The Normans came from Normandy, in what is now part of France. They were descendants of the Vikings. By 1066, the Normans were very powerful. William, Duke of Normandy, wanted to expand the Norman power base. His opportunity came as the ageing King of England, Edward the Confessor, passed away. With links to the English nobility and with promises of support from allies and some other potential suitors to the throne, William was able to amass a large force with which he could assert his claim to the throne.
The story of 1066 is explored through the pages of this unit. It explores the military aspects of the campaign for the English throne as well as looking at some of the changes that the Normans made in lands that they conquered.
William was the first of several monarchs from the house of Normandy. His rule marked a break with many traditions from Anglo-Saxon rule. The system of government changed and the French language became woven into English legal, administrative and everyday use. Such changes were huge politically, socially and culturally and as such were not immediately accepted by the subjects of the the newly crowned Norman king.
Under the Normans a wide ranging series of buildings were erected. Distinctive in their style these were intended to subjugate, shock, inspire awe or act as signs of piety. Many of these buildings last to this day, in particular, Castles such as the White Tower in London, Cathedrals and numerous churches up and down the country.
The administration of the country was altered quite dramatically. New methods of collecting tax, imposing it and imposing Norman law were introduced. It was, for its day, done quite meticulously as demonstrated in the compilation of the Domesday Book.
|Edward the Confessor
|Claimants to the Throne in 1066
|The Battle of Stamford Bridge
|Battle of Hastings