• Medieval Era
  • 1 min

By Crusader1307

Emerging in the 8th Century, the term “Shire” developed as a common English name for Local Government Units (and would remain in use until The Norman Invasion of the 11th Century). A development of Anglo-Saxon Rule, they were based on “previous” Roman design. In Western England, The Shire was organized by various Anglo-Saxon Chiefs. Elsewhere, Shires emerged out of small Kingdoms and other power formations. Alfred The Great standardized The Shire System. He created Royal Deputies called Ealdormen (later called Aldermen). It was they who governed The Shires. Of Royal or Noble birthm these men had great military and political responsibilities. It was they who supplied The King with soldiers and weapons. The Ealdromen served as “The King's Justice” in legal matters and served on Committees. They were also responsible for enforcing “Royal Decrees”. In the mid-9th Century, Shires undertook another reorganization. Split into smaller Units called “Hundreds” (or Wapentakes), they too were governed by “lesser” figures. With The Norman Invasion, the term “Shire” would give way to the French “County”(which would assume the dominant role of local English Government).