Historical essay about The Impact of the Norman ConquestFull description
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Norman FosterDescripción completa
NORMAN CONQUEST OF ENGLAND The Norman conquest of England was the 11th-century invasion and occupation of England by an army of Norman, Breton, and French soldiers led by u!e "illiam ## of Normandy, later styled as "illiam the $onqueror% "illiam&s claim to the English throne derived from his familial relationship with the the chil childl dles ess s 'n 'ngl gloo-(a (a) )on *ing *ing Edwa Edwarrd the the $onf $onfes esso sor, r, who who may have have encouraged "illiam&s hopes for the throne% Edward died in +anuary 1 and was succeeded by his brother-in-law .arold /odwinson% The Norwegian !ing .ara .arald ld .ar .ardrad drada a inva invade ded d nort northe herrn Engl Englan and d in (ept (eptem embe berr 1 1 and and was was victorious at the Battle of Fulford, but .arold defeated and !illed him at the Battle of (tamford Bridge on 0 (eptember 1% "ithin days, "illiam landed in sout southe herrn Engl Englan and% d% .ar .arold old mar marched ched sout south h to conf confrront ont him, him, leav leavin ing g a signi2cant portion of his army in the north% .arold&s army confronted "illiam&s invade invaders rs on 13 4ctobe 4ctoberr at the Battle Battle of .asti .asting ngs5 s5 "illia "illiam& m&s s force force defea defeated ted .arold, who was !illed in the engagement% 'lthough "illiam&s main rivals were gone, he still faced rebellions over the following years and was not secure on his throne until after 160% The lands of the resisting English elite were con2scated5 some of the elite 7ed into e)ile% To control his new !ingdom, "illiam gave lands to his followers and built castles commanding military strongpoints throughout the land% 4ther e8ects of the conque conquest st includ included ed the court court and gover governme nment, nt, the the intro introduc ductio tion n of Norman Norman French as the language of the elites, and changes in the composition of the upper classes, as "illiam enfeo8ed lands to be held directly from the !ing% 9ore 9ore gradua graduall change changes s a8ecte a8ected d the agric agricult ultura urall classe classes s and villag village e life: life: the main change appears to have been the formal elimination of slavery, which may or may not have been lin!ed to the invasion% There was little alteration in the struc structur ture e of gover governm nment ent,, as the new Norma Norman n admin administ istrat rators ors too! too! over over many of the forms of 'nglo-(a)on government%
Origins #n ;11 the French rench $aroli $arolingi ngian an ruler ruler $harle $harles s the (imple (imple allow allowed ed a group group of Northmen> from which >Normandy> and >Normans> are derived% The Normans Normans quic!ly adopted adopted the indigenous indigenous culture, culture, renouncing renouncing paganism and converting to $hristianity% .arold was immediately challenged by two powerful neighbouring rulers% u!e "illiam claimed that he had been promised the throne by *ing Edward and that
.arold had sworn agreement to this5 *ing .arald ### of Norway, commonly !nown as .arald .ardrada, also contested the succession%
Tostig's raids and the Norwegian invasion #n early 1, .arold&s e)iled brother Tostig /odwinson raided southeastern England with a 7eet he had recruited in Flanders, later ?oined by other ships from 4r!ney% Threatened by .arold&s 7eet, Tostig moved north and raided in East 'nglia and @incolnshire, but he was driven bac! to his ships by the brothers Edwin, Earl of 9ercia, and 9orcar, Earl of Northumbria% eserted by most of his followers, he withdrew to (cotland, where he spent the summer recruiting fresh forces% *ing .arold spent the summer on the south coast with a large army and 7eet waiting for "illiam to invade, but the bul! of his forces were militia who needed to harvest their crops, so on A (eptember .arold dismissed them% .ardrada moved on to or!, which surrendered to him% 'fter ta!ing hostages from the leading men of the city, on 03 (eptember the Norwegians moved east to the tiny village of (tamford Bridge% *ing .arold probably learned of the Norwegian invasion in mid-(eptember and rushed north, gathering forces as he went% The royal forces probably too! nine days to cover the distance from @ondon to or!, averaging almost 0 miles C3 !ilometresD per day% 't dawn on 0 (eptember .arold&s forces reached or!, where he learned the location of the Norwegians% The English then marched on the invaders and too! them by surprise, defeating them in the Battle of (tamford Bridge% .arald of Norway and Tostig were !illed, and the Norwegians su8ered such horri2c losses that only 03 of the original ships were required to carry away the survivors% The English victory was costly, as .arold&s army was left in a battered and wea!ened state%
Norman invasion "illiam assembled a large invasion 7eet and an army gathered from Normandy and all over France, including large contingents from Brittany and Flanders% .e mustered his forces at (aint-
Landing and aro!d's mar"h so#th The Normans crossed to England a few days after .arold&s victory over the Norwegians at (tamford Bridge on 0 (eptember, following the dispersal of .arold&s naval force% They landed at Hevensey in (usse) on 0A (eptember and erected a wooden castle at .astings, from which they raided the surrounding area% This ensured supplies for the army, and as .arold and his family held many of the lands in the area, it wea!ened "illiam&s opponent and made him more li!ely to attac! to put an end to the raiding% .arold, after defeating his brother Tostig and .arald .ardrada in the north, left much of his force there, including 9orcar and Edwin, and marched the rest of his army south to deal with the threatened Norman invasion% #t is unclear when .arold learned of "illiam&s landing, but it was probably while he was travelling south% .arold stopped in @ondon for about a wee! before reaching .astings, so it is li!ely that he too! a second wee! to march south, averaging about 06 miles C3 !ilometresD per day, for the nearly 0 miles C0 !ilometresD to @ondon% 'lthough .arold attempted to surprise the Normans, "illiam&s scouts reported the English arrival to the du!e%
astings The battle began at about ; am on 13 4ctober 1 and lasted all day, but while a broad outline is !nown, the e)act events are obscured by contradictory accounts in the sources% 'lthough the numbers on each side were probably about equal, "illiam had both cavalry and infantry, including many archers, while .arold had only foot soldiers and few archers% The English soldiers formed up as a shield wall along the ridge, and were at 2rst so e8ective that "illiam&s army was thrown bac! with heavy casualties% (ome of "illiam&s Breton troops panic!ed and 7ed, and some of the English troops appear to have pursued the 7eeing Bretons% Norman cavalry then attac!ed and !illed the pursuing troops% "hile the Bretons were 7eeing, rumours swept the Norman forces that the du!e had been !illed, but "illiam rallied his troops% Twice more the Normans made feigned withdrawals, tempting the English into pursuit, and allowing the Norman cavalry to attac! them repeatedly%
A$termath o$ astings The day after the battle, .arold&s body was identi2ed, either by his armour or mar!s on his body% The bodies of the English dead, who included some of .arold&s brothers and his housecarls, were left on the battle2eld, although some were removed by relatives later% /ytha, .arold&s mother, o8ered the victorious du!e the weight of her son&s body in gold for its custody, but her o8er was refused% "illiam ordered that .arold&s body was to be thrown into the sea, but whether that too! place is unclear% 'nother story relates that .arold was buried at the top of a cli8% "altham 'bbey, which had been founded by
.arold, later claimed that his body had been buried there secretly% @ater legends claimed that .arold did not die at .astings, but escaped and became a hermit at $hester% ebate over the conquest started almost immediately% The 'nglo-(a)on $hronicle, when discussing the death of "illiam the $onqueror, denounced him and the conquest in verse, but the !ing&s obituary notice from "illiam of Hoitiers, a Frenchman, was laudatory and full of praise% .istorians since then have argued over the facts of the matter and how to interpret them, with little agreement% The theory or myth of the >Norman o!e> arose in the 16th century, the idea that 'nglo-(a)on society had been freer and more equal than the society that emerged after the conquest% This theory owes more to the period it was developed in than to historical facts, but it continues to be used in both political and popular thought to the present day%
#n the 0th and 01st centuries historians have focused less on the rightness or wrongness of the conquest itself, instead concentrating on the e8ects of the invasion% (ome, such as =ichard (outhern, have seen the conquest as a critical turning point in history%