Episode 85: How to Run an Empire

The massive realm of Henry II extended from southern France through the British Isles. The administration of the so-called “Angevin Empire” required an extensive bureaucracy. In this episode, we examine some of the key government officials who administered the government of England. We also explore the first English settlements in Ireland.


Map Prepared by Louis Henwood (Click Map for Larger Image)

Map Prepared by Louis Henwood (Click Map for Larger Image)

21 thoughts on “Episode 85: How to Run an Empire

    • Boroughs in Alaska instead of counties? How did that happen? Kevin I’m sure you know that New York City is divided into five boroughs which also double as counties

      • Yes. New York ‘boroughs’ derive from the Old English word ‘burh’ meaning a fortified town. I discussed the etymology of that word back in Episode 47, but I didn’t note the connection to ‘boroughs’ in New York.

  1. Maybe you mentioned it and I didn’t catch it, but are these “march” areas and their lords the source of the title “Marquis?” Just connecting dots it seems plausible.

    • Yes, the word “march” also produced the word “Marquis” in France. A “Marquis” was originally the lord of a march or border region. I briefly mentioned that connection back in Episode 25. (I discussed a few other words related to “march” in that episode, but I didn’t revisit them in this episode since they were covered previously.)

  2. w00t after three months of binge listening I’ve finally caught up 🙂

    Kevin perhaps you can investigate “woot” in Episode 1xx?

  3. You spoke of “impale” being derived from “pale”
    You did not speak of “paling” which is what privacy fences are called in my area.
    Is the “ing” here the old english ing on a french borrowing?

    • Yes, the English ‘-ing’ suffix was added to the French verb ‘pale.’ By the way, according to the OED, the noun ‘paling’ meaning fence was first attested in Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales.

  4. Barbados, thoroughly English in government organization also has parishes instead of counties and each parish is centered on an Anglican parish church.

  5. Thanks for this episode. I wanted to point out that the UK still has parishes, boroughs and counties, but they all mean different things. A parish was originally ecclesiastical, but it also acquired a civil meaning, and it’s applied now to the most basic level of local government in a village and the surrounding areas. A borough is the equivalent for a town, and it also applies to the main divisions of a major city, such as London or Manchester. A county is the highest-level sub-national division, and has a status somewhere between a county and a state in the US.

    On coroners – besides rulling on suspicious or unexplained deaths, they actually retain the role of ruling on treasure trove.

    As far as Strongbow is concerned, there’s actually a theory that the nickname was a corruption of Striguil, and old name for Chepstow. On the other hand, its quite possible that it was his reputation that inspired the corruption.

  6. Kevin, you said in this episode that Strongbow was a Marcher lord and the Earl of Pembroke. Given that Pembroke is in south west Wales, when and how did the Marcher lords come to include nobles within Wales as well as on it’s border?

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