Norman Government

  • Created by: mrevv
  • Created on: 18-02-20 10:22

Power of the King

  • Normandy was William's priority and he relied on sub-regulus Odo and Lanfranc.
  • He was crowned in the same public coronation and anointment as the English.
  • He wanted continiuty to strengthen his claim by taking solemn promices to be just and pious.
  • Only one able to pass laws, raise an army, mint coins, make decisions head of the Church and head of Justice. He managed to keep this power.
  • Only 3 baronial revolts in 1075, 1088 and 1095. Strong leader, respected.
  • Patronage used as a lever, helpful advisors. 
  • He heard royal pleas, for land and inheritance.
  • William II wrote a coronation charter and physical symbols of kingdom.
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Royal duties

  • Crowning and crown wearing ceremonies showed authority.
  • Always crowned at Wincester in Easter, at Christmas in Gloucester and at Whitsun in Westminster. He listened to pleas and gave minting licenses on his trips.
  • Edgar, king of Scotland, carried a sword to William for homage.
  • The royal seal was used on charters showing the king as a knight.
  • Priests (for religion and scribing), family members and earls in itinerant households.
  • Lords provided for households to hold the Curia Regis.
  • Titles did not changed but the personnel did.
  • There were chancellors and more people in the household. 
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  • Hides, hundreds then shires.
  • One hide would support one family, 30 acres.
  • Hundreds were divisions of shires with 100ish hides.
  • Sheriffs enforced writs, but in AS England they just collected tax and fines. 
  • Sheriffs showed continuity- they had no Norman equivalent. 
  • Existing English sheriffs were replaced with Normans.
  • Earldoms became smaller and less powerful than sherriffs.
  • 1070, all sheriffs were Norman- Tofi of Somerset and Edmund of Hertfordshire were replaced.
  • Roger of Hertford rebelled since the sheriffs were too powerful in his earldom.
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  • Danegeld most common tax, 2 shillings to a shire reeve.
  • Shire reeves became sherriffs for a Wincester treasury. Roads and rivers had tolls.
  • Special taxes could be introduced- 1084, war in France, tax increased to 6 shillings.
  • Exempted his inner circle and the church from taxes. William also had royal land revenue.
  • Sophisticated coinage, 60 mints for the silver penny.
  • No foreign coins were allowed and the crown controlled the mint.
  • Every 3 years coins were re-minted to keep the silver pure.
  • 1125, minters took some silver for themselves- William took thier hands and castrated them.
  • Same amount of money in 1086 as pre-conquest, 9 million pennies.
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Legal System

  • Mostly continuity- William saw himself as Edward's heir
  • More serious cases went to more important leaders.
  • The king held ultimate authority- or his regent if he was absent.
  • All shire courts had different customs and precedents (recent cases).
  • William made them meet more than twice a year in different locations.
  • Royal justices carried out random inspections.
  • Who was present and the punishment vaired- bishops and sheriffs often came. 
  • There were around 730 hundred courts once a month.
  • The Normans invented Lords courts and Forest law courts. 
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  • Mudrum fine for murdering a Normon to a village.
  • Ordeals by fire and water the same, trial by combat added.
  • Hanging, mutilation, limb loss, blinding and castration used more often.
  • More poverty meant more thievery. More Normans, more violence
  • No police force so the community had to catch criminals.
  • Outlaws did not go to court and could be killed by anyone.
  • A good reputation helped you get away with anything.
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