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Constitutional History of the UK by Ann Lyon

By Ann Lyon

This ebook presents an obtainable one-volume creation to the advance of the British structure from its earliest beginnings within the 7th century to the current day. It makes a speciality of the political occasions, and social, non secular and philosophical rules that have formed the constitutions improvement.

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However, when the Danish Cnut gained the English throne in 1016, he stepped into the shoes of his West Saxon predecessors, the descendants of Alfred, as the ruler of what had evolved into a relatively centralised state, in which power lay with the king and was devolved by him to his magnates, and in which the apparatus of government, with mints under royal control and a developing system of royal justice, was emerging. This contrasts markedly with the position on the 25 ASC 872. 8 Constitutional History of the UK continent where, following the break-up of the Carolingian empire in the 9th and 10th centuries, power came to lie with regional magnates.

Sanctions other than monetary payments do not appear in Æthelbert’s laws, and first make their appearance in Kent at the end of the 7th century. They are an 1 2 3 See G Mac Niocaill, Ireland before the Vikings, 1972, Gill & Macmillan, p 45. Mac Niocaill remarks that, to judge by the number of kings by-named ‘the One-Eyed’ in the Celtic world, it was not physical perfection but the ability to bear arms which was essential. Bede (B Colgrave and RAB Mynors (eds)), Historia Ecclesiastica Gentis Anglorum (Ecclesiastical History of the English People), 1969, Clarendon (hereafter HE), II 16.

The classic texts on constitutional history are the multi-volume works of Bishop Stubbs and TF Tout, produced in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, which by reason of their sheer size must be daunting to a student seeking a working knowledge of the development of the British constitution over the centuries, and which were in any event produced by historians rather than lawyers. There have been two comprehensive single-volume histories of the British Isles in recent years, produced by Norman Davies and Simon Schama respectively.

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