Anglo-Saxon Thegn, ca. 449-1066 AD
Perhaps the most important element of the Anglo-Saxon army, from earliest days to Norman Conquest, was a class of nobleman-warrior who it is convenient here to call the thegn. The thegn (or thane), originally meaning servant, was a man who held from the king or another hereditary noble by right of military service he owed that person. The thegn´s position was thus military (though he had non-military duties as well). He ranked between an ordinary freeman and a hereditary noble, and was in this respect a “nobleman”, though his lands did not pass down automatically to his descendants.