340 Pages
    by Routledge

    340 Pages
    by Routledge

    Making England, 796–1042 explores the creation and establishment of the kingdom of England and the significant changes that led to it becoming one of the most successful and sophisticated political structures in the western world by the middle of the eleventh century.

    At the end of the eighth century when King Offa of Mercia died, England was a long way from being a single kingdom ruled by a single king. This book examines how and why the kingdom of England formed in the way it did and charts the growth of royal power over the following two and a half centuries. Key political and military events are introduced alongside developments within government, the law, the church and wider social and economic changes to provide a detailed picture of England throughout this period. This is also set against a wider European context to demonstrate the influence of external forces on England’s development.

    With a focus on England’s rulers and elites, Making England, 796–1042 uncovers the type of kingdom England was and analyses its strengths and weaknesses as well as the emerging concept of a specifically English nation. Arranged both chronologically and thematically, and containing a selection of maps and genealogies, it is the ideal introducion to this subject for students of medieval history and of medieval England in particular.


    Chronology of Main Events

    A Note on Money

    References and Abbreviations

    List of Debates




    Introduction. England and the English in 796

    Part I. The Origins of a Kingdom, 796-899

    1. The Events, 796-899
    2. 796-839






    3. Ruling the Kingdoms, 796-899

    Becoming King

    The Requirements of Kingship

    ‘Tools and Resources’

    Ruling at a Distance

    Military Organisation

    The Reign of Alfred the Great

    The Kingdom of the Anglo-Saxons


    3. The Kings and the Law, 796-899

    Principles and Practice

    Alfred the Great and the Law

    The Limits of the Law


    4. The Kings and the Church, 796-899

    The Structure of the English Church

    English Kings and the Pre-Viking Church

    The English Church and the Vikings

    Alfred the Great and the Church

    Between a Viking Rock and a Royal Hard Place


    Part II. The Birth of a Kingdom, 899-975

    5. The Events, 899-975










    6. Ruling the Kingdom, 899-975

    The Bumpy Road to a Single English Kingdom

    Military Power

    Household Government

    Government by Assembly

    Regional Government

    Mints and Coins

    Royal Power in the North

    Royal Wealth

    Edgar’s English Kingdom


    7. The Kings and the Law, 899-975

    Law and Government

    Law Codes and their Concerns


    Hearing a Case

    Policing and Punishment

    The Longer Arm of the Law


    8. The Kings and the Church, 899-975

    Royal Government and the Church

    Kings and Dioceses

    Monasticism and Realpolitik

    Reform and Reality


    Part III. The Testing of a Kingdom, 975-1042

    9. The Events, 975-1042









    10. Ruling the Kingdom, 975-1042

    King and Nobility

    Household Government

    Local Government

    Military Organisation

    Royal Finance

    A Kingdom Worth Fighting For


    11. The Kings and the Law, 975-1042

    Aethelred’s Laws

    Cnut’s Laws

    Law in Action

    The Roots of the Common Law


    12. The Kings and the Church, 975-1042

    All Churches Great and Small

    The Church and Royal Power

    Aethelred II and the Church

    Cnut and the English Church

    Out of the Frying Pan …


    Glossary of Terms

    Suggestions for Further Reading



    Richard Huscroft is Head of History at Westminster School, London, and is the author of several books on medieval history, including Ruling England, 1042-1217 (2016), and Tales from the Long Twelfth Century (2016).

    'Richard Huscroft brings his trademark combination of eloquence and erudition to Making England. He sets out the twisting, turning narrative that leads from a series of separate kingdoms in the eighth century to a single strong one in the eleventh, and at the same time brings out the slow-burning institutional and social changes that underpin this story.'

    Rory Naismith, King's College London, UK


    'Richard Huscroft has written an admirably clear account of the formative period of English history from the death of King Offa of Mercia to the accession of Edward the Confessor – the period that witnessed the first emergence of a single kingdom of England and the origin and early development of so many key institutions of English political life. Making England, 796–1042 is the essential companion to Huscroft's Ruling England, 1042–1217.'

    Timothy Graham, The University of New Mexico, USA