The Norman Conquest's Impact on Women's Roles in Englad
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Considered one of the most important events in English history, the Norman Conquest in 1066 C.E. produced many different outcomes that changed the course of English history. Under the rule of William the Conqueror, numerous elements of the English government and political system changed with the introduction of feudalism. In addition, Norman French prompted the English language to change. While many people believe these modifications are the most significant Norman impacts upon England, the Norman Conquest’s influence on women’s roles in England was no less remarkable.
As history has shown time and time again, the death of a ruler brings about drastic changes in that ruler’s nation. This was the indeed case in the death of the English king Edward the Confessor in January 1066. To make this matter complicated, King Edward left no living heirs. In life, Edward had sympathized with the Normans in northern France, and William, the Duke of Normandy, claimed the English king had promised him the throne. However, there were also rumors that on his deathbed Edward had named Harold Godwinson, the head of the
army, the heir to the English crown. While neither of these claims was ever ratified, Harold ended up seizing control of England. This event, however, infuriated Duke William. In October 1066, William invaded England, and King Harold was killed in the decisive Battle of Hastings. With this glorious victory, the new king William obtained his well-known title as William the Conqueror.
As the Conqueror settled into his new position as King of England, many other Normans followed their leader across the English Channel to settle into the island nation. These Normans brought with them their own customs and culture that differed rather significantly from that of English culture. Since the Normans, as the conquerors, became the new ruling class, they greatly impacted