The Royal Demesne in English History: The Crown Estate in the Governance of the Realm From the Conquest to 1509, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

The Royal Demesne in English History

The Crown Estate in the Governance of the Realm From the Conquest to 1509, 1st Edition

By B.P. Wolffe


320 pages

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Hardback: 9780367208493
pub: 2019-07-09
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Originally published in 1971, The Royal Demesne in English History shows how Norman and Angevin kings were able to regard the whole of their English kingdom as their royal demesne in the continental medieval sense. The book argues that only through the later loss of their continental possessions were they compelled to show interest in creating special royal estates within their English kingdom, and then only for the members of their families. The power of medieval English kings as landowners provides a constant theme of the highest political importance in the dispensation of royal patronage, but not in the history of government finance. The book discusses how in the later stages of the cumulative creation of the royal family estates, did the idea gain currency in England, that an endowed and inalienable royal landed estate ought to form the basis of monarchical stability and financial solvency. This book forms an interesting and detailed look at the development of the medieval monarchy in terms of land and ownership.

Table of Contents



Part I: The Royal Demesne in Norman and Angevin Government

1 Royal Demesne and Tallage

2. ‘Ancient Demesne’

3. Royal Demesne and Parliamentary Taxation

4. Royal Demesne and Land Revenue

5. Royal Demesne and Patronage

6. Contrasts in the Role of the Capetian Domaine

7. Restraints of Alienation in England and the Genesis of ‘the King to Live of his Own’

Part II: A New Royal Patrimony: The Plantagenet Family Estate 1227-1399

8. Family Endowments

9. Alienations Outside the Royal Family

10. Finance and Royal Patronage

11. Exchequer and Chamber Administration

12. Parliamentary Criticism

Part III: Patronage, Politics and Finance, 1399-1437

13. Parliament and the Act of Resumption 1404

14. The Financial Survey of 1433

Part IV: The Background to the Resumptions of 1450-6

15. The Royal Lands and the Spoils System Under Henry VI

16. Resumption as the Panacea for Financial Reform

17. The Collapse of Royal Government, 1437-50

Part V: The Resumptions of 1450-6

18. The Leicester Act of Resumption of May 1450

19. The Act of Resumption of March 1451

20. The ‘Yorkist’ Act of Resumption of 1455-6

21. The Significance of the Resumptions

Part VI: The Crown Estate of the Yorkist Kings

22. Edward IV’S Act of Resumption

23. Receiver’s, Surveyors and Auditors of Land Revenues, 1461-83

24. Administrative Changes in the Central Government Under Edward IV

25. Richard III and the Crown Lands

Part VII: Henry VII’s Land Revenues and Chamber Finance

26. The Collapse and Re-Establishment of the Yorkist Land Revenue

27. Lancastrian, Yorkist and Early Tudor Lands Revenues Compared

Part VIII: Conclusion

Appendix A: Lands of the Royal Family, 1327-77

Appendix B: The Proposed Confiscation of Temporalities of the Church in 1404

Appendix C: The Crown Lands as Affected by the Acts of Resumption 1450-61

Appendix D: The Management of the Crown Lands, 1461-85. Lists of Officers with the Area if Their Charge


About the Series

Routledge Library Editions: The Medieval World

The volumes in this set, originally published between 1938 and 1994, draw together research by leading academics in the area of medieval history and medieval literature, and provide a rigorous examination of related key issues. The volume examines medieval history from the early Middle Ages, right up until the Reformation, as well as the effect of the medieval period on later cultures, such as the Victorians. This collection draws together books on the monarchy, medieval philosophy, religion, art, music, psychology and architecture as well as volumes on medieval archeology. The collection also brings together key volumes on medieval literature of the period, with formative works examining medieval religious literature, medieval legends and oral tradition. The collection also includes titles examining specific poems from the period such as Piers Plowman, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight and The Pearl, as well as volumes on influential writers of the period such as Jean Froissant, John Lydgate and Margery Kempe. This collection brings back into print a collection of insightful and detailed books on the diverse medieval period and will be a must have resource for academics and students, not only of history and literature, but of anthropology, music, psychology and religion.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
HISTORY / General