Social, political & economic consequences of William of Normandy's conquest



Things that stayed the same

  • The function of the chancery
  • The role of sheriffs
  • The shire court system
  • Hundred courts
  • Traditional English laws + customs e.g. trial of ordeal (little change)

Things that changed

  • Appointed sheriffs - policy of replacing Anglo-Saxon tenants with those from Normandy
  • Power of sheriffs - Earls' power challenged as earldoms became smaller
  • Protection of Norman-French settlers in England - fine imposed upon hundreds wherein a Norman had been murdered - later became murdrum
  • Sheriffs given less power over law courts


  • Feudalism introduced as a social structure
  • Principle that all land belonged to king - 'held' not 'owned'
  • Tenants-in-chief held about half of the land in England (earls, bishops, abbots, barons) - formed nobility
  • Inner circle of tenants-in-chief held about quarter of the country - only…


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