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The Origins of the Husting and the Folkmoot

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)409-424
Number of pages16
Issue number361
Early online date25 Apr 2019
Accepted/In press19 Jan 2019
E-pub ahead of print25 Apr 2019
Published1 Jul 2019


King's Authors


In the central Middle Ages, London was marked out by its idiosyncratic institutions, prominent among which were two courts or assemblies: the Folkmoot and the Husting. This article re-examines the early history and origins of both, and suggests that they should be seen as outgrowths of the entities recorded in a legal composition fromthe reign of King Æthelstan (924–39). The latter describes associations formed by the people of London to defend their interests against thieves from surrounding districts. Provisions made in this text for a gathering of leaders, to be held over food and drink, may be a forerunner of the Husting, while a larger judicial body hinted at in the law-code could represent a precursor to the Folkmoot. The internal divisions of London from the twelfth century onwards, the wards, are also considered.

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