strong AND weak king?

He was very religious and made good laws. However, he had no children (heirs) and struggled to keep down Earl Godwin


What was a Shire Reeve and what was their role?

They were the king's officers in local government. They collected taxes for the king, fines from shires and made sure men were provided for the Fyrd (army)


How did the land 'divide up' in Anglo Saxon England?

Earldoms, Shires, Hundreds, Tithings


How did law and order work in Anglo Saxon England?

Through collective responsibility. If one person from a tithing broke the law, the local community had a responsibility to bring them in or be punished themselves.


How did the Anglo Saxons punish people?

Wergild (money paid to avoid a blood feud), or trial by ordeal, such as drowning, hot iron or trial by combat


How did Anglo-Saxon England gain a strong economy? (lots of money)

Good climate for crops and animal (livestock) production, good trade links with Scandinavia, strong tax system and trading centers (Buhrs)


What were the problems with the Anglo-Saxon Church?

Bishops were too rich and powerful, priests were poorly educated, the church was generally corrupt (used for making money)


Could you move up and down in Anglo-Saxon society?

Yes! A peasant could become a thegn, and a thegn could become an earl. The same works in reverse.


Why were the Godwin family powerful?

Landownership, good warriors, political marriages, lots of money through tax


Who were the 'Three Ediths'?

Edith Godwinson: Harold Godwinson's sister who married Edward the Confessor (p.s. this gave them a claim to the throne)

Edith of Mercia and Edith of East Anglia: Harold Godwinson married them both (at the same time) to gain influence in Mercia and East Anglia


What happened on Harold Godwinson's embassy to Normandy in 1064? (or 1065 - nobody is fully sure when this happened)

King Edwards sent Harold Godwinson to send a message to William of Normandy. Harold got lost and was captured. William of Normandy then rescued him and they fought together in France. Harold then swore an oath to William, but there are two versions of what happened...


What did the Normans claim happened on the embassy in 1064/5?

Harold Godwinson promised to help William of Normandy become King of England after the death of Edward the Confessor


Why was there a rising against Earl Tostig?

Tostig was too harsh on the people of Northumbria. He taxed them, assassinated popular people and didn't fight against the Scottish King who had caused hardship for the people of Northumbria


What happened to Earl Tostig?

He was forced into exile after the uprising in Northumbria. Later returned with Harald Hardrada and was killed in the Battle of Stamford Bridge in 1066.


Who were the four claimants to the throne in 1066? (the next king)

Harold Godwinson, Harald Hardrada, William of Normady, Edgar Aethling


What was Harold Godwinson's claim to the throne?

Supported by the Witan (council), had been doing the job more or less anyway, his sister married King Edward and therefore had a claim, he was also promised the throne by King Edward, strong warrior


What was Harald Hardrada's claim to the throne?

Claimed his father should have been made King of England many years before. Strong warrior, supported by Tostig Godwinson


What was William of Normandy's claim to the throne?

Promised the throne by Edward the Confessor, claims to have been promised support from Harold Godwinson (oath during the 1064/5 embassy), distant cousin and friend of King Edward, strong warrior


What was Edgar Aethling's claim to the throne?

Closest blood relative of the King, too young and inexperienced, not supported by anyone in 1066