Salisbury, oath of

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Salisbury, oath of, 1086. In August 1086 William I summoned ‘landowning men of any account’ to attend at Salisbury and swear allegiance to him and to be faithful against all other men. The oath was demanded at a time of crisis when the Conqueror was facing revolt and invasion. It has been much discussed and has been seen as an attempt to limit the fissiparous nature of feudal obligations: others have argued that the intention was to reinforce feudal duties. There seems little doubt that it was intended as a practical assurance and reminder rather than as a constitutional statement.

J. A. Cannon