Book 2, Chapter 3, 827 AD to 857 AD – The Witenagemot – Continued
This Witenagemot, or Saxon parliament, had supreme authority not upon any principle of sub ordination, but because it was formed of all the rest. In this assembly, which was held annually, and sometimes twice a year, sat the earls and bishops, and greater thanes, with the other officers of the Crown. So far as we can judge by the style of the Saxon laws, none but the thanes, or nobility, were considered as necessary constituent parts of this assembly, at least whilst it acted deliberatively. It is true, that great numbers of all ranks of people attended its session, and gave by their attendance, and their audible approbation of what was done, a sanction to the laws, but when they consented to anything, it was rather in the way of acclamation, than by the exercise of a deliberate voice, or a regular assent or negative. This may be explained by considering the analogy of the inferior assemblies. All persons, of whatever rank, attended at the county courts, but they did not go there as judges, they went to sue for justice, to be informed of their duty, and to be bound to the performance of it.
Chapter 3, Egbert
Chapter 3, The Clergy and The Monasteries
Chapter 3, The Witenagemot
Categories: Book 2