The Norman Conquest Notes AS Level

  • Subject: History
  • Level: AS
  • Exam board: All boards
  • Author: Rosie
  • Year created: 2012

Complete summary notes on the Norman Conquest

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The Norman Conquest
England before the conquest
The Country of England
Barbaric country
Barons and a King
Mercia
Not a unified country, North and South rivalry
Wealthy country
International trade
Dark ages ­ not many written documents
Earls ­ powerful land owners
Church had mass power
Church in Anglo-Saxon England
Mass land owner
Wealthy
Mass power
Huge Influence over country and people's lives
Anglo-Saxon Tax System
Evolved through the Anglo-Saxon paying off the Vikings
Lead to England becoming a wealthy organised country
How was Anglo-Saxon society organised?
11th century society was split into three levels:
o The aristocratic class of landowners
Didn't dirty their hands
Served the King ­ in battle and administration
o The Churchmen
Their hierarchical stretched from the Pope in Rome, to Bishops, Abbots, Monks,
Village Priest
o The Peasants
Comprised the vast majority of the population
Worked the land
Late Anglo-Saxon society
Was subtle
Sophisticated
There were merchants, craftsmen and sailors
o They didn't fit into the three levels system
Rich cultural mix
Saxon
Danish
Celt
Given the migrations and settlements
The Peasant Class
Divided into recognised levels

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Page 2

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Peasant classes
Thegan
o Held the estate by right of charter
o Had to do armed service
o Repaired fortresses and bridges
Geneat
o A riding servant or bailiff
Would serve the Thegan in various capacity
o Cottar
o Worked for the Lord on Mondays and three days a week during harvest
o Had five acres of land of his own land to farm the rest of the time
Gebur or Boor
o Equating to the later villain of medieval England
o Boor was main

Page 3

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The Anglo-Norman Church
Presence of God was very real to everyone
Church was wealthy
Politically powerful
Major land owner
Its land was held permanently and could not be granted away or sold
The Bishops and Abbots were educated men, often at the centre of government ­ formulating
policy and controlling the provinces
The impact of the Norman Conquest on the English church was drastic and long lasting
Normandy and the Normans
William the Conqueror and the Normans
Had a huge effect on England, helped shape

Page 4

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Well trained but expensive, training, horses, etc.

Page 5

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Reasons for the revolt and why Godwin was angered by Edward
Godwin and sons
o Earl of Wessex and controlling most of Southern England
Eustance of Boulogne
o Visits Edward and stops off in Dover
o Eustance and his men were refused lodgings upon arrival possibly on Godwin's orders
o A battle occurs between his men and the village folk.

Page 6

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He claim that he was touched by Edward on his death bed which signified that Edward
wanted Godwinson to be his heir
o He was asked by Edward to watch over the kingdom and his wife
o He was a powerful man
o He owned a lot of land in England
Edgar "Atheling"
o 5 years old
o Hungarian
o Edwards's half brothers grandson
o He was a blood heir
Duke William
o Related to Edward through Edwards mother Emma
o He was promised the

Page 7

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Some Anglo-Saxon Earls don't care who is on the throne. They just want their land. So William has
got two sets of people who wanted land. There is not enough land to go around
Those reluctant to serve with William were persuaded by the papal banner given to William by the
Pope.

Page 8

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Comet was believed to be a bad omen
Soothsayer dies
William trips when he lands, claims to grab his land with two hands
After Hastings
Problems that William had after the Battle of Hastings:
There were other contenders for the throne
Edgar "Atheling" was still alive
Threat from the Vikings/Danes
Foreign threats from Scandinavians
British threats
o Welsh
o Scottish
o Irish ­ who provide a haven for Harold brothers
English threats
o Divided country
o North hates the South
His own supporters
o Promised

Page 9

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The North
1069 ­ 1070
The remaining Anglo-Saxon leaders, Earls Edwin and Morcar, and Edgar Atheling were defected
from Williams court
They fled North during 1068
North still semi-independent from the south
Northern earls had not intervened to save Godwin in 1051 or help Edward in 1052, and had thrown
Tostig out in 1065
Their political and ethical separation was potentially very dangerous to Williams fragile hold on
power at this stage
In 1069 January, rebels burned to death the Norman Earl Robert of Commines

Page 10

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Uncultivated and developed lands and villages
o For much of the land that William devastated
o Over 80%of wasteland recorded in Yorkshire
Swathes of land depopulated
Villages left deserted
Farms empty
Yorkshire was like a desert in 1070
From Yorkshire, William pushed his troops across the Tees in the winter and south-west across the
Pennines into Cheshire
He took Chester, subdued Strafford and was back in Winchester before Easter 1070
The Vikings, seeing their English allies defeated, took a bribe and left the Humber
East

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