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Re: Reswearing fealty?

Poster: EoganOg@aol.com

In a message dated 12/10/98 9:50:05 AM Eastern Standard Time, cosby@erols.com

> Question please.  Did a king ever have his vassals reswear fealty?  For
>  what reasons?  Because he felt dissent amoung them?

First I'd like to apologize for the delay in answering this.  Exam week and
all has me a little rush....  but I'd like to answer this question now that I
have had time to think about it.  (By the bi, if such questions bother
you--don't answer!  Hey, you don't even have to read them--or the answers

To my knowledge, there were three times when kings asked their vassals to
reswear fealty--King William the Conquorer of England, King Robert the Bruce
of Scotland, and King Philip of France.

King William asked all English noblemen to swear fealty directly to him upon
his taking the English throne.  This ensured that their utmost loyalty be to
the king regardless of any other loyalties they might have to other lords.  In
effect, it strengthened his power and secured his reign.

Robert Bruce did the same upon his taking the throne of Scotland.  Although he
took the throne in 1306, he was not strong enough to demand such a thing unil
1314.  After his victory at Bannockburn he demanded that all men who held
lands in both England and Scotland relenquish their holdings in one country
(preferably England) and swear their fealty to one king (preferably him).  It
was made illegal to hold lands from two kings.  Any Scottish lord who supprted
the English could re-ally himself to Scotland by giving up all English titles
and swearing fealty to King Robert.  Robert could do this because he was
powerful enough.  This act basically secured his position, as it did in
William's case.

Philip did much the same thing when he managed to oust the English from most
of France.  He made it illegal to hold lands in France from Enland, and made
all nobles swear their fealty to him.  He did this, as before, to secure his

In all three cases the kings were able to exert that kind of power because
they were strong, and because they needed to affirm their hold on their
nobles.  I'm sure the same was done on individual basises for similar reasons,
but these are the only times I can remember when it was done en masse.

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