In March 1279 King Edward I commissioned a great inquiry into landholding in England. The surviving returns were arranged by hundred, hence their name ‘the Hundred Rolls’, and give a picture of rural society which, in its level of detail, goes far beyond that found in Domesday Book. If this was intended as a second Domesday, it was a superior version of it.
A few years ago, I pestered friendly Lollard scholars with a question which tended to flummox them slightly: how did English bishops know how to prosecute heretics? The broadest outlines of a reply had been sketched, in an article from 1936 by H. G. Richardson and another by Margaret Aston in 1993. In addition, Anne Hudson and J. A. F.
In October 1283, Edward I stood in a unique position. He had achieved a goal which had eluded his predecessors back to the time of the Conquest: the subjection of Wales. His military campaigns to assert his overlordship had begun six years previously, but now his dominance was final. This in itself was unique, but the episode had a more significant aspect.
A new book on Henry VII is a major event. The last full-length study of the king and his reign, by S. B. Chrimes, was written in 1972, in a very different historiographical world. At that time, the explosion of interest in later-medieval history was still in its infancy, and the decades after 1485 were seen mainly through the lens of the 'Tudor Revolution in Government'.
This impressive study examines the consequences for land tenure in England of William of Normandy's conquest of the country, glossed by his claim to have succeeded to the throne by the bequest of King Edward. Yet he believed, in line with French practice, that he became king at the moment of consecration, after which he could legitimately grant lands to his followers.
Glenn Richardson’s latest contribution to early modern Anglo-French relations comes in the form of this edited volume covering nearly three centuries of contact between England and France from 1420 to 1700. The Contending Kingdoms is essentially the proceedings of a Society for Court Studies conference which took place in London in November 2004.
The Blackwell Companions to British History enjoy a reputation for quality of scholarship, clarity of text and range.
In terms of its published historiography, the Southwest of 15th-century England remains one of the few grey, if not blank, areas on the map. Although several doctoral theses have been written on parts of the region since the late 1970s, what has been published takes mostly article form and is consequently comparatively narrow in focus.
The cover to the hardback edition of Edward Vallance’s A Radical History of Britain shows a Union Jack superimposed on a montage (King John signing the Magna Carta, the German Peasants’ War of 1525 (1), the Women’s Suffrage Movement, the Jarrow Crusade and the Battle of Cable Street) designed to illustrate the book’s subtitle: Visionaries, Rebels and Revol
David Rollison has written a remarkable work of social and political history: vertiginously ambitious, A Commonwealth of the People showcases England’s constitutional and economic development from the 11th to the 17th century within world histories of nationalism, democratization, and globalization. ‘My subject’, he writes, ‘is the emergence of a “civilization”’ (p. 16).