History of England

Norman Conquest
Norman Conquest ©Angus McBride
1066 Oct 15 - 1072

Norman Conquest

England, UK

Although William's main rivals were gone, he still faced rebellions over the following years and was not secure on the English throne until after 1072. The lands of the resisting English elite were confiscated; some of the elite fled into exile. To control his new kingdom, William initiated the "Harrying of the North", a series of campaigns, involving scorched-earth tactics, granting lands to his followers and building castles commanding military strongpoints throughout the land.

The Domesday Book, a manuscript record of the "Great Survey" of much of England and parts of Wales, was completed by 1086. Other effects of the conquest included the court and government, the introduction of the Norman language as the language of the elites, and changes in the composition of the upper classes, as William enfeoffed lands to be held directly from the king.

More gradual changes affected the agricultural classes and village life: the main change appears to have been the formal elimination of slavery, which may or may not have been linked to the invasion. There was little alteration in the structure of government, as the new Norman administrators took over many of the forms of Anglo-Saxon government.

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Last Updated: Mon Nov 21 2022