This book provides the first rounded account of the new ruling elite of England in the century after 1066. It deals with the revolution in landholding by which the old English aristocracy was swept aside, and the nature of aristocratic power, as demonstrated by the control of castles and knights, and lordship over men and land. The book stresses the vitality of aristocratic power throughout the period, particularly during the civil war under King Stephen. The part played by kinship and family in building up and extending influence are emphasised, and a separate chapter is devoted to the crucial role played by women in the transmission of land. The role of aristocratic benefactors in the wave of generosity which brought great wealth to the church is also examined and, finally, the extent to which the newcomers identified themselves with the country they had conquered.
' ... a well-documented, well-argued and balanced account of a pivotal period.' History Today 'This is an extremely useful book, providing a wide-ranging survey of the composition, power and practices of the aristocracy ... it is to be hoped that this important book stimulates a fertile debate on the nature of aristocratic power, in England and beyond.' Journal of Ecclesiastical History