Normans in England
Historians generally contribute the Norman presence in England as a result of the invasion that was carried out by William the Conqueror in 1066. Once William and his soldiers emerged victorious from the Battle of Hastings, William would go on to become the ruler of the country. The Battle of Hasting is important because it allowed England to build a stronger connection with the rest of Europe and the Scandinavian power that had existed in the region was gradually weakened. This led to the creation of a powerful royal family, and England would go on to form one of the most advanced governmental systems in Europe.
It should also be noted that the Battle of Hasting is the last successful military invasion against England. It was the Vikings who were partly responsible for the victory of William, though it seems that their actions were unintentional. After successfully defeating the Vikings at the Battle of Stamford Bridge, the Anglo-Saxon warriors were immediately marched to face William and his army at the Battle of Hastings.
However, the Normans had been present in England for a long period of time, even before the Invasion of William I. The Vikings had been attacking the coasts for a long period of time, and they resided in regions near the English Channel. A strong bond was forged between the Normans and the native peoples in the region by the marriage of Emma to Ethelred II. Emma was the daughter of Richard II, who was the Duke of Normandy. Ethelred would eventually flee the region, he was pushed into exile from his kingdom by Sweyn Forkbeard, and he resided in Normandy until the year 1016.
Once Edward the Confessor came back to the kingdom, he introduced a number of Norman practices. In addition to this, he brought Norman warriors and advisors to the region as well. It was Edward who used the Norman warriors to train a group of English warrior horsemen. While this action did not become popular in the country, it showed the thought process of Edward the Confessor. He is responsible for making Robert of Jumieges the archbishop of Canterbury, as well as Ralph the Timid the Earl of Hereford. When Edward decided to bring his brother Eustace II to his court, it resulted in a number of battles that occurred between the Saxons and the Normans. These battles resulted in Earl Godwin of Wessex being exiled from the region.
The most famous leader of the Normans is none other than William the Conqueror, who captured England in 1066. Once William emerged victorious from the Battle of Hastings, the Normans would dominate the region, pushing aside the Anglo-Saxons. While there was fighting between the two groups, they would eventually settle their differences through intermarriage. In addition to this, they combined both their language and customs. The Normans would go on to call themselves the Anlgo-Normans, and they spoke a language that was separate from French. However, the Anglo-Norman group would vanish during the Hundred Years war, when most of these people simply referred to themselves as being English. The Anglo-Norman language that they spoke would eventually merge to become Middle English.
Original Authors: Stephen Palmer
Edit Update Authors: M.A.Harris
Updated On: 23/07/2008