In This Article Expand or collapse the "in this article" section English Kings and Monarchy, 1066-1485

  • Introduction
  • Reference Works
  • Bibliographies and Handbooks
  • Major Primary Source Collections in the Original Languages
  • Source Collections in Translation
  • Journals
  • Constitutional and Administrative History

Medieval Studies English Kings and Monarchy, 1066-1485
Douglas Biggs
  • LAST REVIEWED: 28 January 2013
  • LAST MODIFIED: 28 January 2013
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780195396584-0114


The king was the most important component in medieval political society. With him lay the right to rule, and all power flowed from him out to his subjects through a complex array of nobles, churchmen, gentry, and the machinery of government. Without the person of the monarch, governance was all but impossible. Across the roughly four centuries that separate the Norman Conquest from the accession of the Tudors in 1485, English kingship underwent a number of significant changes in response to various constitutional crises and transformations of government, but the core of who and what the king was remained constant. Historians have focused on kings and their power for centuries, and their work on so large a subject is both broad and varied. Significant debates as to the nature of kingship and the application of royal power and a plethora of studies of individual kings and how they shaped the office have led to different understandings of monarchy in this period. This bibliography does not try to provide the reader with an exhaustive list of articles and books on so broad a topic as kingship and monarchy. Rather, it tries to provide only the major works for any particular reign that will probably be found in a college or university library. This bibliography draws attention to works such as Stephenson and Marcham 1937 (cited under Source Collections in Translation), or Bryce Dale Lyon’s history of administration (Lyon 1980, cited under Constitutional and Administrative History) that might be lingering in dusty retirement on their shelves.

General Overviews

A topic as broad as monarchy and kingship has spawned a great many general overviews and studies. The late 19th century was a period of great narrative histories, when historians covered several reigns in multivolume sets (e.g., Norgate 1887, Ramsay 1892, Ramsay 1913, and Hunt and Poole 1905–1910). Both Cambridge University and Oxford University produced multivolume sets of their own, while individuals have also produced single-volume studies.

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