How England Was Conquered

How England Was Conquered

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A new king was needed in England in 1066 because Edward the Confessor had died. He didn't have a son but he had a nephew who was too young to rule, as he was only eight. There were three claimants who wanted to rule. William Duke of Normandy said Edward had promised to name him as a successor. He also said Harold had made an oath promising to help him become king. He also had the support of the Pope. Another of the claimants who wanted to rule was Harold Godwinson, Earl of Wessex, because his sister was married to Edward. He was the most powerful English noble and popular with the other English nobles. The last claimant was Hardrada, King of Norway. He was the most powerful king and he had a large army. His ancestor had ruled England once. He also wanted to collect English taxes. He also had the support of Tostig, Harold's brother.
Harold Godwinson was made king in 1066. Harold Godwinson marched down to the South coast because he was expecting William on the south coast. William did not arrive because the gales kept blowing him back to France. Then Hardrada landed in the north so Harold and his army marched 200 miles north. The battle took place at Stanford Bridge. Harold Godwinson won the battle. News broke that William had landed on the south coast. Harold marched 250 miles back. The next battle took place at Hastings. Harold made a shield wall on Senlac Hill. William could not break the shield wall so the Normans pretended to run away. The Anglo-Saxons could not resist this and ran after them. They had broken the shield wall. William and his army stopped and ran up the hill. One of Williams's army shot an arrow and hit Godwinson in the eye. William won the battle and was crowned on Christmas day. He was named William the Conqueror.
William had taken over England by 1070. He had also taken over the southeast of England by 1066. By 1068 William had taken over the southwest and the Midlands of England. By 1070 he had taken over a part of Wales and the northeast.

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He had taken over a large part of England by this time. Between York and Durham the people rebelled against him, so as a punishment he burnt down all their houses and killed all of the people. He also burnt all the crops and left nobody alive. This was called the ‘The Harrying of the North.' William built many castles. He built his castles out of wood, on a hill, so that he could remind the villagers that he was there. Also it was easier to watch out for attackers. Building his castles on a hill made it very hard for attackers to fight because they were fighting their arrows up.
William introduced the feudal system into England. The feudal system was where the king gave land to the barons and the barons gave land to the knights. The knights gave soldiers to the barons then the barons gave these soldiers to the king. William did not want English nobles to keep their land he wanted to give it to the supporters. As well as receiving land, the nobles had to swear on oath of loyalty and agree to do homage. The Norman nobles controlled 54% of their land. The members of the church had 26%, the king had 17% and the old Anglo- Saxons nobles now had only 3%. Before William ruled the old Anglo-Saxon nobles had 57% but lost 54%. The Norman nobles gained 54% from the old Anglo-Saxon nobles.
There were many reasons why William and the Normans were so successful in their conquest of England in the late 11th century. William was very lucky that the winds kept blowing him back while Harold was waiting for him. If the winds had not, William could have been massacred while he was unloading his ships, because Harold's army could have just charged at him. William was also sneaky and sly. He was very sneaky because he pretended to run away when they where on Senlac hill. This made Harold run after him and break the shield wall. William was harsh in the way he made people respect him. Between Durham and York people rebelled him so he burnt down all the houses, crops, farms and people so therefore there was nobody left. William was well informed because he knew how much land everybody had. He also knew how many taxis they should pay. This was all stored in a book. This survey was called the Doomsday Survey. The wealthy people could also have to give up knights to William. He was in control because of the Feudal System, which involved land and soldiers. So he could have an army whenever he needed one. So far all of these reasons William's conquest of England was very successful.
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