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What was the impact of the Norman Conquest

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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.


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.


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.

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