The Making of England
From Rome to Reformation
- Toby Purser
15th November 2022
The Making of England places the history of early England firmly within the European sphere of influence. It draws upon the latest multi-disciplinary research and debates from science, archaeology, literature and documentary evidence, with an eye on contemporary concerns and perceptions of English history. Toby Purser demonstrates the impact of the continuous continental interaction across the period c. 410 to 1534 in the shaping of England, from the early pan-Germanic to the Scandinavian, Norman-French, Angevin and Gascon.
Crucially, there was no inevitability in the emergence of a single, unified state in the Anglo-Saxon period and after 1066 the English state was bound to continental possessions by trade or war. Baronial rebellion, not popular demand, led to the devolution of powers from the Crown via Magna Carta and parliament, but this was not part of a manifest destiny ‒ of ‘exceptional’ English freedom.
Literacy and learning was exclusively Christian, to the detriment of pagan cultures and achievements, and thus the first historians wrote only from a singular perspective, that of the Christian supremacy. English culture was subsumed into the new Norman hegemony, along with attempts to rewrite or obliterate Welsh, Scottish and Irish history. This book will make you think again about what it means to be English.