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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 the troops of William, Duke of Normandy, and his victory at the Battle of Hastings. This resulted in Norman control of England, which was firmly established during the next few years.

The Norman Conquest was a pivotal event in English history for several reasons. It largely removed the native ruling class, replacing it with a foreign, French-speaking monarchy, aristocracy, and clerical hierarchy. This, in turn, brought about a transformation of the English language and the culture of England.

By subjecting the country to rulers originating in France it linked England more closely with continental Europe, while lessening Scandinavian influence, and set the stage for a rivalry with France that would continue intermittently for many centuries. It also had important consequences for the rest of the British Isles, paving the way for further Norman conquests in Wales and Ireland, and the extensive penetration of the aristocracy of Scotland by Norman and other French-speaking families, with the accompanying spread of continental institutions and cultural influences.



Normandy is a region in northern France which in the years prior to 1066 experienced extensive Viking resettlement. In 911, French Carolingian ruler Charles the Simple allowed a group of Vikings under their leader Rollo to settle in northern France as part of the Treaty of Saint-Clair-sur-Epte. Charles hoped that by doing so he would end the Viking attacks that were plaguing France at the time. In exchange, they were expected to provide protection along the coast against future Viking invaders.[1]

Their settlement proved successful, and the Vikings in the region became known as the Northmen from which Normandy is derived.[2] The Normans quickly adapted to the indigenous culture, renouncing paganism and converting to Christianity.[3] 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.[4] 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 Avranches.[5]

In 1002 King Æthelred II of England married Emma, the sister of Richard II, Duke of Normandy.[6] Their son Edward the Confessor, who spent many years in exile in Normandy, succeeded to the English throne in 1042.[7] 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.[8]

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.[9][10] Edward's immediate successor was the Earl of Wessex, Harold Godwinson, the richest and most powerful of the English aristocracy, who was elected king by the Witenagemot of England and crowned by Archbishop Ealdred of York, although Norman propaganda claimed he was consecrated by Stigand, the uncanonically elected Archbishop of Canterbury.[11][9][10] However, he was at once 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.[12] Harald III of Norway, commonly known as Harald Hardrada, also contested the succession. His claim to the throne was based on a supposed agreement between his predecessor Magnus I of Norway, and the earlier Danish King of England Harthacanute, whereby if either died without heir, the other would inherit both England and Norway.[13] Both William and Harald at once set about assembling troops and ships for an invasion.[14][15]

Raids by Tostig and Harald of Norway

In spring 1066 Harold's estranged and exiled brother Tostig Godwinson raided 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.[10][16]

King Harald of Norway invaded northern England in early September, leading a fleet of over 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.[17][18]

Harold had spent the summer on the south coast with a large army and fleet waiting for William to invade, but on 8 September, after his food supplies were exhausted, he had dismissed them.[19] Learning of the Norwegian invasion, 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 of the original 300 ships were required to carry away the survivors. The English victory came at great cost, however, as Harold's army was left in a battered and weakened state.[20][21]

Norman invasion

Meanwhile 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.[22] He mustered his forces at Saint-Valery-sur-Somme. The army was ready to cross by about 12 August.[23] However, the 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.[24][22]

England, 1066: Events in the Norman Conquest.

Marching south at the news of William's landing, Harold paused briefly at London to gather more troops, then advanced to meet William. They fought at the Battle of Hastings on 14 October.[25] The English army, drawn up in a shieldwall on top of Senlac Hill, withstood a series of Norman attacks for several hours but was depleted by the losses suffered when troops on foot pursuing retreating Norman cavalry were repeatedly caught out in the open by counter-attacks. In the evening the defence finally collapsed and Harold was killed, along with his brothers Earl Gyrth and Earl Leofwine.[26][27]

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 Earls Edwin and Morcar, Stigand, Archbishop of Canterbury, and Ealdred, Archbishop of York.[28][29] William therefore advanced, marching around the coast of Kent to London. He defeated an English force which attacked him at Southwark, but he was unable to storm London Bridge and therefore sought to reach the capital by a more circuitous route.[30][31]

He 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, 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.[32][31] William was acclaimed King of England and crowned by Ealdred on 25 December 1066, in Westminster Abbey.[33][31]

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.[34][35] In the same year the Shropshire landowner Eadric the Wild, in alliance with the Welsh rulers of Gwynedd and Powys, raised a revolt in western Mercia, fighting Norman forces based in Hereford.[36][35] In 1068 William besieged rebels in Exeter, including Harold's mother Gytha; after suffering heavy losses William managed to negotiate the town's surrender.[37][38]

Later in the year Edwin and Morcar raised a revolt in Mercia with Welsh assistance, 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.[39] 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.[40][41] Meanwhile Harold's sons, who had taken refuge in Ireland, raided Somerset, Devon and Cornwall from the sea.[42][43]

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 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.[44][45] He built a second castle at York, strengthened Norman forces in Northumbria and then returned to the south. A subsequent local uprising was crushed by the garrison of York.[46][45] Harold's sons launched a second raid from Ireland but were defeated in Devon by Norman forces under Count Brian, a son of Eudes, Count of Penthièvre.[47][48]

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.[49][50]

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.[51][50]

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.[51][50] 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.[52][50]

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.[53][50] 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.[54][55]

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.[56][57]

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.[58]

Control of England

Once England had been conquered, the Normans faced many challenges in maintaining control.[59] The Normans were few in number compared to the native English population. Historians estimate the number of Norman settlers at around 8,000, but Norman in this instance includes not just natives of Normandy, but settlers from other parts of France.[60] The Normans overcame this numerical deficit by adopting innovative methods of control.

First, unlike Cnut the Great, who had rewarded his followers with money rather than displacing native landholders, William's followers expected and received lands and titles in return for their service in the invasion.[61] 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.[62] Henceforth, all land was "held" from the King.[62] Initially, William confiscated the lands of all English lords who had fought and died with Harold and redistributed most of them to his Norman supporters (though some families were able to "buy back" their property and titles by petitioning William).[63] These initial confiscations led to revolts, which resulted in more confiscations, in a cycle that continued virtually unbroken for five years after the Battle of Hastings.[61] To put down and prevent further rebellions the Normans constructed castles and fortifications in unprecedented numbers,[64] initially mostly on the motte-and-bailey pattern.[65]

Even after active resistance to his rule had died down, William and his barons continued to use their positions to extend and consolidate Norman control of the country. For example, if an English landholder died without issue, the King (or in the case of lower-level landholders, one of his barons) could designate the heir, and often chose a successor from Normandy.[citation needed] William and his barons also exercised tighter control over inheritance of property by widows and daughters, often forcing marriages to Normans.[66] In this way the Normans displaced the native aristocracy and took control of the upper ranks of society.

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% 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 was able to set up royal administrative structures that enabled him to rule England from a distance, by "writ".[67] Kings were not the only absentees since the Anglo-Norman barons would use the practice too.

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. One way William accomplished this cohesion was by giving out land in a piecemeal fashion and punishing unauthorised holdings. A Norman lord typically had property spread out all over England and Normandy, and not in a single geographic block.[68] 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.

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.



Elite replacement

A direct consequence of the invasion was the near-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% 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.[69]

Natives were also soon purged from high governmental and ecclesiastical office. After 1075 all earldoms were held by Normans, while 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 but replaced by foreigners when they died. By 1096 no bishopric was held by any Englishman, while English abbots became uncommon, especially in the larger monasteries.[70]

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 the conquest was self-perpetuating.

English emigration

Large numbers of English people, especially from the dispossessed former landowning class, ultimately found Norman domination unbearable and emigrated. Scotland and the Byzantine Empire were particularly popular destinations, while others settled in Scandinavia and perhaps as far afield as Russia and the coasts of the Black Sea. Many English nobles and soldiers migrated to Byzantium, where they became the predominant element in the elite Varangian Guard, hitherto a largely Scandinavian unit, from which the emperor's bodyguard was drawn. English Varangians continued to serve the empire until at least the mid-fourteenth century.

Governmental systems

Before the Normans arrived, Anglo-Saxon England had one of the most sophisticated governmental systems in Western Europe. All of England was divided into administrative units called shires (shares) 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 and made for more efficient governance than word of mouth.

The English 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 began to grow.

This sophisticated medieval form of government was handed over to the Normans and grew stronger. The Normans centralised the autonomous shire system. The Domesday survey 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 Normans' new realm.

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.


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. This predominance was further reinforced and complicated in the mid-twelfth century by an influx of followers of the Angevin dynasty, speaking a more mainstream dialect of French. Not until the fourteenth century would English regain its former primacy, while the use of French at court continued into the fifteenth century.

By this time English had itself been profoundly transformed, developing into the starkly different Middle English which formed the basis for the modern language. During the centuries of French linguistic dominance a large proportion of the words in the English language had disappeared and been replaced by French words, leading to the present hybrid tongue in which an English core vocabulary is combined with a largely French abstract vocabulary. The grammatical structures of the language had also changed dramatically, although the relationship, if any, between this transformation and the marginalisation of English resulting from the conquest is uncertain.

Relations with France

After the conquest, relations between the Anglo-Norman monarchy and the French crown became increasingly fractious. Considerable hostility had already developed between William and his Capetian overlords before the invasion of England, and this was soon exacerbated by Capetian support for his son Robert Curthose, who fought a series of wars against his father and later against his brothers. As Dukes of Normandy, William and his descendants were still vassals of the King of France, but as Kings of England they were his equals.

In the 1150s, with the creation of the Angevin Empire, the Plantagenet successors of the Norman kings controlled half of France and all of England, dwarfing the power of the Capetians. The contradictions inherent in this situation became more problematic as the French monarchy grew stronger and increasingly assertive in the rights it claimed over its vassals. A crisis came in 1204 when Philip II of France seized all Norman and Angevin holdings in France except Gascony.

In the fourteenth century the intermittent warfare over the continental territories of the Kings of England which had continued since William's time escalated into the Hundred Years War, prompted by the efforts of Edward III to regain his ancestors' lands in France and to extend the sovereignty he enjoyed in England to his French possessions, cutting the ties of vassalage binding him to the French crown. This struggle ended only with the final collapse of the Plantagenet position in France in 1453, which effectively severed the connection established in 1066. Thus the entanglement of the English kingdom with the continental possessions and interests of the French magnates who had seized the throne embroiled England in almost four centuries of recurrent warfare against the Kings of France. These conflicts gave rise to a deep-rooted and durable tradition of Anglo-French rivalry and antagonism.


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.[citation needed]

The Norman conquest is viewed as the last successful conquest of England, although the Dutch victory in the Glorious Revolution of 1688 should be identified as the most recent successful invasion from the continent; an important distinction is that the Glorious Revolution can be seen as one segment of the English ruling class centred around Parliament collaborating with outside forces to oust a different segment of the ruling classes (that centred around the Stuart monarchy), whereas in the Norman conquest the entire English ruling class was utterly displaced.

Major invasion attempts were launched by the Spanish in 1588 and the French in 1744 and again in 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 Nazi Germany in 1940, but these were abandoned after preliminary operations failed to overcome Britain's naval and, in the latter case, air defences. (see Battle of Britain)

Various small, highly localised and very brief raids on British coasts were successful within their limited scope, such as those launched on various coastal towns by the French during the Hundred Years War, the Spanish landing in Cornwall in 1595, slave raids by Barbary corsairs in the seventeenth century and the Dutch raid on the Medway shipyards in 1667.

See also


  1. ^ Bates Normandy Before 1066 pp. 8–10
  2. ^ Crouch Normans pp. 15–16
  3. ^ Bates Normandy Before 1066 p. 12
  4. ^ Bates Normandy Before 1066 pp. 20–21
  5. ^ Hallam and Everard Capetian France p. 53
  6. ^ Williams Æthelred the Unready p. 54
  7. ^ Huscroft Ruling England p. 3
  8. ^ Stafford Unification and Conquest pp. 86–99
  9. ^ a b Higham Death of Anglo-Saxon England pp. 167–181
  10. ^ a b c Anglo-Saxon Chronicles, pp. 194–195
  11. ^ Walker Harold pp. 136–138
  12. ^ Bates William the Conqueror pp. 73–77
  13. ^ Higham Death of Anglo-Saxon England pp. 188–190
  14. ^ Huscroft Ruling England pp. 12–14
  15. ^ 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
  16. ^ Walker Harold pp. 144–145
  17. ^ Anglo-Saxon Chronicles, pp. 196–197
  18. ^ Walker Harold pp. 154–158
  19. ^ Walker Harold pp. 144–150
  20. ^ Anglo-Saxon Chronicles, pp. 197–199
  21. ^ Walker Harold pp. 158–165
  22. ^ a b Bates William the Conqueror pp. 79–89
  23. ^ Douglas William the Conqueror p. 192
  24. ^ Anglo-Saxon Chronicles, pp. 198–199; Orderic, vol. 2, pp. 168–171
  25. ^ Bates William the Conqueror pp. 88–94
  26. ^ Anglo-Saxon Chronicles, pp. 198–199; Gesta Normannorum Ducum, vol. 2, pp. 166–171; Orderic, vol. 2, pp. 170–179
  27. ^ Lawson Battle of Hastings pp. 183–220
  28. ^ Anglo-Saxon Chronicles, pp. 199–200; Orderic, vol. 2, pp. 182–183
  29. ^ Douglas William the Conqueror pp. 204–205
  30. ^ Orderic, vol. 2, pp. 180–183
  31. ^ a b c Douglas William the Conqueror pp. 205–206
  32. ^ Anglo-Saxon Chronicles, p. 200; Gesta Normannorum Ducum, vol. 2, pp. 170–3; Orderic, vol. 2, pp. 182–183
  33. ^ Anglo-Saxon Chronicles, pp. 198, 200; Gesta Normannorum Ducum, vol. 2, pp. 170–173; Orderic, vol. 2, pp. 182–185
  34. ^ Gesta Normannorum Ducum, vol. 2, pp. 176–179; Orderic, vol. 2, pp. 204–207
  35. ^ a b Douglas William the Conqueror p. 212
  36. ^ Anglo-Saxon Chronicles, p. 200; Florence, vol. 3, pp. 4–5
  37. ^ Anglo-Saxon Chronicles, p. 201; Florence, vol. 3, pp. 4–7; Orderic, vol. 2, pp. 210–215
  38. ^ Walker Harold pp. 186–190
  39. ^ Douglas William the Conqueror pp. 214–215
  40. ^ Anglo-Saxon Chronicles, pp. 200–203; Florence, vol. 3, pp. 6–7; Orderic, vol. 2, pp. 214–219
  41. ^ Williams English and the Norman Conquest pp. 24–27
  42. ^ Anglo-Saxon Chronicles, p. 203; Florence, vol. 3, pp. 6–9
  43. ^ Williams English and the Norman Conquest pp. 20–21
  44. ^ Anglo-Saxon Chronicles, pp. 202–203; Gesta Normannorum Ducum, vol. 2, pp. 180–181; Orderic, vol. 2, pp. 220–223
  45. ^ a b Williams English and the Norman Conquest pp. 27–34
  46. ^ Orderic, vol. 2, pp. 220–223
  47. ^ Anglo-Saxon Chronicles, p. 203; Florence, vol. 3, pp. 8–9; Gesta Normannorum Ducum, vol. 2, pp. 180–183; Orderic, vol. 2, pp. 224–225
  48. ^ Williams English and the Norman Conquest p. 35
  49. ^ Anglo-Saxon Chronicles, pp. 202–204; Florence, vol. 3, pp. 8–11; Orderic, vol. 2, pp. 226–229
  50. ^ a b c d e Williams English and the Norman Conquest pp. 35–41
  51. ^ a b Orderic, vol. 2, pp. 228–229
  52. ^ Anglo-Saxon Chronicles, p. 204; Florence, vol. 3, pp. 8–11; Orderic, vol. 2, pp. 230–233
  53. ^ Orderic, vol. 2, pp. 232–237
  54. ^ Anglo-Saxon Chronicles, pp. 205–207
  55. ^ Douglas William the Conqueror pp. 221–222
  56. ^ Anglo-Saxon Chronicles, pp. 206–208; Florence, vol. 3, pp. 18–21; Orderic, vol. 2, pp. 256–259
  57. ^ Williams English and the Norman Conquest pp. 49–57
  58. ^ Walker (1997)
  59. ^ Stafford Unification and Conquest pp. 102–105
  60. ^ Carpenter Struggle for Mastery pp. 82–83
  61. ^ a b Carpenter Struggle for Mastery pp. 79–80
  62. ^ a b Carpenter Struggle for Mastery p. 84
  63. ^ Carpenter Struggle for Mastery pp. 75–76
  64. ^ Chibnall Anglo-Norman England pp. 11–13
  65. ^ Kaufman and Kaufman Medieval Fortress p. 110
  66. ^ Carpenter Struggle for Mastery p. 89
  67. ^ Carpenter Struggle for Mastery p. 91
  68. ^ Carpenter Struggle for Mastery pp. 83–84
  69. ^ Thomas, English pp. 105–37; Thomas, 'Significance', pp. 303–33
  70. ^ Thomas, English, pp. 202–8


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  • Orderic Vitalis, The Ecclesiastical History of Orderic Vitalis, ed. Marjorie Chibnall, 6 vols. (1968–80), Oxford: Clarendon, ISBN 0-19-822243-2
  • Rowse, A. L. (1979) The story of Britain, London : Treasure, ISBN 0-907407-84-6
  • 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. 
  • 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: Oxford University Press
  • Thomas, Hugh M. (2003) 'The significance and fate of the native English landowners of 1086', English Historical Review 118 (2003), pp. 303–33
  • Walker, Ian (2000). Harold the Last Anglo-Saxon King. Gloucestershire: Wrens Park. ISBN 0-905-778-464. 
  • Williams, Ann (2003). Æthelred the Unready: The Ill-Counselled King. London: Hambledon & London. ISBN 1-85285-382-4. 
  • Williams, Ann (2000). The English and the Norman Conquest. Ipswich: Boydell Press. ISBN 0-85115-708-4. 

Further reading

  • Chibnall, Marjorie (1999). Debate on the Norman Conquest. New York: St. Martin's Press. 
  • Humble, Richard (1992). The Fall of Saxon England. Barnes & Noble. ISBN 0880299878. 
  • Howarth, David (1981). 1066 The Year of the Conquest. Viking Penguin. ISBN 0140058508. 
  • Loyn, H. R., (1965). The Norman Conquest A synthesis for the general reader.
  • Rex, Peter (2004). The English Resistance: The Underground War Against the Normans. Tempus Publishing Ltd. ISBN 0752428276. 
  • Savage, Anne (1997). The Anglo-Saxon Chronicles. CLB. ISBN 1858334780. 
  • van Houts, Elisabeth (1995). "The Norman Conquest through European Eyes". English Historical Review 110 (438): 832–853. doi:10.2307/576795. 

External links

Simple English

File:Bayeux Tapestry
Bayeux Tapestry depicting events leading to the Battle of Hastings

The Norman conquest of England was a military invasion of England by William the Conqueror in 1066.

William was a Duke who ruled Normandy, now a region in France. He invaded England after the death of King Edward the Confessor because he believed he had the most right to be King of England. But King Harold II had himself crowned king instead. King Harold, with his Saxon army, and Duke William fought at the Battle of Hastings on October 14 1066. King Harold was killed in the battle and his army left. On December 25 1066 William was crowned the new King of England.

The Norman conquest brought an important change in English history for a number of reasons. The conquest linked England more closely with Continental Europe, and made Scandinavian influence less important. It created one of the most powerful monarchies in Europe. The conquest changed the English language and culture, and set the stage for rivalry with France, which would continue (with breaks) until the 19th century. England has never been successfully invaded since the Norman invasion nearly 1000 years ago.

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