What was the Witan?

Updated: 8/20/2023
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15y ago

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The Witan (Old English witenagemot, moot or meeting) was the term used to describe the council summoned by Anglo-Saxon kings. These meetings of aldermen, thanes and bishops discussed royal grants of land, church matters, charters, taxation, customary law, defence and foreign policy. The succession of a new king had to be approved by the Witan.

The composition of the Witan was not set and the size of the assembly depended on what was being discussed and where it was held. For example, meetings were larger during religious festivals and when the king was resident in one of his palaces.

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11y ago

Witan - a spreme council of wise men

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Q: What was the Witan?
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Did King Alfred have Lords and Earls and such?

The Engllish system of land tenure was much simpler than the French style Feudalism imposed by William the Conqueror. If I remember correctly the basic rank of nobility was "thane". Anybody who possessed, again if I remember right, 400 hides of land was, at least technically, a thane. I don't remember how much a hide actually was. Above the thanes were eorls or eorldermen. I forget how much land you had to have to be an eorl but it was quite a lot, there were very few of them. That was about it, thane, eorl, king. Michael MontagneAnotherThe order of nobility in England today is a hybrid of English, Norse and Latin traditions. The Old English had a title called "Thane" which was essentially a knight or baron with sworn loyalty to the king. There were variou degrees of Thane's some ranking above others. The Thane would employ "Huscarls" - professional warriors - who would raise armies for the Thane when the need arose. The land was administered in Wessex through the shire model. The shires were governed by a "Eorlderman". Eorldermen were often from an established royal dynasty that no longer enjoyed the status of "king". The Eorldermen ruled the shire through a "Shire Reeve", a sort of chief executive from which we get the word "Sheriff" and a "Shire Moot" - a sort of assembly. The shire's were divided into hundreds (like a district) which were themselves administered by a "Hundred Reeve" and a "Hundred Moot".Above all of this were royalty who were afforded the title "Ætheling" - basically meaning "royal son". The Witan - a sort of parliament of leading nobles and clergy - chose or confirmed the next king from among the Æthelings.The Norse Vikings introduced the term "Earl" which comes from "Yarl" and means "lord". The Norman French introduced, or re-introduced, latin terms such as Duke (from Dux), Baron and Marquess etc.

Who rules when a prince is too young?

A REGENT - usually a near relative of the child-king. Sometimes there is no suitable individual, so a COUNCIL OF REGENCY is appointed. Of course, in most ages of History, the answer has been 'whoever can grab the throne#.

Related questions

What did William of Normandy do about the witan?

im not sure

What was the national assembly of Anglo Saxons in England called?

Witan /witenagemot

Who supported Harold godwinson to be king?

The assembly of Anglo-Saxon "regional kings", called Witan.

What king died in 1066?

King Edward the Confessor, and since he didn't have a son or daughter, the crown was chosen by the WITAN

What service does the company Witan Jardine provide?

Witen Jardine is a recruiting company. They recruite prospective employees for permanent and temporary employment in a wide range of industries at every company level.

What are some of the claims that Harold Godwin had to the throne of England?

I don't know complitely but I do know that one of the reasons he had it was because he had alot of help from the royal counial (witan). Hope that was a help x

What does witagemont mean?

The Witenagemot (also called the Witan , the title of its members) was a political institution in Anglo-Saxon England which operated between centuries VII and XI .The name "Witenagemot" comes from Old English , meaning assembly of wise men ("Witan" wise or counselor , "gemot"assembly ). It was the legacy of ancient tribal assemblies that later became the tips, where they met the most important people in the area, among whom were bishops , abbots, nobles and the king's advisers.Hope this helps... :-)


MITTAL STEEL COMPANY UK Corporate head office: Witan Gate House 500/600 Milton Keynes, Mk9 IES UK Tel: +447024012477

Who would the Witan have chosen if they didn't choose Harold Godwinson?

edgar atheling. harold and edgar were the omly two saxon contenders. the witsnwrre only going to pick a saxon, so if it wasn't harold, it would have been edgar

How did the Anglo saxon government work?

The Saxons laid The foundations of English government. They divided England into shires. (The Normans called them counties). Each shire was divided into areas called hundreds. (Originally a hundred was one hundred families or one hundred hides, the amount of land needed to support a family). Hundreds were abolished in 1867. Each shire was ruled by a noble called an Earldorman (elder man). The Saxons also had a council called the Witangemot or Witan made up of great nobles and senior clergymen. The Witan had considerable power.

What was the controversy about king William becoming King?

Harold was touched by Edward the Confessor before he died, which Harold and the Witan took as a sign for him to become king. The problem was that before all of this Harold swore loyalty to William as his knight on a saint's bones. But, not many people knew about that.

What words contain letters qinwath?

No English words contain all of those letters.Here are a few words you can make with some of the letters:4-letter wordsanti, hant, hint, hwan, tain, than, thaw, thin, twin, wain, wait, want, what, whin, whit, with5-letter wordstwain, witan