The Revolt of the Earls

  • Created by: TessBlyth
  • Created on: 27-05-19 15:57

Events of the revolt

In 1068, Edwin and Morcar fled from William's court and went north, where they were joined by many others in rebellion against William, all protesting against the injustice and tyranny of his rule. When William was informed of the revolt, he took his forces north, building castles as they went. William first went to Warwick, a key city in Mercia, set about building a castle and then went to Nottingham to build another. Edwin and Morcar were quick to surrender as soon as William established control of Warwick. The citizens of York sent William hostages to dsiplay their obedience as soon as Nottingham had fallen, followed quickly by Northumbrian rebels. Edgar fled to Scotland where Malcom III took him in. The others begged for forgiveness. The revolt ended, but resistance continued.

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Causes of the Revolt

  • William promised Edwin that he could marry his daughter but then went back on his word. William allowed Edwin to keep his earldom but made it much smaller and less important.
  • Morcar's earldom was also reduced in size - loss of land meant loss of power and money.
  • Odo of Bayeux and FitzOsbern were reported to have seized land from Anglo-Saxons unlawfully and allowed their soldiers to **** women without punishment.
  • William's heavy geld tax was resented - people saw this as a way of William using England's wealth to benefit Normandy.
  • Castles were resented as they were a symbol of Norman dominance and the centre of Norman control over an area. Castle building in towns also meant the clearance of homes.
  • The Anglo-Saxon chronicle says that "When William returned from Normany in 1067, he gave away every man's land. William's followers seeked to expand their grants by every means possible.
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Outcomes of the revolt

  • The revolt collapsed very quickly after Edwin and Morcar surrendered. William pardoned them and kept them as guests in his court. However, they fled again when it seemed likely that William would imprison them.
  • The escape of Edgar Aethling and the other rebel leaders to Scotland created a new centre of resistance to William's control.
  • William's show of strength would have convinced many that a further revolt was useless. His castle-building proved effective at imposing control.
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