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Why in the period to 1072, was William successful in establishing his authority over England?

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Introduction

Why in the period to 1072, was William successful in establishing his authority over England? From the moment William invaded Britain and defeated Harold at the Battle of Hastings, he faced constant threats in the form of rebellions to challenge his reign. Many Anglo-Saxons were indignant at being forced under a foreign yoke and revolts and rebellions were frequent up until 1075. However, all were suppressed by William, sometimes by diplomacy, the building of castles or otherwise by force. Initially, William obviously hoped for minimal opposition and followed his victory at Hastings with the rapid seizure of Dover, Canterbury and London. This dominance in South-East England, due mainly to Williams strong military, led William to (falsely) assume the rest of England was secure as well, and he returned to Normandy in 1067, placing Odo and Fitz William in charge. ...read more.

Middle

His army not only won him victory at Hastings but was also responsible for successfully gaining control of south-east England in under two months. It's diversity (for example it's combination of both naval and land forces), created a strong defence system against potential external invasions and internal rifts. Although Swein Estrithson's summer invasion of 1069 was inevitably weakened by an apparent lack of purpose or policy, William's military adaptability as well as the Norman savagery displayed was essentially the main factor in preventing a potential Danish success. Williams's superior army consisting of cavalry forces, infantry men, engineers and archers, not only gained him victory at Hastings but were also a contributory factor to his success at maintaining his throne. William also showed a different tactic in defeating the Danish, that of diplomacy. ...read more.

Conclusion

These castles were not only designed to subdue the minority of aggressive Anglo-Saxons but also to defend England from potential Danish invasions. Castles were used for both attack and defence and are quoted as being 'the most potent symbol and instrument of domination and oppression in conquest Britain' (Golding). Unsurprisingly, most castles were built along the frontiers, the north and other places of strategic sensitivity. They not only controlled and defended specific points but also were the sites from which Norman expansion proceeded. One example includes the castle at Montacute, on which the estate was economically and militarily dependant on, increasing Norman control. William used many devices to establish his authority over Britain. Some were undoubtedly more successful than others, and some potentially created rather than solved problems. The role of the castle is undoubtedly one of the most important, a defence mechanism against which the Anglo-Saxons had no chance of defeating William or challenging his reign. ...read more.

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