You Need Protection
I blame Vortigern. He started it.
I don't remember these Thingmen being mentioned at school. Do you?
The Thingmen (also known as Þingalið (pronounced [ˈθiŋalið], literally "assembly retinue") was a standing army in the service of the Kings of England during the period 1013-51, financed by direct taxation. Ref : Wiki Thingmen
Oh, was it a regular army made up of Britons? Err, no, it wasn't.
It consisted mostly of men of Scandinavian descent and it had an initial strength of 3,000 housecarls and a fleet of 40 ships.
Harold's half-brother Harthacnut, who succeeded him in 1040 and arrived with a fleet from Denmark, dramatically increased the tax burden to pay for 60 or 62 ships in the first year of his rule in England, but reduced this force to 32 ships in 1041. This tax increase provoked violent unrest.
Under Edward the Confessor, who came to the throne in 1042, the standing force was further reduced and by 1050 he was employing only 14 ships. In that year 9 of these were dismissed and in 1051 the remaining force was disbanded and the heregeld was abolished.
Oh dear. Has a familiar ring doesn't it? The peasants are revolting about the taxes. Ungrateful for all the things we (the Saxon Overlords) provide for them. Perhaps there are too many things. Aha, that's the answer, get rid of some of the Things we don't need anymore. It's not like we're going to be invaded again is it?
Fifteen years later, Harold Godwinson must have cursed that fateful decision. An elite brigade of special forces / merceneries, and a navy as well, might have been very useful in 1066 (and all that).
In 2018, HM Navy has more admirals than ships. Bravo Zulu.
Footnote : We do still have some Things. Tynwald is one:
High Court of Tynwald (Manx: Ard-whaiyl Tinvaal) or Tynwald Court is the legislature of the Isle of Man. ... The name Tynwald, like the Icelandic Þingvellir and Norwegian Tingvoll, is derived from the Old Norse word Þingvǫllr meaning the meeting place of the assembly, the field (vǫllr→wald, cf. the Old English cognate weald)] of the thing. Ref : Wiki Tynwaldand Dingwall is another.
Dingwall (Scots: Dingwal, Scottish Gaelic: Inbhir Pheofharain) (Scottish Gaelic pronunciation: ['iɲɪɾʲ 'fjɔhəɾan]) is a town and a royal burgh in the Highland council area of Scotland. Its name, derived from the Scandinavian Þingvöllr (field or meeting-place of the thing, or local assembly. Ref : Wiki Dingwall
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