I'm curious on how feudalism (in medieval England primarily) worked in practice. It's pretty straight forward on paper. This is my trail of thoughts, trying to wrap my head around it.
I have just conquered a new land and declared myself the king. I have 99 loyal barons, so I give them one manor each, dividing the land into 100 parts, keeping the largest piece for my self (of course!), in exchange for their continued loyalty and 40 days of military service every year. But they don't want to fight themselves so they decides to divide their manors into smaller manors and give them to their knights, let's say they get three knights each, so now there are 99 * 4 + 1 = 397 manors (99 manors, divided into 4 smaller ones, plus my own big manor). This all works out fine for me, because I still get to collect taxes as well as I now have 99 * 3 = 297 knights in my army rather then just 99 - great! But now I get three sons, and I want to give them some land as well, what do I do? I guess I could divide my own manor into four parts and give them one manor each, but then I would loose wealth myself, wouldn't I since my manor is now smaller, or doesn't that matter, they are still paying taxes to me I guess? Or should I give my sons someone else's manor, but that would leave me with some rather disappointed barons, and that doesn't sound good. England has got quite a lot of civil wars through history though, perhaps that's the reason? Or was it that those first 100 manors I divided the country in wasn't in fact all land in the country, and up until now there have been "unused" land that no one was managing, but now that I have tree sons I can give them parts of that land?
I think that the Domesday book list something like 9000 manors, or at least I think that there are around 10000 shires in England today, that roughly corresponds to the old manors. But how many manors were there in the beginning (around 1066)? Did William the Conqueror sit down directly after the battle of Hastings and divided his new country into 10000 manors just like that, or did they pop up one by one as the years went by?
To clarify the question, it is the continues division of the land over centuries to come that I'm curious about, how did they do it without stepping one someone toes and stealing land from someone else?
I cannot offer a complete answer but some relevant facts, many from my history degree or from having subsequently studied law. In theory, no one absolutely owned land but the king, everyone else if they had land 'held' it of the king. Hence the most complete from of land ownership that someone can have even today is 'freehold' i.e. held as a vassal of the monarch but 'free' of having to pay rent or perform knightly service etc. (Source, Halsbury's Laws of England 5th Edition, Vol 87 [2017 reissue] para. 19)
Hence in Medieval times if a Baron was e.g. executed for treason (say, having picked the side that lost in a rebellion or civil war) his land reverted to the Crown, who might grant it to some other knight or baron as a reward for loyalty (picking the side that won in the same rebellion or civil war) - see the example at the end of Shakespeare's 'Richard II' when the new king Henry IV having successfully rebelled and made himself the new king and then put down a further rebellion orders the defeated rebels executed and awards their lands to those who remained loyal to him.
Even today in England if someone owning land dies without a will and without any relatives to inherit the land, ditto in some circumstances if a limited company that owns or leases land is dissolved, the land or lease reverts to being Crown land on the basis that it always was the monarch's to begin with. This is called 'bona vacantia'. There is an obscure 'Bona Vacantia Division' of a government department in Croydon to administer this. [Before I am told off by the vigilant 'you must quote your sources' police on this website anyone can easily verify this by Googling 'bona vacantia'.]
Your example where the king gives 99 barons land and some of them sub-divide their landholding between knights: this did happen and was called 'sub-infeudation' [Google that as well, pedants! there is a Wikipedia article on it] but once the knights began sub-dividing their holdings as well it became legally and practically difficult for the nobility to extract all the rent or services due to them as is recited by Section I of the Statute of Quia Emptores of 1290. Section II of the Stature therefore banned further sub-infeudation. (Source: Quia Emptores, passed during the reign of King Edward I, one of the oldest Acts of Parliament still in force. On the UK government legislation website, helpfully in English translation as well as the original Medieval Latin: http://www.legislation.gov.uk/aep/Edw1/18/1/contents. As I have said, this Act is still in force, so you had better not go round practicing sub-infeudation!)
In most of England primogeniture applied, which meant the eldest son got all the land and any others had to seek their own fortune in the world. (Kent and some towns including Nottingham had different customary inheritance rules - See https://www.thefreedictionary.com/gavelkind or Google 'Gavelkind' - equal division among the children; See Wikipedia article on 'Ultimogeniture' or Google 'Borough English Inheritance' - basically the youngest son rather than the eldest inherits the land.)
Hence even in the eighteenth century a significant proportion of emigrants to the American colonies were the younger sons of landowners who did not inherit the land and had to make their own fortune elsewhere. This may have remained a sore point with some of them: it has been suggested (I regret I can't remember where I read this) that opposition to primogeniture in the new United States was partly because its leaders were or were descended from the younger sons who resented the fact that they did not inherit any of the family land back in England. Thomas Jefferson introduced a bill to abolish it in Virginia in 1777.
Primogeniture was not the norm in most other European countries. While it seems unfair it had advantages. If estates and farms had to be sub-divided between all surviving sons they might become too small to be economically efficient or even viable. Also, in Anglo-Saxon England a kingdom tended to be inherited as a whole: contrast among e.g. the Welsh or in early-Medieval France the kingdom might be split between surviving sons, leaving smaller kingdoms less likely to strong enough to maintain their independence and often likely to fight each other.
Your statement "I think that there are around 10000 shires in England today" - no, a 'shire' is effectively the same thing as a County, hence 'the County of Yorkshire. There are less than 50 in England. [Source - I am English, so know this]. There are a much larger number of lords of the manor, see Wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lord_of_the_manor I do not know how many, you may be thinking of that. This is mostly a feudal relic nonsense I wish was abolished, and most people are unaware of them. However, as relics of the old feudal manors they did have right to receive nominal rents from what was known as Copyhold land until the 1930s, and they can pop up unexpectedly and claim right to minerals discovered under people's land even today. This creates a legal problem over ownership of underground oil deposits that has partly inhibited the spread of 'fracking' technology to extract oil deposits in England in recent years.
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Edward I, byname Edward Longshanks, (born June 17, 1239, Westminster, Middlesex, England—died July 7, 1307, Burgh by Sands, near Carlisle, Cumberland), son of Henry III and king of England in 1272–1307, during a period of rising national consciousness. He strengthened the crown and Parliament against the old feudal nobility. He subdued Wales, destroying its autonomy and he sought (unsuccessfully) the conquest of Scotland. His reign is particularly noted for administrative efficiency and legal reform. He introduced a series of statutes that did much to strengthen the crown in the feudal hierarchy. His definition and emendation of English common law has earned him the name of the “English Justinian.”
English Text of the Magna Carta
[Preamble] Edward by the grace of God King of England, lord of Ireland and duke of Aquitaine sends greetings to all to whom the present letters come. We have inspected the great charter of the lord Henry, late King of England, our father, concerning the liberties of England in these words:
Henry by the grace of God King of England, lord of Ireland, duke of Normandy and Aquitaine and count of Anjou sends greetings to his archbishops, bishops, abbots, priors, earls, barons, sheriffs, reeves, ministers and all his bailiffs and faithful men inspecting the present charter. Know that we, at the prompting of God and for the health of our soul and the souls of our ancestors and successors, for the glory of holy Church and the improvement of our realm, freely and out of our good will have given and granted to the archbishops, bishops, abbots, priors, earls, barons and all of our realm these liberties written below to hold in our realm of England in perpetuity.
In the first place we grant to God and confirm by this our present charter for ourselves and our heirs in perpetuity that the English Church is to be free and to have all its rights fully and its liberties entirely. We furthermore grant and give to all the freemen of our realm for ourselves and our heirs in perpetuity the liberties written below to have and to hold to them and their heirs from us and our heirs in perpetuity.
If any of our earls or barons, or anyone else holding from us in chief by military service should die, and should his heir be of full age and owe relief, the heir is to have his inheritance for the ancient relief, namely the heir or heirs of an earl for a whole county Â£100, the heir or heirs of a baron for a whole barony 100 marks, the heir or heirs of a knight for a whole knight's fee 100 shillings at most, and he who owes less will give less, according to the ancient custom of (knights') fees.
If, however, the heir of such a person is under age, his lord is not to have custody of him and his land until he has taken homage from the heir, and after such an heir has been in custody, when he comes of age, namely at twenty-one years old, he is to have his inheritance without relief and without fine, saving that if, whilst under age, he is made a knight, his land will nonetheless remain in the custody of his lords until the aforesaid term.
The keeper of the land of such an heir who is under age is only to take reasonable receipts from the heir's land and reasonable customs and reasonable services, and this without destruction or waste of men or things. And if we assign custody of any such land to a sheriff or to anyone else who should answer to us for the issues, and such a person should commit destruction or waste, we will take recompense from him and the land will be assigned to two law-worthy and discreet men of that fee who will answer to us or to the person to whom we assign such land for the land's issues. And if we give or sell to anyone custody of any such land and that person commits destruction or waste, he is to lose custody and the land is to be assigned to two law-worthy and discreet men of that fee who similarly will answer to us as is aforesaid.
The keeper, for as long as he has the custody of the land of such (an heir), is to maintain the houses, parks, fishponds, ponds, mills and other things pertaining to that land from the issues of the same land, and he will restore to the heir, when the heir comes to full age, all his land stocked with ploughs and all other things in at least the same condition as when he received it. All these things are to be observed in the custodies of archbishoprics, bishoprics, abbeys, priories, churches and vacant offices which pertain to us, save that such custodies ought not to be sold.
Heirs are to be married without disparagement.
A widow, after the death of her husband, is immediately and without any difficulty to have her marriage portion and her inheritance, nor is she to pay anything for her dower or her marriage portion or for her inheritance which her husband and she held on the day of her husband's death, and she shall remain in the chief dwelling place of her husband for forty days after her husband's death, within which time dower will be assigned her if it has not already been assigned, unless that house is a castle, and if it is a castle which she leaves, then a suitable house will immediately be provided for her in which she may properly dwell until her dower is assigned to her in accordance with what is aforesaid, and in the meantime she is to have her reasonable necessities (estoverium) from the common property. As dower she will be assigned the third part of all the lands of her husband which were his during his lifetime, save when she was dowered with less at the church door. No widow shall be distrained to marry for so long as she wishes to live without a husband, provided that she gives surety that she will not marry without our assent if she holds of us, or without the assent of her lord, if she holds of another.
Neither we nor our bailiffs will seize any land or rent for any debt, as long as the existing chattels of the debtor suffice for the payment of the debt and as long as the debtor is ready to pay the debt, nor will the debtor's guarantors be distrained for so long as the principal debtor is able to pay the debt and should the principal debtor default in his payment of the debt, not having the means to repay it, or should he refuse to pay it despite being able to do so, the guarantors will answer for the debt and, if they wish, they are to have the lands and rents of the debtor until they are repaid the debt that previously they paid on behalf of the debtor, unless the principal debtor can show that he is quit in respect to these guarantors.
The city of London is to have all its ancient liberties and customs. Moreover we wish and grant that all other cities and boroughs and vills and the barons of the Cinque Ports and all ports are to have all their liberties and free customs.
No-one is to be distrained to do more service for a knight's fee or for any other free tenement than is due from it.
Common pleas are not to follow our court but are to be held in a certain fixed place.
Recognisances of novel disseisin and of mort d'ancestor are not to be taken save in their particular counties and in the following way. We or, should we be outside the realm, our chief justiciar, will send our justices once a year to each county, so that, together with the knights of the counties, that may take the aforesaid assizes in the counties and those assizes which cannot be completed in that visitation of the county by our aforesaid justices assigned to take the said assizes are to be completed elsewhere by the justices in their visitation and those which cannot be completed by them on account of the difficulty of various articles (of law) are to be referred to our justices of the Bench and completed there.
Assizes of darrein presentment are always to be taken before our justices of the Bench and are to be completed there.
A freeman is not to be amerced for a small offence save in accordance with the manner of the offence, and for a major offence according to its magnitude, saving his sufficiency (salvo contenemento suo), and a merchant likewise, saving his merchandise, and any villain other than one of our own is to be amerced in the same way, saving his necessity (salvo waynagio) should he fall into our mercy, and none of the aforesaid amercements is to be imposed save by the oath of honest and law-worthy men of the neighbourhood. Earls and barons are not to be amerced save by their peers and only in accordance with the manner of their offence.
No town or free man is to be distrained to make bridges or bank works save for those that ought to do so of old and by right.
No bank works of any sort are to be kept up save for those that were in defense in the time of King Henry II our grandfather and in the same places and on the same terms as was customary in his time.
No sheriff, constable, coroner or any other of our bailiffs is to hold pleas of our crown.
If anyone holding a lay fee from us should die, and our sheriff or bailiff shows our letters patent containing our summons for a debt that the dead man owed us, our sheriff or bailiff is permitted to attach and enroll all the goods and chattels of the dead man found in lay fee, to the value of the said debt, by view of law-worthy men, so that nothing is to be removed thence until the debt that remains is paid to us, and the remainder is to be released to the executors to discharge the will of the dead man, and if nothing is owed to us from such a person, all the chattels are to pass to the (use of) the dead man, saving to the dead man's wife and children their reasonable portion.
No constable or his bailiff is to take corn or other chattels from anyone who not themselves of a vill where a castle is built, unless the constable or his bailiff immediately offers money in payment of obtains a respite by the wish of the seller. If the person whose corn or chattels are taken is of such a vill, then the constable or his bailiff is to pay the purchase price within forty days.
No constable is to distrain any knight to give money for castle guard if the knight is willing to do such guard in person or by proxy of any other honest man, should the knight be prevented from doing so by just cause. And if we take or send such a knight into the army, he is to be quit of (castle) guard in accordance with the length of time the we have him in the army for the fee for which he has done service in the army.
No sheriff or bailiff of ours or of anyone else is to take anyone's horses or carts to make carriage, unless he renders the payment customarily due, namely for a two-horse cart ten pence per day, and for a three-horse cart fourteen pence per day. No demesne cart belonging to any churchman or knight or any other lady (sic) is to be taken by our bailiffs, nor will we or our bailiffs or anyone else take someone else's timber for a castle or any other of our business save by the will of he to whom the timber belongs.
We shall not hold the lands of those convicted of felony save for a year and a day, whereafter such land is to be restored to the lords of the fees.
 All fish weirs (kidelli) on the Thames and the Medway and throughout England are to be entirely dismantled, save on the sea coast.
The writ called 'praecipe' is not to be issued to anyone in respect to any free tenement in such a way that a free man might lose his court.
There is to be a single measure for wine throughout our realm, and a single measure for ale, and a single measure for Corn, that is to say the London quarter, and a single breadth for dyed cloth, russets, and haberjects, that is to say two yards within the lists. And it shall be the same for weights as for measures.
Henceforth there is to be nothing given for a writ of inquest from the person seeking an inquest of life or member, but such a writ is to be given freely and is not to be denied.
If any persons hold from us at fee farm or in socage or burgage, and hold land from another by knight service, we are not, by virtue of such a fee farm or socage or burgage, to have custody of the heir or their land which pertains to another's fee, nor are we to have custody of such a fee farm or socage or burgage unless this fee farm owes knight service. We are not to have the custody of an heir or of any land which is held from another by knight service on the pretext of some small serjeanty held from us by service of rendering us knives or arrows or suchlike things.
No bailiff is henceforth to put any man on his open law or on oath simply by virtue of his spoken word, without reliable witnesses being produced for the same.
No freeman is to be taken or imprisoned or disseised of his free tenement or of his liberties or free customs, or outlawed or exiled or in any way ruined, nor will we go against such a man or send against him save by lawful judgement of his peers or by the law of the land. To no-one will we sell or deny of delay right or justice.
All merchants, unless they have been previously and publicly forbidden, are to have safe and secure conduct in leaving and coming to England and in staying and going through England both by land and by water to buy and to sell, without any evil exactions, according to the ancient and right customs, save in time of war, and if they should be from a land at war against us and be found in our land at the beginning of the war, they are to be attached without damage to their bodies or goods until it is established by us or our chief justiciar in what way the merchants of our land are treated who at such a time are found in the land that is at war with us, and if our merchants are safe there, the other merchants are to be safe in our land.
If anyone dies holding of any escheat such as the honour of Wallingford, Boulogne, Nottingham, Lancaster or of other escheats which are in our hands and which are baronies, his heir is not to give any other relief or render any other service to us that would not have been rendered to the baron if the barony were still held by a baron, and we shall hold such things in the same way as the baron held them, nor, on account of such a barony or escheat, are we to have the escheat or custody of any of our men unless the man who held the barony or the escheat held elsewhere from us in chief.
No free man is henceforth to give or sell any more of his land to anyone, unless the residue of his land is sufficient to render due service to the lord of the fee as pertains to that fee.
All patrons of abbeys which have charters of the kings of England over advowson or ancient tenure or possession are to have the custody of such abbeys when they fall vacant just as they ought to have and as is declared above.
No-one is to be taken or imprisoned on the appeal of woman for the death of anyone save for the death of that woman's husband.
No county court is to be held save from month to month, and where the greater term used to be held, so will it be in future, nor will any sheriff or his bailiff make his tourn through the hundred save for twice a year and only in the place that is due and customary, namely once after Easter and again after Michaelmas, and the view of frankpledge is to be taken at the Michaelmas term without exception, in such a way that every man is to have his liberties which he had or used to have in the time of King Henry II my grandfather or which he has acquired since. The view of frankpledge is to be taken so that our peace be held and so that the tithing is to be held entire as it used to be, and so that the sheriff does not seek exceptions but remains content with that which the sheriff used to have in taking the view in the time of King Henry our grandfather.
Nor is it permitted to anyone to give his land to a religious house in such a way that he receives it back from such a house to hold, nor is it permitted to any religious house to accept the land of anyone in such way that the land is restored to the person from whom it was received to hold. If anyone henceforth gives his land in such a way to any religious house and is convicted of the same, the gift is to be entirely quashed and such land is to revert to the lord of that fee.
Scutage furthermore is to be taken as it used to be in the time of King H(enry) our grandfather, and all liberties and free customs shall be preserved to archbishops, bishops, abbots, priors, Templars, Hospitallers, earls, barons and all others, both ecclesiastical and secular persons, just as they formerly had.
All these aforesaid customs and liberties which we have granted to be held in our realm in so far as pertains to us are to be observed by all of our realm, both clergy and laity, in so far as pertains to them in respect to their own men. For this gift and grant of these liberties and of others contained in our charter over the liberties of the forest, the archbishops, bishops, abbots, priors, earls, barons, knights, fee holders and all of our realm have given us a fifteenth part of all their movable goods. Moreover we grant to them for us and our heirs that neither we nor our heirs will seek anything by which the liberties contained in this charter might be infringed or damaged, and should anything be obtained from anyone against this it is to count for nothing and to be held as nothing.
With these witnesses: the lord Stephen archbishop of Canterbury, Eustace bishop of London, Jocelin bishop of Bath, Peter bishop of Winchester, Hugh bishop of Lincoln, Richard bishop of Salisbury, W. bishop of Rochester, William bishop of Worcester, John bishop of Ely, Hugh bishop of Hereford, Ranulf bishop of Chichester, William bishop of Exeter, the abbot of Bury St Edmunds, the abbot of St Albans, the abbot of Battle, the abbot of St Augustine's Canterbury, the abbot of Evesham, the abbot of Westminster, the abbot of Peterborough, the abbot of Reading, the abbot of Abingdon, the abbot of Malmesbury, the abbot of Winchcombe, the abbot of Hyde (Winchester), the abbot of Chertsey, the abbot of Sherborne, the abbot of Cerne, the abbot of Abbotsbury, the abbot of Milton (Abbas), the abbot of Selby, the abbot of Cirencester, Hubert de Burgh the justiciar, H. earl of Chester and Lincoln, William earl of Salisbury, William earl Warenne, G. de Clare earl of Gloucester and Hertford, William de Ferrers earl of Derby, William de Mandeville earl of Essex, Hugh Bigod earl of Norfolk, William earl Aumale, Humphrey earl of Hereford, John constable of Chester, Robert de Ros, Robert fitz Walter, Robert de Vieuxpont, William Brewer, Richard de Montfiquet, Peter fitz Herbert, William de AubignÃ©, G. Gresley, F. de Braose, John of Monmouth, John fitz Alan, Hugh de Mortemer, William de Beauchamp, William de St John, Peter de Maulay, Brian de Lisle, Thomas of Moulton, Richard de Argentan, Geoffrey de Neville, William Mauduit, John de Baalon and others. Given at Westminster on the eleventh day of February in the ninth year of our reign.
We, holding these aforesaid gifts and grants to be right and welcome, conceed and confirm them for ourselves and our heirs and by the terms of the present (letters) renew them, wishing and granting for ourselves and our heirs that the aforesaid charter is to be firmly and inviably observed in all and each of its articles in perpetuity, including any articles contained in the same charter which by chance have not to date been observed. In testimony of which we have had made these our letters patent. Witnessed by Edward our son, at Westminster on the twelfth day of October in the twenty-fifth year of our reign. (Chancery warranty by John of) Stowe.
At one time these were the richest provinces of the Great Kingdom, but years of war have reduced much of the economy to tatters. The last five years were dutifully spent rebuilding infrastructure. [LGG]
The provinces of the broken Great Kingdom are now reunited, but into two mutually hostile powers. In 586 CY, Herzog Grenell of North Province declared himself overking of the Great Kingdom of Northern Aerdy. Overking Xavener I rules the United Kingdom of Ahlissa (founded in 587) from his new capital of Kalstrand. Both leaders would like to destroy each other, but financial problems and internal power struggles have forced them to devote their energies toward rebuilding their armies and infrastructure. [LGG]
|A Return Paid with Heavy Coin|
In his first year on the throne, Lynwerd seized the western half of Almor, realigned the command structure of his armies, and reduced taxes to prewar levels, While the latter did much to boost the morale of his lords, it has done nothing to pull Nyrond from the bitter clutches of poverty. [LGG]
Nyrondese soldiers and expatriate Almorians began to retake these land […], but resettlement has been greatly slowed by local humanoids and undead. Vast tracts of land remain unfarmed down to the Harp River, all of which was declared a protectorate of Nyrond by King Lynwerd I in Growfest 587 CY, an act that greatly angered the newly formed Kingdom of Ahlissa. [TAB]
|A Surgical Approach|
The independent cities and towns of the Solnor coast (Rel Astra, Ountsy, and Roland) have made no official response to Overking Xavener’s call for reunion, though unofficially, they discard any possibility of union with the empire. All of these cities have increased patrols along their borders, built new lookouts and fortifications, and expanded and improved their military forces. [TAB]
|To see, asea .|
Spindrift Sound itself is navigable, but shipping is menaced by the Scarlet Brotherhood and the activities of a few pirates based on the eastern Medegian coast. [LGG]
Elven vessels are sometimes seen to cross the Aerdi Sea in the direction of Lendore Isle, presumably shipping from secret ports cut beneath the Hestmark Cliffs. A number of elven warships also travel to or from the Lendore Isles as escorts for passenger craft. They will certainly intercept any seagoing craft that manages to bypass the barrier of magical mist that envelops these islands. Elven ships were also sighted farther east on the Solnor by Sea Barons' ships in the late 580s, perhaps exploring or trading with distant elf colonies. [LGG]
|Olvenking Hazendel, the Defender|
|A lone long ship sailed into port.|
The Sea Barons do not desire a permanent alliance with the Cities of the Solnor Compact, distrusting Drax's motives, but they feign friendship. The Sea Barons fear assassination or worse by the Scarlet Brotherhood, and treat with strangers in their lands harshly. Expeditions launched to the mysterious south in the last few years have returned with tales of fantastic wonders and riches. [LGG]
In 590 CY, Countess (now Princess) Karasin of Innspa finally declared her city for the Ahlissan empire—reportedly after being threatened with invasion and worse by Overking Xavener. [TAB]
[Some] inhabitants of this land immediately fled west across the Harp River when they were told they were part of the new empire. [TAB]
Some trade with Ahlissa through Hexpools, Kalstrand, and Nulhish began in 590 CC, though Sunndi and Ahlissan army units glare at each other across the Thelly and Grayflood Rivers. [TAB]
|A lone caravel sailed into port.|
[The Solnor Pact] (Rel Astra, Ountsy, and Roland) have sought to break the iron grip the Scarlet Brotherhood has placed on trade with western lands by way of the Tilva Strait, but without success—until the astonishing appearance of a Rel Astran caravel at Hardby in 590 CY. The crewmen claimed to have sailed around Hepmonaland’s southern tip from the Oljatt Sea, battling their way through a blockade of Scarlet Brotherhood ships between the Olman Isles and the Tilbanot Peninsula and the Sea of Gearnat. They produced many strange spices, tools, jewels, clothes, and devices alleged to have been gained in trade with previously unknown kingdoms and peoples of this tropical land, which the Rel Astrans claimed was either a huge island or a very small continent. The ship’s left two months later for home but has not been heard from since. Despite the ship’s apparent loss, this new route is sure to be tried again by brave crews anytime soon. [TAB]
The Brotherhood responded by tightening their blockade along the coasts of Hepmonoland those foolish enough to endanger themselves on such a journey were welcome to try, but any who pass too close to areas the Brotherhood controlled would not live to brag of their exploits. If such voyages became commonplace, the Brotherhood would increase its blockade of the Olman Islands. [SB]
How did the king give land to new barons without taking it from the old ones? - History
In 1215, King John of England was forced to sign the Magna Carta stating that the king was not above the law of the land and protecting the rights of the people. Today, the Magna Carta is considered one of the most important documents in the history of democracy.
John became king in 1199 when his brother, Richard the Lionheart, died without any children. John had a bad temper and could be very cruel. He was not liked by the English Barons.
John also had to deal with a lot of issues while he was king. He was constantly at war with France. To fight this war he placed heavy taxes on the Barons of England. He also angered the Pope and was excommunicated from the church.
By 1215, the barons of northern England had had enough of John's high taxes. They decided to rebel. Led by Baron Robert Fitzwalter, they marched on London calling themselves the "army of God". After taking London, John agreed to negotiate with them.
Signing the Magna Carta
King John met the barons on June 15, 1215 at Runnymede, a neutral site just west of London. Here the barons demanded that King John sign a document called the Magna Carta guaranteeing them certain rights. By signing the document, King John agreed to do his duty as King of England, upholding the law and running a fair government. In return, the barons agreed to stand down and surrender London.
It turns out that neither side had any intention of following the agreement. Not long after signing, King John attempted to nullify the agreement. He even had the Pope declare the document "illegal and unjust". At the same time, the barons didn't surrender London.
Soon the country of England was facing civil war. The barons, led by Robert Fitzwalter, were supported by French troops. For a year the barons fought King John in what is called the First Barons' War. However, King John died in 1216, putting a quick end to the war.
Details of the Magna Carta
- Protection of church rights
- Access to swift justice
- No new taxes without the Barons' agreement
- Limitations on feudal payments
- Protection from illegal imprisonment
- A council of 25 Barons who would insure that King John followed the laws
Although King John did not follow the agreement, the ideas put forth in the Magna Carta became lasting principles of liberty to the English. Three of the clauses are still in force as English law including the freedom of the English Church, the "ancient liberties" of the City of London, and the right to due process.
The ideas of the Magna Carta also influenced the constitutions and development of other countries. The American colonists used the rights guaranteed in the document as a reason to rebel and form their own country. Many of these rights are written into the United States Constitution and the Bill of Rights.
The Meaning of Magna Carta since 1215
Ralph V. Turner considers how and why Magna Carta became a beacon of liberty in Britain and, increasingly, in the United States.
Most students of English history know that King John’s barons forced him to grant Magna Carta, the great charter of liberties that placed the English king under the law. They know that this charter, agreed by John in 1215 at Runnymede meadow and confirmed in definitive form by Henry III in 1225, is a crucial document for England’s history, likely the best known of all documents surviving from medieval England. Its attempt to impose the law’s limitations on a ruler is summarised in Chapter 39:
No free man shall be taken or imprisoned, or dispossessed or outlawed or exiled or in any way ruined, nor will we go or send against him except by the lawful judgement of his peers or by the law of the land.
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What is the Magna Carta?
It is crumbling, water-stained and written in Medieval Latin, but the Magna Carta has managed to remain relevant to the cause of human rights even today, 800 years after it was scrawled on parchment and affirmed with the sticky wax seal of the English king. England's "Great Charter" of 1215 was the first document to challenge the authority of the king, subjecting him to the rule of the law and protecting his people from feudal abuse.
Although most of the charter's ideas were revised or have since been repealed, the Magna Carta's fundamental tenets provided the outline for modern democracies. One of its clauses, still in the English law books, has been credited as the first definition of habeas corpus &ndash the universal right to due process.
Taking a cue from the document more than five centuries later, American revolutionaries incorporated many of the Magna Carta's basic ideas into another important piece of parchment &ndash the U.S. Constitution.
Robin Hood's King John reviled by all
Feudalism was the framework by which all landowning was governed in England during medieval times. It essentially granted the king control of all the land in his kingdom, which was worked by peasants and overseen by feudal barons. Everyone in the hierarchy had financial and social responsibilities to the rank above them, including the barons, who reported directly to the king.
Most of England's kings didn't exercise all of their feudal rights, such as the power to control who their tenants married. That wasn't the case, however, with King John, the ruler fictionalized as the bad guy in "Robin Hood." John's abuses of the feudal system were frequent and angered the barons, who were regularly extorted of their lands and profits.
Fed up, in 1215 the barons rebelled and pressured the king into signing the Magna Carta, a list of 63 clauses drawn up to limit John's power. It was the first time royal authority officially became subject to the law, instead of reigning above it.
Multiple copies of the parchment were inked and sealed in 1215, and read throughout the realm. In 2012, a copy of the Magna Carta created in 1297 was put into a high-tech encasement to protect it. The case was crafted from a single block of aluminum to minimize the number of joints or spots that could cause leaks. And in 2015, researchers with the Magna Carta Project, tasked with studying the history of the document ahead of the 800th anniversary, reported they had found an original copy of the Magna Carta in a scrapbook of sorts in Kent, England. The seventh surviving copy from the 13th century, the newfound Magna Carta brings the tally of the number of surviving versions from that century to 24, the researchers said.
Early colonists sailed over with their rights
Tucked inconspicuously near the middle of the Magna Carta is what historians consider one of the document's most enduring legacies. Habeas corpus, or the right to due process and a trial by jury, is a universal legal concept today, but didn't exist in the law books until the barons noted in the Magna Carta that:
"No free man shall be seized or imprisoned, or stripped of his rights or possessions, or outlawed or exiled … except by the lawful judgment of his equals or by the law of the land."
Though the statement wasn't a standout feature of the Magna Carta when it was first published, it was invoked over the centuries &ndash especially during tumultuous times &ndash to preserve civil liberties. The English Civil War crisis of the 17th-century was one such time, and it was also during this period that many Englishmen set off for the American colonies.
By the mid 18th-century, the New World colonies were populated by a group of first-generation new Americans highly educated in English law, such as Thomas Jefferson and John Adams. At the end of the Revolutionary War, when it was time to draft a constitution for the new United States of America, those men included the best of the English rights they'd been taught, adapted to the circumstances of the monarch-free land.
Still of great significance today, the Fifth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution reads almost identically to that statute, written 575 years earlier.
This article, adapted and updated, was originally part of a LiveScience series about People and Inventions that Changed the World.
Have Questions About the Taking of Property for Public Use? Ask a Lawyer
The law of eminent domain gives the government power to act in the public interest, but sometimes the government intrudes on property rights without offering compensation. In those cases, affected landowners may have the right to seek compensation and would benefit from working with an attorney.
If you have questions about the taking of property for public use, or need help with protecting your property rights, it's a good idea to speak with a local eminent domain lawyer in your area.
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Reign of Chaos
- "Can the formalities, Uther. I'm not king yet. It's good to see you."
- "Gentlemen, meet Miss Jaina Proudmoore, special agent to the Kirin Tor, and one of the most talented sorceresses in the land."
- "The plague was never meant to simply kill my people. It was meant to turn them. into the undead! Defend yourselves!"
- "Then we should strike at their leader! I'll go to Stratholme and kill Mal'Ganis myself if I have to!"
- "Nothing he can say will make me abandon my homeland, Jaina. I don't care if that madman has seen the future. Let's go."
- "This entire city must be purged."
- "Damn it, Uther! As your future king, I order you to purge this city!"
- "Then I must consider this an act of treason."
- "Lord Uther, by my right of succession and the sovereignty of my crown, I hereby relieve you of your command and suspend your paladins from service."
- "I'll hunt you to the ends of the earth if I have to! Do you hear me? To the ends of the earth!"
- "Uther had my troops recalled? Damn it! If my warriors abandon me, I'll never defeat Mal'Ganis. The ships must be burned before the men reach the shore!"
- "I would gladly bear any curse to save my homeland."
- "Damn the men! Nothing shall prevent me from having my revenge, old friend. Not even you."
- "Now, I call out to the spirits of this place. I will give anything or pay any price, if only you will help me save my people."
- "You waste your breath, Mal'Ganis. I heed only the voice of Frostmourne now."
- "He tells me the time for my vengeance has come."
- "You no longer need to sacrifice for your people. You no longer need to bear the weight of your crown. I've taken care of everything."
- "This kingdom shall fall, and from the ashes shall arise a new order that will shake the very foundations of the world."
- "I've damned everyone and everything I've ever loved in his name, and I still feel no remorse. No shame. No pity."
- "We may never know, Uther. I intend to live forever."
- "After all you've put me through, woman, the last thing I'll give you is the peace of death."
- "Citizens of Silvermoon! I have given you ample opportunities to surrender, but you have stubbornly refused! Know that today, your entire race and your ancient heritage will end! Death itself has come to claim the high home of the elves!"
- "Wizards of the Kirin Tor! I am Arthas, first of the Lich King's death knights! I demand that you open your gates and surrender to the might of the Scourge!"
- "My master sees all, demon hunter. He knows that you've sought power your whole life. Now it lies within your grasp! Seize it, and your enemies will be undone."
The Frozen Throne
- "Greetings, dreadlords. I should thank you for looking after my kingdom during my absence. However, I won't be requiring your services any longer."
- "I have returned, lich, but you will now address me as King. This is, after all, my land. Now we must secure the kingdom by scouring the last remnants of humanity from it!"
- "Take me back to the capital. I have a long journey ahead of me."
- "You have been a loyal friend, Kel'Thuzad. I don't know what the future holds, or if I'll even return, but I want you to watch over this land. See to it that my legacy endures."
- "Sorry we don't have time to chat, great wyrm. We've come to murder you and steal whatever artifacts you've been hoarding over the centuries."
- "Muradin's dwarves? Doesn't anyone stay dead anymore?"
- "I saw another vision of the Lich King. He has restored my powers! I know now what I must do. It's time to end the game. once and for all."
- "Illidan has mocked the Scourge long enough! It's time we put the fear of death back in him."
- "The Frozen Throne is mine, demon. Step aside. Leave this world and never return. If you do, I'll be waiting."