Medieval History Term of the Week: Thegn

Etymology: Middle English theyn, from Old English thegn; akin to Old High German thegan thane and perhaps to Greek tiktein to bear, beget

1) Originally meaning a Military Companion to the King. It has come to mean a land holding administrative office. (MEDIEV-L. Medieval Terms)

2) Pre-Conquest noble below the level of earl; local estate owner with at least 5 hides of land and a residence. Richer ones had grand halls behind large defences. Backbone of the royal army. Cite, 214 3) A member of the late O.E. noble or upper class. (Reynolds, Susan. An Introduction to the History of English Medieval Towns, 200)

*term definitions retrieved from Netserf’s Medieval Glossary (

2 thoughts on “Medieval History Term of the Week: Thegn”

  1. Thanks, Nan! I appreciate the nomination. I’m still reading An Involuntary King and am enjoying it. I should have my review posted to my site within the next couple of weeks.

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