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Happily, however, the case for Battle is well grounded, because William built an abbey to mark the site, which still stands today. The tradition that states he did this was not, as conspiracy theorists assert, invented by the monks of Battle in the late 12th century, but stretches right back to the time of the Conqueror himself. The size of the armies on both sides at Hastings is unknown, but neither is likely to have exceeded 10, men.

Many were killed during the battle, but thousands more would die in the years that followed, as English resistance led to Norman repression. In the winter of —70, after a combined English rebellion and Danish invasion, William laid waste to England north of the Humber, destroying crops and livestock so that the region could not support human life. Famine followed, and, according to a later chronicler, , people perished as a result.

Modern analysis of the data in Domesday Book suggests that a drop in population of this magnitude did indeed occur. Savage in their warfare, William and the Normans were more civilised in their politics. Before , the English political elite had routinely resorted to murdering their political rivals, as they would do again in the later Middle Ages.

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William the Conqueror’s Parents: The Story of Robert the Bonk-erer and Herleva

But for more than two centuries after the Conquest, chivalry prevailed, and political killing became taboo. Waltheof of Northumbria, beheaded in , was the only earl to be executed after the Norman takeover. The next execution of an earl in England occurred in , some years later. In pre-Conquest England, at least 10 per cent of the population — and perhaps as much as 30 per cent — were slaves.

Slaves were treated as human chattels, and could be sold, beaten and branded as their masters saw fit. It was a sin to kill a slave, but not a crime.

2. He had reason to hate his original name.

The Norman Conquest hastened the demise of this system. William banned the slave trade and in some cases freed slaves, to the extent that by the end of his reign their number had fallen by 25 per cent. By the early 12th century, slavery in England was no more. It is still common to hear it said that William was unusually tall, and his wife, Matilda, was exceptionally short.

Under the administration of Lanfranc, Norman Archbishop of Canterbury, new monasteries were founded, while rules and discipline were enforced more stringently.

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Church and lay justice were separated; the bishops were given their own courts, allowing common law to evolve independently. William retained the right to appoint bishops and impeach abbots. He used these churchmen as his major administrators, which made perfect sense, for they were by far the best educated members of society. Indeed, they were often the only educated members of society. The Domesday Book was, in effect, the first national census. It was a royal survey of all England for administration and tax purposes.

Early years

William needed proper records so that his new, efficient Norman bureaucracy could do its job, especially when it came to collecting all the revenues due to the crown. Inspectors were sent into every part of England to note the size, ownership, and resources of each hide of land. Contrary to popular belief, some small areas did seem to have escaped the assessors notice, but for the times the Domesday Book represented an amazing accomplishment. It also left exact records behind which give historians a lot of data about Norman English life.

See here for a map of the major towns in England at the time of the Domesday Book.

William the Conqueror

National Trust membership. Membership details. About the National Trust. Toggle navigation. Skip to main content. References Borman, Tracy Joanne. Bottom of Form Douglas, David C. William the Conqueror. Login or Register in order to comment. Related Articles on Ancient-Origins. As the early morning sun dawned on October 14th, AD, casting its light on the clustered, eager soldiers, it would herald a new bloody, revolutionary epoch in the history of England.

History of William the Conqueror

For on this In England, a metal detecting couple has found an amazing treasure trove of coins. They have unearthed a hoard of silver coins that date from the famous Battle of Hastings. The find is expected to Archaeologists have potentially made a very important discovery after tests on human remains from early medieval mortuary caskets in England.


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They examined a large number of human bones and believe When Edward the Confessor died childless, the stage was set for the Norman invasion of England in the 11th century. Although the king was succeeded by his brother-in-law, Harold Godwinson, the The reign of Harold Godwinson, the last Saxon King of England, is mostly remembered for its ignoble end, a victim of war at the Battle of Hastings in when William of Normandy came to conquer The people of England got their name from the Angles, who, along with the Saxons, invaded in the early- to mid-5th century AD, after the Roman Empire began to groan under the weight of barbarian Top New Stories.

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The Battle of Hastings 1066 AD

The mythical mushroom portals of the supernatural. For thousands of years, the sudden appearance of a ring of mushrooms was a sure sign of otherworldly presences. These rings would seemingly appear overnight, or travel from one location to another, The origins of human beings according to ancient Sumerian texts.