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All these considerations affected the result at Lincoln, and this is another reason why it would be harsh to condemn Stephen’s generalship on the strength of his performance in that battle alone. Since Stephen made war to defend territory and his opponents to win it, castles, the decisive weapons of territorial power, played a pivotal role, and it was in the context of castle warfare that much of the fighting occurred. 2009 22:58:35 page_16 < previous page page_16 next page > Page 16 king. England already bristled with them, far more so even than Normandy.

Unpaid troops, though not in the same league as paid professionals, could still be called on. Yet here again Stephen experienced acute difficulties, and these supply the third main cause of his failures. The English feudal levy had a potential strength of about 5,000 knights, and feudal service was summoned frequently throughout the reign. But its usefulness obviously depended on the extent of the magnates’ support. One basic problem was that, since few magnates in England possessed extensive Norman estates, there was a general lack of enthusiasm for continental warfare.

Unification was eased by the fact that ‘Normanised’ southern Scotland and northern England were at equivalent stages of development, by the issue in c. 1150 of a common royal coinage for the two areas, and by the emergence of an influential group of Anglo-Scottish landholders strongly committed to continued political union. One such was Hugh de Morville, lord not only of Appleby but of Cunningham in Ayrshire and of Lauderdale in Berwickshire. It was, indeed, as if the north was bound more tightly to Scotland than it had ever been bound to England.

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