The strength of all native kings since Alfred, and of the bretwaldas before him, had lain fundamentally in the possession of an ancestral kingdom and in the personal devotion of servants whether household or landed thegns. The Danish rulers of England, having no special attachment to anyone of the submerged kingdoms, had widened the conception of English kingship by divorcing it from its local and particular associations; but Cnut's plan ofreserving no English province for his direct rule, and his grant of Wessex as an earldom to his upstart favourite Godwine, had weakened the position of any successor who had not his quasi-imperial power. And when the Scandinavian empire collapsed, it was evident that the main support of the English monarchy had been removed. When Edward became king the royal demesnes were still at his disposal, and were suffIcient for his estate; but he found a stranger ruling as earl in his ancestral kingdom of Wessex, and was deprived of the personal service of those thegns whom his forebears had rewarded with land. His power as king was to depend on the extent to which he could utilize the authority of earls who mostly had no tradition of loyalty either to him or to his family.