Master of Arts (MA)
Semester of Degree Completion
Bailey K. Young
Textual, archaeological, and art historical evidence all point to a significant reorganization of Anglo-Saxon society in the tenth and eleventh centuries. Changes in landownership, the development of proto-urban centers, the growth of merchant and artisan classes, as well as the proliferation of occupations associated with royal and regional administration, collectively altered the Anglo-Saxon social order. This radical reorganization benefitted some groups of individuals and threatened others with decreased social standing. Established elites and the nouvuae riche utilized exclusionary measures to counter any degree of social mobility provided by economic and political changes.
Shifting hunting practices and perceptions are particularly emblematic of this sharpening social division. Assessing Late Saxon society through evidence linked to hunting demonstrates that many of the developments typically associated with the Norman Conquest began in the tenth and eleventh century. Late Saxon lords set aside woodland for hunting, built impressive fortified manorial centers, and established parishes where they erected commemorative stone sculpture. These arrangements promoted the growth of a new type of lordship, where landowners intensively managed their estates and expected very specific forms of commendation and service from their dependents.
Hale, Shawn, "Butchered Bones, Carved Stones: Hunting and Social Change in Late Saxon England" (2016). Masters Theses. 2418.