New
New
Year 10
Edexcel

Earldoms and local government in Anglo-Saxon England

I can describe how Anglo-Saxon England was governed.

New
New
Year 10
Edexcel

Earldoms and local government in Anglo-Saxon England

I can describe how Anglo-Saxon England was governed.

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Lesson details

Key learning points

  1. Earls were very powerful, holding economic, legal and military control over their earldoms.
  2. King Edward relied on the earls for military power and government.
  3. Earldoms provided a local government and legal system which was divided into shires, hundreds, tithings, and hides.
  4. Every five hides had to provide one man for the fyrd.
  5. Local government provided a centralised Anglo-Saxon state with justice administered in local communities.

Common misconception

England did not have any fortified settlements until the Normans built castles.

In fact, Anglo-Saxon burhs were fortified settlements, built to protect towns from Viking attacks.

Keywords

  • Shire - a shire was the largest unit of administration after an earldom and had its own court

  • Hundred - in Anglo-Saxon England, a hundred was a unit of land administration within a shire

  • Tithing - a tithing was a group of ten households; together they administered minor disputes in their communities

  • Hide - a hide was the basic unit of administration, the measurement of land which could support one household, which carried obligations of tax and military service

  • Burh - a burh was a fortified town within a shire where most trade would take place

Referring to a ‘hue and cry’, ask students to debate the following statement: empowering the community is the most effective way of administering justice.
Teacher tip

Licence

This content is © Oak National Academy Limited (2024), licensed on Open Government Licence version 3.0 except where otherwise stated. See Oak's terms & conditions (Collection 2).

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6 Questions

Q1.
This word is the name for a group of leading aristocrats who advised the king.
Correct Answer: Witan, The Witan
Q2.
Upon whom did Edward the Confessor rely to protect his kingdom? Select all of the answers that are correct.
Correct answer: The earls
Correct answer: The Witan
The Danes
Correct answer: shire reeves
Correct answer: The fyrd
Q3.
The name of the group of people who collected taxes and ran local courts was .
Correct Answer: shire reeves, sheriffs, shire reeve, sheriff
Q4.
What did Edward the Confessor make every boy swear to ensure allegiance?
Correct Answer: an oath, oath, a sacred promise, sacred promise
Q5.
How much of Edward's kingdom was under the Danelaw?
a quarter
Correct answer: half
three quarters
Q6.
Which Earl was more powerful than Edward the Confessor?
Correct answer: Earl Godwin
Earl Tostig
Earl Leofric

6 Questions

Q1.
Match the words with their definitions. Write the correct letter in each box.
Correct Answer:A hundred, a unit of land administration within a shire.

a unit of land administration within a shire.

Correct Answer:A tithing ,a group of ten households

a group of ten households

Correct Answer:A shire,the largest unit of administration after an earldom

the largest unit of administration after an earldom

Q2.
This keyword was the name of fortified town within a shire where most trade would take place.
Correct Answer: A burh, burhs
Q3.
Which unit was the amount of land that could support one household?
earl
Correct answer: hide
tithing
Q4.
Order the units used by Anglo-Saxon administration from largest to smallest, starting with the largest.
1 - Shires
2 - Hundreds
3 - Tithings
4 - Hides
Q5.
What was the call given to alert a village to a crime?
Correct answer: hue and cry
hundreds and cry
tithings and cry
Q6.
Which group of people administered justice for most types of crime in Anglo Saxon England?
Correct answer: the local people
the earls
the king
The Witan

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