Origin and Powers of the Witenagemot

Book 2, Chapter 3, 827 AD to 857 AD – The Witenagemot


 Reference has been made, incidentally, to the Witenagemot, and it is necessary to explain the nature and origin of that assembly, so far as the latter is known. The literal meaning of the word is, “the meeting of the witan,” or “the knowing.” It may be presumed to have grown out of the exigencies of the several bands of Saxons in their predatory excursions, the chief, or king, seeking the counsel of the wise and experienced in his company, which at length became a custom and then a right, and was exercised in a more formal manner when these roving bands had settled down into something of organization and nationality. In the time of the Heptarchy each state had its Witenagemot, and during the predominance of any one state, the plan was rigidly maintained.

Chapter 3, Egbert

Character of Egbert

Repeated Incursions by the Danes

Succeeded by Ethelwulf

His Pilgrimage to Rome

Revolt under Ethelbald, and Division of the kingdom

Chapter 3, The Clergy and The Monasteries

Assumed Origin of Tithes

Condition of the Monks and Clergy

Archbishop Theodore

Venerable Bede

Chapter 3, The Witenagemot

Origin and Powers of the Witenagemot

The Witenagemot

Nature of the kingly Dignity

The Process of Governing


Categories: Book 2

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