Norman conquest of England
The Norman conquest of England was the 11th-century invasion and occupation of England by an army of Normans, Bretons and French soldiers led by Duke William II of Normandy, later William the Conqueror. William, who defeated the Anglo-Saxon King Harold II of England at the Battle of Hastings on 14 October 1066, was crowned king in London on Christmas Day, 1066. He then consolidated his control and settled many of his followers in England, introducing a number of governmental and societal changes.
William's claim to the English throne derived from his familial relationship with the childless King Edward the Confessor, who may have encouraged William's hopes for the throne. But when Edward died in January 1066, he was succeeded by his brother-in-law Harold, who faced challenges from William and another claim by the Norwegian king, Harald Hardrada. Hardrada invaded northern England in September 1066 and was victorious at the Battle of Fulford before being defeated and killed by King Harold at the Battle of Stamford Bridge on 25 September 1066. William had meanwhile landed in southern England, and Harold quickly marched south to confront him, leaving many of his forces behind in the north. On 14 October Harold's army confronted William's invaders near Hastings. After an all-day battle, Harold's army was defeated and he was killed.
Although William's main rivals were gone, he still faced rebellions over the following years, and he was not secure on his throne until after 1072. The English elite who resisted had their lands confiscated and some fled into exile. To control his new kingdom, William gave lands to his followers and built castles throughout the land to command military strongpoints. Other effects of the conquest included the introduction of Norman French as the language of the noble elite, the court and government, and changes in the composition of the upper classes, as William enfeoffed lands to be held directly from the king. More gradual changes affected the agricultural classes and village life: the main immediate change appears to have been the formal elimination of slavery, which may or may not have been linked to the invasion. There was little alteration in the structure of government, as the new Norman administrators took over many of the forms of Anglo-Saxon government.
In 911, the French Carolingian ruler Charles the Simple allowed a group of Vikings under their leader Rollo to settle in Normandy as part of the Treaty of Saint-Clair-sur-Epte. In exchange for the land, the Norsemen under Rollo were expected to provide protection along the coast against further Viking invaders. Their settlement proved successful, and the Vikings in the region became known as the "Northmen" from which "Normandy" and "Normans" are derived. The Normans quickly adopted 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 intermarried with the local population and used the territory granted them as a base to extend the frontiers of the duchy westward, annexing territory including the Bessin, the Cotentin Peninsula and Avranches.
In 1002 King Æthelred II of England married Emma, the sister of Richard II, Duke of Normandy. Their son Edward the Confessor, who spent many years in exile in Normandy, succeeded to the English throne in 1042. This led to the establishment of a powerful Norman interest in English politics, as Edward drew heavily on his former hosts for support, bringing in Norman courtiers, soldiers, and clerics and appointing them to positions of power, particularly in the Church. Childless and embroiled in conflict with the formidable Godwin, Earl of Wessex, and his sons, Edward may also have encouraged Duke William of Normandy's ambitions for the English throne.
When King Edward died at the beginning of 1066, the lack of a clear heir led to a disputed succession in which several contenders laid claim to the throne of England. Edward's immediate successor was the Earl of Wessex, Harold Godwinson, the richest and most powerful of the English aristocrats, who was elected king by the Witenagemot of England and crowned by the Archbishop of York, Ealdred, although Norman propaganda claimed the ceremony was performed by Stigand, the uncanonically elected Archbishop of Canterbury. Harold was immediately challenged by two powerful neighbouring rulers. Duke William claimed that he had been promised the throne by King Edward and that Harold had sworn agreement to this, and King Harald III of Norway, commonly known as Harald Hardrada, also contested the succession. His claim to the throne was based on an agreement between his predecessor Magnus I of Norway and the earlier English king, Harthacnut, whereby if either died without heir, the other would inherit both England and Norway.[a] William and Harald at once set about assembling troops and ships to invade England in support of their claims.[b]
Tostig's raids and the Norwegian invasion
In early 1066, Harold's exiled brother Tostig Godwinson raided southeastern England with a fleet he had recruited in Flanders, later joined by other ships from Orkney.[c] 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.[d] King Harold spent the summer on the south coast with a large army and fleet waiting for William to invade, but the bulk of his forces were militia who needed to harvest their crops, so on 8 September Harold dismissed them.
King Harald Hardrada invaded northern England in early September, leading a fleet of more than 300 ships carrying perhaps 15,000 men. Harald's army was further augmented by the forces of Tostig, who threw his support behind the Norwegian king's bid for the throne. Advancing on York, the Norwegians occupied the city after defeating a northern English army under Edwin and Morcar on 20 September at the Battle of Fulford. The two earls had rushed to engage the Norwegian forces before King Harold could arrive from the south. Although Harold Godwinson had married Edwin and Morcar's sister Ealdgyth, the two earls may have distrusted Harold and feared that the king would replace Morcar with Tostig. The end result was that their forces were devastated and unable to participate in the rest of the campaigns of 1066, although the two earls survived the battle.
After his victory Hardrada moved on to York, which surrendered to him. After taking hostages from the leading men of the city, on 24 September the Norwegians moved east to the tiny village of Stamford Bridge. King Harold probably learned of the Norwegian invasion in mid-September and rushed north, gathering forces as he went. The royal forces likely took nine days to cover the distance from London to York, averaging almost 25 miles (40 kilometres) per day. At dawn on 25 September, Harold's forces moved into York, where he learned that the Norwegian forces were at Stamford Bridge. The English forces then marched on the Norwegians and took them by surprise, defeating them in the Battle of Stamford Bridge. Harald of Norway and Tostig were killed, and the Norwegians suffered such horrific losses that only 24 of the original 300 ships were required to carry away the survivors. The English victory was costly, as Harold's army was left in a battered and weakened state.
William assembled a large invasion fleet and an army gathered not only from Normandy but from all over France, including large contingents from Brittany and Flanders. He mustered his forces at Saint-Valery-sur-Somme and was ready to cross the Channel by about 12 August. The exact numbers and composition of William's force is unknown. A contemporary document claims that William had 726 ships, but this may be an inflated figure. Figures given by contemporary writers are highly exaggerated, varying from 14,000 to 150,000 men. Modern historians have offered a range of estimates for the size of William's forces: 7000–8000 men, 1000–2000 of them cavalry; 10,000–12,000 men; 10,000 men, 3000 of them cavalry; or 7500 men. The army would have consisted of a mix of cavalry, infantry, and archers or crossbowmen, with about equal numbers of cavalry and archers and the foot soldiers equal in number to the other two types combined. Although later lists of companions of William the Conqueror are extant, most are padded with extra names; only about 35 individuals can be reliably claimed to have been with William at Hastings.[e]
Landing and Harold's march south
The Norman army's crossing was delayed, either because of unfavourable weather or because of the desire to avoid being intercepted by the powerful English fleet. The Normans did not in fact cross to England until a few days after Harold's victory over the Norwegians, following the dispersal of Harold's naval force. They landed at Pevensey in Sussex on 28 September and erected a wooden castle at Hastings, from which they raided the surrounding area. This served a two-fold purpose; not only did it ensure supplies for the army, but as many of the lands in the area were held by Harold and his family it would weaken William's opponent and make him more likely to attack to put an end to the raiding.
Harold, after defeating his brother Tostig and Harald Hardrada in the north, left much of his force there, including Morcar and Edwin, and marched the rest of his army south to deal with the threatened Norman invasion. It is unclear when Harold learned of William's landing, but it was probably while he was travelling south. Harold stopped in London for about a week before reaching Hastings, so it is likely that he took about a week to march south, averaging about 27 miles (43 kilometres) per day, for the approximately 200 miles (320 kilometres) distance. Although Harold attempted to surprise the Normans, William's scouts reported the English arrival to the duke. The exact events preceding the battle are obscure, with contradictory accounts in the sources, but all agree that William led his army from his castle and advanced towards the enemy. Harold had taken a defensive position at the top of Senlac Hill (present-day Battle, East Sussex), about 6 miles (9.7 kilometres) from William's castle at Hastings.
The size and composition of Harold's army is not reliably given in contemporary sources, although two Norman sources give figures of 1.2 million or 400,000 men. Recent historians have suggested figures of between 5000 and 13,000 for Harold's army at Hastings, and most modern historians argue for a figure of 7000–8000 English troops. These men would have been a mix of the fyrd, or militia mainly composed of foot soldiers, and the housecarls, or nobleman's personal troops, who usually fought on foot also. The main difference between the two types was the armour, with the housecarls using better protecting armour than that of the fyrd. The English army does not appear to have had many archers, although some were present. Fewer individual Englishmen are known to have been at Hastings, with the most important ones being Harold's brothers Gyrth and Leofwine. About 20 named individuals can reasonably be assumed to have fought with Harold at Hastings, including Harold's two brothers and two other relatives.[f]
The battle began at about 9 am on 14 October and lasted all day, but while a broad outline is known, the exact events are obscured by contradictory accounts in the sources. Although the numbers on each side were about equal, William had both cavalry and infantry, including many archers, while Harold had only foot soldiers and few if any archers. The English soldiers formed up as a shield wall along the ridge, and were at first so effective that William's army was thrown back with heavy casualties. Some of William's Breton troops panicked and fled, and some of the English troops appear to have pursued the fleeing Bretons. Norman cavalry then attacked the pursuing troops and killed them. While the Bretons were fleeing, rumours swept the Norman forces that the duke had been killed, but William rallied his troops. Twice more the Normans fled, both times feigned, and drew the English into pursuit, allowing the Norman cavalry to attack them repeatedly. The available sources are more confused about events in the afternoon, but it appears that the decisive event was the death of Harold, about which differing stories are told. William of Jumieges claimed that Harold was killed by the duke. The Bayeux Tapestry has been claimed to show Harold's death by an arrow to the eye, but this may be a later reworking of the tapestry to conform to 12th-century stories that Harold had died from an arrow wound to the head. Other sources stated that no one knew how Harold died because the press of battle was so tight around the king that the soldiers could not see who struck the fatal blow.William of Poitiers gives no details at all about Harold's death.
Aftermath of Hastings
The day after the battle, Harold's body was identified, either by his armour or marks on his body.[g] The bodies of the English dead, who included some of Harold's brothers and his housecarls, were left on the battlefield, although some were removed by relatives later.Gytha, Harold's mother, offered the victorious duke the weight of her son's body in gold for its custody, but her offer was refused. William ordered that Harold's body was to be thrown into the sea, but whether that took place is unclear. Another story relates that Harold was buried at the top of a cliff.Waltham Abbey, which had been founded by Harold, later claimed that his body had been buried there secretly. Later legends claimed that Harold did not die at Hastings, but escaped and became a hermit at Chester.
After his victory at Hastings, William expected to receive the submission of the surviving English leaders, but instead Edgar the Ætheling[h] was proclaimed king by the Witenagemot, with the support of Earls Edwin and Morcar, Stigand, the Archbishop of Canterbury, and Ealdred, the Archbishop of York. William therefore advanced, marching around the coast of Kent to London. He defeated an English force that attacked him at Southwark, but being unable to storm London Bridge he sought to reach the capital by a more circuitous route.
William moved up the Thames valley to cross the river at Wallingford, Berkshire; while there he received the submission of Stigand. William then travelled northeast along the Chilterns, before advancing towards London from the northwest, fighting further engagements against forces from the city. Having failed to muster an effective military response, Edgar's leading supporters lost their nerve, and the English leaders surrendered to William at Berkhamsted, Hertfordshire. William was acclaimed King of England and crowned by Ealdred on 25 December 1066, in Westminster Abbey.[i] The new king attempted to conciliate the remaining English nobility by confirming Morcar, Edwin and Waltheof, the Earl of Northumbria, in their lands as well as giving some land to Edgar the Ætheling. William remained in England until March 1067, when he returned to Normandy with a number of English prisoners, including Stigand, Morcar, Edwin, Edgar the Ætheling, and Waltheof.
Despite the submission of the English nobles, resistance continued to erupt for several years. William left control of England in the hands of his half-brother Odo and one of his closest supporters, William fitzOsbern. In 1067 rebels in Kent launched an abortive attack on Dover Castle in combination with Eustace II of Boulogne. In the same year the Shropshire landowner Eadric the Wild,[j] in alliance with the Welsh rulers of Gwynedd and Powys, raised a revolt in western Mercia, fighting Norman forces based in Hereford. These events forced William to return to England at the end of 1067. In 1068 William besieged rebels in Exeter, including Harold's mother Gytha, and after suffering heavy losses managed to negotiate the town's surrender. In May, Matilda was crowned queen at Westminster, an important symbol of William's growing international stature. Later in the year Edwin and Morcar raised a revolt in Mercia with Welsh assistance, while Gospatric, the newly appointed Earl of Northumbria,[k] 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 Ætheling 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.
Revolts of 1069
Early in 1069 the newly installed Norman Earl of Northumbria, Robert de Comines, and several hundred soldiers accompanying him were massacred at Durham; the Northumbrian rebellion was joined by Edgar, Gospatric, Siward Barn 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 castle at York. William hurried north with an army from the south, defeated the rebels outside York and pursued them into the city, massacring the inhabitants and bringing the revolt to an end. He built a second castle at York, strengthened Norman forces in Northumbria and then returned south. A subsequent local uprising was crushed by the garrison of York. Harold's sons launched a second raid from Ireland and were defeated in Devon by Norman forces under Count Brian, a son of Eudes, Count of Penthièvre. 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 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 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.
At the same time 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 and Shropshire, 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, Somerset and neighbouring areas besieged Montacute Castle but were defeated by a Norman army gathered from London, Winchester and Salisbury under Geoffrey of Coutances. Meanwhile William attacked the Danes, who had moored for the winter south of the Humber in Lincolnshire, and drove 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 attempted to return 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 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. As a symbol of his renewed authority over the north, William ceremonially wore his crown at York on Christmas Day, 1069.
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.Papal legates arrived and at Easter re-crowned William, which symbolically would have reasserted his right to the kingdom. William also oversaw the purging of a number of prelates from the Church, most notably Stigand, who was deposed from Canterbury. The papal legates also imposed penances on William and those of his supporters who had taken part in Hastings and the subsequent campaigns. As well as Canterbury, the see of York had become vacant following the death of Ealdred in September 1069. Both sees were filled by men loyal to William: Lanfranc, abbot of William's foundation at Caen received Canterbury while Thomas of Bayeux, one of William's chaplains, was installed at York. A number of other bishoprics and abbeys also received new bishops and abbots and William confiscated some of the wealth of the English monasteries, which had served as repositories for the wealth of the native nobles.
In spring 1070, Sweyn II of Denmark arrived to take personal 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 the Wake,[l] based on the Isle of Ely. Soon, however, Sweyn accepted a further payment of Danegeld from William and returned home. After the departure of the Danes the Fenland rebels remained at large, protected by the marshes, and early in 1071 there was a final outbreak 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. Morcar was imprisoned for the rest of his life, but Hereward was pardoned and had his lands returned to him.
William faced difficulties on the Continent in 1071, but in 1072 he returned to England and marched north to confront King Malcolm III of Scotland.[m] This campaign, which included not only a land army but a supporting fleet, resulted in the Peace of Abernethy in which Malcolm expelled Edgar the Ætheling from Scotland and agreed to some degree of subordination to William. The exact status of this subordination was unclear – the treaty merely stated that Malcolm became William's man. Whether this meant only for Cumbria and Lothian or for the whole Scottish kingdom was left ambiguous.
In 1075, during William's absence, Ralph de Gael, the Earl of Norfolk, and Roger de Breteuil, the Earl of Hereford, conspired to overthrow him in the Revolt of the Earls. The exact reason for the rebellion is unclear, but it was launched at the wedding of Ralph to a relative of Roger's, held at Exning. Another earl, Waltheof, despite being one of William's favourites, was also involved, and some Breton lords were ready to offer support. Ralph also requested Danish aid. William remained in Normandy while his men in England subdued the revolt. Roger was unable to leave his stronghold in Herefordshire because of efforts by Wulfstan, the Bishop of Worcester, and Æthelwig, the Abbot of Evesham. Ralph was bottled up in Norwich Castle by the combined efforts of Odo of Bayeux, Geoffrey of Coutances, Richard fitzGilbert, and William de Warenne. Norwich was besieged and surrendered, and Ralph went into exile. Meanwhile, the Danish king's brother, Cnut, had finally arrived in England with a fleet of 200 ships, but he was too late as Norwich had already surrendered. The Danes then raided along the coast before returning home. William did not return to England until later in 1075, to deal with the Danish threat and the aftermath of the rebellion, celebrating Christmas at Winchester. Roger and Waltheof were kept in prison, where Waltheof was executed in May 1076. By that time William had returned to the continent, where Ralph was continuing the rebellion from Brittany.
Control of England
Once England had been conquered, the Normans faced many challenges in maintaining control. They were few in number compared to the native English population; historians estimate the number of Norman settlers at around 8000, with Norman in this instance including not just natives of Normandy, but settlers from other parts of France. One consequence of the invasion was that William's followers expected and received lands and titles in return for their service in the invasion. However, William claimed ultimate possession of virtually all the land in England over which his armies had given him de facto control, and asserted the right to dispose of it as he saw fit. Henceforth, all land was "held" from the king in feudal tenure in return for military service. The distribution of land was normally in a piecemeal fashion spread out over the entire kingdom, rather than in contiguous blocks. A Norman lord typically had properties located all throughout England and Normandy, and not in a single geographic block.
To find the lands to compensate his Norman followers, William initially confiscated the estates of all the English lords who had fought and died with Harold and redistributed part of their lands. These confiscations led to revolts, which resulted in more confiscations, a cycle that continued virtually unbroken for five years after the Battle of Hastings. To put down and prevent further rebellions the Normans constructed castles and fortifications in unprecedented numbers, initially mostly on the motte-and-bailey pattern. Historian Robert Liddiard remarks that "to glance at the urban landscape of Norwich, Durham or Lincoln is to be forcibly reminded of the impact of the Norman invasion". William and his barons also exercised tighter control over inheritance of property by widows and daughters, often forcing marriages to Normans.
A measure of William's success in taking control is that, from 1072 until the Capetian conquest of Normandy in 1204, William and his successors were largely absentee rulers. For example, after 1072, William spent more than 75 per cent of his time in France rather than in England. While he needed to be personally present in Normandy to defend the realm from foreign invasion and put down internal revolts, he set up royal administrative structures that enabled him to rule England from a distance.
A direct consequence of the invasion was the almost total elimination of the old English aristocracy and the loss of English control over the Catholic Church in England. William systematically dispossessed English landowners and conferred their property on his continental followers. The Domesday Book meticulously documents the impact of this colossal programme of expropriation, revealing that by 1086 only about 5 per cent of land in England south of the Tees was left in English hands. Even this tiny residue was further diminished in the decades that followed, the elimination of native landholding being most complete in southern parts of the country.
Natives were also removed from high governmental and ecclesiastical office. After 1075 all earldoms were held by Normans, and Englishmen were only occasionally appointed as sheriffs. Likewise in the Church, senior English office-holders were either expelled from their positions or kept in place for their lifetimes and replaced by foreigners when they died. By 1096 no bishopric was held by any Englishman, and English abbots became uncommon, especially in the larger monasteries.
Following the conquest large numbers of Anglo-Saxons, including groups of nobles, fled the country. Many went to Scotland, Ireland, or Scandinavia. Members of King Harold Godwinson's family sought refuge in Ireland and used their bases in that country for unsuccessful invasions of England. The largest single exodus occurred in the 1070s, when a group of Anglo-Saxons in a fleet of 235 ships sailed for the Byzantine Empire. The empire became a popular destination for many English nobles and soldiers, as it would have been known that the Byzantines were in need of mercenaries. The English became the predominant element in the elite Varangian Guard, hitherto a largely Scandinavian unit, from which the emperor's bodyguard was drawn. Some of the English migrants were settled in Byzantine frontier regions on the Black Sea coast, and established towns with names such as New London and New York.
Women had some rights before the Norman Conquest that they had lost by about 1100, continuing a trend that began after the Danish invasion of the early 11th century, and in particular through King Cnut's revision of laws. They may have lost the right to consent to marriage, for example, and widows the right to remarry. The Norman kings distinguished between aristocrats and commoners, and a woman's place in her life-cycle, in general, brought some changes in opportunities. Widows could remarry (even if they could not always consent to whom they were remarried) and, in general, control property in ways that married women and maidens could not. The greatest rights were generally available to women having access to land.
Before the Normans arrived, Anglo-Saxon governmental systems were more sophisticated than their counterparts in Normandy. All of England was divided into administrative units called shires with subdivisions, the royal court was the centre of government and royal courts existed to secure the rights of free men. Shires were run by officials known as "shire reeve" or "sheriff". Most medieval governments were always on the move, holding court wherever the weather and food or other matters were best at the moment. England, however, had a permanent treasury at Winchester before William's conquest. One major reason for the strength of the English monarchy was the wealth of the kingdom, built on the English system of taxation that included a land tax, or the geld. English coinage was also superior to most of the other currency in use in northwestern Europe, and the ability to mint coins was a royal monopoly. The English kings had also developed the system of issuing writs to their officials, in addition to the normal medieval practice of issuing charters. Writs were either instructions to an official or group of officials, or notifications of royal actions such as appointments to office or of a grant of some sort.
This sophisticated medieval form of government was handed over to the Normans and was the foundation of further developments. They kept the framework of government but made changes in the personnel, although at first the new king attempted to keep some natives in office. By the end of William's reign however, most of the officials of government and the royal household were Normans, not English. The language of official documents also changed, from Old English to Latin. One innovation was the introduction of the forest laws and the setting aside of large sections of England as royal forest subject to the newly introduced forest law. The Domesday survey was an administrative survey of the landholdings of the kingdom, and was unique to medieval Europe. This document was divided into sections based on the shires, and listed all the landholdings of each tenant-in-chief of the king as well as who had held the land before the conquest.
One of the most obvious effects of the conquest 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 words entered the English language, and a further sign of the shift was the usage of French names instead of English ones. Male names such as William, Robert and Richard soon became common, although female names changed more slowly. The Norman invasion had little impact on placenames however, which had changed significantly after earlier Scandinavian invasions. It is unknown how much English the Norman invaders learned, nor how much the knowledge of French spread among the lower classes, but the demands of trade and basic communication probably meant that bilingualism was not unknown among the Normans and the native English.
Immigration and intermarriage
An estimated 8000 Normans and other continental persons settled in England as a result of the Conquest, although exact figures cannot be established. Some of these new residents intermarried with the native English, but the extent of this practice in the years immediately after Hastings is unclear. A number of marriages are attested between Norman men and English women during the years before 1100, but such marriages were uncommon. Most Normans continued to contract marriages with other Normans or other continental families rather than with the English. Within a century of the invasion, intermarriage between the native English and the Norman immigrants had become common. By the early 1160s, Ailred of Rievaulx was writing that intermarriage was common among all levels of society.
The impact of the conquest on the lower levels of English society is difficult to assess. The major change was the elimination of slavery in England, which had disappeared by the middle of the 12th century. There were about 28,000 slaves listed in Domesday Book in 1086, fewer than had been enumerated for 1066. In some places, such as Essex, the decline in slaves was as much as 20 per cent for the 20 years. The main reasons for the decline in slaveholding appear to have been the disapproval of the Church and the cost of supporting slaves, who unlike serfs, had to be supported entirely by their owners. The practice of slavery was never outlawed, and the Leges Henrici Primi from the reign of King Henry I continue to mention slaveholding as legal.
Many of the free peasants of Anglo-Saxon society appear to have lost status and become indistinguishable from the non-free serfs. Whether this change was due entirely to the conquest is unclear, but the invasion and its after effects probably accelerated a process already underway. Likewise, the spread of towns and increase in nucleated settlements in the countryside, rather than scattered farms, was probably accelerated by the coming of the Normans to England. The actual lifestyle of the peasantry probably did not greatly change in the decades after 1066.
Debate over the conquest started almost as soon as the event itself. The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, when discussing the death of William the Conqueror, denounced him and the conquest in verse form, but the king's obituary notice from William of Poitiers, a Frenchman, was laudatory and full of praise. Historians since then have argued over the facts of the matter and how to interpret them, with little agreement. Modern historians in the 20th and 21st centuries have focused less on the rightness or wrongness of the conquest itself, instead concentrating on the actual effects of the invasion. Some, such as Richard Southern, have seen the conquest as a critical turning point in history. Southern stated that "no country in Europe, between the rise of the barbarian kingdoms and the 20th century, has undergone so radical a change in so short a time as England experienced after 1066." Other historians, such as H. G. Richardson and G. O. Sayles, consider that the transformation was less radical. The debate over the impact of the conquest depends on what metrics are used to measure change after 1066. If Anglo-Saxon England was already evolving before the invasion, with the introduction of feudalism, castles or other changes in society, then the conquest, while important, did not represent radical reform. However the change was dramatic if measured by the elimination of the English nobility or the loss of Old English as a literary language. Nationalistic arguments have been made on both sides of the debate, with the Normans cast as either the persecutors of the English or the rescuers of the country from a decadent Anglo-Saxon nobility. In more general terms, one writer has called the conquest "the last echo of the national migrations that characterized the early Middle Ages".
- Harthacnut was the son of King Cnut the Great and Emma of Norway, and thus was the half-brother of Edward the Confessor, and reigned from 1040 to 1042, and died without children. Harthacnut's father Cnut had defeated Æthelred's son Edmund Ironside in 1016 to claim the English throne and marry Æthelred's widow, Emma. After Harthacnut's death in 1042, Magnus began preparations for an invasion of England, which was only stopped by his death in 1047.
- 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 was born in Hungary, where his father had fled after the conquest of England by Cnut. After his family's eventual return to England and his father's death in 1057, Edgar had by far the strongest hereditary claim 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.
- Tostig, who had been Earl of Northumbria, was expelled from that office by a Northumbrian rebellion in late 1065. After King Edward sided with the rebels, Tostig went into exile in Flanders.
- The king of Scotland, Malcolm III, is said to have been Tostig's sworn brother.
- Of those 35, 5 are known to have died in the battle – Robert of Vitot, Engenulf of Laigle, Robert fitzErneis, Roger son of Turold, and Taillefer.
- Of these named persons, eight died in the battle – Harold, Gyrth, Leofwine, Godric the sheriff, Thurkill of Berkshire, Breme, and someone known only as "son of Helloc".
- A 12th-century tradition stated that Harold's face could not be recognized and Edith the Fair, Harold's common-law wife, was brought to the battlefield to identify his body from marks that only she knew.
- Ætheling is the Anglo-Saxon term for a royal prince with some claim to the throne.
- The coronation was marred when the Norman troops stationed outside the abbey heard the sounds of those inside acclaiming the king and began burning nearby houses, thinking the noises were signs of a riot.
- Eadric's by-name "the Wild" is relatively common, so despite suggestions that it arose from Eadric's participation in the northern uprisings of 1069, this is not certain.
- Gospatric had bought the office from William after the death of Copsi, whom William had appointed in 1067. Copsi was murdered in 1068 by Osulf, his rival for power in Northumbria.
- Although the epithet "the Wake" has been claimed to have derived from "the wakeful one", the first use of the epithet is from the mid-13th century, and thus is unlikely to have been contemporary.
- Malcolm, in 1069 or 1070, had married Margaret, sister of Edgar the Ætheling.
- Bates Normandy Before 1066 pp. 8–10
- Crouch Normans pp. 15–16
- Bates Normandy Before 1066 p. 12
- Bates Normandy Before 1066 pp. 20–21
- Hallam and Everard Capetian France p. 53
- Williams Æthelred the Unready p. 54
- Huscroft Ruling England p. 3
- Stafford Unification and Conquest pp. 86–99
- Higham Death of Anglo-Saxon England pp. 167–181
- Walker Harold pp. 136–138
- Bates William the Conqueror pp. 73–77
- Higham Death of Anglo-Saxon England pp. 188–190
- Keynes "Harthacnut" Blackwell Encyclopaedia of Anglo-Saxon England
- Huscroft Norman Conquest p. 84
- Stenton Anglo-Saxon England pp. 423–424
- Huscroft Ruling England pp. 12–14
- Stenton Anglo-Saxon England pp. 578–580
- Walker Harold pp. 144–145
- Walker Harold pp. 144–150
- Walker Harold pp. 154–158
- Marren 1066 pp. 65–71
- Marren 1066 p. 73
- Walker Harold pp. 158–165
- Marren 1066 pp. 74–75
- Bates William the Conqueror pp. 79–89
- Douglas William the Conqueror p. 192
- Gravett Hastings pp. 20–21
- Bennett Campaigns of the Norman Conquest p. 25
- Lawson Hastings pp. 163–164
- Bennett Campaigns of the Norman Conquest p. 26
- Marren 1066 pp. 89–90
- Gravett Hastings p. 27
- Marren 1066 pp. 108–109
- Marren 1066 pp. 107–108
- Marren 1066 p. 98
- Carpenter Struggle for Mastery p. 72
- Marren 1066 p. 93
- Huscroft Norman Conquest p. 124
- Lawson Battle of Hastings pp. 180–182
- Marren 1066 pp. 99–100
- Lawson Hastings p. 128
- Lawson Hastings pp. 130–133
- Gravett Hastings pp. 28–34
- Marren 1066 p. 105
- Huscroft Norman Conquest p. 126
- Carpenter Struggle for Mastery p. 73
- Huscroft Norman Conquest pp. 127–128
- Huscroft Norman Conquest p. 129
- Marren 1066 p. 137
- Gravett Hastings p. 77
- Gravett Hastings p. 80
- Huscroft Norman Conquest p. 131
- Gravett Hastings p. 81
- Marren 1066 p. 146
- Bennett Campaigns of the Norman Conquest p. 91
- Douglas William the Conqueror pp. 204–205
- Douglas William the Conqueror pp. 205–206
- Gravett Hastings p. 84
- Huscroft Norman Conquest pp. 138–139
- Douglas William the Conqueror p. 212
- Williams "Eadric the Wild (fl. 1067–1072)" Oxford Dictionary of National Biography
- Walker Harold pp. 186–190
- Huscroft Norman Conquest pp. 140–141
- Huscroft Norman Conquest pp. 142–144
- Douglas William the Conqueror pp. 214–215
- Williams English and the Norman Conquest pp. 24–27
- Williams English and the Norman Conquest pp. 20–21
- Williams English and the Norman Conquest pp. 27–34
- Williams English and the Norman Conquest p. 35
- Williams English and the Norman Conquest pp. 35–41
- Huscroft Norman Conquest pp. 145–146
- Bennett Campaigns of the Norman Conquest p. 56
- Roffe "Hereward (fl. 1070–1071)" Oxford Dictionary of National Biography
- Douglas William the Conqueror pp. 221–222
- Williams English and the Norman Conquest pp. 49–57
- Huscroft Norman Conquest pp. 146–147
- Douglas William the Conqueror pp. 225–226
- Douglas William the Conqueror p. 227
- Douglas William the Conqueror pp. 231–233
- Bates William the Conqueror pp. 181–182
- Stafford Unification and Conquest pp. 102–105
- Carpenter Struggle for Mastery pp. 82–83
- Carpenter Struggle for Mastery pp. 79–80
- Carpenter Struggle for Mastery p. 84
- Carpenter Struggle for Mastery pp. 83–84
- Carpenter Struggle for Mastery pp. 75–76
- Chibnall Anglo-Norman England pp. 11–13
- Kaufman and Kaufman Medieval Fortress p. 110
- Liddiard Castles in Context p. 36
- Carpenter Struggle for Mastery p. 89
- Carpenter Struggle for Mastery p. 91
- Thomas English and Normans pp. 105–137
- Thomas "Significance" pp. 303–333
- Thomas English and Normans pp. 202–208
- Ciggaar Western Travellers pp. 140–141
- Daniell From Norman Conquest to Magna Carta pp. 13–14
- Heath Byzantine Armies p. 23
- Stafford "Women and the Norman Conquest" pp. 221–249
- Thomas Norman Conquest p. 59
- Huscroft Norman Conquest p. 187
- Loyn Governance of Anglo-Saxon England p. 176
- Thomas Norman Conquest p. 60
- Huscroft Norman Conquest p. 31
- Huscroft Norman Conquest pp. 194–195
- Huscroft Norman Conquest pp. 36–37
- Huscroft Norman Conquest pp. 198–199
- Keynes "Charters and Writs" Blackwell Encyclopaedia of Anglo-Saxon England p. 100
- Huscroft Norman Conquest pp. 200–201
- Huscroft Norman Conquest pp. 323–324
- Huscroft Norman Conquest pp. 321–322
- Thomas Norman Conquest pp. 107–109
- Huscroft Norman Conquest p. 327
- Clanchy England and its Rulers p. 93
- Huscroft Ruling England p. 94
- Huscroft Norman Conquest p. 329
- Clanchy England and its Rulers pp. 31–35
- Quoted in Clanchy England and its Rulers p. 32
- Singman Daily Life p. xv
- Bates, David (1982). Normandy Before 1066. London: Longman. ISBN 0-582-48492-8.
- Bates, David (2001). William the Conqueror. Stroud, UK: Tempus. ISBN 0-7524-1980-3.
- Bennett, Matthew (2001). Campaigns of the Norman Conquest. Essential Histories. Oxford, UK: Osprey. ISBN 978-1-84176-228-9.
- Campbell, J. (1982). The Anglo-Saxons. Oxford, UK: Phaidon. ISBN 0-7148-2149-7.
- Carpenter, David (2004). The Struggle for Mastery: The Penguin History of Britain 1066–1284. New York: Penguin. ISBN 0-14-014824-8.
- Chibnall, Marjorie (1986). Anglo-Norman England 1066–1166. Oxford, UK: Basil Blackwell. ISBN 0-631-15439-6.
- Ciggaar, Krijna Nelly (1996). Western Travellers to Constantinople: the West and Byzantium, 962–1204. Leiden, Netherlands: Brill. ISBN 90-04-10637-5.
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- Crouch, David (2007). The Normans: The History of a Dynasty. London: Hambledon & London. ISBN 1-85285-595-9.
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- Douglas, David C. (1964). William the Conqueror: The Norman Impact Upon England. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.
- Gravett, Christopher (1992). Hastings 1066: The Fall of Saxon England. Campaign 13. Oxford, UK: Osprey. ISBN 1-84176-133-8.
- Hallam, Elizabeth M.; Everard, Judith (2001). Capetian France 987–1328 (Second ed.). New York: Longman. ISBN 0-582-40428-2.
- Heath, Ian (1995). Byzantine Armies AD 1118–1461. London: Osprey. ISBN 978-1-85532-347-6.
- Higham, Nick (2000). The Death of Anglo-Saxon England. Stroud, UK: Sutton. ISBN 0-7509-2469-1.
- Huscroft, Richard (2009). The Norman Conquest: A New Introduction. New York: Longman. ISBN 1-4058-1155-2.
- Huscroft, Richard (2005). Ruling England 1042–1217. London: Pearson/Longman. ISBN 0-582-84882-2.
- Hyland, Ann (1994). The Medieval Warhorse: From Byzantium to the Crusades. London: Grange Books. ISBN 1-85627-990-1.
- Kaufman, J. E. and Kaufman, H. W. (2001). The Medieval Fortress: Castles, Forts, and Walled Cities of the Middle Ages. Cambridge, MA: Da Capo Press. ISBN 0-306-81358-0.
- Keynes, Simon (2001). "Charters and Writs". In Lapidge, Michael; Blair, John; Keynes, Simon, and Scragg, Donald. Blackwell Encyclopaedia of Anglo-Saxon England. Malden, MA: Blackwell. pp. 99–100. ISBN 978-0-631-22492-1.
- Keynes, Simon (2001). "Harthacnut". In Lapidge, Michael; Blair, John; Keynes, Simon, and Scragg, Donald. Blackwell Encyclopaedia of Anglo-Saxon England. Malden, MA: Blackwell. pp. 229–230. ISBN 978-0-631-22492-1.
- Lawson, M. K. (2002). The Battle of Hastings: 1066. Stroud, UK: Tempus. ISBN 0-7524-1998-6.
- Loyn, H. R. (1984). The Governance of Anglo-Saxon England, 500–1087. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press. ISBN 0-8047-1217-4.
- Liddiard, Robert (2005). Castles in Context: Power, Symbolism and Landscape, 1066 to 1500. Macclesfield, UK: Windgather Press. ISBN 0-9545575-2-2.
- Marren, Peter (2004). 1066: The Battles of York, Stamford Bridge & Hastings. Battleground Britain. Barnsley, UK: Leo Cooper. ISBN 0-85052-953-0.
- Roffe, David (2004). "Hereward (fl. 1070–1071)" ((subscription or UK public library membership required)). Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/13074. Retrieved 29 March 2013.
- Singman, Jeffrey L. (1999). Daily Life in Medieval Europe. Daily Life Through History. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press. ISBN 0-313-30273-1.
- Stafford, Pauline (1989). Unification and Conquest: A Political and Social History of England in the Tenth and Eleventh Centuries. London: Edward Arnold. ISBN 0-7131-6532-4.
- Stafford, Pauline (1996). "Women and the Norman Conquest". Transactions of the Royal Historical Society. 6th series (4): 221–250.
- Stenton, F. M. (1971). Anglo-Saxon England (Third ed.). Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-280139-5.
- Swanton, Michael James (trans.) (1998). The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle. New York: Routledge. ISBN 0-415-92129-5.
- Thomas, Hugh M. (2003). The English and the Normans. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.
- Thomas, Hugh (2007). The Norman Conquest: England after William the Conqueror. Critical Issues in History. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc. ISBN 0-7425-3840-0.
- Thomas, Hugh M. (2003). "The significance and fate of the native English landowners of 1086". The English Historical Review 118: 303–333.
- Walker, Ian (2000). Harold the Last Anglo-Saxon King. Gloucestershire, UK: Wrens Park. ISBN 0-905778-46-4.
- Williams, Ann (2003). Æthelred the Unready: The Ill-Counselled King. London: Hambledon & London. ISBN 1-85285-382-4.
- Williams, Ann (2004). "Eadric the Wild (fl. 1067–1072)" ((subscription or UK public library membership required)). Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/8512. Retrieved 29 March 2013.
- Williams, Ann (2000). The English and the Norman Conquest. Ipswich, UK: Boydell Press. ISBN 0-85115-708-4.
- Essential Norman Conquest from Osprey Publishing
- Normans – a background to the Conquest from the BBC
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