The Norman Conquest

Battle for the Throne

Edward the Confessor (King of England 1042 - 1066 AD) died with no heirs. Main __contenders __for the throne of England were:

Harold Godwinson - Brother in Law to Edward

William of Normandy - distant cousin of Edward and claimed Edward had promised him the throne before he died

Harald Hardrada - King of Norway and his family were descendents of King Cnut of England

In January 1066 AD Harold Godwinson was made King of England by the Witan __(a council that appointed the King of England). But in the summer of 1066 William the Conqueror fought Harold Godwinson in the __Battle of Hastings to become King of England and won. William the Conqueror beat Harold Godwinson due to several reasons including luck, weather and the weakness of the opposition.

The Norman Conquest, figure 1

Changes Under the Normans

William the Conqueror made some changes in order to keep control of England and prevent rebellion. The new measures he introduced to England include the following:

- Built __castles __(over 500)

- Used the French language (Normans spoke French, laws were in French)

- Built __churches __and __cathedrals __(in the French style)

- Introduced the__ Feudal System__ (system of governing the country) and the Domseday book (survey and record of property ownership in England)

- Made his most loyal followers Barons and Knights in England (and gave them property and land)

- Used __violence __to destroy the opposition

Reactions to the Normans

From the moment that William became King, he had issues across the country, with rebellions breaking out around the country. One way he attempted to suppress them was to use violence to destroy those who rebelled against him. One such example was the ‘Harrying of the North’, where William’s men burnt down houses, and killed people that threatened his rule, and the people that supported them.

Significance of the Norman Conquest

The Norman Conquest was significant. England once again became ruled by a foreign power.

Short term:

__- Taxes __paid to the french

- Anglo-Saxon English became second class citizens

Long term impacts:

- Changed __architecture __in England (built castles, French style churches and cathedrals)

  • Feudal System (system of governing the country)

  • __Language __(see horrible history clip on legacy of the Norman’s on today’s English language)

This video is not produced or owned by Study Rocket Ltd and is provided by the copyright holder BBC.

Who were the contenders to the throne after Edward died?
Your answer should include: william of normandy / harold godwinson / harald hardrada
What changes did William bring to England as King?
Your answer should include: language / laws / french barons and knights / feudal system
Why was the Norman conquest significant?
Your answer should include: language / castles / changes to laws / second class citizens