Fyrd

A fyrd (Old English pronunciation: [ˈfyrd]) was a type of early Anglo-Saxon army that was mobilised from freemen to defend their shire, or from selected representatives to join a royal expedition. Service in the fyrd was usually of short duration and participants were expected to provide their own arms and provisions. The composition of the fyrd evolved over the years, particularly as a reaction to raids and invasions by the Vikings. The system of defence and conscription was reorganised during the reign of Alfred the Great, who set up 33 fortified towns (or burhs) in his kingdom of Wessex. The amount of taxation required to maintain each town was laid down in a document known as the Burghal Hidage. Each lord had his individual holding of land assessed in hides. Based on his land holding, he had to contribute men and arms to maintain and defend the burhs. Non-compliance with this requirement could lead to severe penalties.

Ultimately the fyrd consisted of a nucleus of experienced soldiers that would be supplemented by ordinary villagers and farmers from the shires who would accompany their lords.

Definitions

The Germanic rulers in early medieval Britain relied upon the infantry supplied by a regional levy, or fyrd[1] and it was upon this system that the military power of the several kingdoms of early Anglo-Saxon England depended.[1] In Anglo Saxon documents military service might be expressed as fyrd-faru, fyrd-foereld, fyrd-socne, or simply fyrd. The fyrd was a local militia in the Anglo-Saxon shire, in which all freemen had to serve. Those who refused military service were subject to fines or loss of their land.[2] According to the laws of Ine:

If a nobleman who holds land neglects military service, he shall pay 120 shillings and forfeit his land; a nobleman who holds no land shall pay 60 shillings; a commoner shall pay a fine of 30 shillings for neglecting military service.[3]

It was the responsibility of the shire fyrd to deal with local raids. The king could call up the national militia to defend the kingdom, however in the case of hit and run raids, particularly by Vikings, problems with communication and raising supplies meant that the national militia could not be mustered quickly enough so was rarely summoned.[4]

Historians are divided about the people who were part of the fyrd. Was it the body of peasants as distinct from the thegns and mercenaries? Was it the peasants and thegns together? Or was it a combination of all three? Initially the force probably would have been entirely infantry. However, from Alfred's time there would have been a force of mounted infantry, who could gallop swiftly to any trouble spot, dismount, and drive off any raiding force.[1][5] Also, after Alfred's reorganisation there were two elements to his army. The first known as the select-fyrd was, most likely, a strictly royal force of mounted infantry consisting mainly of thegns and their retainers supported by earls and reeves. The second would be the local militia or general-fyrd responsible for the defence of the shire and borough district and would consist of freemen, such as small tenant farmers and their local thegns and reeves. In the 11th century the infantry was strengthened by the addition of an elite force of housecarls.[6][7] More recent research, however, suggests that there was only a select-fyrd, in which the mounted element was provided by Wessex.[8]

The Old English term that the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle uses for the Danish Army is "here"; Ine of Wessex in his law code, issued in about 694, provides a definition of "here" as "an invading army or raiding party containing more than thirty-five men", yet the terms "here" and "fyrd" are used interchangeably in later sources in respect of the English militia.[1][9]

Tenants in Anglo-Saxon England had a threefold obligation based on their landholding; the so-called ‘common burdens' of military service, fortress work, and bridge repair. Even when a landholder was granted exemptions from other royal services, these three duties were reserved. An example of this is in a charter of 858 where Æthelberht of Kent made an exchange of land with his thegn Wulflaf. It stipulates that Wulflaf's land should be free of all royal services and secular burdens except military service, the building of bridges, and fortress work.[2][10][11]

According to Cnut's laws:

If anybody neglects the repair of fortresses or bridges or military service, he shall pay 120s. as compensation to the king in districts under the English law, and the amount fixed by existing regulations in the Danelaw...[2]

Organisation

England had suffered raids by the Vikings from the late 8th century onwards, initially mainly on monasteries.[12] The first monastery to be raided was in 793 at Lindisfarne, off the north east coast, with the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle describing the Vikings as heathen men.[13] The raiding continued on and off until the 860s, when instead of raiding the Vikings changed their tactics and sent a great army to invade England. This army was described by the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle as a "Great Heathen Army".[14] The Danes were eventually defeated by Alfred the Great at the Battle of Edington in 878. This was followed closely by what was described by Asser as the Treaty of Wedmore, under which England was divided up between the Anglo-Saxons of Wessex and the Vikings.[15][16] However, there continued to be a threat by another Danish army that was active on the continent. The rampaging Viking army on the continent encouraged Alfred to protect his Kingdom of Wessex. He built a navy, reorganised the army, established a cavalry, and set up a system of fortified towns known as burhs.[17][18]

Each element of the system was meant to remedy defects in the West Saxon military establishment exposed by Viking raids and invasions. If under the existing system he could not assemble forces quickly enough to intercept mobile Viking raiders, the obvious answer was to have a standing field force. If this entailed transforming the West Saxon fyrd from a sporadic levy of king's men and their retinues into a mounted standing army, so be it. If his kingdom lacked strongpoints to impede the progress of an enemy army, he would build them. If the enemy struck from the sea, he would counter them with his own naval power. To maintain the burhs, and the standing army, he set up a system of taxation and conscription that is recorded in a document, now known as the Burghal Hidage; thirty three fortified towns are listed along with their taxable value (known as hides)). Characteristically, all of Alfred's innovations were firmly rooted in traditional West Saxon practice, drawing as they did upon the three ‘common burdens' that all holders of bookland and royal loanland owed the Crown. Where Alfred revealed his genius was in designing the field force and burhs to be parts of a coherent military system.[19][20]

The fyrd was used heavily by King Harold in 1066, for example in resisting invasion by Harald Hardrada and William of Normandy.[21]

Henry I of England, the Anglo-Norman king who promised at his coronation to restore the laws of Edward the Confessor and who married a Scottish princess with West Saxon royal forebears, called up the fyrd to supplement his feudal levies, as an army of all England, as Orderic Vitalis reports, to counter the abortive invasions of his brother Robert Curthose, both in the summer of 1101 and in autumn 1102.[22]

See also

Notes

  1. ^ a b c d Preston et al. History of Warfare. p. 70
  2. ^ a b c Hollister. Anglo-Saxon Military Institutions. pp. 59-60
  3. ^ Attenborough. laws of the earliest English kings. pp. 52-53
  4. ^ Cannon. The Oxford Companion to British History. p. 398
  5. ^ Hollister.Anglo-Saxon Military Institutions. p. 3
  6. ^ Powicke. Military Obligation. Ch. 1
  7. ^ Lavelle. Alfred's Wars. p. xvi — The names select~ and general~ are attributed to the historian C. Warren Hollister. See American Historical Review 73 (1968). pp. 713-714.
  8. ^ Beckett p. 9
  9. ^ Attenborough. The laws of the earliest English kings. pp. 40-41 - We use the term thieves if the number of men does not exceed seven. A band of marauders for a number between seven and thirty five. Anything beyond that is a raid'.
  10. ^ "Electronic Sawyer Charter S.328". Kings College London. Retrieved 29 April 2013. Wulflaf's land should be free of all royal services and secular burdens except military service, the building of bridges, and fortress work — absque expeditione sola pontium structura et arcium munitionbus....
  11. ^ Lavelle. Alfred's Wars. pp. 70-71
  12. ^ Sawyer. The Oxford Illustrated History of Vikings. pp. 2-3
  13. ^ ASC 793 - English translation at project Gutenberg. Retrieved 1 May 2013
  14. ^ ASC 865 - English translation at project Gutenberg. Retrieved 1 May 2013
  15. ^ Smyth. The Medieval Life of Alfred. pp. 26–27
  16. ^ Attenborough. The laws of the earliest English kings: Treaty of Alfred and Guthrum. pp. 96-101
  17. ^ Sawyer. Illustrated History of Viking. p. 57
  18. ^ Starkey. Monarchy. p.63
  19. ^ Abels, R., Alfred the Great: War, Culture and Kingship in Anglo-Saxon England, (New York, 1998). p. 196
  20. ^ Horspool. Why Alfred Burnt the Cakes. p.102
  21. ^ J. W. Fortescue (1899) A History of the British Army, volume I
  22. ^ C. Warren Hollister, Henry I, 2001:159; cf. Hollister, Military Organization of Norman England, 1965:102-26.

References

  • Attenborough, F.L. Tr., ed. (1922). The laws of the earliest English kings. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Beckett, Ian Frederick William (2011). Britain's Part-Time Soldiers: The Amateur Military Tradition: 1558–1945. Barnsley, South Yorkshire: Pen & Sword Military. ISBN 9781848843950.
  • Cannon, John (1997). The Oxford Companion to British History. Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-866176-2.
  • Hollister, C. Warren (1962). Anglo-Saxon Military Institutions on the Eve of the Norman Conquest. Oxford: Clarendon Press.
  • Horspool, David (2006). Why Alfred Burned the Cakes. London: Profile Books. ISBN 978-1-86197-786-1.
  • Lavelle, Ryan (2010). Alfred's Wars Sources and Interpretations of Anglo-Saxon Warfare in the Viking Age. Woodbridge, Suffolk: Boydel Press. ISBN 978-1-84383-569-1.
  • Powicke, Michael (1962). Military Obligation in Medieval England. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Preston, Richard A; Wise, Sydney F; Werner, Herman O (1956). Men in Arms: A History of Warfare and Its Interrelationships with Western Society. New York: Frederick A. Praeger.
  • Sawyer, Peter (2001). The Oxford Illustrated History of the Vikings (3rd ed.). Oxford: OUP. ISBN 0-19-285434-8.
  • Smyth, Alfred P. (2002). The Medieval Life of King Alfred the Great: A Translation and Commentary on the Text Attributed to Asser. Basingstoke, Hampshire: Paulgrave Houndmills. ISBN 0-333-69917-3.
  • Starkey, David (2004). The Monarchy of England Volume I. London: Chatto & Windus. ISBN 0-7011-7678-4.

External links

Battle of Ringmere

The Battle of Ringmere was fought on 5th May 1010. Norse sagas recorded a battle at Hringmaraheior; Old English Hringmere-hūō, modern name Ringmere Heath.The sack of Thetford occurred in 1004. Sigvat records the victory of King Ethelred, allied with Saint Olaf, over the Danes under Sweyn Forkbeard during the latter's campaigns in England.

The Battle site was located in lands under the control of Ulfcytel Snillingr, thegn of East Anglia, at a site once thought to be near Wretham, but now thought to be at Rymer in Suffolk. The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle reports that during the sack of Thetford in 1004 Ulfcytel Snillingr and the "councillors in East Anglia" attempted to buy a truce with Swein, but that the Danes broke the truce and marched to Thetford where a part of the East Anglian fyrd engaged them. The Danes managed to escape. During the battle of Ringmere however it was the East Anglian fyrd who took flight, leaving the muster from Cambridgeshire to stand firm in their absence. However they were broken after a time leaving North-East Mercia exposed to the Danes .

John of Worcester also records that the Danes defeated the Saxons. Over a three-month period the Danes wasted East Anglia, burning Thetford and Cambridge.

Glaston Twelve Hides

Glaston Twelve Hides is one of the 40 historical Hundreds in the ceremonial county of Somerset, England, dating from before the Norman conquest during the Anglo-Saxon era although exact dates are unknown. Each hundred had a 'fyrd', which acted as the local defence force and a court which was responsible for the maintenance of the frankpledge system. They also formed a unit for the collection of taxes. The role of the hundred court was described in the Dooms (laws) of King Edgar. The name of the hundred was normally that of its meeting-place.The Hundred of Glaston Twelve Hides is thought to take its name from twelve hides of land belonging to Glastonbury Abbey that were exempt from paying danegeld, although the area of the hundred was much larger than the original twelve hides. It contained the parishes of Baltonsborough, West Bradley, Glastonbury, Meare, Nyland, West Pennard, and North Wootton, comprising approximately 24,610 acres (9,960 ha).The importance of the hundred courts declined from the seventeenth century. By the 19th century several different single-purpose subdivisions of counties, such as poor law unions, sanitary districts, and highway districts sprang up, filling the administrative role previously played by parishes and hundreds. Although the Hundreds have never been formally abolished, their functions ended with the establishment of county courts in 1867 and the introduction of districts by the Local Government Act 1894.

Grith Fyrd

Grith Fyrd was a radical alternative educational movement in England during the 1930s. It created two permanent work camps, one at Godshill in Hampshire and the other at Shining Cliff in Derbyshire, which took in unemployed men and tried to use them as a basis for creating a land-based community.

Grith Fyrd (the name means 'Peace Army' in Old English) was launched after a series of lectures in 1931. Its founders belonged to the Order of Woodcraft Chivalry, an English group influenced by the thinking of Ernest Thompson Seton's Woodcraft Indians (later renamed the Woodcraft League of America), whose most lasting creation was the Woodcraft Folk. The movement's outlook represented a mixture of socialism, co-operativism and anti-urbanism, and was strongly internationalist. The Order's main practical aim was to create an outdoor movement that would allow boys, girls, men and women to work and learn together.

In the early 1930s, the Order launched Grith Fyrd to combat the "three evils of the day: monstrous labour, with its occasional relief by quick, aimless excitement; the state of passivity and absorption; the loss of the incentive of self-expression and creativeness". Two Grith Fyrd camps were opened in 1932 at Godshill in Hampshire, and in 1933 at Shining Cliff in Derbyshire. The camps were intended to form part of a self-sufficient community that would exchange goods and services with one another, and combat the decadence of contemporary society by training young men for self-reliance, communal living and service.

The Grith Fyrd campers - or Pioneers - were a mixture of young unemployed men, who were able to continue to draw benefit, and idealists who mostly came from middle-class backgrounds. The Pioneers built the camp buildings and furniture themselves, and produced their own food. Aldous Huxley wrote in the Sunday Chronicle that the Godshill camp was "almost a replica of an American backwoods settlement of a century ago". For Huxley, the primitive conditions were an admirable counterblow against the standardisation of modern urban, industrial society. He also admired the leisure activities of the men - Morris dancing, wood-carving, folk-singing and adult education.

Grith Fyrd was never a large movement. The camps were relatively small in scale, with between 30 and 50 inmates apiece. It had effectively died out as a living experiment by the late 1930s, though a handful of veterans gathered in the late 1940s to plan the Braziers Park community - essentially a residential adult college which functioned on communitarian lines, and was the childhood home of the singer Marianne Faithfull.The present-day Grith pioneers provide an environment, through woodland camping and similar means, which gives those people taking part scope for self-realisation and the development of personal and social responsibility, wider educational opportunities, and a sense of responsibility towards the protection of the natural environment.

Hundred of Bempstone

The Hundred of Bempstone is one of the 40 historical Hundreds in the ceremonial county of Somerset, England, dating from before the Norman conquest during the Anglo-Saxon era although exact dates are unknown. Each hundred had a fyrd, which acted as the local defence force and a court which was responsible for the maintenance of the frankpledge system. They also formed a unit for the collection of taxes. The role of the hundred court was described in the Dooms (laws) of King Edgar. The name of the hundred was normally that of its meeting-place.The hundred of Bempstone contained the parishes of Biddisham, Brean, Burnham, Chapel Allerton, Mark, Weare and Wedmore. The hundred covered an area of below 24,000 acres (9,700 ha) and contained approximately 1,299 houses according to the 1831 census.The importance of the hundred courts declined from the seventeenth century. By the 19th century several different single-purpose subdivisions of counties, such as poor law unions, sanitary districts, and highway districts sprang up, filling the administrative role previously played by parishes and hundreds. Although the Hundreds have never been formally abolished, their functions ended with the establishment of county courts in 1867 and the introduction of districts by the Local Government Act 1894.

Hundred of Bruton

The Hundred of Bruton is one of the 40 historical Hundreds in the ceremonial county of Somerset, England, dating from before the Norman conquest during the Anglo-Saxon era although exact dates are unknown. Each hundred had a 'fyrd', which acted as the local defence force and a court which was responsible for the maintenance of the frankpledge system. They also formed a unit for the collection of taxes. The role of the hundred court was described in the Dooms (laws) of King Edgar. The name of the hundred was normally that of its meeting-place.The hundred of Bruton was a relatively small hundred, covering approximately 14,250 acres (5,770 ha), that contained the parishes of Brewham, Bruton, Honeywick, Knowle, Milton, Pitcombe, Redlynch, Upton, Wyke and Yarlington.The importance of the hundred courts declined from the seventeenth century. By the 19th century several different single-purpose subdivisions of counties, such as poor law unions, sanitary districts, and highway districts sprang up, filling the administrative role previously played by parishes and hundreds. Although the Hundreds have never been formally abolished, their functions ended with the establishment of county courts in 1867 and the introduction of districts by the Local Government Act 1894.

Hundred of Carhampton

The Hundred of Carhampton is one of the 40 historical Hundreds in the ceremonial county of Somerset, England, dating from before the Norman conquest during the Anglo-Saxon era although exact dates are unknown. Each hundred had a 'fyrd', which acted as the local defence force and a court which was responsible for the maintenance of the frankpledge system. They also formed a unit for the collection of taxes. The role of the hundred court was described in the Dooms (laws) of King Edgar. The name of the hundred was normally that of its meeting-place.The hundred of Carhampton was a large hundred, covering approximately 60,350 acres (24,420 ha), that contained the parishes of Minehead, Cutcombe, Carhampton, Luccombe, Withycombe, Wootton, Luxborough, Almsworthy, Oare, Dunster, Porlock, Langham, Selworthy, Wilmersham, Allerford, Bickham, Broadwood, Holne, Staunton, Avill, Knowle, East Myne, West Myne, Exford, Aller, Doverhay, Gilcott, Bagley, Oaktrow, Downscombe, Rodhuish, Treborough and Stone.The importance of the hundred courts declined from the seventeenth century. By the 19th century several different single-purpose subdivisions of counties, such as poor law unions, sanitary districts, and highway districts sprang up, filling the administrative role previously played by parishes and hundreds. Although the Hundreds have never been formally abolished, their functions ended with the establishment of county courts in 1867 and the introduction of districts by the Local Government Act 1894.

Hundred of Catsash

The Hundred of Catsash is one of the 40 historical Hundreds in the ceremonial county of Somerset, England, dating from before the Norman conquest during the Anglo-Saxon era although exact dates are unknown. Each hundred had a 'fyrd', which acted as the local defence force and a court which was responsible for the maintenance of the frankpledge system. They also formed a unit for the collection of taxes. The role of the hundred court was described in the Dooms (laws) of King Edgar. The name of the hundred was normally that of its meeting-place.The hundred of Blachethorna described in the Domesday Book roughly equates to the later Hundred of Catsash.The Catsash hundred covered an area of approximately 25,300 acres (10,200 ha). It consisted of the ancient parishes of: Alford, Almsford, Babcary, North Barrow, South Barrow, St. David Barton, North Cadbury, South Cadbury, Castle Cary, Compton Pauncefoot, Keinton Mansfield, Kingweston, Lovington, West Lydford, Maperton, Queen Camel, Sparkford, Sutton Montis, and Weston Bampfield.The importance of the hundred courts declined from the seventeenth century. By the 19th century several different single-purpose subdivisions of counties, such as poor law unions, sanitary districts, and highway districts sprang up, filling the administrative role previously played by parishes and hundreds. Although the Hundreds have never been formally abolished, their functions ended with the establishment of county courts in 1867 and the introduction of districts by the Local Government Act 1894.

Hundred of Chew

The Hundred of Chew is one of the 40 historical Hundreds in the ceremonial county of Somerset, England, dating from before the Norman conquest during the Anglo-Saxon era although exact dates are unknown. Each hundred had a 'fyrd', which acted as the local defence force and a court which was responsible for the maintenance of the frankpledge system. They also formed a unit for the collection of taxes. The role of the hundred court was described in the Dooms (laws) of King Edgar. The name of the hundred was normally that of its meeting-place.The Hundred of Chew consisted of the ancient parishes of: Chew Magna, Chew Stoke, Clutton, Dundry, Norton Hawkfield, Norton Malreward, Stowey, and Timsbury. In 1870 it had a population of 6,200 people and covered an area of 15,182 acres (6,144 ha).The importance of the hundred courts declined from the seventeenth century. By the 19th century several different single-purpose subdivisions of counties, such as poor law unions, sanitary districts, and highway districts sprang up, filling the administrative role previously played by parishes and hundreds. Although the Hundreds have never been formally abolished, their functions ended with the establishment of county courts in 1867 and the introduction of districts by the Local Government Act 1894.

Hundred of Chewton

The Hundred of Chewton is one of the 40 historical Hundreds in the ceremonial county of Somerset, England, dating from the Anglo-Saxon era before the Norman conquest, although exact dates are unknown. Each hundred had a "fyrd" (the local defence force) and a court which maintained the frankpledge system. Hundreds also formed units for the collection of taxes. The role of the hundred court was described in the Dooms (laws) of King Edgar. The name of the hundred was normally that of its meeting-place.The Hundred of Chewton consisted of the ancient parishes of: Brockley, Cameley, Chewton Mendip, Chilcompton, Compton Martin, Emborough, Farrington Gurney, West Harptree, Hinton Blewett, Kingston Seymour, High Littleton, Midsomer Norton, Paulton, Ston Easton, and Ubley. In 1870 it had a population of 12,112 and covered 32,158 acres (13,014 ha).The importance of the hundred courts declined from the 17th century. By the 19th century several different single-purpose subdivisions of counties, such as poor law unions, sanitary districts and highway districts, sprang up, filling the administrative role previously played by parishes and hundreds. Although the hundreds have never been formally abolished, their functions ended with the establishment of county courts in 1867 and the introduction of districts by the Local Government Act 1894.

Hundred of Frome

The Hundred of Frome is one of the 40 historical Hundreds in the ceremonial county of Somerset, England, dating from before the Norman conquest during the Anglo-Saxon era although exact dates are unknown. Each hundred had a 'fyrd', which acted as the local defence force and a court which was responsible for the maintenance of the frankpledge system. They also formed a unit for the collection of taxes. The role of the hundred court was described in the Dooms (laws) of King Edgar. The name of the hundred was normally that of its meeting-place.The Hundred of Frome was the largest hundred in the county and had its headquarters in the town of Frome. It consisted of the ancient parishes of: Frome-Selwood, and the parishes of Beckington, Berkeley, Cloford, East Cranmore, Elm, Laverton, Leigh, Luddington, Marston Bigott, Mells, Nunney, Orchardleigh, Road, Rodden, Standerwick, Wanstrow, Whatley, Witham Friary, and Woolverton. It covered an area of 37,620 acres (15,220 ha).The importance of the hundred courts declined from the seventeenth century. By the 19th century several different single-purpose subdivisions of counties, such as poor law unions, sanitary districts, and highway districts sprang up, filling the administrative role previously played by parishes and hundreds. Although the Hundreds have never been formally abolished, their functions ended with the establishment of county courts in 1867 and the introduction of districts by the Local Government Act 1894.

Hundred of Hampton

The Hundred of Hampton is one of the 40 historical Hundreds in the ceremonial county of Somerset, England, dating from before the Norman conquest during the Anglo-Saxon era although exact dates are unknown. Each hundred had a 'fyrd', which acted as the local defence force and a court which was responsible for the maintenance of the frankpledge system. They also formed a unit for the collection of taxes. The role of the hundred court was described in the Dooms (laws) of King Edgar. The name of the hundred was normally that of its meeting-place.The Hundred of Hampton consisted of the ancient parishes of: Bathampton, Charlcombe, and Claverton and covered an area of 2,610 acres (1,060 ha).The importance of the hundred courts declined from the seventeenth century. By the 19th century several different single-purpose subdivisions of counties, such as poor law unions, sanitary districts, and highway districts sprang up, filling the administrative role previously played by parishes and hundreds. Although the Hundreds have never been formally abolished, their functions ended with the establishment of county courts in 1867 and the introduction of districts by the Local Government Act 1894.

Hundred of Hartcliffe

The Hundred of Hartcliffe is one of the 40 historical Hundreds in the ceremonial county of Somerset, England, dating from before the Norman conquest during the Anglo-Saxon era although exact dates are unknown. Each hundred had a 'fyrd', which acted as the local defence force and a court which was responsible for the maintenance of the frankpledge system. They also formed a unit for the collection of taxes. The role of the hundred court was described in the Dooms (laws) of King Edgar. The name of the hundred was normally that of its meeting-place.At one time it was called Hartcliffe With Bedminster Hundred. Bedminster was previously a separate hundred after 1086 having been called Betmenistra and Bedmynstra before changing to its current name. The Hartcliffe Hundred also included Knowle West. It consisted of the ancient parishes of: Long Ashton, Backwell, Barrow Gurney, Bedminster, Butcombe, Chelvey, and Winford. It covered an area of 19,440 acres (7,870 ha).The importance of the hundred courts declined from the seventeenth century. By the 19th century several different single-purpose subdivisions of counties, such as poor law unions, sanitary districts, and highway districts sprang up, filling the administrative role previously played by parishes and hundreds. Although the Hundreds have never been formally abolished, their functions ended with the establishment of county courts in 1867 and the introduction of districts by the Local Government Act 1894.

Hundred of Kingsbury

The Hundred of Kingsbury is one of the 40 historical Hundreds in the ceremonial county of Somerset, England, dating from before the Norman conquest during the Anglo-Saxon era although exact dates are unknown. Each hundred had a 'fyrd', which acted as the local defence force and a court which was responsible for the maintenance of the frankpledge system. They also formed a unit for the collection of taxes. The role of the hundred court was described in the Dooms (laws) of King Edgar. The name of the hundred was normally that of its meeting-place.The Hundred of Kingsbury which was originally called Cingesberia, consisted of six separate areas covering the ancient parishes of: Chard, Combe, Huish Episcopi, Kingsbury Episcopi, Winsham, Ash Priors, West Buckland, Fitzhead, Bishops Lydeard, Wellington, and Wiveliscombe. It covered an area of 36,690 acres (14,850 ha).At some point in the 16th century it was two separate Hundreds: Kingsbury West and East Kingsbury. In 1663 it was recorded as having originally being a gift from Ine of Wessex to the Cathedral Church of Wells prior to 1066.The importance of the hundred courts declined from the seventeenth century. By the 19th century several different single-purpose subdivisions of counties, such as poor law unions, sanitary districts, and highway districts sprang up, filling the administrative role previously played by parishes and hundreds. Although the Hundreds have never been formally abolished, their functions ended with the establishment of county courts in 1867 and the introduction of districts by the Local Government Act 1894.

Hundred of Portbury

The Hundred of Portbury is one of the 40 historical Hundreds in the ceremonial county of Somerset, England, dating from before the Norman conquest during the Anglo-Saxon era although exact dates are unknown. Each hundred had a 'fyrd', which acted as the local defence force and a court which was responsible for the maintenance of the frankpledge system. They also formed a unit for the collection of taxes. The role of the hundred court was described in the Dooms (laws) of King Edgar. The name of the hundred was normally that of its meeting-place.The Hundred was recorded in the Domesday Book it was recorded as containing 86.5 hides. 63 of these paid rent to the King with the rest being held by barons.The Hundred of Portbury consisted of the ancient parishes of: Abbots Leigh, Bourton, Clapton, Clevedon, Easton in Gordano, Nailsea, Portbury, Portishead, Tickenham, Walton, Weston in Gordano, and Wraxall. It covered an area of 23,980 acres (9,700 ha).The importance of the hundred courts declined from the seventeenth century. By the 19th century several different single-purpose subdivisions of counties, such as poor law unions, sanitary districts, and highway districts sprang up, filling the administrative role previously played by parishes and hundreds. Although the Hundreds have never been formally abolished, their functions ended with the establishment of county courts in 1867 and the introduction of districts by the Local Government Act 1894.The name the Portbury Hundreds is still used for the main road which connects Portishead to the M5 motorway.

Hundred of Somerton

The Hundred of Somerton is one of the 40 historical Hundreds in the ceremonial county of Somerset, England, dating from before the Norman conquest during the Anglo-Saxon era although exact dates are unknown. Each hundred had a 'fyrd', which acted as the local defence force and a court which was responsible for the maintenance of the frankpledge system. They also formed a unit for the collection of taxes. The role of the hundred court was described in the Dooms (laws) of King Edgar. The name of the hundred was normally that of its meeting-place.Somerton Hundred originated as a Royal Estate before the Norman Conquest and may have included the parishes later included in the Pitney Hundred.The Hundred of Somerton consisted of the ancient parishes of: Aller, West Camel, Charlton Adam, Charlton Mackrell, Kingston, East Lydford, Somerton, Long Sutton, and Yeovilton. It covered an area of 25,450 acres (10,300 ha).The importance of the hundred courts declined from the seventeenth century. By the 19th century several different single-purpose subdivisions of counties, such as poor law unions, sanitary districts, and highway districts sprang up, filling the administrative role previously played by parishes and hundreds. Although the Hundreds have never been formally abolished, their functions ended with the establishment of county courts in 1867 and the introduction of districts by the Local Government Act 1894.

Hundred of Stone

The Hundred of Stone is one of the 40 historical Hundreds in the ceremonial county of Somerset, England, dating from before the Norman conquest during the Anglo-Saxon era although exact dates are unknown. Each hundred had a 'fyrd', which acted as the local defence force and a court which was responsible for the maintenance of the frankpledge system. They also formed a unit for the collection of taxes. The role of the hundred court was described in the Dooms (laws) of King Edgar. The name of the hundred was normally that of its meeting-place.The Hundred of Stone consisted of the ancient parishes of: Ashington, Brympton, Chilthorne Domer, Limington, Lufton, Mudford, Preston Plucknett, and Yeovil. It covered an area of 10,720 acres (4,340 ha).The importance of the hundred courts declined from the seventeenth century. By the 19th century several different single-purpose subdivisions of counties, such as poor law unions, sanitary districts, and highway districts sprang up, filling the administrative role previously played by parishes and hundreds. Although the Hundreds have never been formally abolished, their functions ended with the establishment of county courts in 1867 and the introduction of districts by the Local Government Act 1894.

Leidang

The institution known as leiðangr (Old Norse), leidang (Norwegian), leding (Danish), ledung (Swedish), expeditio (Latin) or sometimes lething (English), was a form of conscription to organise coastal fleets for seasonal excursions and in defence of the realm typical for medieval Scandinavians and, later, a public levy of free farmers. In Anglo-Saxon England, a different system was used to achieve similar ends, and was known as the fyrd.

Trinoda necessitas

Trinoda necessitas ("three-knotted obligation" in Latin) is a term used to refer to a "threefold tax" in Anglo-Saxon times. Subjects of an Anglo-Saxon king were required to yield three services: bridge-bote (repairing bridges and roads), burgh-bote (building and maintaining fortifications), and fyrd-bote (serving in the militia, known as the fyrd). Rulers very rarely exempted subjects from the trinoda necessitas, because these services were the lifeblood of an Anglo-Saxon kingdom. After the Norman Conquest, exemptions from the trinoda necessitas became more common.The term "trinoda necessitas" was rarely used in Anglo-Saxon times: its only known use is in a grant of land near Pagham, Sussex from King Cædwalla of Wessex to Saint Wilfred. The Wilfred grant used the term trimoda (Latin for "triple"); trinoda (Latin for "triple-knotted") was an error introduced by John Selden in 1610.Instead of the term "trinoda necessitas", it was common for Anglo-Saxon land grants to spell out the three obligations individually. For example, the land grant of Æthelberht of Kent to a thegn in 858 was free of obligation, except explicitly for military service, bridge repair, and fortification.

Wellow Hundred

The Hundred of Wellow is one of the 40 historical Hundreds in the ceremonial county of Somerset, England, dating from before the Norman conquest during the Anglo-Saxon era although exact dates are unknown. Each hundred had a 'fyrd', which acted as the local defence force and a court which was responsible for the maintenance of the frankpledge system. They also formed a unit for the collection of taxes. The role of the hundred court was described in the Dooms (laws) of King Edgar. The name of the hundred was normally that of its meeting-place.The Hundred of Wellow consisted of the ancient parishes of: Camerton, Charterhouse Hinton, Combe Hay, Corston, Dunkerton, Englishcombe, Farleigh Hungerford, Foxcote, Newton St Loe, Norton St Philip, Tellisford, Twerton and Wellow. It covered an area of 21,900 acres (8,900 ha).The importance of the hundred courts declined from the seventeenth century. By the 19th century several different single-purpose subdivisions of counties, such as poor law unions, sanitary districts, and highway districts sprang up, filling the administrative role previously played by parishes and hundreds. Although the Hundreds have never been formally abolished, their functions ended with the establishment of county courts in 1867 and the introduction of districts by the Local Government Act 1894.

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