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From Mordoor to Murdrum: The Preconquest Origin and Norman Revival of the Murder Fine

From Mordoor to Murdrum: The Preconquest Origin and Norman Revival of the Murder Fine

By Bruce R. O’Brien

Speculum, Vol.71:2 (1996)

Introduction: What was the English opinion of the Normans who had conquered them in 1066? Perhaps it makes better sense to ask, What did they see when they beheld one of their new Norman lords? Were the Normans seen as oppressive? Is so, in what way and with what result? Can it be said the Normans’ treatment of their new subjects was any different from the treatment ceorlas had received from eorlas and thegnas before 1066? There can be no single or simple answer to these questions, as the tone of Norman lordship and English response must have varied a great deal depending on such intangible matters as the characteristics of an individual lord or the shifting attitudes of the English toward that new lord, matters are difficult to assess. Answers here must move not nationally, but region by region, lordship by lordship, and should consider the traditions and beliefs of both English ceorlas (as well as surviving thegnas) and Norman seignurs in order to reconstruct the whole evidence.

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