The Norman Conquest: The Battle of Hastings and the Fall of Anglo-Saxon England


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Consequences of the conquest

Anglo-Saxon England had developed a highly organized central and local government and an effective judicial system see Anglo-Saxon law. All these were retained and utilized by William, whose coronation oath showed his intention of continuing in the English royal tradition. The old administrative divisions were not superseded by the new fiefs, nor did feudal justice normally usurp the customary jurisdiction of shire and hundred courts.

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Increasing use was made of the inquest procedure—the sworn testimony of neighbours, both for administrative purposes and in judicial cases. William also transformed the structure and character of the church in England. William also presided over a number of church councils, which were held far more frequently than under his predecessors, and introduced legislation against simony the selling of clerical offices and clerical marriage.

A supporter of monastic reform while duke of Normandy, William introduced the latest reforming trends to England by replacing Anglo-Saxon abbots with Norman ones and by importing numerous monks. Probably the most regrettable effect of the conquest was the total eclipse of the English vernacular as the language of literature, law, and administration.

Norman conquest of England

Superseded in official documents and other records by Latin and then increasingly in all areas by Anglo-Norman, written English hardly reappeared until the 13th century. Norman Conquest.

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Norman conquest of England - Wikipedia

Learn More in these related Britannica articles:. Harrying caused by political disturbances or by incursions of the Scots or Welsh was only occasional…. The Norman Conquest of made little change in the mint system or in the coinage though the facing portrait acquired great popularity ; the pre-Conquest moneyers stayed in office and struck coins for William I. After his reign the number of mints tended to decline. One result of the Norman Conquest of was to place all four Old English dialects more or less on a level.

West Saxon lost its supremacy, and the centre of culture and learning gradually shifted from Winchester to London. The old Northumbrian dialect became divided into Scottish and…. History at your fingertips. Sign up here to see what happened On This Day , every day in your inbox! It was a fairly porous system: there were established procedures for churls to become thanes, with written laws and a system of open-access courts at every level from the hundred, the unit of local government, upwards.

Rich, stable, liberal and progressive: why did they lose to a bunch of pirates? The phenomenon certainly seems to demand an explanation, though there may be more than one. Wood starts with a broad perspective and narrows down steadily to the events of 14 October itself, though these must remain largely unknowable. She sketches out the history of the earlier 11th century, made confusing above all by the habit of the contending kings of practising serial monogamy.

Norman conquest of England

The only per cent Englishmen among them were Edmund Ironside and his brother Edwig, and once they had been eliminated by , there was only an exiled line whose last representative in was the boy Edgar, brought back to England from Hungary as the succession crisis deepened. Harold Godwinsson, the king who died at Hastings, had no genetic connection with the old royal dynasty at all, though his sister was the wife of King Edward. If you were looking for the bloodline of Alfred the Great, the only candidate in was young Edgar, and he was only Several sources agree that some time before the crisis, perhaps in , Harold crossed the Channel, fell into the hands of the wrecker count Guy of Ponthieu, and was rescued by William.

He went on campaign with William against the Bretons, and gave him some kind of oath of fealty on holy relics. It was his breach of this oath that gave William the moral high ground and caused Pope Alexander II to grant his expedition the status of a proto-Crusade, complete with appropriately blessed banner. Wood doubts the whole story of papal benediction, which has no non-Norman corroboration. But what was Harold doing across the Channel in any case?


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  • Later versions suggest that he was out on a yachting trip which went wrong in bad weather. Interestingly, this seems to be what the Bayeux Tapestry is trying to portray. Maybe it hardly mattered anyway, since the issue was settled on the battlefield, and here one can only wonder why things went the way they did. By , the English housecarls, heavily armoured and wielding their two-handed Danish-style battle-axes, were as formidable an infantry as could be found anywhere in Europe.

    The Battle of Hastings 1066 - The Normans - BBC Two

    It seems not unlikely, given the two forced marches, London to Yorkshire done in a week, with battle immediately following on 25 September, and Yorkshire to Hastings in less than three, with all the inevitable complications of casualties very heavy at Stamford Bridge and logistics the forage for all those horses.

    Another explanation for the unexpected defeat is that the Normans used a combination of archers and cavalry while the English were tactically monolithic. The English axemen could sweep mere archers off the field, but if they broke ranks to do so they became vulnerable to cavalry. If they stood their ground, they could see the cavalry off, but had to endure being shot at — and at short range even moderately effective bows can punch through ring-mail.

    Was Harold shot in the eye? Can we believe the stories of feigned flight enticing the English to charge downhill? The English had weapons, but the Normans had a weapons system. This is a suitably flattering conclusion, but there are reasons to question it.


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    • Table of Contents for: The Norman conquest : the battle of Hast.
    • The Impact of the Norman Conquest of England;
    • Were there systemic faults in the pre-Conquest kingdom, not just accidental ones? Instead, they folded swiftly and completely.

      The Norman Conquest: The Battle of Hastings and the Fall of Anglo-Saxon England The Norman Conquest: The Battle of Hastings and the Fall of Anglo-Saxon England
      The Norman Conquest: The Battle of Hastings and the Fall of Anglo-Saxon England The Norman Conquest: The Battle of Hastings and the Fall of Anglo-Saxon England
      The Norman Conquest: The Battle of Hastings and the Fall of Anglo-Saxon England The Norman Conquest: The Battle of Hastings and the Fall of Anglo-Saxon England
      The Norman Conquest: The Battle of Hastings and the Fall of Anglo-Saxon England The Norman Conquest: The Battle of Hastings and the Fall of Anglo-Saxon England
      The Norman Conquest: The Battle of Hastings and the Fall of Anglo-Saxon England The Norman Conquest: The Battle of Hastings and the Fall of Anglo-Saxon England
      The Norman Conquest: The Battle of Hastings and the Fall of Anglo-Saxon England The Norman Conquest: The Battle of Hastings and the Fall of Anglo-Saxon England
      The Norman Conquest: The Battle of Hastings and the Fall of Anglo-Saxon England The Norman Conquest: The Battle of Hastings and the Fall of Anglo-Saxon England

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