• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

What was the impact of the Norman Conquest

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

The Norman Conquest of England Question 2: How much impact did the Norman Conquest have on society and government in England in the 11th century? The Norman Conquest of England started in 1066, when William the Conqueror (Duke of Normandy) led the invasion. His success at the Battle of Hastings, against Harold II (the last Anglo-Saxon King of England), allowed the Normans to rule over England (although it took until 1071 for the country to be fully subdued because of numerous rebellions). William I was finally crowned and became King of England on Christmas day 1066, after he had forced the submission of the Witan and other opposition leaders. But he still faced much resistance from the locals for many years, particularly Northern England, so he had them restrained. After, he ordered the execution of the 'Harrying of the North' and its impact was immense; it had enormous burden costs to the economy, society, and culture. Thousands were massacred and entire villages were burned, leading to food shortages. The survivors of the initial attack would soon perish due to starvation over the winter cold. The Domesday Book, written almost two decades later, verifies that the area was destroyed and masses were killed. This brutal act ensured that there would never be any further noteworthy defiance against William, as a result of the fear generated from the violence. This cruel deed had long-term effects, such as the difference in economic growth and equality gap, between the Northern and Southern regions, and was eventually addressed from the Late Middle Ages. ...read more.

Middle

This arrangement changed when William came to the throne and it became: King, Nobles (which consisted of Earls and Counts), Knights, and finally Serfs. This affected plenty of people within England owing to William having stripped most high-ranking titles from Anglo-Saxons to his fellow Normans, forcing the English to fall down the pecking order so most of the serfs were the lower class English. He eliminated nearly all supreme Anglo-Saxons, and as he put down rebels he confiscated their lands and passed them to his preferred Normans. By the time the Domesday Book was made, it stated that only a few English landowners had withstood the displacement.5 Furthermore, during the reign of the Anglo-Saxons different people were allowed to be promoted or demoted to either side of the feudal series. But under the Normans this was not even considered and only the King had the right to decide whether the Bellatores (fighters) and the Labratores (workers) could move ranks, only the Oratores (worshippers) were still allowed the old practice. William's reasoning behind this was because he could only trust his faithful followers to occupy commanding positions. The arrangement of the feudal pyramid began with the King at the top and descended increasingly, and the process of division and subdivision was known as subinfeudation.6 It assembled a sparse number of landholders, primarily Normans, with various sizes of territory. Essentially feudalism catered for the upper classes and at the same time William's popularity and prestige rose substantially among his followers, since he was able to reward them with riches, mainly in the form of land. ...read more.

Conclusion

But both nationalities had to adapt for easier communication, so French faded later as it merged with Old English to form a new, multicultural language that we squeak today. It has had a major influence on the language overall, which is still visible in present-day English. Even though Anglo-Saxon England was quite sophisticated, they lacked what the Normans possessed. The fact that the Normans were so easily able to mould these onto the existing structure merely tends to hide the changes which England suffered in the process.7 Developments varied in size, importance, and to what extent; on one hand feudalism affected a great deal because of the way it weaved in with other aspects of life, while on the other law was only modified. For many reasons, the Norman Conquest was a monumental event in English history. The introduction of a Norman aristocracy (a privileged class holding hereditary titles) lessened the typical Scandinavian reputation and tied England more closely with Europe. They began trade, and soon after the battle William made London his trading centre and Winchester the capital city. The conquest brought forth a refined governmental system and created one of the mightiest monarchies in Europe. It altered several things (influenced particularly from Northern France) including the English culture, and commenced a rivalry with France that would continue sporadically until the 20th century. The Norman Conquest has an iconic role in English national identity as the last successful foreign takeover of England, and was significant for both English and European development because of the many changes that occurred. It reinforced present customs without changing local traditions. It also differentiated from the preceding looser systems and unified as well as stabilised England, transforming it forever. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Other Historical Periods section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Other Historical Periods essays

  1. Marked by a teacher

    To what extent was warfare between Britain and France the main contributory factor in ...

    3 star(s)

    The participants were Britain, Prussia and Hanover against France, Austria, Sweden, Saxony, Russia and eventually Spain. The alliances had shifted since the Tar of Austrian Succession quite considerably, this was a result of the Diplomatic Revolution in 1756. With the alliance of Austria and Britain on the rocks, both nations

  2. Revision Table - Tudor Rebellions

    * Political - essentially only concerns upper echelons. N nobs had been pushed out with centralisation of govt. * Boleyn faction vs Aragonese Faction (Darcy, Hussey, Aske) * Objected to Cromwell and his policies. A rebellion against the chief minister? * --> Easy surrended of Pontefract. * Lincolnshire Rising - 3 govt commissioners operating in county.

  1. The storming of the BAstille was the most significant event in 1789

    Finally I would like to mention the October Days, and this is where I can include the source picture shown above.

  2. Why were the Normans able to extend their control over southern Italy and Sicily ...

    It was held to be almost irresistible so much so that Anna Comnena wrote that it ?might make a whole in the walls of Babylon?. The widely used equine Norman tactic was used at the battle of Civitate to full effect, where attacks were made repeatedly and vigorously eventually overwhelming

  1. 'Financially dependent, without property and denied a political and legal status.' To what extent ...

    In urban areas, where farming and domestic work were not the norm for women, ?being financially dependent, without property? doesn?t necessarily hold true. Women were involved in occupations such as moneychangers or lenders. In 1368, six out of eleven moneychangers were women according to Williams and Echols? Between Pit and Pedestal Women In The Middle Ages.

  2. This paper is in response to the 2001 documentary, "Conquistadors: The Fall of The ...

    She was young, naive and unaware of Cortez's true intentions. As a slave, doing whatever Cortez wished was part of her duty and she would have been killed and replaced if she hadn't. Therefore I don't see Malinche as a traitor at all, she was simply a girl put into a bad situation and did what she could.

  1. Why did the West Saxons find it so difficult to deal with the Viking ...

    In connection with their lack of defence, another key weakness of the West Saxons was their lack of understanding of Viking tactics and their naivety of their treachery. This is highlighted through the Battle of Reading in 871. The West Saxons originally deemed the victors of this battle, however when

  2. Colonial America. Both the Chesapeake and the New England regions were developed with ...

    There are very few women on board this ship, thus can be conclude that there were going to be few children for the next generation. Because of this, England had to send more and more ships of people to this region in hopes to keep the region going.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work