The Norman Conquest 1066-1087


William I and the Norman Conquest to help with AQA AS Medieval History Unit 2A
Flashcards by adam.melling, updated more than 1 year ago
Created by adam.melling almost 10 years ago

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Question Answer
Explain why there was a succession crisis in 1066 1. Harold's oath to William 1064 (giving a strong claimant a weaker one and a weak claimant a stronger one) 2. The failure of Edward the Confessor to produce an heir 3. Edward promised William the throne in 1051 but promised Harold it on his death bed-two believed they were entitled as they had been elected 4. The way the Witan decided the successor e.g. not just bloodline but ability as a warrior etc. led to no outright winner (all had different strengths and weaknesses)
Explain William's claim to the English throne 1. Harold's oath in 1064-improved the claim of a weak candidate and weakened Harold's stronger claim 2. Edward the Confessor promised William the throne in 1051 and was fond of Norman intervention in English courts 3. Proven leader and able to fend off invasions and take land in France-Witan needed a good fighter as crises were sure to arise 4. Weak blood link-distant cousin of Edward the Confessor
Explain Harold's claim to the English throne 1. The Godwin family was the most powerful family in England 2. Harold's success in Wales in 1063 proved he was a military leader which they needed as crises were likely 3. Related-The Confessor's brother-in-law as Edward married Harold's sister, Edith. However he had no blood link to Edward 4. Edward promised Harold the throne when Edward was on his death bed 5. The oath to William made his own claim to the throne look illegal
Explain why Harold fought the Battle of Stamford Bridge. 1. Hardrada had a claim to the throne (direct descendant from the Viking Kings of England) so needed to remove the threat 2. The loss at Gate Fulford left him no choice 3. The North was under Danelaw and there was a high probability that they would join the Norwegians to overcome the King. He would have to go to stop the Norwegians before they gained support. 4. He didn't expect William to land due to the adverse weather conditions
How did William's skill help the Normans defeat Harold at the Battle of Hastings? 1. Use of the feigned retreat twice after the luck of it first happening (although did manage to control his army once havoc broke out) 2. Use of his cavalry, infantry and archers in waves 3. The versatility of his tactics-varying his attacks so the English didn't know they were going to defend 4. Sending spies to find out Harold's plan allowed his mercenaries to be prepared for the 'surprise' attack 5. Gaining papal support through the help of Lanfranc pre-conquest allowed him to form a large force (more encouraged if God wills it) and they fought with confidence, believing God was on their side 6. Burning of villages lured Harold into battle
How were Harold's mistakes to blame for the defeat at Hastings? 1. Didn't listen to Gyrth who said Harold should wait to increase the size of his army before engaging in battle with William 2. Lack of versatility-use of 'surprise' attack again 3. Setting up his army too early, meaning the fyrd had to disband to harvest the crops 4. Heading north with all of his army, leaving the South coast completely unprotected 5. Inability to hold his shield wall-loss of left flank 6. Lack of initiative-not following Gyrth and Leofwine in the charge. Left them surrounded, losing many of his elitist soldiers
Explain how William's luck helped in defeating Harold at Hastings 1. The wind in the channel prevented William from sailing when Harold was waiting (William of Poitier argued this was skill) 2. Stability in France-death of the Count of Anjou in 1060 (succession crisis); death of King Henry I of France in 1060 (infant king, Philip, led to Baldwin V of Flanders becoming regent (allies due to marriage)). William also obtained the neutrality from Henry IV of Germany and King Swegn of Denmark-allowed him to attack England with no fear for his duchy 3. Invasion of Harald Hardrada and Tostig (and the defeat at Gate Fulford) forced Harold away from the coast. Not only did this give William an unchallenged landing, many of Harold's housecarls and thegns were killed (leaving the fyrd) 4. The Bretons who panicked in battle led to a retreat, this drew the English off the mound. Lucky because the shield wall seemed impenetrable but William did skillfully regain order to kill the advancing troops but also to re-enact it twice (feigned retreat)
What impact did the Norwegian invasion in the North have on the Battle of Hastings? 1. (The loss at Gate Fulford) Drew Harold away from the South coast-allowing William to land unchallenged (amphibious landings are difficult when being attacked so William could have had many killed on the coast) 2. The Battle of Stamford Bridge was a very bloody battle (300 Norwegian ships arrived and only 24 left) where Harold lost many of his housecarls and thegns (leaving the fyrd to fight William's mercenaries) 3. The fatigue of the army-having to march from the south coast to York, fight, and then march straight back down to fight
Explain why the papacy supported William in 1066 1. Lanfranc told Pope Alexander II of the oath and that Harold was a perjured usurper (can't break oaths sworn on holy relics so back William to take him off the throne) 2. Lanfranc told the Pope of the ruin the English Church was in and he promised William would reform it 3. Peter's Pence had stopped in many areas of England-Lanfranc said William would reinstate it 4. William gave his claim to the crown to the Pope (symbolic gesture that Rome would benefit from William taking over-gain more power)
Why did William reform the English Church? 1. Military purposes-feudalism-increase the standing army of knights (the Church owned 1/4 of English land so it was important to increase his army size) 2. Political purposes-the Church controlled the laity and as most were religious it meant he could control the population which greatly outnumbered the Normans through the Church 3. Financial reasons-the Church owned 1/5 to 1/4 of all the money in England (William's greed). In 1070 he called for every churches cash reserves to be given to him. 4. Piety-he genuinely wanted to improve the Church and remove the sinners i.e. Stigand. Church courts also showed piety as they removed the voice of the laity
How did William reform the Church? 1. Lanfranc-replaced Stigand (the pluralist) with a very pious monk 2. Increased monasticism by building many monasteries (lost English culture though) 3. Introduction of Church courts-removed the voice of the laity from matters regarding sins 4. Introduction of reform councils to stamp out nepotism, simony, pluralism and clerical marriages
How did William negatively impact the Church? 1. Gave sees with high rebellion rates to warriors, not pious men such as Abbot Thorold of Peterborough and Abbot Thurstan of Glastonbury 2. Culturally different-Thurstan set his knights on monks who didn't dance how he wanted them to-3 killed and dates of English saints were removed from the calender 3. William called for every church's cash reserves to be given to him in 1070 4. Drafted the Church into the feudal system and the clergy were judged in feudal courts, not Church courts
Explain the role of Lanfranc 1. Assisted William in keeping the English Church independent (from rule of the papacy) 2. Remove corruption from the Church 3. Helped accelerate the Normanisation of the Church by appointing his own bishops and abbots 4. Often acted as William's vicegerent when William was absent
William's relationship with the papacy 1. William and Lanfranc didn't attend synods the papacy called. In fact, never went to Rome after receiving his pallium in 1071 2. In 1080, William refused fealty to Gregory VII and at the Council of Lillebonne, in the same year, he introduced canon laws to ensure writs and people going to the Pope and vice versa had to go through William first 3. In 1080 he reinstated Peter's Pence but insisted it was a form of alms-derogatory towards the church 4. William reduced the control the papacy had over England yet he claimed England would be in their hands in order to gain support for his conquest
Why did rebellions fail 1067-1075? (general) 1. Aims-foreign help from Scandinavia (Denmark usually) and Scotland, which was really the only times the rebels posed a threat, had the aim of booty or territory (not to overthrow the King) so could be removed with payment 2. Poor leadership-Edgar Aethling, Waltheof etc. lacked the experience to cause a real problem for the Godwinsons (the natural leaders) all died in 1066 3. Lack of unity/sporadic rebellions-the rebels attacked in small groups but no two rebel groups attacked at the same time in different parts of the country-allowing William to concentrate his whole force on one small rebellion as opposed to many across the country 4. William's skill-dealing with rebellions through compromisation first meant that he didn't have to engage his mercenaries in battles until it was absolutely necessary (e.g. Danes paid off before the harrying of the north so there was a smaller resistance) 5. Castles-small garrison could protect a large area. As the Normans were greatly outnumbered it meant that William could control the whole country with few men as they were behind fortifications and could see rebellions forming long before an attack 6. Anglo-Saxon support-William offered peace in England so many supported him e.g. Eadnoth the Staller died in 1068 fighting for William in Somerset and Bishop Wulfstan of Worcester holding off Roger when the earls revolted in 1075.
Explain why William introduced castles 1. Geopolitical reasons-The White Tower of London-assert authority in England (shows strength and power) 2. To control the borders e.g. Chepstow was used to protect the Normans from the Welsh border 3. Springboard for further conquest-used especially in Wales but also in England. William had to take land bit by bit and work his way through Wales/England. The use of castles with piecemeal allowed him to do so. 4. The Normans were outnumbered 7500:1250000 and so castles were often used as fortified homes, simply for protection in case of an attack
Explain why William introduced the feudal system to England 1. The system he and his Norman followers were used to from Normandy 2. Reduced the control of others in the country-one ruler with ultimate power 3. To reward his Normans who fought at Hastings (mercenaries required their payment) 4. Military purpose-to gain a large standing army of knights available for invasions and rebellions 5. Financial reasons-the knights quota didn't work in practice (too slow to assemble in times of war) but he gained money from feudal aids and incidents so he could use this money to pay mercenaries for example.
Explain why William ordered the production of Domesday Book in 1086 1. The risk of invasion in 1085 from King Canute of Denmark and Robert of Flanders panicked William into finding out what kind of resources he had should an invasion occur 2. Potentially how much tax he could collect (basically to ensure everyone was paying enough tax-trying to make more money) 3. Clear up the mess left from conquest-who owns what 4. Supplement to the Oath of Salisbury-due to the risk of invasion William wanted every vassal to perform homage if they were to get security of tenure to ensure he would be supported should King Canute invade
Why did William introduce changes to the judicial system and what were they? 1. For his own personal gain-the Forest Laws kept 20% of England as National Hunting Reserves for himself 2. To protect his Norman followers-Murdrum and Presentment of Englishry basically made it too expensive for anyone to think of killing a Norman 3. Piety-Church courts-to remove the voice of the laity from religious matters 4. To prove he was the legitimate successor and not a tyrant-banning of blood feud and mutilation (replacing capital punishment)-reduce crime and increased peace as he promised at his coronation
Why did William maintain elements of the Anglo-Saxon judicial system? (include examples) 1. Don't try and fix what's working-shire and hundred courts were the best way of controlling the population 2. Didn't want to look like a tyrant-changing everything wouldn't have made him look like the legitimate successor 3. Financial gains-the hundred and shire courts mostly had fines as punishments 4. Control-the increased use of writs and sheriffs lowered the power of others in society and ultimately gave him control. Why change something which gave him command?
How far did the English government change in William I's reign? 1. William adopted Edward the Confessor's chancery and kept men like Regenbald as head of the chancery 2. Anglo-Saxon reeves and geld collectors were maintained 3. William continued the use of writs and even kept them in Anglo-Saxon until 1070 4. Maintained the use of sheriffs but gave them a bigger role 5. Kept the judicial system very similar but introduced the Murdrum fine and trial by battle to keep his Normans safe 6. Introduced feudal courts at honorial and manorial level to run alongside the introduction of feudalism 7. The main change was in personnel-Anglo-Saxons only really had low roles in the government after 1066
Why did William get involved in Wales? 1. Legitimate heir to the throne-in 1063 Wales surrendered and accepted Harold and Edward as its superior-William said as the legitimate successor he should have dominion over them too. Only went to Wales once (1081) to make Rhys, a Southern Welsh prince, perform homage to him-to show the dominion he had 2. He didn't really-only went to Wales once, other than that he left it to his marcher lords and gave them freedom to do as they pleased 3. To secure the hostile border-William was worried that arguments between the princes and an ill-defined border could allow disorder to spill into England and so he needed to prevent this 4. The Welsh began assisting rebellions, 1067-1071, and this posed a serious threat to William as they could grow in strength outside of England and so he wouldn't know about it until a large attack so needed control
What methods did William use to control Wales? 1. Piecemeal-the process of capturing a small area and advancing on it 2. Castles-used in conjunction with piecemeal to fortify taken land but to act also as a springboard for further conquest 3. Colonising captured land and creating boroughs by setting up markets etc. 4. Dividing the capture of Wales into three marcherlordships-Gwynedd, Powys, Deheubarth-which allowed for more concentrated attacks
Why did William get involved in Scotland? 1. Malcolm III was a nuisance who was keen to take the north of England-William had to get involved to avoid losing his Kingdom. E.g. When Malcolm marched to southern Cumbria when William was absent in 1070 he responded with his death march to Abernethy in 1072 2. Malcolm offered shelter to English exiles, most notably Edgar Aethling. The young man was the greatest threat to his throne and rebellions were likely to spawn around him (need to remove him) 3. Edgar's sister, Margaret, married Malcolm. The two sons they had were entitled to the throne over William-making them dynastic rivals 4. Scotland was united by one King unlike Wales. A united nation with a border to England was a concern to William as it would've been to any King-easier to form a successful assault as a King. 5. Scotland's population was 3 times that of Wales'. couple this with a King to unite it and it posed a serious threat to William should Malcolm decide to launch an attack on his Kingship.
How did William control Scotland? 1. The Treaty of Abernethy saw Edgar banished from Scotland and hostages given to William. This decreased the threat of Scotland rebelling against William. 2. Castles-when Malcolm entered England he never had the resources to fortify the captured land. Each time he advanced a castle was built to pen him back in. E.g. when he invaded in 1079 when Moray was united Robert, William's son built a castle on the Tyne 3. The use of allies. Scotland can't have posed an immediate threat to William (more of a nuisance) as he usually controlled Scotland with allies. In 1079 he sent Robert, his son, to deal with it. 4. The use of Lanfranc to communicate with Margaret (both deeply religious) and so communications between Malcolm and William could be set up
Why did William use sheriffs? 1. To collect tax 2. To oversee the running of a Castellan 3. To run the shire and hundred courts 4. Due to having a different role in society to earls, William could use them like an earl but with less power and therefore less of a threat to his Kingdom
The impact of Normanisation on England 1. The Church became more of a political tool rather than a religious group but did become much less corrupt 2. Feudalism: Slavery was reduced, the majority were now tied to a vassal-a definite structure to England 3. Feudalism-landholders had to perform homage to the King-bound to him with little freedom 3. Architecturally the conquest change a lot of England. Motte and bailey castles dotted the country but also the magnificent Tower of London made of stone. Small churches were replaced by large, gothic structures 4. After 1169 William's desire for cooperation was dissolved and with it, the English aristocracy 5. By 1070 writs were in Latin and English was eradicated from the aristocracy 6. The status of women reduced and rights were lost, recent historians disagree with this though
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