REVIEWS

The Knight in medieval England, 1000-1400
Peter Coss
Dover, NH: Alan Sutton, c1993. 0-7509-0059-8. Includes Notes, Index, and a Suggested Reading List.

This well illustrated work follows the development of knighthood in England from its origins until the beginning of the fifteenth century. Some of the main themes addressed include the terminology used for teh miles angolorum (English knight), heraldic usage and change, and the role of knights in english society.

Much of the book revolves around the change in social status and function of the knights. The author's main focus is to trace the changes from mounted warrior to nobility as well as the ensuing changes in duties from fighting to administering justice.

The writing style is very dry and academic, due in great part to the heavy use of economic and familial relationships cited in building his arguments. But there are also a number of interesting stories used to illustrate his points. One example being "The chroniclers tell the story how, in response to Edward I's demands that those who exercise franchises (that is, rights of jurisdiction) should show by what warrant they held them, either the earl of Warrenne or the earl of Gloucester (according to the chronicler one reads) presented the royal justices not with a charter but with a rusty sword, declaring: 'Look, my lords, here is my warrant. My ancestors came with William the Bastard, and conquered their lands with the sword, and I will defend them with the sword against anyone wishing to seize them.'"

Anyone interested in the history of knighthood in England during the eleventh to fourteenth centuries will find this book to be of great value.

--Richard A. Edwards
Evergreen State College

AKA SCA Sir Richard Fitzalan
Baron Glymm Mere