The transformation of kinship and the family in late Anglo-Saxon England
Early Medieval Europe, Volume 10, Issue 3 (2001)
The development of the family into a small unit in which descent was traced almost exclusively through the male line is regarded as a major turning point in medieval European history. The early stages of the formation of agnatic kinship have usually been connected to strategies designed to preserve and retain control of patrimonies and castles, arising from the breakdown of public order. In this article it is suggested that the emergence of new kinship values was connected to the investment of aristocratic energy and resources in monastic programmes, and to subtle changes in lay involvement with the rituals associated with death and the salvation of souls.