a) "How far do these sources support the view expressed in source one that, in the years 1067-1075, William had favoured conciliation in his attempts to establish peace in England?"

Authors Avatar


A-Level History


a) “How far do these sources support the view expressed in source one that, in the years 1067-1075, William had favoured conciliation in his attempts to establish peace in England?”

The view of William I favoring conciliation in his attempts to establish peace, to a certain extent, do agree with a number of the sources.  This is only to a degree due to events that occurred between the years 1067 and 1075 that pushed William into more brutal and violent methods of subduing the English and securing his authority over England.

Sources that do agree with William I using peaceful procedures to establish peace are sources three and four.  Both sources to a great extent agree with the first source.

Source three depicts how appeasement established authority.  The source describes the naval and land levies, proving that William favoured conciliation.  William had enough trust with the English to take them to war with him, and that they would not mutiny.  This trust can be linked with source four; William felt strong enough to leave England in the hands of William fitz Osbern and go to Normandy.  However, did the English really have a choice? With the erection of castles, the use of cavalry, and Norman landholders, the English may have been forced to fight for him; there is little detail of the events or others before or after.

Source four also agrees, for throughout the duration of the documents Lanfranc negotiates peacefully with Roger warning him of the seriousness but giving him a second chance.  Lanfranc assures him, “of safe conduct”, and to “give the earl what help he can, saving his allegiance”.  The source is limited due it being correspondence over just the year 1075.  Before and after this date other issues may have aroused, and the letters are not written by William I but by Lanfranc1 who was a very trusted friend to William.  However, though acting on the King’s behalf, of appeasement, Lanfranc would have used his own ideas and thoughts on the case.  Finally, as Hereford was the son of William fitz Osbern, he could have been treated differently for his links with William I; they were friends from their childhood2.

Source two and five disagree with the statement in source one. Source two is from the “Anglo-Saxon Chronicle”3; as a consequence of the invasion, William is described to have devastated Yorkshire (“Harrying of the North”) 4 - “ravaged and laid waste to the shire”.  There is no implication of conciliation from William.  Source two is inadequate due to it only covering one year, it does not take into account events outside of 1069.  The Anglo authors of the chronicle could be biased towards the Normans, exaggerating the truth, leaving out appeasement by William I.  Source five also disagrees with the statement recounting how William “ruined” Norwich, and blinded some of the traitors.  The source is partial due to it covering only one date and the account of the situation is brief, and may exaggerate the Norman methods.

The primary sources (source two, four, and five), overall, have an unbalanced view of William I and his tactics for establishing peace in England. The main drawback to most of the sources is the lack of facts during the years 1065 and 1075.  This means that the revolts that occurred before 1069 are not mentioned.  A final limitation, which I believe is the most key, is a list of rules that William I laid down when he first conquered England.  The first rule was “that above all things he (William) wishes one God to be revered throughout his whole realm, one faith in Christ to be kept ever inviolate, and peace and security to be preserved between English and Normans”.  William’s want, and favor towards peace is fully recognised in this statement.

(604 words)

Foot Notes;

  1. Lanfranc was, at the time, head of the new foreign bishops and abbots and also Archbishop of Canterbury. Lanfranc was unimpressed with the quality of the English clergy and during William's reign supported his policy of promoting foreigners to high office in the Church.
Join now!

  1. William fitz Osbern, as a boy William I “loved him above other members of his household”.  William I and William fitz Osbern were related, as fitz Osbern’s father was the grandson of Duke Richard of Normandy’s half-brother, Rodulf.  Later on Roger Earl of Hereford had to forfeit his land and loose his title as Earl of Hereford.  This though not brutal is not favoring conciliation by William I or Lanfranc (on William’s behalf).

  1. The “Anglo-Saxon Chronicle” was for the years before and during the conquest of England the main source of evidence and information.  There ...

This is a preview of the whole essay