This section is from the book "The Law Of Contracts", by William Herbert Page. Also available from Amazon: Commercial Contracts: A Practical Guide to Deals, Contracts, Agreements and Promises.
The Norman Conquest did not result in any immediate change in Anglo-Saxon law. Feudalism was assuming the form which it finally took on in England. A strong central power was building up in spite of the feudal lords.1 The factors which caused the great change to come in English law were forming, but the law itself underwent no sudden change. As the conditions of English society altered and as the old law ceased to fit the facts of life, it gradually died out. The new law which was to take its place was in a condition of ferment. The power of the church seems to have increased and the jurisdiction of the church courts seems to have extended. With this general expansion in ecclesiastical jurisdiction probably went an extension in the doctrine of the effect of a pledge of faith. It is probable that the church courts enforced many contracts and enforced payment of debts if the faith of the promisor or the debtor had been pledged. By the side of the local courts, the courts of the lords and the ecclesiastical courts, the king's court began to appear in the reign of Henry I as a youthful and vigorous competitor for pre-eminence.