Secular power and its rewards in Dorset in the late eleventh and early twelfth centuries
Historical Research, 82, (215), .
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This essay attempts something that has never been done before; comparing the relationships between the most important officers of shire government at a time of rapid change in the manner in which shire administration was conducted, through a case-study of one well-documented shire. As such, it runs counter to much of the historiography, which has tended to consider offices in isolation from each other rather than as part of a dynamic system. It emphasizes the extent to which sheriffs, often regarded as all-powerful, were subject to local justices, whose power came from multiple and sometimes informal sources that has made them rather difficult to assess. This essay was a spin-off from the forthcoming monograph on shire government.
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