|History of England|
The Anglo-Normans (Norman : Anglo-Normaunds, Old English :Engel-Norðmandisca) were the medieval ruling class in England, composed mainly of a combination of ethnic Normans, French, Anglo-Saxons, Flemings and Bretons, following the Norman conquest. A small number of Normans had earlier befriended future Anglo-Saxon king of England, Edward the Confessor, during his exile in his mother's homeland of Normandy in northern France. When he returned to England some of them went with him, and so there were Normans already settled in England prior to the conquest. Edward's successor, Harold Godwinson, was defeated by Duke William the Conqueror of Normandy at the Battle of Hastings, leading to William's accession to the English throne.
The victorious Normans formed a ruling class in Britain, distinct from (although inter-marrying with) the native populations. Over time their language evolved from the continental Old Norman to the distinct Anglo-Norman language. Anglo-Normans quickly established control over all of England, as well as parts of Wales (the Cambro-Normans). After 1130, parts of southern and eastern Scotland came under Anglo-Norman rule (the Scoto-Normans), in return for their support of David I's conquest. The Norman conquest of Ireland in 1169 saw Anglo-Normans and Cambro-Normans settle vast swaths of Ireland, becoming the Hiberno-Normans.
The composite expression regno Norman-Anglorum for the Anglo-Norman kingdom that comprises Normandy and England appears contemporaneously only in the Hyde Chronicle .
The Norman conquest of England (1066), being a conquest by a people whose tongue and institutions were different from those of the English in many aspects, was an event of an altogether different character from the Danish conquest, a conquest by a people whose tongue was more akin to those of the English, but whose religion was pagan. The English were Catholic, and shared this religion with the Normans who already had some influence in England before the conquest. Furthermore, the interactions between sailors from both sides of the English Channel had maintained a certain common culture.
The Normans were not a homogeneous group springing from Scandinavian stock, but mostly hailed from a region of France known as Normandy. The Normans who invaded England did it with a strong contingent from a wide cross-section of northwestern and central France, from Maine, Anjou, Brittany, Flanders, Poitou and "France" (now known as Ile-de-France), accounting for more than a quarter of the army at the Battle of Hastings. In terms of culture, these non-Normans represented the Northern French civilisation, mostly speaking only French or other Langues d'oïl.
The Norman settlers felt no community with the earlier Danish settlers in England, despite the fact that they were themselves partly descendants of the Danish Vikings. Even in their own army, they did not feel any sense of community with the Poitevins (from Poitou) and other groups that had different dialects or languages (such as Breton and Flemish) and traditions. The association between these different troops was only occasional and corresponds to an immediate necessity for the Norman ruler.
In fact, the Normans were met with the stiffest resistance in a part of England that was the most influenced by the Danish. Ousting the Danish leaders and largely replacing the powerful English territorial magnates while co-opting the most powerful of them, the Normans imposed a new political structure that is broadly termed "feudal" (historians debate whether pre-Norman England should be considered a feudal government – indeed, the entire characterisation of Feudalism is under some dispute).
Many of the English nobles lost lands and titles; the lesser thegns and others found themselves dispossessed of lands and titles. A number of free geburs had their rights and court access much decreased, becoming unfree villeins , despite the fact that this status did not exist in Normandy itself (compared to other "French" regions). At the same time, many of the new Norman and Northern-France magnates were distributed lands by the King that had been taken from the English nobles. Some of these magnates used their original French-derived names, with the prefix 'de,' meaning they were lords of the old fiefs in France, and some instead dropped their original names and took their names from new English holdings.
The Norman conquest of England brought Britain and Ireland into the orbit of the European continent, especially what remained of Roman-influenced language and culture. If the earlier Anglo-Saxon England was tied to local traditions, the England emerging from the Conquest owed a debt to the Romance languages and the culture of ancient Rome, that was not so important before the Conquest, but was maintained at a high level by the English Catholic Church and the clerks of England. It transmitted itself in the emerging feudal world that took its place. That heritage can be discerned in language, incorporating shards of the French language and the Roman past, in the emerging Romanesque (Norman) architecture, and in a new feudal structure erected as a bulwark against the chaos that overtook the Continent following the collapse of Roman authority and the subsequent Dark Ages. The England that emerged from the Conquest was a decidedly different place, but one that had been opened up to the sweep of outside influences.
The Norman conquest of England also signalled a revolution in military styles and methods. The old Anglo-Saxon military elite began to emigrate, especially the generation next younger to that defeated at Hastings, who had no particular future in a country controlled by the conquerors. William (and his son, William Rufus), encouraged them to leave, as a security measure. The first to leave went mostly to Denmark and many of these moved on to join the Varangian Guard in Constantinople. The Anglo-Saxons as a whole, however were not demilitarised; this would have been impractical. Instead, William arranged for the Saxon infantry to be trained up by Norman cavalry in anti-cavalry tactics. This led quickly to the establishment of an Anglo-Norman army made up of Norman horsemen of noble blood, Saxon infantrymen often of equally noble blood, assimilated English freemen as rank-and-file, and foreign mercenaries and adventurers from other parts of the Continent. The younger Norman aristocracy showed a tendency towards Anglicisation, adopting such Saxon styles as long hair and moustaches, upsetting the older generation. (Note that the Anglo-Saxon cniht did not take the sense of the French chevalier before the latest period of Middle English. John Wycliffe (1380s) uses the term knyytis generically for men-at-arms, and only in the 15th century did the word acquire the overtones of a noble cavalryman corresponding to the meaning of chevalier ). The Anglo-Norman conquest in the 12th century brought Norman customs and culture to Ireland.
The degree of subsequent Norman-Saxon conflict (as a matter of conflicting social identities) is a question disputed by historians. The 19th-century view was of intense mutual resentment, reflected in the popular legends of Robin Hood and the novel Ivanhoe by Sir Walter Scott. Some residual ill-feeling is suggested by contemporary historian Orderic Vitalis, who in Ecclesiastical Historii (1125) wrote in praise of native English resistance to "William the Bastard" (William I of England). In addition, a fine called the "murdrum", originally introduced to English law by the Danes under Canute, was revived, imposing on villages a high (46 mark/~£31) fine for the secret killing of a Norman (or an unknown person who was, under the murdrum laws, presumed to be Norman unless proven otherwise).
In order to secure Norman loyalty during his conquest, William I rewarded his loyal followers by taking English land and redistributing it to his knights, officials, and the Norman aristocracy. In turn, the English hated him, but the king retaliated ruthlessly with his military force to subdue the rebellions and discontentment. Mike Ashley writes on this subject; "he [William I] may have conquered them [the English], but he never ruled them". Not all of the Anglo-Saxons immediately accepted him as their legitimate king.
Whatever the level of dispute, over time, the two populations intermarried and merged. Eventually, even this distinction largely disappeared in the course of the Hundred Years War (1337–1453), and by the 14th century Normans identified themselves as English, having been fully assimilated into the emerging English population. However, some, like William Marshall, 1st Earl of Pembroke, felt already English in the 12th century.
The Normans also led excursions into Wales from England and built multiple fortifications as it was one of William's ambitions to subdue the Welsh as well as the English, however, he was not entirely successful. Afterward, however, the border area known as the Marches was set up and Norman influence increased steadily. Encouraged by the invasion, monks (usually from France or Normandy) such as the Cistercian Order also set up monasteries throughout Wales. By the 15th century a large number of Welsh gentry, including Owain Glyndŵr, had some Norman ancestry. The majority of knights who invaded Ireland were also from or based in Wales (see below).
Anglo-Norman barons also settled in Ireland from the 12th century, initially to support Irish regional kings such as Diarmuid Mac Murchadha whose name has arrived in modern English as Dermot MacMurrough. Richard de Clare, 2nd Earl of Pembroke, known as "Strongbow", was the leader of the Anglo-Norman Knights whom MacMurrough had requested of Henry II of England to help him to re-establish himself as King of Leinster. Strongbow died a very short time after invading Ireland but the men he brought with him remained to support Henry II of England and his son John as Lord of Ireland. Chief among the early Anglo-Norman settlers was Theobald Walter (surname Butler) appointed hereditary chief Butler of Ireland in 1177 by King Henry IIand founder of one of the oldest remaining British dignities. Most of these Normans came from Wales, not England, and thus the epithet 'Cambro-Normans' is used to describe them by leading late medievalists such as Seán Duffy. They increasingly integrated with the local Celtic nobility through intermarriage and became more Irish than the Irish themselves, especially outside the Pale around Dublin. They are known as Old English , but this term came into use to describe them only in 1580, i.e., over four centuries after the first Normans arrived in Ireland.
The Carol was a popular Norman dance in which the leader sang and was surrounded by a circle of dancers who replied with the same song. This Norman dance was performed in conquered Irish towns.
David I, who had spent most of his life as an English baron, became king of Scotland in 1124. His reign saw what has been characterised as a "Davidian Revolution", by which native institutions and personnel were replaced by English and French ones.Members of the Anglo-Norman nobility took up places in the Scottish aristocracy and he introduced a system of feudal land tenure, which produced knight service, castles and an available body of heavily armed cavalry. He created an Anglo-Norman style of court, introduced the office of justiciar to oversee justice, and local offices of sheriffs to administer localities. He established the first royal burghs in Scotland, granting rights to particular settlements, which led to the development of the first true Scottish towns and helped facilitate economic development as did the introduction of the first recorded Scottish coinage. He continued a process begun by his mother and brothers, of helping to establish foundations that brought the reformed monasticism based on that at Cluny. He also played a part in the organisation of diocese on lines closer to those in the rest of Western Europe. These reforms were pursued under his successors and grandchildren Malcolm IV of Scotland and William I, with the crown now passing down the main line of descent through primogeniture, leading to the first of a series of minorities.
The British Isles became inhabited more than 800,000 years ago, as the discovery of stone tools and footprints at Happisburgh in Norfolk has indicated. The earliest evidence for early modern humans in North West Europe, a jawbone discovered in Devon at Kents Cavern in 1927, was re-dated in 2011 to between 41,000 and 44,000 years old. Continuous human habitation in England dates to around 13,000 years ago, at the end of the Last Glacial Period. The region has numerous remains from the Mesolithic, Neolithic and Bronze Age, such as Stonehenge and Avebury. In the Iron Age, all of Britain south of the Firth of Forth, was inhabited by the Celtic people known as the Britons, including some Belgic tribes in the south east. In AD 43 the Roman conquest of Britain began; the Romans maintained control of their province of Britannia until the early 5th century.
William I, usually known as William the Conqueror and sometimes William the Bastard, was the first Norman monarch of England, reigning from 1066 until his death in 1087. He was a descendant of Rollo and was Duke of Normandy from 1035 onward. By 1060, following a long struggle to establish his throne, his hold on Normandy was secure. In 1066, following the death of Edward the Confessor, William invaded England, leading an army of Normans to victory over the Anglo-Saxon forces of Harold Godwinson at the Battle of Hastings, and suppressed subsequent English revolts in what has become known as the Norman Conquest. The rest of his life was marked by struggles to consolidate his hold over England and his continental lands, and by difficulties with his eldest son, Robert Curthose.
Harold Godwinson, also called Harold II, was the last crowned Anglo-Saxon king of England. Harold reigned from 6 January 1066 until his death at the Battle of Hastings, fighting the Norman invaders led by William the Conqueror during the Norman conquest of England. His death marked the end of Anglo-Saxon rule over England.
The Battle of Hastings was fought on 14 October 1066 between the Norman-French army of William, the Duke of Normandy, and an English army under the Anglo-Saxon King Harold Godwinson, beginning the Norman conquest of England. It took place approximately 7 mi (11 km) northwest of Hastings, close to the present-day town of Battle, East Sussex, and was a decisive Norman victory.
Edgar Ætheling or Edgar II was the last male member of the royal house of Cerdic of Wessex. He was elected King of England by the Witenagemot in 1066, but never crowned.
The Norman Conquest was the 11th-century invasion and occupation of England by an army made up of thousands of Normans, Bretons, Flemish, and men from other French provinces, all led by the Duke of Normandy later styled William the Conqueror.
Stigand was an Anglo-Saxon churchman in pre-Norman Conquest England who became Archbishop of Canterbury. His birth date is unknown, but by 1020 he was serving as a royal chaplain and advisor. He was named Bishop of Elmham in 1043, and was later Bishop of Winchester and Archbishop of Canterbury. Stigand was an advisor to several members of the Anglo-Saxon and Norman English royal dynasties, serving six successive kings. Excommunicated by several popes for his pluralism in holding the two sees, or bishoprics, of Winchester and Canterbury concurrently, he was finally deposed in 1070, and his estates and personal wealth were confiscated by William the Conqueror. Stigand was imprisoned at Winchester, where he died without regaining his liberty.
William of Poitiers was a Frankish priest of Norman origin and chaplain of Duke William of Normandy, for whom he chronicled the Norman Conquest of England in his Gesta Willelmi ducis Normannorum et regis Anglorum or Gesta Guillelmi II ducis Normannorum. He had trained as a soldier before taking holy orders.
The Kingdom of England was a sovereign state on the island of Great Britain from 12 July 927, when it emerged from various Anglo-Saxon kingdoms, until 1 May 1707, when it united with Scotland to form the Kingdom of Great Britain. The Kingdom of England was among the most powerful states in Europe during the medieval period.
The House of Wessex, also known as the Cerdicings and the West Saxon dynasty, refers to the family, traditionally founded by Cerdic, that ruled Wessex in southern England from the early 6th century. The house became dominant in southern England after the accession of King Ecgberht in 802. Alfred the Great saved England from Viking conquest in the late ninth century and his grandson Æthelstan became first king of England in 927. The disastrous reign of Æthelred the Unready ended in Danish conquest in 1014. Æthelred and his son Edmund Ironside attempted to resist the Vikings in 1016, but after their deaths the Danish Cnut the Great and his sons ruled until 1042. The House of Wessex then briefly regained power under Æthelred's son Edward the Confessor, but lost it after the Norman Conquest in 1066. All kings of England since Henry II have been descended from the House of Wessex through Henry I's wife Matilda of Scotland, who was a great-granddaughter of Edmund Ironside.
The Harrying of the North refers to a series of campaigns waged by William the Conqueror in the winter of 1069–70 to subjugate northern England, where the presence of the last Wessex claimant, Edgar Atheling, had encouraged Anglo-Danish rebellions. William paid the Danes to go home, but the remaining rebels refused to meet him in battle, and he decided to starve them out by laying waste to the northern shires using scorched earth tactics, especially in the city of York, before relieving the English aristocracy of their positions, and installing Norman aristocrats throughout the region.
From the 12th century onwards, a group of Normans invaded and settled in Gaelic Ireland. These settlers later became known as Norman Irish or Hiberno-Normans. They originated mainly among Cambro-Norman families in Wales and Anglo-Normans from England, who were loyal to the Kingdom of England, and the English state supported their claims to territory in the various realms then comprising Ireland. During the High Middle Ages and Late Middle Ages the Hiberno-Normans constituted a feudal aristocracy and merchant oligarchy, known as the Lordship of Ireland. In Ireland, the Normans were also closely associated with the Gregorian Reform of the Catholic Church in Ireland. Over time the descendants of the 12th-century Norman settlers spread throughout Ireland and around the world, as part of the Irish diaspora; they ceased, in most cases, to identify as Norman, Cambro-Norman or Anglo-Norman.
Anglo-Saxon England or Early Medieval England, existing from the 5th to the 11th centuries from the end of Roman Britain until the Norman conquest in 1066, consisted of various Anglo-Saxon kingdoms until 927, when it was united as the Kingdom of England by King Æthelstan. It became part of the short-lived North Sea Empire of Cnut the Great, a personal union between England, Denmark and Norway in the 11th century.
Normandy was a province in the North-West of France under the Ancien Régime which lasted until the latter part of the 18th century. Initially populated by Celtic tribes in the West and Belgic tribes in the North East, it was conquered in AD 98 by the Romans and integrated into the province of Gallia Lugdunensis by Augustus. In the 4th century, Gratian divided the province into the civitates that constitute the historical borders. After the fall of Rome in the 5th century, the Franks became the dominant ethnic group in the area, built several monasteries, and replaced the barbarism of the region with the civilization of the Carolingian Empire. Towards the end of the 8th century, Viking raids devastated the region, prompting the establishment of the Duchy of Normandy in 911. After 150 years of expansion, the borders of Normandy reached relative stability. These old borders roughly correspond to the present borders of Lower Normandy, Upper Normandy and the Channel Islands. Mainland Normandy was integrated into the Kingdom of France in 1204. The region was badly damaged during the Hundred Years War and the Wars of Religion, the Normans having more converts to Protestantism than other peoples of France. In the 20th century, D-Day, the 1944 Allied invasion of Western Europe, started in Normandy. In 1956, mainland Normandy was separated into two regions, Lower Normandy and Upper Normandy, which were reunified in 2016.
The historical immigration to Great Britain concerns the movement of people, cultural and ethnic groups into the island of Great Britain before Irish independence in 1922. Immigration after Irish independence is dealt with by the article Immigration to the United Kingdom since Irish independence.
England in the High Middle Ages includes the history of England between the Norman Conquest in 1066 and the death of King John, considered by some to be the last of the Angevin kings of England, in 1216. A disputed succession and victory at the Battle of Hastings led to the conquest of England by William of Normandy in 1066. This linked the crown of England with possessions in France and brought a new aristocracy to the country that dominated landholding, government and the church. They brought with them the French language and maintained their rule through a system of castles and the introduction of a feudal system of landholding. By the time of William's death in 1087, England formed the largest part of an Anglo-Norman empire, ruled by nobles with landholdings across England, Normandy and Wales. William's sons disputed succession to his lands, with William II emerging as ruler of England and much of Normandy. On his death in 1100 his younger brother claimed the throne as Henry I and defeated his brother Robert to reunite England and Normandy. Henry was a ruthless yet effective king, but after the death of his only male heir William Adelin in the White Ship tragedy, he persuaded his barons to recognise his daughter Matilda as heir. When Henry died in 1135 her cousin Stephen of Blois had himself proclaimed king, leading to a civil war known as The Anarchy. Eventually Stephen recognised Matilda's son Henry as his heir and when Stephen died in 1154, he succeeded as Henry II.
William I of England has been depicted in a number of modern works.
de Lucy or de Luci is the surname of an old Norman noble family originating from Lucé in Normandy, one of the great baronial Anglo-Norman families which became rooted in England after the Norman conquest. The first records are about Adrian de Luci who went into England after William the Conqueror. The rise of this family might have been due to Henry I of England, although there are no historical proofs that all de Lucys belonged to the same family. The family name is Gallo-Roman, mentioned in 616 as Luciacus, Lucy, Luci, Lucé derive from the Latin cognomen Lucius, meaning "born with the daylight" or Gaulish Lucus, Lucius, Lucco from Loco- / Luco- possibly "wolf" + suffix -(i)acum "place, property" of Gaulish origin.
The Normans were inhabitants of the early medieval Duchy of Normandy. They were descendents of Norse Viking settlers and the native Franks and Gallo-Romans of West Francia. The term is also used to denote emigrants from the duchy who conquered other territories such as England and Sicily. The Norse settlements in West Francia followed a series of raids on the French northern coast mainly from Denmark, although some also sailed from Norway and Sweden. Said settlements were finally legitimized when Rollo, a Scandinavian viking leader, agreed to swear fealty to King Charles III of West Francia following the siege of Chartres in 911 AD. The intermingling between the Norse settlers and the indigenous Franks and Gallo-Romans in Normandy produced an ethnic and cultural "Norman" identity in the first half of the 10th century, an identity which continued to evolve over the centuries.
Siward Barn was an 11th-century English thegn and landowner-warrior. He appears in the extant sources in the period following the Norman Conquest of England, joining the northern resistance to William the Conqueror by the end of the 1060s. Siward's resistance continued until his capture on the Isle of Ely alongside Æthelwine, Bishop of Durham, Earl Morcar, and Hereward as cited in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle. Siward and his confiscated properties in central and northern England were mentioned in Domesday Book, and from this it is clear that he was one of the main antecessors of Henry de Ferrers, father of Robert de Ferrers, the first Earl of Derby.