• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

How far was pre Conquest England a prosperous and well governed kingdom?

Extracts from this document...


How far was pre conquest England a prosperous and well governed kingdom I believe that pre-conquest England was a rather well governed and somewhat prosperous kingdom. The countries system of writs; the division of land and the hierarchy as well as the coinage, trade, towns and frequent invasions all suggest that pre-conquest England was prosperous and well-governed. However, the possible threat to the king of the Earls and the countries comparatively undeveloped economy all suggest as less prosperous, more unstable England. My opinion is that they were given a good image due to how well they dealt with the invasion of the Scandinavians and their introduction of Danegeld it showed how wealthy and organised the kingdom was and how they could deal with all that tax. The land was divided into several parts. Primarily, the realm was divided into four earldoms (Mercia, Wessex, East Anglia and Northumbria) each of which was controlled by an Earl. These Earls were incredibly powerful. Each earldom was further divided into shires (like modern-day counties) ...read more.


The Earls combined power easily eclipsed that of the Kings, meaning that if they worked together against him they could overthrow him with no trouble what so ever. This suggests that there were fractures in the system that, if put under pressure, could break to bring the whole thing down. England had a system of coinage the likes of which were contested only by the Byzantine Empire and the Muslim world. The system they implemented stayed in place right up until the 1970?s. The kings opened mints across the land, and every 5-9 years they would call in all the money in the land and remint it with new casts sent up from London. The King and local authorities would then take a percentage of this money in the form of tax. For this system to have worked (and it did, according to coin hoards found later) the government must have been very well governed and organised. ...read more.


First and foremost, people don?t invade poor countries. England must have been seen as a very valuable prize for it to be invaded so frequently, suggesting that the country was very rich and prosperous. In reaction to each invasion, the government would try to appease the Danes by collecting a tax and using it to pay them to go away. This suggests two things. Firstly, we could afford to pay these huge amounts of money. Other, poorer countries may have been bankrupt by such amounts, but England was able to regularly pay and still remain stable. However, it is impossible that this did not have a knock-on effect on the economy. It would suggest that perhaps England was not as prosperous as it could have been because of these taxations. Finally, the distribution of the population shows that the English were farmers more than traders. 90% of the population lived in the country, with only a small amount in towns. This shows that the economy was not very developed and that the majority of people relied on self-sufficiency rather than any other way of living. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level British History: Monarchy & Politics section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month
  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work