By R. J. A. White
This is often an agreeable narrative, effortless to learn, of the background of the English state via twenty centuries. it truly is meant for the reader who wishes a entire survey that brings out the $64000 strains of improvement yet doesn't clog the tale with too many proof, dates, treaties and battles. Underlying the account is a qualified scholar's acquaintance with historic scholarship, conveyed as a stimulating succession of principles. The reader will get a powerful experience 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 occasionally impressive - quotations from the assets. Its compass is the full 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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Extra info for A Short History of England
From Peveril's hold above Castleton to the military face of Battle Abbey by the Sussex shore, from the towers of Durham and Southwell to the pale ramparts of the King's keep in London, from the Welsh Marches to the Cinque Ports, from Helmsley to Hedingham and Pleshey, the emblems of lordship went up, terrible as an army with banners. Remote beside slow rivers and in the folds of woodlands, the parish church gave a hint of battlements even to the tamest little ton that had broken the soil since the Saxons came.
The harsh beginning of much, the harsh ending of much', as Carlyle said of the New Poor Law of 1834. The cauterizing of a wound? After all, William is accredited with having brought England into the mainstream of European civilization. She was to become, at least for a time, part of the pattern of medieval Europe with its contractual feudal relationships, its feudal law, its institutions for justice and defence based upon the feudal obligations of one man to another, up and down the social scale.
That the quality of the knights thus produced for the king's service was not always satisfactory, and especially when the contributor was a churchman, can be seen from numerous signs, the most obvious being the early development of the practice of levying scutage, or shield tax, in lieu of service. Henry I accepted money payment when it pleased him, and by the reign of Henry II we find the king's motives and intentions clearly described by the chronicler in terms of his reluctance to trouble (vexare) his country knights (agrarios milites), taking into account the length and difficulty of the projected journey or expedition, and quite plainly interested in hiring mercenaries (solidarios) by means of the 'shield money' (actually, in this instance, described in terms of coats of mail, or loricae).
A Short History of England by R. J. A. White