The shiring of East Anglia: an alternative hypothesis

Authors


Abstract

The purpose of this article is to re-examine the evidence for the shiring of East Anglia and to challenge the widely-held assumption that the creation and imposition of this West Saxon administrative structure was an immediate consequence of Edward the Elder's campaigns of 917. Instead, it will be argued that 917 marked only the beginning of what turned out to be a century-long process as the former kingdom was gradually integrated into the political and administrative apparatus that characterized West Saxon/English regional governance. Evidence will be given that East Anglia was still a functioning political unit during the reign of Æthelred II and it will be suggested that the process of ‘shiring’ actually took place as part of a package of religious and administrative reforms during the reign of Cnut (1016–35).

Ancillary