The Nature and Limits of the Money Economy in Late Anglo-Saxon and Early Norman England

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


This thesis will address a question which is fundamental to our understanding of the period: was there a money economy in Anglo-Saxon and early Norman England? This question has been asked often enough before, but currently the literature does not afford a satisfactory answer, principally because the relevant historical and numismatic evidence has never been systematically assembled and analysed. The object of my research will be to make good this gap. It will seek to establish how, by whom, and in what circumstances coins were − and were not − used in England between the reigns of King Athelstan and King Henry I (924−1135).
The thesis will build on substantial secondary literature on the early English economy. However, what this literature lacks is a comprehensive analysis of the documentary evidence which reveals how money was actually used and what it could and could not buy. One major strand of this thesis will be to examine this material systematically to demonstrate the value of monetary equivalents and small-scale transactions in the period before 1135. Secondly, there is abundant numismatic material in the form of single coin finds and coin hoards, which affords more specific evidence of how money
was actually used. The other major element of my thesis will therefore be to assemble,collate and analyse this material, in order to facilitate more precise and penetrating analysis of such finds. The combination of approaches proposed here will make possible to form a more precise understanding of how money was used throughout the social spectrum of English society, from the peasantry to the upper ranks of the nobility, throughout a period of momentous political change.

Date of Award2013
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • King's College London
SupervisorStephen Baxter (Supervisor) & Peter Heather (Supervisor)

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