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The Norman Conquest

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After a hard and long struggle Harold and his brothers were killed in the battle of Hastings and the flower of Saxon nobi­lity lay dead together with them on the battlefield. William captured London and was crowned King of England in West­minster Abbey on Christmas Day, 1066. The Norman period in English history had begun. Some historians argue concerning possible ways of English, history, had the Anglo-Saxons defeated William. But History doesn't rely on the Conditional Mood. All the invasions, raids and conquests were contribu­ting new and new waves of peoples to be integrated into a newly appearing nation of the English, to understand which we must know its historical roots, studying historical facts. The Norman Conquest had immediate social, political and cultural implications. The new tough foreign aristocracy captured power and lands. By 1100 there were 500 Norman castles in the English countryside. There was a blow against the Church as well. Normans replaced Saxon bishops. During the 11th and 12th centuries efficient Government was established. England itself was also drawn into close links with the other side of the Channel. But there was a language gap between the local (Anglo-Saxon) population and the new landowners, of both the Church and the Norman Aristocracy. Latin was a language of monasteries; Norman French was now the language of law and authority. English, spoken in the various regions remained the language of the ordinary people.The brightest evidence of the situation in the country was the Book appeared in 1086, a survey of England's land and people; according to it Norman society still rested on «lord-ship, secular and spiritual, and the King, wise or foolish, was the lord of lords, with only Lord in Heaven and the Saints above him.» All land in the country belonged to the Crown. The king was the greatest landowner in the country and he gave away the land to the great landowners who were his tenants-in-chief (barons) or vassals. The barons held their land as a gift, in re­turn for specified services to the Crown. When barons par­celed out their land, they also required knightly services from their tenants. During the reign of William 1170 barons had in their service about 4000 knights who were distinguishable as a social group. The two social groups were opposed to «the poor men*: lords themselves cultivated only a third or two fifths o: the arable land in use. The rest was cultivated by «peasants» In the 13th century; King John Lackland (1199 -1216) replaced vassal's military service of his tenants-in-chief by payments.In rural England lords lived in manors which were in their own estates. The peasants lived in villages and hamlets.The full implications of the social, political and cultural changes following the Norman Conquest took time to work themselves out.…...

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