witenagemot (wit-<<schwa>>-n<<schwa>>-g<<schwa>>-moht). [Anglo-Saxon “a meeting of the wise”] Hist. A national assembly of noblemen, high ecclesiastics, and other great thanes of England who advised and aided the king in the general administration of the government. • Its composition depended on the will of the king. It passed out of existence with the Norman Conquest (1066). Although it was a precursor to the British Parliament, today’s body is not a continuation of the witenagemot. — Also spelled wittenagemot; witanagemote.
“[T]he ancient Anglo-Saxon general assembly of the notables [was] called the Witenagemot…. At first the power of the Anglo-Saxon Witenagemot appears to have been considerable, and in fact so much so that the kings were dependent on appointment to that office by the Witan in the early period before the royal succession became hereditary. With the tenth century centralization of power in the Alfredian line of kings, it appears that the power of the Witan began to decline.” Charles Herman Kinnane, A First Book on Anglo-American Law 262 (2d ed. 1952).
[Blacks Law 8th]