The thegn became a member of a territorial nobility, and the dignity of thegnhood was attainable by those who fulfilled certain conditions.
The English thegn sometimes yielded to, sometimes changed into, the Norman baron, using that word in its widest sense, without any violent alteration in his position.
A king's thegn was a person of great importance, the contemporary idea being shown by the Latin translation of the words as comes.
The latter was held in the time of the Confessor by a thegn of St Petrock and at the time of the survey by Robert, count of Mortain, of the same saint.
The eorl of the old system would doubtless commonly become a thegn under the new, as the Roman patrician took his place in the new nobilitas; but others could take their place there also.
The precursor of the thegn was the gesith, the companion of the king or great lord, the member of his comitatus, and the word thegn began to be used to describe a military gesith.