Saturday, August 27, 2011

A Penny for Your Thoughts

Long, long ago... in a kingdom... far, far away, a man of short stature established a new dynasty which came to be called "The Carolingian Dynasty". The year was 751 AD, and the man was called Pepin III, "the short"! His son, Charlemagne, is credited with laying the foundation of the feudal age, giving rise to kings, knights, knights fees, homage, scutage, palatinates, lords, manors, and all kinds of terms that tend to haunt the genealogist. It all seems to center around ownership of land, and the king possessing "Royal Privileges" surround his claims of ownership.

The first premise was that the king had complete and absolute ownership of the land in his domain. It was his right to used the land as he saw fit, and allow others to use the land as he wished. Since he needed a small army of fighting men to see that his wishes would be carried out, he needed to keep a gang of fellows around him, who would be happy and delighted to keep the party going. These fighting men had to swear allegiance to the king in order to be invited into the "King's Court" and participate in the goings on! [During this time, to give your "oath" was also to God and King, for God had allowed this king to represent him on earth as the temporal leader. The Pope was appointed by God to represent his interest in the spiritual matters surrounding mankind.]

As the "King's Household" expanded, his trusted advisers (King's Council) and trusted supporters (King's Court) needed to keep tract of their activities especially having to do with taxes, and the judgements that had to do with kings wishes and decisions. A "judicial" and "financial" aspect of the kingdom evolved. There was also a need to keep records of the events and decisions made, thus a "secretarial" branch evolved. [Those who could write were usually from the Church.]

At the time of Charlemagne, an Anglo-Saxon king name Offa, was reeking havoc along the Welsh border, raising fences and such. [Offa's Dyke] His kingdom, the kingdom of "Mercia" caused all kinds of trouble for the developing Welsh nation. He was the first to bring the "penny" to Wales...a penny for my thoughts.

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