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Encyclopedia > Norman conquest of England
The Bayeux Tapestry depicts the Battle of Hastings and the events leading to it.
The Bayeux Tapestry depicts the Battle of Hastings and the events leading to it.

The Norman conquest of England began in 1066 with the invasion of the Kingdom of England by William the Conqueror (Duke of Normandy), and his success at the Battle of Hastings resulted in Norman control of England. The Norman Conquest was a pivotal event in English history for several reasons. This conquest linked England more closely with continental Europe through the introduction of a Norman aristocracy, thereby lessening Scandinavian influence. It created one of the most powerful monarchies in Europe and engendered a sophisticated governmental system. The conquest changed the English language and culture and set the stage for a rivalry with France that would continue intermittently until the 20th century. It has an iconic role in English national identity as the last successful foreign conquest of England. Image File history File links No higher resolution available. ... Image File history File links No higher resolution available. ... The Bayeux Tapestry (French: Tapisserie de Bayeux) is a 50 cm by 70 m (20 in by 230 ft) long embroidered cloth which depicts the events leading up to the 1066 Norman invasion of England as well as the events of the invasion itself. ... Combatants Normans supported by: Bretons (one third of total), Flemings, French Anglo-Saxons, the Þingalið Commanders William of Normandy, Odo of Bayeux Harold Godwinson † Strength 7,000-8,000 7,000-8,000 Casualties Unknown, thought to be around 2,000 killed and wounded Unknown, thought to be around 4... An invasion is a military action consisting of armed forces of one geopolitical entity entering territory controlled by another such entity, generally with the objective of conquering territory, or altering the established government. ... Motto Dieu et mon droit(French) God and my right Territory of the Kingdom of England Capital Winchester; London from 11th century Language(s) Old English (de facto, until 1066) Anglo-Norman language (de jure, 1066 - 15th century) English (de facto, gradually replaced French from late 13th century) Government Monarchy... William I of England (c. ... Bold textInsert non-formatted text here This statue of Rollo the Viking (founder of the fiefdom of Normandy) stands in Falaise, Calvados, birthplace of his descendant William I the Conqueror (the Duke of Normandy who became King of England). ... Combatants Normans supported by: Bretons (one third of total), Flemings, French Anglo-Saxons, the Þingalið Commanders William of Normandy, Odo of Bayeux Harold Godwinson † Strength 7,000-8,000 7,000-8,000 Casualties Unknown, thought to be around 2,000 killed and wounded Unknown, thought to be around 4... Norman conquests in red. ... For other uses, see England (disambiguation). ... England is the largest and most populous of the constituent countries of the United Kingdom. ... For other uses, see Europe (disambiguation). ... For other uses, see Scandinavia (disambiguation). ... The English language is a West Germanic language that originates in England. ...



Normandy is a region in northern France which in the years prior to 1066 experienced extensive Viking settlement. In 911, French Carolingian ruler Charles the Simple had allowed a group of Vikings, under their leader Rollo, to settle in northern France with the idea that they would provide protection along the coast against future Viking invaders. This proved successful, and the Vikings in the region became known as the Northmen from which Normandy is derived. The Normans quickly adapted to the indigenous culture, renouncing paganism and converting to Christianity. They adopted the langue d'oïl of their new home and added features from their own Norse language, transforming it into the Norman language. They further blended into the culture by intermarrying with the local population. They also used the territory granted them as a base to extend the frontiers of the Duchy to the west, annexing territory including the Bessin, the Cotentin Peninsula and the Channel Islands. For other uses, see Normandy (disambiguation). ... For other uses, see Viking (disambiguation). ... Also see: France in the Middle Ages. ... Charles the Simple or Charles (September 17, 879 - October 7, 929) was a member of the Carolingian dynasty. ... Rollo on the Six Dukes statue in the Falaise town square. ... Pagan and heathen redirect here. ... Topics in Christianity Movements · Denominations · Other religions Ecumenism · Preaching · Prayer Music · Liturgy · Calendar Symbols · Art · Criticism Important figures Apostle Paul · Church Fathers Constantine · Athanasius · Augustine Anselm · Aquinas · Palamas · Luther Calvin · Wesley Arius · Marcion of Sinope Archbishop of Canterbury · Catholic Pope Coptic Pope · Ecumenical Patriarch Christianity Portal This box:      Christianity is... The langue doïl language family in linguistics comprises Romance languages originating in territories now occupied by northern France, part of Belgium and the Channel Islands. ... Old Norse is the Germanic language spoken by the inhabitants of Scandinavia and their overseas settlements during the Viking Age, until about 1300. ... Norman is a Romance language and one of the Oïl languages. ... A duchy is a territory, fief, or domain ruled by a duke or duchess. ... The Bessin is an area in Normandy, France, corresponding to the territory of the Bajocasse tribe of Celts who also gave their name to the city of Bayeux, central town of the Bessin. ... The Cotentin Peninsula juts out into the English Channel from Normandy towards England, forming part of the north-west coast of France. ... This article is about the British dependencies. ...

Meanwhile in England, Viking attacks resumed in the late 10th century, and in 991 the King of England Aethelred II agreed to marry Emma, the daughter of the Duke of Normandy, to cement a blood-tie alliance for help against the raiders. When King Edward the Confessor died in 1066 with no child, and thus no direct heir to the throne, a power vacuum arose in which several competing interests laid claim to the throne of England. Ethelred II or Æþelræd Unræd (c. ... Queen Emma of Normandy receiving the Encomium Emmae, with her sons Harthacanute and Edward the Confessor in the background. ... St Edward the Confessor or Eadweard III (c. ...

One was Harald III of Norway, commonly known as Harald Hardraada, whose claim was based on a supposed agreement between the previous King of Norway, Magnus I of Norway, and Harthacanute, whereby if either died without heir, the other would inherit both England and Norway. Another claimant to the English throne was William, Duke of Normandy because of his blood ties to Aethelrad through Aethelred's wife Emma. A third was the Earl of Wessex Harold Godwinson who had been elected king by the Witenagemot of England. The stage was set for a battle among the three.[1] Harald III Sigurdsson (1015 – September 25, 1066), later surnamed Harald Hardråde (Old Norse: Haraldr harðráði, roughly translated as stern counsel or hard ruler) was the king of Norway from 1047[1] until 1066. ... Magnus I (1024 - October 25, 1047) was a King of Norway (1035 - 1047) and king of Denmark (1042 - 1047). ... Harthacanute (sometimes Hardicanute, Hardecanute; Danish Hardeknud, Canute the Hardy) (1018/1019–June 8, 1042) was a King of Denmark (1035–1042) and England (1035–1037, 1040–1042). ... William I of England (c. ... Ethelred II (c. ... For the helicopter, see Westland Wessex. ... Name Harold Godwinson Lived c. ... Biblical pharaoh depicted as an Anglo-Saxon king with his witan (11th century) The Witenagemot (also called the Witan, more properly the title of its members) was a political institution in Anglo-Saxon England which operated between approximately the 7th century and 11th century. ...

Tostig and Harald

In spring 1066 Harold's estranged and exiled brother Tostig Godwinson raided in southeastern England with a fleet he had recruited in Flanders, later joined by other ships from Orkney. Threatened by Harold's fleet, Tostig moved north and raided in East Anglia and Lincolnshire, but he was driven back to his ships by the brothers Edwin, Earl of Mercia and Morcar, Earl of Northumbria. Deserted by most of his followers, he withdrew to Scotland, where he spent the summer recruiting fresh forces. King Harald of Norway invaded northern England in early September, leading a fleet of over 300 ships, carrying perhaps 15,000 men. This was further augmented by the forces of Tostig, who threw his support behind Harald's bid for the throne. Advancing on York, the Norwegians were met on 12 September by a northern English army under Edwin and Morcar, but they defeated the English at the Battle of Fulford and occupied York. Harold had spent the summer on the south coast with a large army and fleet waiting for William to invade, but on 8 September he had finally been forced by the exhaustion of his food supplies to dismiss them. He rushed north, gathering forces as he went and took the Norwegians by surprise, defeating them in the exceptionally bloody Battle of Stamford Bridge on 25 September. Harald of Norway and Tostig were killed, and the Norwegians suffered such horrific losses that only 24 ships were required to carry away the survivors. The victory came at great cost, as the Anglo-Saxon army was left in a battered and weakened state. Tostig Godwinson (1026? – September 25, 1066) was an Anglo-Saxon earl of Northumbria and brother of King Harold II of England, the last Anglo-Saxon King of England. ... For other uses, see Flanders (disambiguation). ... Location Geography Area Ranked 16th  - Total 990 km²  - % Water  ? Admin HQ Kirkwall ISO 3166-2 GB-ORK ONS code 00RA Demographics Population Ranked 32nd  - Total (2006) 19,800  - Density 20 / km² Scottish Gaelic  - Total () {{{Scottish council Gaelic Speakers}}} Politics Orkney Islands Council http://www. ... Norfolk and Suffolk, the core area of East Anglia. ... For other places with the same name, see Lincolnshire (disambiguation). ... Edwin (died 1070) was the elder brother of Morcar, Earl of Northumbria, son of Ælfgar, Earl of Mercia and nephew of Hereward. ... Morcar (or Morkere) (d. ... Harald III Sigurdsson (1015 – September 25, 1066), later surnamed Harald HardrÃ¥de (Old Norse: Haraldr harðráði, roughly translated as stern counsel or hard ruler) was the king of Norway from 1047[1] until 1066. ... is the 255th day of the year (256th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Combatants Norwegians Anglo-Saxon English Commanders Harald Hardrada Tostig Morcar of Northumbria and his brother Edwin, Earl of Mercia Strength unknown, possibly 7000 unknown, probably of about equal size to the norwegians Casualties Unknown Unknown On September 20, 1066, King Harald III of Norway and Tostig, his English ally, fought... is the 251st day of the year (252nd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Combatants Norwegians, Northumbrian rebels, Scots Anglo-Saxon England, the Þingalið Commanders Harald HardrÃ¥de(Harald Hadrada)† Tostig Godwinson† Harold Godwinson Strength Around 7,500 Around 7,000 Casualties Unknown, around 7,000 Unknown, around 2,000 The Battle of Stamford Bridge in England took place on September 25, 1066, shortly... is the 268th day of the year (269th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ...

Norman invasion

Meanwhile William had assembled an invasion fleet of approximately 600 ships and an army of 7,000 men. William had recruited soldiers from all of northern France, the Low Countries and Germany. Many soldiers in his army were second- and third-born sons who had little or no inheritance under the laws of primogeniture. William promised that if they brought their own horse, armour, and weapons to join him, they would be rewarded with lands and titles in the new realm. William also gathered over 2,000 horses, transported across the channel in specially adapted horse transports.[2] Ships were greatly used in the Middle Ages. ... Primogeniture is the common law right of the first born son to inherit the entire estate, to the exclusion of younger siblings. ... Trade-cogs were the main transport vessels of Northern Europe. ...

England, 1066: Events in the Norman Conquest.

William had gathered his ships at Saint-Valery-sur-Somme. His army was ready on 12 August; however, unfavourable weather caused him to arrive in the south of England just days after Harold's victory over the Norwegians. The delay turned out to be crucial; had he landed in August as originally planned, Harold would have been waiting with a fresh and numerically superior force. William finally landed at Pevensey in Sussex on 28 September and assembled a prefabricated wooden castle near Hastings as a base. The choice of landing was a direct provocation to Harold Godwinson, because this area of Sussex was Harold's own personal domain. William began immediately to lay waste to the land. It may have prompted Harold to respond immediately and in haste rather than to wait at London long enough to reassemble the full strength of the southern English fyrd. Again, it was an event that favoured William. Had he marched inland, he might have outstretched his supply lines and possibly have been surrounded by Harold's forces. Image File history File links Norman_Conquest_1066. ... Image File history File links Norman_Conquest_1066. ... Saint-Valery-sur-Somme is a large village and canton of the Somme département. ... is the 224th day of the year (225th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Pevensey is a small village (1991 pop. ... This article refers to the historic county in England. ... is the 271st day of the year (272nd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... This article is about the capital of England and the United Kingdom. ...

Harold rushed south at the news of William's landing and paused at London to gather more troops, then advanced to meet William. They fought at the Battle of Hastings on 14 October. It was a close battle, but in the final hours Harold was killed, along with his brothers Earl Gyrth and Earl Leofwine, and the English army fled. Combatants Normans supported by: Bretons (one third of total), Flemings, French Anglo-Saxons, the Þingalið Commanders William of Normandy, Odo of Bayeux Harold Godwinson † Strength 7,000-8,000 7,000-8,000 Casualties Unknown, thought to be around 2,000 killed and wounded Unknown, thought to be around 4... is the 287th day of the year (288th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Gyrth Godwinson was a younger brother of Harold II of England and was killed in the Battle of Hastings. ... Leofwine Godwinson was a younger brother of Harold II of England and was killed in the Battle of Hastings. ...

After his victory at Hastings, William expected to receive the submission of the surviving English leaders, but instead Edgar Atheling was proclaimed king by the Witenagemot, with the support of Edwin and Morcar, Stigand, Archbishop of Canterbury and Aldred, Archbishop of York. William, who had received reinforcements from across the English Channel, therefore advanced, marching through Kent to London. He defeated an English force which attacked him at Southwark, but hewas unable to storm London Bridge and therefore sought to reach the capital by a more circuitous route. He marched west to link up with another Norman force near Dorking, Surrey. The combined armies then moved up the Thames valley to cross the river at Wallingford, Oxfordshire. While there, he received the submission of Stigand. William then travelled northeast along the Chilterns, before advancing towards London from the northwest. Having failed to muster an effective military response, Edgar's leading supporters lost their nerve, and the English leaders surrendered to William at Berkhamstead, Hertfordshire. William was acclaimed King of England and crowned by Aldred on December 25, 1066, in Westminster Abbey. The title given to this article is incorrect due to technical limitations. ... Biblical pharaoh depicted as an Anglo-Saxon king with his witan (11th century) The Witenagemot (also called the Witan, more properly the title of its members) was a political institution in Anglo-Saxon England which operated between approximately the 7th century and 11th century. ... This man should not be confused with Stigand of Selsey, the last bishop of Selsey. ... The Archbishop of Canterbury is the spiritual leader and senior clergyman of the Church of England, recognized by convention as the head of the worldwide Anglican Communion. ... Aldred, or Ealdred (d. ... Arms of the Archbishop of York The Archbishop of York, Primate of England, is the metropolitan bishop of the Province of York, and is the junior of the two archbishops of the Church of England, after the Archbishop of Canterbury. ... For the Thoroughbred racehorse of the same name, see English Channel (horse). ... For other uses, see Kent (disambiguation). ... For other places with the same name, see Southwark (disambiguation). ... For other uses, see London Bridge (disambiguation). ... Dorking is a market town at the foot of the North Downs approximately 25 miles south of London, in Surrey in England. ... This article is about the English county. ... Several places exist with the name Thames, and the word is also used as part of several brand and company names Most famous is the River Thames in England, on which the city of London stands Other Thames Rivers There is a Thames River in Canada There is a Thames... Map sources for Wallingford at grid reference SU6089 Wallingford is a small town in Oxfordshire in southern England. ... Oxfordshire (abbreviated Oxon, from the Latinised form Oxonia) is a county in the South East of England, bordering on Northamptonshire, Buckinghamshire, Berkshire, Wiltshire, Gloucestershire, and Warwickshire. ... The Chiltern Hills are a chalk escarpment that stretches in a south_west to north_east diagonal across several counties of southern England, but is most prominent in Buckinghamshire. ... Arms of Berkhamstead Town Council Berkhamsted (since 1937, former spellings include Berkhampstead, or Berkhamstead, and also known colloquially as Berko) is a historic town of some 19,000 people, situated in the west of Hertfordshire, to the north-west of London, UK. It is in the administrative district of Dacorum. ... For the similarly named county in the West Midlands region, see Herefordshire. ... is the 359th day of the year (360th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Events January 6 - Harold II is crowned September 20 - Battle of Fulford September 25 - Battle of Stamford Bridge September 29 - William of Normandy lands in England at Pevensey. ... The Collegiate Church of St Peter, Westminster, which is almost always referred to by its original name of Westminster Abbey, is a mainly Gothic church, on the scale of a cathedral (and indeed often mistaken for one), in Westminster, London, just to the west of the Palace of Westminster. ...

English resistance

Despite this submission, local resistance continued to erupt for several years. In 1067 rebels in Kent launched an abortive attack on Dover Castle in combination with Eustace II of Boulogne, while the Shropshire landowner Eadric the Wild raised a revolt against the Normans in western Mercia, attacking the Norman castle at Hereford in alliance with the Welsh rulers of Gwynedd and Powys. In 1068 William besieged rebels in Exeter, including Harold's mother Gytha; after suffering heavy losses William managed to negotiate the town's surrender. Later in the year Edwin and Morcar raised a revolt in Mercia, while Earl Gospatric led a rising in Northumbria, which had not yet been occupied by the Normans. These rebellions rapidly collapsed as William moved against them, building castles and installing garrisons as he had already done in the south. Edwin and Morcar again submitted while Gospatric fled to Scotland, as did Edgar the Atheling and his family, who may have been involved in these revolts. Meanwhile Harold's sons, who had taken refuge in Ireland, raided Somerset, Devon and Cornwall from the sea. Early in 1069 the newly installed Norman Earl of Northumbria Robert de Comines and several hundred soldiers accompanying him were massacred at Durham, igniting a widespread Northumbrian rebellion, which was joined by Edgar, Gospatric and other rebels who had taken refuge in Scotland. The castellan of York, Robert fitzRichard, was defeated and killed, and the rebels besieged the Norman castles at York. William hurried with an army from the south, took the rebels by surprise and defeated them in the streets of the city, bringing the revolt to an end. A subsequent local uprising was crushed by the garrison of York. Harold's sons launched a second raid from Ireland but were defeated by Norman forces in Devon under Count Brian. Eustace II, (d. ... Shropshire (pronounced /, -/), alternatively known as Salop[6] or abbreviated Shrops[7], is a county in the West Midlands of England. ... Eadric the Wild was a leader of English Saxon resistance to the Norman Conquest. ... The Kingdom of Mercia at its greatest extent (7th to 9th centuries) is shown in green, with the original core area (6th century) given a darker tint. ... For other uses, see Hereford (disambiguation). ... This article is about the county of Wales. ... Powys is a local government principal area and a preserved county in Wales. ... The city of Exeter is the county town of Devon, in the southwest of England, also known as the West Country. ... Gyda Torkelsdotter was the daughter of Torkel Styrbjörnsson. ... Gospatric or Cospatric (from the Cumbrian Servant of Saint Patrick), (died after 1073), was Earl of Northumbria, or of Bernicia, and later ruler of sizable estates around Dunbar. ... This article is about the county of Somerset in England. ... Part of the seafront of Torquay, south Devon, at high tide Devon is a large county in South West England, bordered by Cornwall to the west, and Dorset and Somerset to the east. ... For other uses, see Cornwall (disambiguation). ... Robert Comine (also Robert de Comines) was very briefly earl of Northumbria in 1068. ...

In the late summer of 1069 a large fleet sent by Sweyn II of Denmark arrived off the coast of England, sparking a new wave of rebellions across the country. After abortive attempted raids in the south, the Danes joined forces with a new Northumbrian uprising, which was also joined by Edgar, Gospatric and the other exiles from Scotland as well as Earl Waltheof. The combined Danish and English forces defeated the Norman garrison at York, seized the castles and took control of Northumbria, although a raid into Lincolnshire led by Edgar was defeated by the Norman garrison of Lincoln. Meanwhile resistance flared up again in western Mercia, where the forces of Eadric the Wild, together with his Welsh allies and further rebel forces from Cheshire, attacked the castle at Shrewsbury. In the south-west rebels from Devon and Cornwall attacked the Norman garrison at Exeter, but were repulsed by the defenders and scattered by a Norman relief force under Count Brian. Other rebels from Dorset and Somerset besieged Montacute Castle but were defeated by a Norman army gathered from London, Winchester and Salisbury under Geoffrey of Coutances. Coin struck for Sweyn II of Denmark, ca. ... Waltheof (1050-31 May 1076), Earl of Northumbria and last of the Anglo-Saxon earls. ... For other places with the same name, see Lincolnshire (disambiguation). ... Lincoln (pronounced //) is a cathedral city and county town of Lincolnshire, England. ... For other uses, see Cheshire (disambiguation). ... For other places with the same name, see Shrewsbury (disambiguation). ... Part of the seafront of Torquay, south Devon, at high tide Devon is a large county in South West England, bordered by Cornwall to the west, and Dorset and Somerset to the east. ... For other uses, see Cornwall (disambiguation). ... Dorset (pronounced DOR-sit or [dɔ.sət], and sometimes in the past called Dorsetshire) is a county in the south-west of England, on the English Channel coast. ... This article is about the county of Somerset in England. ... Montacute is a small village in Somerset, England, two miles south of Yeovil. ... Winchester is a historic city in southern England, with a population of around 40,000 within a 3 mile radius of its centre. ... For other uses, see Salisbury (disambiguation). ... Geoffrey de Montbray (d. ...

Meanwhile William advanced northwards, attacking the Danes, who had moored for the winter south of the Humber in Lincolnshire, and driving them back to the north bank. Leaving Robert of Mortain in charge in Lincolnshire, he turned west and defeated the Mercian rebels in battle at Stafford. When the Danes again crossed to Lincolnshire the Norman forces there again drove them back across the Humber. William advanced into Northumbria, defeating an attempt to block his crossing of the swollen River Aire at Pontefract. The Danes again fled at his approach, and he occupied York. He bought off the Danes, who agreed to leave England in the spring, and through the winter of 1069–70 his forces systematically devastated Northumbria in the Harrying of the North, subduing all resistance. In the spring of 1070, having secured the submission of Waltheof and Gospatric, and driven Edgar and his remaining supporters back to Scotland, William returned to Mercia, where he based himself at Chester and crushed all remaining resistance in the area before returning to the south. Sweyn II of Denmark arrived in person to take command of his fleet and renounced the earlier agreement to withdraw, sending troops into the Fens to join forces with English rebels led by Hereward, who were based on the Isle of Ely. Soon, however, Sweyn accepted a further payment of Danegeld from William and returned home. Robert, Count of Mortain Robert was the son of Herluin de Conteville and Herleva of Falaise, he was full brother to the infamous Odo of Bayeux; he was also a half-brother to William the Bastard, Duke of Normandy and later king William I of England: Herleva was mother of... , Stafford is the county town of Staffordshire in England. ... Gordale Beck flows out of Gordale Scar to join the Aire. ... Pontefract Castle in the early 17th Century Pontefract is a town in the county of West Yorkshire, England, near the A1 (or Great North Road), the M62 motorway, and Castleford. ... The Harrying (or Harrowing) of the North was a series of campaigns waged by William the Conqueror, King of England, in the winter of 1069–1070 in order to subjugate the north of his newfound English kingdom (primarily Northumbria and the Midlands) as part of the Norman Conquest of England. ... The Fens may also refer to the Back Bay Fens, a park in Boston, Massachusetts. ... // Hereward the Wake, known in his own times as Hereward the Outlaw or Hereward the Exile, was an 11th century leader in England who led resistance to the Norman Conquest, and was consequently labelled an outlaw. ... The Isle of Ely in Cambridgeshire, England, is a traditional region around the city of Ely. ... The Danegeld was an English tribute raised to pay off Viking raiders (usually led by the Danish king) to save the land from being ravaged by the raiders. ...

After the departure of the Danes the Fenland rebels remained at large, protected by the marshes, and early in 1071 there was a final outburst of rebel activity in the area. Edwin and Morcar again turned against William, and while Edwin was soon betrayed and killed, Morcar reached Ely, where he and Hereward were joined by exiled rebels who had sailed from Scotland. William arrived with an army and a fleet to finish off this last pocket of resistance. After some costly failures the Normans managed to construct a pontoon to reach the Isle of Ely, defeated the rebels at the bridgehead and stormed the island, marking the effective end of English resistance. Statistics Population: 15,102 Ordnance Survey OS grid reference: TL535799 Administration District: East Cambridgeshire Shire county: Cambridgeshire Region: East of England Constituent country: England Sovereign state: United Kingdom Other Ceremonial county: Cambridgeshire Historic county: Cambridgeshire Services Police force: Ambulance service: East of England Post office and telephone Post town: ELY...

Many of the Norman sources which survive today were written in order to justify their actions, in response to Papal concern about the treatment of the native English by their Norman conquerors during this period.[3]

Control of England

Once England had been conquered, the Normans faced many challenges in maintaining control. The Anglo-Norman-speaking Normans were in very small numbers compared to the native English population. Historians estimate their number at 5,000 armoured knights.[4] New Norman lords constructed a variety of forts and castles (such as the motte-and-bailey) to provide a stronghold against a popular revolt (or increasingly rare Viking attacks) and to dominate the nearby town and countryside. Any remaining English lords who refused to acknowledge William's accession to the throne or who revolted were stripped of titles and lands, which were then re-distributed to Norman favourites of William. If an English lord died without issue the Normans would always choose a successor from Normandy. In this way the Normans displaced the native aristocracy and took control of the top ranks of power. Absenteeism became common for Norman (and later Angevin) kings of England, for example William spent 130 months from 1072 onward in France rather than in England, using writs to rule England. This situation lasted until the Capetian conquest of Normandy. This royal absenteeism created a need for additional bureaucratic structures and consolidated the English administration.[5] Kings were not the only absentees since the Anglo-Norman barons would use the practice too. This article does not cite any references or sources. ... A motte-and-bailey is a form of castle. ... The Battle of Bouvines, July 27, 1214, was the first great international conflict of alliances among national forces in Europe. ...

Keeping the Norman lords together and loyal as a group was just as important, since any friction could give the native English a chance to oust their minority Anglo-French-speaking lords. Odo of Bayeux, half brother of William, for example was eventually stripped of his property holdings after a series of unsanctioned acquisitions and fraudulent activities, a move which threatened to destabilise the purported authority of Norman land holdings. One way William accomplished this cohesion was by giving out land in a piece-meal fashion and punishing unauthorised holdings.[6] A Norman lord typically had property spread out all over England and Normandy, and not in a single geographic block. Thus, if the lord tried to break away from the king, he could only defend a small number of his holdings at any one time. Odo of Bayeux (c. ...

Over the longer range the same policy greatly facilitated contacts between the nobility of different regions and encouraged the nobility to organize and act as a class, rather than on an individual or regional base which was the normal way in other feudal countries. The existence of a strong centralized monarchy encouraged the nobility to form ties with the city dwellers, which was eventually manifested in the rise of English parliamentarianism. A parliamentary system, or parliamentarism, is distinguished by the executive branch of government being dependent on the direct or indirect support of the parliament, often expressed through a vote of confidence. ...



One of the most obvious changes was the introduction of Anglo-Norman, a northern dialect of Old French, as the language of the ruling classes in England, displacing Old English. French retained the status of a prestige language for nearly 300 years and has had a significant influence on the language, which is still visible in Modern English. Wikipedia does not have an article with this exact name. ... Old French was the Romance dialect continuum spoken in territories corresponding roughly to the northern half of modern France and parts of modern Belgium and Switzerland from around 1000 to 1300. ... Old English (also called Anglo-Saxon[1], Old English: ) is an early form of the English language that was spoken in parts of what is now England and southern Scotland between the mid-fifth century and the mid-twelfth century. ...

Governmental systems

Even before the Normans arrived, Anglo-Saxon England had one of the most sophisticated governmental systems in Western Europe. All of England had been divided into administrative units called shires of roughly uniform size and shape, which were run by officials known as "shire reeve" or "sheriff". The shires tended to be somewhat autonomous and lacked coordinated control. English government made heavy use of written documentation which was unusual for kingdoms in Western Europe at the time and made for more efficient governance than word of mouth. A shire is an administrative area of Great Britain and Australia. ... In England, a reeve was an official appointed to supervise lands for a lord. ... Look up Sheriff in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ...

The English had also developed permanent physical locations of government. Most medieval governments were always on the move, holding court wherever the weather and food or other matters were best at the moment. This practice limited the potential size and sophistication of a government body to whatever could be packed on a horse and cart, including the treasury and library. England had a permanent treasury at Winchester, from which a permanent government bureaucracy and document archive had begun to grow. Winchester Cathedral as seen from the Cathedral Close Arms of Winchester City Council Winchester is a city in southern England, and the administrative capital of the county of Hampshire, with a population of around 35,000. ...

This sophisticated medieval form of government was handed over to the Normans and grew even stronger. The Normans centralised the autonomous shire system. The Domesday Book exemplifies the practical codification which enabled Norman assimilation of conquered territories through central control of a census. It was the first kingdom-wide census taken in Europe since the time of the Romans, and enabled more efficient taxation of the Norman's new realm. A line drawing entitled Domesday Book from Andrew Williamss Historic Byways and Highways of Old England. ... Image:1870 census Lindauer Weber 01. ... For other uses, see Roman Empire (disambiguation). ...

Systems of accounting grew in sophistication. A government accounting office called the exchequer was established by Henry I; from 1150 onward this was located in Westminster. It has been suggested that Accounting scholarship be merged into this article or section. ... The Exchequer was (and in some cases still is) a part of the governments of England (latterly to include Wales, Scotland and Ireland) that was responsible for the management and collection of revenues. ... Henry I (c. ... Westminster is a district within the City of Westminster in London. ...

Anglo-Norman and French relations

Anglo-Norman and French political relations became very complicated and somewhat hostile after the Norman Conquest. The Normans still retained control of the holdings in Normandy and were thus still vassals to the King of France. At the same time, they were their equals as King of England. On the one hand they owed fealty to the King of France, and on the other hand they did not, because they were peers. In the 1150s, with the creation of the Angevin Empire, the Plantagenets controlled half of France and all of England, dwarfing the power of the Capetians. Yet the Normans were still technically vassals to France. A crisis came in 1204 when French King Philip II seized all Norman and Angevin holdings in mainland France except Gascony. This lead to the Hundred Years War when Anglo-Norman English kings tried to regain their dynastic holdings in France. A vassal, in European medieval feudalism terminology, is one who through a commendation ceremony (composed of homage and fealty) enters into mutual obligations with a lord, usually military conscription and mutual protection, in exchange for a fief. ... Roland pledges his fealty to Charlemagne; from a manuscript of a chanson de geste. ... The term Angevin Empire describes a collection of states ruled by the Angevin Plantagenet dynasty. ... Philip II Augustus (French: Philippe Auguste) (21 August 1165 – 14 July 1223) was the King of France from 1180 until his death. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ... This article is in need of attention. ...

During William's lifetime, his vast land gains were a source of great alarm to the King of France and the counts of Anjou and Flanders. Each did his best to diminish Normandy's holdings and power, leading to years of conflict in the region.

English cultural development

A direct consequence of the invasion was the near total elimination of the Anglo-Saxon aristocracy and the loss of English control over the Church in England. As William subdued rebels, he confiscated their lands and gave them to his Norman supporters. By the time of the Domesday Book, only two English landowners of any note had survived the displacement.[7] By 1096 no church See or Bishopric was held by any native Englishman; all were held by Normans. No other medieval European conquest of Christians by Christians had such devastating consequences for the defeated ruling class. Meanwhile, William's prestige among his followers increased tremendously because he was able to award them vast tracts of land at little cost to himself. His awards also had a basis in consolidating his own control; with each gift of land and titles, the newly created feudal lord would have to build a castle and subdue the natives. Thus was the conquest self-perpetuating. Middle age is the period of life beyond young adulthood but before the onset of old age. ... The term ruling class refers to the social class of a given society that decides upon and sets that societys political policy. ...

Emigration to the Byzantine Empire

Thousands of Anglo-Saxon nobles and soldiers ultimately found Norman domination unbearable and emigrated to Byzantium, placing themselves at the service of the Byzantine Emperor. Anglo-Saxon emigres came to dominate an elite unit called the Varangian Guard, which served as the Byzantine Emperor's own bodyguard and continued in existence until at least 1204. The Lords and Barons prove their Nobility by hanging their Banners and exposing their Coats-of-arms at the Windows of the Lodge of the Heralds. ... Byzantine redirects here. ... This is a list of Byzantine Emperors. ... The Varangians or Variags were Vikings who travelled eastwards from Sweden and Norway. ...


As early as the 12th century the Dialogue concerning the Exchequer attests to considerable intermarriage between native English and Norman immigrants. Over the centuries, particularly after 1348 when the Black Death pandemic carried off a significant number of the English nobility, the two groups largely intermarried and became barely distinguishable. The Dialogue concerning the Exchequer or Dialogus de Scaccario was an early Mediaeval treatise on the practice of the Exchequer. ... Immigration is the act of moving to or settling in another country or region, temporarily or permanently. ... This article concerns the mid fourteenth century pandemic. ... This article is about large epidemics. ...

The Norman conquest was the last successful conquest of England, although some historians identify the Glorious Revolution of 1688 as the most recent successful invasion from the continent. Major invasion attempts were launched by the Spanish in 1588 and the French in 1744 and 1759, but in each case the combined impact of the weather and the attacks of the Royal Navy on their escort fleets thwarted the enterprise without the invading army even putting to sea. Invasions were also prepared by the French in 1805 and by the Germans in 1940, but these were abandoned after preliminary operations failed to overcome Britain's naval and, in the latter case, air defences. Various brief raids on British coasts were successful within their limited scope, such as those launched by the French during the Hundred Years War and the Barbary pirates in the 17th and 18th centuries, the Spanish landing in Cornwall in 1595 and the Dutch raid on the Medway shipyards in 1667. The Glorious Revolution, also called the Revolution of 1688, was the overthrow of King James II of England (VII of Scotland) in 1688 by a union of Parliamentarians and the Dutch stadtholder William III of Orange-Nassau (William of Orange), who as a result ascended the English throne as William... This article is about the navy of the United Kingdom. ... This article is in need of attention. ... This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ... Medway is the name given to a conurbation in the north of Kent, England. ...

See also

The Bayeux Tapestry (French: Tapisserie de Bayeux) is a 50 cm by 70 m (20 in by 230 ft) long embroidered cloth which depicts the events leading up to the 1066 Norman invasion of England as well as the events of the invasion itself. ... William the Conqueror had men of diverse standing and origins in France, under his command at the Battle of Hastings in 1066, along with others completing his Norman conquest of England until after the Harrying of the North and before the Anarchy. ... The Kingdom of Sicily (in green) in 1154, representing the extent of Norman conquest in Italy. ... Combatants Normans: Leinster,  England,  Fleming,  Welsh, Irish Kingdoms: Ulster, Munster Connaught  Norsemen Commanders Dermot MacMurrough, King Henry II, Strongbow, Raymond Carew, Richard Fitz Godbert Rhys ap Gruffydd, Maurice Fitz Gerald, Robert Fitz Stephen, Rory OConnor Askuluv Strength Note: All figures may vary according to source. ... 1066 and All That: A Memorable History of England, comprising all the parts you can remember, including 103 Good Things, 5 Bad Kings and 2 Genuine Dates is a tongue-in-cheek reworking of the history of England. ...


  1. ^ Other contenders later came to the fore. The first was Edgar Ætheling, Edward the Confessor's great nephew who was of direct descent from King Edmund Ironside. He was the son of Edward the Exile, son of Edmund Ironside and after his father's return to and subsequent death in England in 1057, Edgar was nominated by Edward the Confessor as Heir Apparent, hence his epithet the aetheling (spelled Æþeling during the Anglo-Saxon period). Aetheling denoted a man of noble blood, and was used more specifically in the later Anglo-Saxon period to designate a potential heir to the throne. Unfortunately for Edgar,he was only about thirteen or fourteen at the time of Edward the Confessor's death and with little family to support him, his claim was passed over by the Witan. Another contender was Sweyn II of Denmark, who had a claim to the throne as the grandson of Sweyn Forkbeard and nephew of Cnut, but he did not make his bid for the throne until 1069. Tostig Godwinson's attacks in early 1066 may have been the beginning of a bid for the throne, but after defeat at the hands of Edwin and Morcar and the desertion of most of his followers he threw his lot in with Harald Hardrada.
  2. ^ Hyland, p 99
  3. ^ Ian W. Walker, Harold: The last Anglo-Saxon King, Sutton 1997 ISBN 0-7509-3763-7
  4. ^ A. L. Rowse, The Story of Britain, Artus 1979 ISBN 0-297-83311-1
  5. ^ David Carpenter The Struggle for Mastery. The Penguin history of Britain 1066-1284 page 91: "In the first place, after 1072 William was largely an absentee. Of the 170 months remaining of his reign he spent around 130 in France, returning to England only on four occasions. This was no passing phase. Absentee kings continued to spend at best half their time in England until the loss of Normandy in 1204... But this absenteeism solidified rather than sapped royal government since it engendered structures both to maintain peace and extract money on the king's absence, money which was above all needed across the channel".
  6. ^ See for example the Trial of Penenden Heath, an early attempt to curtail Odo of Bayeux's excesses
  7. ^ Campbell, J The Anglo-Saxons (1982) p.240

Edgar Ætheling[1], also known as Edgar the Outlaw, (c. ... Edmund II or Eadmund II (c. ... The Witenagemot (or Witan) was a political institution in Anglo-Saxon England which operated between approximately the 7th century and 11th century. ... Coin struck for Sweyn II of Denmark, ca. ... Sweyn I, or Sweyn Forkbeard, (Danish: Svend Tveskæg, originally Tjugeskæg or Tyvskæg, Old Norse: Sveinn Tjúguskegg, Norwegian: Svein Tjugeskjegg), (??? – February 3, 1014), king of Denmark and England, a leading Viking warrior and the father of Canute the Great (Cnut I). ... Canute II, or Canute the Great, in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicles also known as Cnut (Old Norse: Knútr inn ríki, Norwegian: Knut den mektige, Swedish: Knut den store, Danish: Knud den Store) (c. ... Tostig Godwinson (1026? – September 25, 1066) was an Anglo-Saxon earl of Northumbria and brother of King Harold II of England, the last Anglo-Saxon King of England. ... Edwin (died 1070) was the elder brother of Morcar, Earl of Northumbria, son of Ælfgar, Earl of Mercia and nephew of Hereward. ... Morcar (or Morkere) (d. ... Alfred Leslie Rowse, CH FBA (December 4, 1903 – October 3, 1997), known professionally as A. L. Rowse and to his friends and family as Leslie, was a prolific British historian. ... The Trial of Penenden Heath occurred shortly after the Norman Conquest of England in 1066 (on an unknown date) and involved a dispute between Odo Bishop of Bayeux, half-brother of William the Conqueror and Lanfranc, Archbishop of Canterbury and others. ...


  • Campbell, J. The Anglo-Saxons, (1982)
  • Carpenter, David. The Struggle for Mastery. The Penguin history of Britain 1066-1284
  • Hyland, Ann (1994). The Medieval Warhorse: From Byzantium to the Crusades. Grange Books. ISBN 1-85627-990-1. 

Ann Hyland is a writer and historian specialising in equestrianism and the development of horses and horse care, especially for use in warfare. ...

Further reading

  • Chibnall, Marjorie (1999). Debate on the Norman Conquest. New York: St. Martin's Press. 
  • Douglas, David (1964). William the Conqueror: The Norman impact upon England. University of California Press. 
  • Humble, Richard (1992). The Fall of Saxon England. Barnes & Noble. ISBN 0-88029-987-8. 
  • Howarth, David (1981). 1066 The Year of the Conquest. Viking Penguin. ISBN 0-14-005850-8. 
  • Rex, Peter (2004). The English Resistance: The Underground War Against the Normans. Tempus Publishing Ltd. ISBN 0-7524-2827-6. 
  • Savage, Anne (1997). The Anglo-Saxon Chronicles. CLB. ISBN 1-85833-478-0. 

University of California Press, also known as UC Press, is a publishing house associated with the University of California that engages in academic publishing. ... David Howarth (1912 – 1991) was a British historian and author. ... Anne Savage, born July 27, 1896 – died March 25, 1971, was a Canadian painter and art teacher. ...

External links

  • Why the Pope supported William's invasion of England
  • Essential Norman Conquest
  • The Effect of 1066 on the English Language
  • Normans - a background to the Conquest
  • The Norman Conquest
  • The Invasion of England, 1066
  • Secrets of the Norman Invasion

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Norman warriors had long before helped the Christians of Spain in their warfare with the Saracens of the Peninsula, and in Sicily it was from the same enemy that they won the great Mediterranean island.
In William's theory, the forcible conquest of England by strangers was an untoward accident.
The conquest of Apulia, won bit by bit in many years of what we can only call freebooting, was not a national Norman enterprise like the conquest of England, and the settlement to which it led could not be a national Norman settlement in the same sense.
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England was the world's first parliamentary democracy and consequently many constitutional, governmental and legal innovations that had their origin in England have been widely adopted by other nations.
England is named after the Angles (Old English genitive case, "Engla" — hence, Old English "Engla Land"), the largest of a number of Germanic tribes who settled in England in the fifth and sixth centuries, who are believed to have originated in the peninsula of Angeln, in modern-day northern Germany.
The Norman conquest of England was the conquest of the Kingdom of England by William the Conqueror (Duke of Normandy), in 1066 at the Battle of Hastings and the subsequent Norman control of England.
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