Succession and Interregnum in the English Polity: The Case of 1141

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Abstract

The article examines the political thought and events which occurred between the capture of King Stephen on 2 February 1141 and the council which convened a month after Stephen's release(1 November 1141) at Westminster on 7 December 1141. The article argues that is that, when Henry of Blois accepted the proposition of the Empress Matilda that, by 'God's judgment', Stephen had lost the kingdom of the English on 2 February, and that, henceforth, she should be accepted as its legitimate ruler, a state of interregnum prevailed in the English polity from the moment of Stephen's capture until it was brought to an end by Henry's reception of the empress as domina Anglorum on 8 April 1141. Furthermore, acceptance of this proposition gives us an important insight into the problems inherent in the way that power was held in the twelfth-century English polity and how it was transferred from one generation of ruler to the next.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)181-200
Number of pages20
JournalThe Haskins Society Journal
Volume29
Publication statusPublished - 2018

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