Norman conquest of England

Article

October 17, 2021

The Norman conquest of England began in 1066 when the Kingdom of England was invaded by the army of William the Bastard, Duke of Normandy, later called William the Conqueror. William won the Battle of Hastings, and this resulted in Norman control of Anglo-Saxon England being firmly established. The Norman Conquest was a significant and revolutionary event in English history for several reasons. It largely removed the existing ruling class and replaced it with a foreign French-speaking monarchy, aristocracy and clergy hierarchy. This led to a transformation of the English language and culture in England. By subjecting England to rulers who originated in France, England gained a stronger connection to the continent, while the former Scandinavian influence was far less or almost ceased. It also set in motion a rivalry with France that would continue unabated for the next 750 years, from 1066 until 1815. It also had significant consequences for the rest of the British Isles, paving the way for a Norman invasion. of Wales and Ireland, and extensive penetration of the aristocracy in Scotland by Norman and other French-speaking families, and the introduction of the feudal system in southern Scotland. It is important to note that the Normans were not Scandinavians, even though some of their ancestors were. It was French feudal medieval culture that transformed England, not Norse.

Background and prelude

Normandy

Normandy is a region in northwestern France which in the years prior to the fateful year 1066 had received significant Norse settlement from both Norway and perhaps especially from Denmark. This was initiated after the French Carolingian ruler Charles the Simple (898-922) in 911 allowed a group of Norse invaders to settle in the northern part of France. Their leader was called Rollo by the French, while Norse tradition has identified him as Gange-Rolv. This permit for Norse settlement was part of the Treaty of Saint-Clair-sur-Epte concluded between Karl and Rollo. Charles hoped that this would prevent new attacks from Vikings who had long ravaged the Frankish Empire. The Norse settlement became a success, as it became permanent and ended the previous raids in the area. The former Vikings in the region were known as the Norsemen, and this gave its name to the province of Normandy. The Norsemen, the Normans, adapted quickly, perhaps as quickly as in one generation, to the local culture. They renounced their paganism and converted to Christianity. They also switched to speaking the local language, langues d'oïl, which, however, got some features from their Norse language, transformed into Norman. They mixed with the local population by marriage, adapted to the feudal system, and gradually began to expand their allotted territory to the west and settled in areas that included Bessin, the Cotentin Peninsula, and the Channel Islands. In the year 1002, the Anglo-Saxon king Ethelred II married Emma, ​​daughter of the Duke of Normandy. Their son Edvard the Confessor, who had spent many years in exile in Normandy under the Danish rule of England, succeeded Ethelred to the English throne in 1042. The dynastic connection between England and Normandy created fertile ground for a Norman interest in English politics when Edvard leaned heavily on Normandy support. This meant that Norman courtiers, soldiers and priests found their way to England, and the king appointed Normans to positions of power, especially in the church. Since Edward was childless and in conflict with the mighty Earl of Wessex, Godwin, and his sons, it is possible that he may have encouraged Duke William of Normandy's ambitions to take over the English throne.

Church policy reason for invasion

By the time around 1066, the Church of England had long been in conflict with the papacy. The foremost ecclesiastical position in England

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