Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.


Thane (thegn), an Anglo-Saxon title, which seems to have originally signified one of mature age, and hence a soldier. Later on it acquired the same meaning as gesith, that is, a member of the king's comitatus or personal following; but, as the thanes received grants from the royal demesne, the term came to imply the holding of land and eventually denoted any landowner whose estate exceeded five hides. The king's thegns were those who held directly from the king. After the Conquest many of the thegns passed easily and naturally into the kinghtly order under the Norman kings.