Notes on the text
by Peter Keating
...kept enormous tracts of English land in his own hands, and so made the Crown ten times richer than any baron. A School History, p. 49.This kind of centralisation is seen as making a distinct contribution to the unifying of England by concentrating power in the monarch’s hands and reducing the ancient rivalries between individual barons.
So, at last there was going to be a real government in this country, and it was going to do its duty. A School History, p. 47.[line 6] justice and rights. Presumably the ‘natural’ rights that someone as independently minded as the Saxon feels he is owed, though they were not valid in any legal or constitutional sense. Fletcher points out that William was impressed by some of the institutions he found established in England, the sheriffs especially and ‘the rude court of justice which was held in every county.’ A School History, p. 48.
‘At the time immediately following the Norman conquest of England, portions of France were so often conquered and reconquered in the wars between rival princes, that men such as the Gascons and Picards, scarcely knew, and did not care at all, who was their lawful sovereign.’ A Handbook to the Poetry of Rudyard Kipling (1914), p. 284.[line 11] Thane…serf. A thane was an Anglo-Saxon noble, a landowner who gave his allegiance to the king. A serf was a peasant who was tied to the land and paid fees in cash or services to his lord or thane.
These clever Normans, all but a few of the greatest barons, soon made common cause with their tenants, soon became English at heart. Over them, too, the good land threw its dear familiar spell, and made them love it, beyond all things. A School History, p. 51.