Book review: Lordship and Military Obligation in Anglo-Saxon England by Richard Abels
A clear and thorough examination of, well, lordship and military obligation in Anglo-Saxon England. Abels is particularly good on the changes brought about by the rise of bookland, that is, land that was given by hereditary right, first to the Church and then to the king’s retainers, and way the kings of Mercia and then Wessex responded by redefining the three common burdens of service, fortifications, bridge maintenance and military service, into the Alfredian system of burhs with garrisons and a standing, mobile army.
An extra commendation for this book having the longest section of footnotes I’ve ever encountered; the text runs from page 1 to 187, the footnotes from 204 to 282! Add in the other appendices, bibliography and index, and there’s an additional 126 pages of text. That’s what I call a proper academic book! But Abels writes well too, so don’t be put off if you’re interested in this, rather specialised, subject.