Was William really a Conqueror?

by Tim Harding

The ‘Norman Conquest’ is generally regarded as an epic event in English history – it was more than just a change of royal dynasty.  There is no doubt that William I[1] built castles and drastically changed the composition of the nobility and clergy, dispossessing many of their estates. However, the extent of legal and administrative changes he made to England is contested by different historians. I intend to show that William initially minimised these changes to help legitimise his claim to the English throne. He emphasised continuity in English law and customs, to avoid the appearance of a Norman French takeover of England. But he later abandoned this strategy, and made some major and lasting changes to English law and administration.

William I of England

As the legitimacy of William’s claim to the English throne is of central relevance to the initial strategy of his reign, I shall discuss this claim first, before analysing the legal and administrative changes that he made. Unlike today, the law regarding royal succession was less clear in the eleventh century. It was a dangerous mix of inheritance, bequest and election by the Witan[2], without fixed rules,[3] resulting in the catastrophic succession conflict of 1066.[4]

The competing claims to the English throne

Belloc lists four justifications for William’s claim to the English throne. Firstly, Edward the Confessor was a Norman in all that counted – speech, manners, tradition and descent from his mother Emma of Normandy.[5] (Although born at Oxford, Edward spent much of his early years with his mother in Normandy).[6] Secondly, Edward had no direct heir, and William was not only his cousin but his most prominent living relative.[7] Thirdly and most importantly, Edward had promised William that he would succeed to the English Crown.[8] Fourthly, Harold Godwinson (later King Harold II) had sworn fealty to William and promised to support William’s claim to the English throne.[9] (Harold later claimed that he had done this under duress at William’s court in Normandy).[10]

Primary evidence in support of Belloc’s third and fourth justifications is provided in the following extract from the seventh book of the Gesta Normannorum Ducum by William of Jumieges:

Edward, king of the English, being, according to the dispensation of God, without an heir, sent Robert, archbishop of Canterbury, to the Duke[11], with a message appointing the Duke as heir to the kingdom which God had entrusted to him. He also at a later time sent to the Duke, Harold[12] the greatest of all the counts in his kingdom alike in riches and honour and power. This he did in order that Harold might guarantee the Crown to the Duke by his fealty and confirm the same with an oath according to Christian usage.[13]

Similarly, William of Poitiers writes that Edward established William as his heir and ‘dispatched Harold to William in order that he might confirm his promise by an oath’.[14]

In historiographical terms, William of Jumieges was a chronicler of high standing, but representing Norman sentiment and opinion regarding these events. William of Poitiers was chaplain to Duke William and writes in a rhetorical style not concealing his admiration of the Duke.[15] Both of these primary sources are likely to be biased in William’s favour.

Tombs has an alternative theory that Harold went to Normandy to secure the freedom of his nephew Hakon, who was held hostage by William.[16] Harold was induced to swear fealty to William,[17] which may have been part of the price for release of his nephew.[18]

Unlike William’s claim to the throne, Harold Godwinson’s claim was not hereditary. Harold himself clearly based it on a deathbed grant by Edward the Confessor.[19] It is likely that while Edward was dying, he entrusted his kingdom to Harold who was in attendance at this time.[20] Edward was dangerously threatened by Harold’s family, whose lands in 1065 were £2,000 per year more valuable than the king’s.[21] Several English sources mention such a grant, and it is almost certainly true.[22] A primary source is the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle ‘E’, where the entry for the year 1066 states:

…and King Edward died, on the eve of the Epiphany[23]; and he was buried on the Feast of the Epiphany[24], in the newly consecrated Church at Westminster. And Earl Harold succeeded to the realm of England, just as the king had granted it to him, and as he had been chosen to the position. And he was consecrated king on the Feast of the Epiphany.[25]

Another primary source is from the annals ascribed to ‘Florence of Worcester’ who was a monk who wrote in the first third of the twelfth century; but had access to earlier materials, including possibly a version of the Anglo-Saxon Chronicles that has been lost. For the year 1066, Florence wrote:

After his [King Edward’s] burial, the under-king, Harold, son of Earl Godwine, whom the king had nominated as his successor, was chosen by the chief magnates of all England[26]; and the same day Harold was crowned with great ceremony by Aldred, archbishop of York.[27]

Again, in historiographical terms, the authors of the Anglo-Saxon Chronicles and ‘Florence of Worcester’, being Anglo-Saxons, are likely to have been biased against William I, in contrast to the Norman authors William of Poitiers and William of Jumieges.

According to Douglas, the indecent haste of these events indicates that Harold’s seizure of the throne was premediated, and that he feared opposition. They bore the appearance of a coup d’état executed with extreme speed and great resolution.[28]

So, it is not hard to see why William thought he had a better claim to the throne than Harold, and why he accused Harold of breaking his oath of fealty. William was plausibly entitled to claim to be England’s rightful king.[29] It had become clear to William that if he was ever to become King of England, it could only be through war. In 1066, he received support and a papal banner from Pope Alexander II, which would have strengthened his resolve.[30]

Harold is killed at the Battle of Hastings

William’s initial reign

After his decisive victory over Harold at the Battle of Hastings 14 October 1066, William marched to Dover, Canterbury, Winchester and ultimately London, with all cities offering submission without battle.[31] Significantly, William was crowned at Edward’s Westminster abbey according to ancient English rites, dating at least from the time of King Edgar (r. 959-975).[32]   William swore Edward’s coronation oath, assuming all the rights and responsibilities of an Old English King;[33]and undertaking to maintain peace and justice.[34] Every effort was made to stress the continuity of English royal rule, rather than a change to Norman French rule.[35] In other words, William argued that he was the legitimate successor of Edward the Confessor, not only de facto by conquest but also de jure by entitlement.[36] According to Carpenter, this strategy was successful in the English acceptance  of William as their king.[37]

In keeping with this theme, William began his early reign with a series of charters addressed to the City of London and various abbots. The thrust of these charters was that the laws and customs that prevailed under Edward the Confessor were to be preserved.[38]

William chose not to ‘unite his kingdoms’ of England and Normandy, instead maintaining separate legal and administrative systems for each.[39] In particular, William did not import Norman law as a body to England.[40] Yet, he later made some significant changes to England in terms of the courts, taxation, inheritances and forest law as will be discussed in the next section below.

Apart from not wanting his accession to look like a French Norman conquest of England, several reasons have been suggested as to why William kept his kingdoms separate. Firstly, Anglo-Saxon government was amongst the most advanced of its time, and superior to that of the Normal French.[41] William gratefully took over the English counties and hundreds with their local courts; the sheriffs; the pervasive ‘king’s peace’ with its specially reserved writs and royal pleas; the geld and coinage; and the Regenbald, which was Edward’s office of chancellor, and with it the power of the sealed writ.[42]

Clanchy has an interesting theory that the Anglo-Saxons traditionally laid claim to the whole island of Britain, even though they could not enforce it in practice. So by establishing himself as the lawful successor to Edward the Confessor, William took on his purported role as king of the whole of Britain, once again in law rather than in practice.[43]

According to Douglas and Greenaway, the ten ‘Laws of William the Conqueror’ may be regarded as part of the cardinal documents relating to English constitutional history of the period 1042-1189.[46] They are probably a compilation of legal enactments made at various times by William I, including his confirmation of earlier laws and customs[47] as follows:

This also I command and will, that all shall have and hold the law of King Edward in respect of their lands and possession, with the addition of those decrees I have ordained for the welfare of the English people.[48]

William added rather than subtracted a relatively small numbers of laws to those of King Edward.[49] One of these was the concept of ‘murdrum’ or murder fine as a form of collective punishment. The fine had to be paid by the hundred or the village in which a murder took place if it could not apprehend the murderer or prove that the victim was English.[50]

The Normans adapted at least one type of English legal document, the writ, to their own purposes.[51] One such writ to the abbot of Bury St Edmund’s ordered the transfer to the king of all lands formerly held of the abbey by those who had died at Hastings fighting against William, on the grounds that Harold was a perjured usurper.[52] Those who had fought and survived were confirmed in their lands alongside all those tenants who had not been at Hastings.[53] These dispossessions sent shockwaves through English society.[54]

William took advantage of the wide taxation base of the Danegeld which was initially set at two shillings per hide[55], but later increased from time to time.[56] As recorded in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle D: ‘And the king [William] imposed a heavy tax on the wretched people, and nevertheless caused all that he overran to be ravaged’.[57]

From the end of 1067 to 1072 William was primarily engaged in suppressing various English rebellions and consolidating his power.[44] To assist in these endeavours, he employed the Norman French strategy of building castles, not only as a fortified centre of regional administration, but also as a base for conducting military campaigns.[45] This strategy presages the later more transparent Norman influence over England.

William’s later reign

In the early 1070s, William’s attitude seems to have changed. He gave up trying to learn English and stopped using English in official documents. He spent little time in the country from 1072 until his death in Normandy in 1087.[58]

One of William’s first major changes to the law was his ordinance of 1072, which in effect separated common law from the ecclesiastical courts. According to Reppy, this ‘was bound to have a tremendous effect on the future development of English law’. For instance, it enabled the common law courts to resist ecclesiastical invasions of their jurisdiction by the use of ‘writs of prohibition’.[59]

Another significant Norman change was to introduce forest laws, setting aside huge areas as royal forests for both hunting and revenue collection from tenants. Successive kings added more lands, so that by the thirteenth century they covered one quarter of England including the entire county of Essex.[60]

England’s New Forest was proclaimed by William I in 1079

According to Tombs, the Norman Conquest annihilated England’s nobility, both physically and financially. Some 4000-5000 thegns were eliminated by battle, exile or dispossession in the largest transfer of property in English history. A generation after the Conquest, all significant power and wealth was in Norman hands.[61] The Anglo-Saxon Witan as ‘the Council of the English people’ soon disappeared.[62]

William also purged the senior levels of the Church, exemplified by his appointment of the Norman Lanfranc as the Archbishop of Canterbury.[63] The highest ranks of the Church, commanding immense political and economic power (through land tenure) were closed to Englishmen, but the lower levels (including both clergy and monks) remained predominantly English.[64]

According to Douglas, the establishment of this new aristocracy and system of land tenure was the greatest social impact on England by King William.[65] However, in the nineteenth century, most historians held that this change evolved by adaptation from the Old English past; whereas later historians considered it to be a more revolutionary result of the Norman Conquest. At the time of his book (1964), Douglas thought that the pendulum was swinging back to the first view.[66]

In particular, scholars have long argued that the Normans introduced feudalism to England, but this depends on how ‘feudalism’ is defined. Some more recent historians have urged abolishing the term altogether as a useless construct; but Thomas argues that the Norman changes to land tenure were indeed real and significant. In essence, they created a pyramid of tenancies and subtenancies, with the king as the ultimate landlord. These tenancies were granted on condition of supplying military resources to the king, or scutage payments if this was not possible.[67]

The Anglo-Norman sheriffs took over all the duties of their Anglo-Saxon predecessors, including collecting the geld, executing royal justice, controlling the local courts and keeping the new castles.[68]  If there was no earl in the county, as often there was not, the sheriff was directly answerable to the king,[69] which by such two-way communication made both the sheriff and the king more powerful than in Anglo-Saxon times. According to Douglas, the success to which the ancient English legal system, including the sheriff and local courts were brought to the service of the first Norman king was amongst William’s greatest achievements.[70]

Another of William’s achievements was a substantial reduction in the number of slaves in England from an estimated one in every eleven persons in 1066 to much smaller numbers, as shown in the Domesday Book.[71] William strove to suppress the export of slaves from Bristol; and one of the laws attributed to William specifically forbids the sale of one man by another outside the country.[72]

The Domesday Book

After consulting with his council at Gloucester in 1085, King William commissioned what is now known as the Domesday survey, as published in the Domesday Book.[73] The ‘terms of reference’ of this survey are set out the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle for 1085. William sent his inquisitors all over England, into every county (except the northernmost four), where they compiled a detailed inventory of all landholdings, livestock and revenue potential.[74]  

Of all the land in England surveyed by the Domesday Book, about a fifth was held directly by the King; about a quarter by the Church; and nearly half by the Norman followers of William who were relatively small in number[75] but very powerful.[76] By the end of William’s reign, it was rare to find an English name amongst the landholders recorded in the Domesday Book.[77] Only four Anglo-Saxon nobles remained as major landholders.[78] It has been calculated that only about eight percent of the land in England remained in the possession of this class.[79]

For instance, here is the entry in the Great Domesday Book for land held by my paternal ancestor, Harding of Cranmore.

Harding Domesday

Extract from Somerset chapter of Great Domesday Book

Translation:

‘Harding holds of the abbot CRANMORE. He held it likewise TRE*, and it paid geld for 12 hides. There is land for 10 ploughs. Of this, 6 hides are in demesne, and there is 1 plough and 6 slaves; and 8 villains and 2 bordars and 7 cottars with 3 ploughs. There is a mill rendering 30d, and 50 acres of meadow, and 60 acres of pasture and 100 acres of woodland. It is worth 4l. This land cannot be alienated from the church.’

*Tempore Regis Eduardi (in the time of Edward the Confessor), abbreviation used in the Domesday Book, meaning the period immediately before the Norman conquest of England.

The Domesday survey provided William with a wealth of information with which to better manage his feudal rights and revenues. It gave him vital details about both his own properties and those of his tenants. It enabled him to reassess the level of the geld and who should pay it. When William wanted to seize estates after a tenant’s forfeiture or death, he now knew what to take.[80]

Concluding remarks

The extent and durability of the legal and administrative changes that William I made is contested by different historians. For instance, Douglas surmises that William’s overall strategy was to effect major change with the least possible disturbance to English customs.[81] Thomas argues that while the Normans brought varying levels of change to English society, they maintained basic legal continuity and hardly changed the structure of government at all.[82] On the other hand, Carpenter argues that the changes brought by William’s exploitation of his new feudal rights, especially to land tenure, were momentous. [83]

As I have endeavoured to show in this essay, my own view is that the reign of William I can be divided into two phases. The first phase until the early 1070s was where he wanted to emphasise the legitimacy of his claim to the throne by maintaining English laws and customs. The second phase was where he seemingly abandoned this strategy in favour of making some major changes, at least some of which were due to Norman French influence.

Bibliography  

Primary sources

Anon. ‘Anglo-Saxon Chronicle D’. In Douglas, David C. and Greenaway, George W. (eds.) English Historical Documents Vol. II (1042-1189). Eyre & Spottiswoode: London, 1964.

Anon. ‘Anglo-Saxon Chronicle E’. In Douglas, David C. and Greenaway, George W. (eds.) English Historical Documents Vol. II (1042-1189). Eyre & Spottiswoode: London, 1964.

Anon., Great Domesday Book, Somerset Folio: 90v, National Archives: Kew, 1086.

Anon. ‘The Laws of William the Conqueror’. In Douglas, David C. and Greenaway, George W. (eds.) English Historical Documents Vol. II (1042-1189). Eyre & Spottiswoode: London, 1964. pp. 399-400.

Florence of Worcester, ‘Select passages from the annals ascribed to Florence of Worcester’. In Douglas, David C. and Greenaway, George W. (eds.) English Historical Documents Vol. II (1042-1189). Eyre & Spottiswoode: London, 1964. Pp.204-214.  

William I (1072) ‘The Ordinance of William the Conqueror’ in Reppy, Alison. Ordinance of William the Conqueror (1072) – Its Implications in the Modern Law of Succession. Ocean: New York, 1954.  

William of Jumieges (c.1070) ‘Description of the Invasion of England by William the Conqueror’. In Douglas, David C. and Greenaway, George W. (eds.) English Historical Documents Vol. II (1042-1189). Eyre & Spottiswoode: London, 1964.

William of Poitiers (c. 1071) ‘The Deeds of William, Duke of the Normans and King of the English’. In Douglas, David C. and Greenaway, George W. (eds.) English Historical Documents Vol. II (1042-1189). Eyre & Spottiswoode: London, 1964.

Secondary sources

Barlow, Frank (2004). ‘Edward (St Edward; known as Edward the Confessor)’. Oxford Dictionary of National Biography https://doi.org/10.1093/ref:odnb/8516 dated 25 May 2006, accessed 19 October 2018.

Bates, David., William the Conqueror. Yale University Press: New Haven, 2016.

Belloc, Hilaire. William the Conqueror. Peter Davies: Edinburgh, 1933.

Carpenter, David., The Struggle for Mastery: Britain 1066-1284. Penguin: London, 2004.

Clanchy, M.T. England And Its Rulers (Fourth Edition). Wiley Blackwell: Chichester, 2014.

Douglas, David C. William the Conqueror – The Norman Impact Upon England. Eyre & Spottiswoode: London, 1964.

Douglas, David C. and Greenaway, George W. (eds.) English Historical Documents Vol. II (1042-1189). Eyre & Spottiswoode: London, 1964.

Reppy, Alison. Ordinance of William the Conqueror (1072) – Its Implications in the Modern Law of Succession. Ocean: New York, 1954.  

Thomas, Hugh M. The Norman Conquest: England After William the Conqueror, Rowman & Littlefield: Lanham, 2008.

Tombs, Robert. The English & Their History. Penguin: London, 2014.

Endnotes: 

[1] The appropriateness of William’s epithet ‘conqueror’ is also contested by some historians. For instance, Hilaire Belloc argues that because William was Edward the Confessor’s rightful heir, there was no ‘conquest’ and William was not a ‘conqueror’ (Hilaire Belloc, William the Conqueror, Edinburgh, 1933. pp.  47-50, 127-128).  For this reason, I use the neutral title of William I in this essay.

[2] The Witan or ‘Council of the English people’ was a gathering of thegns (the majority of the aristocracy below the ranks of ealdormen and high-reeves) and prelates, which was summoned by the king at various places to give advice, settle disputes, try cases of treason or to endorse royal acts. It was crucial in times of danger or disputed succession (Tombs 2014: 24).

[3] Hugh M. Thomas, The Normal Conquest, Lanham, 2008. p. 17.

[4] Tombs, Robert, The English & Their History. London, 2014. p.36.

[5] Hilaire Belloc, William the Conqueror, Edinburgh, 1933. p.46.

[6] Frank Barlow, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, 2006. pp. 1-3; Thomas, The Normal Conquest, p.12; David C. Douglas, William the Conqueror – The Norman Impact Upon England. London, 1964. pp.162, 165.

[7] Belloc, William the Conqueror, p.47.

[8] Belloc, William the Conqueror, pp.48-50; Thomas, The Normal Conquest, pp.18, 23; Tombs, The English & Their History, p. 40; Douglas, William the Conqueror – The Norman Impact Upon England. p.169.

[9] Belloc, William the Conqueror, pp. 70, 74; Thomas, The Normal Conquest, p.23; Douglas, William the Conqueror – The Norman Impact Upon England. p.176.

[10] Belloc, William the Conqueror, pp. 80-81; Thomas, The Normal Conquest, p.24; Douglas, William the Conqueror – The Norman Impact Upon England. p.177.

[11] William, Duke of Normandy.

[12] Harold Godwinson, later King Harold II.

[13] William of Jumieges, ‘Description of the Invasion of England by William the Conqueror’, c.1070. p.215.

[14] William of Poitiers, ‘The Deeds of William, Duke of the Normans and King of the English’ c. 1071. p217.

[15] David C. Douglas, and George W. Greenaway, (eds.) English Historical Documents Vol. II (1042-1189). London, 1964. pp. 215, 217.

[16] Tombs, The English & Their History, p. 40; David Bates, William the Conqueror. New Haven, 2016. p.199.

[17] Tombs, The English & Their History, p. 40.

[18] David Carpenter, The Struggle for Mastery: Britain 1066-1284. London, 2004. p.68.

[19] Hugh M. Thomas, The Normal Conquest, Lanham, 2008. p. 17;

[20] Barlow, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, 2006. p. 12

[21] David Carpenter, The Struggle for Mastery: Britain 1066-1284. London, 2004. p.67.

[22] Douglas, William the Conqueror – The Norman Impact Upon England. p.252; Thomas, The Normal Conquest, pp.17-18; David Bates, William the Conqueror. New Haven, 2016. p.213.

[23] 5 January 1066.

[24] 6 January 1066.

[25] Anon. Anglo-Saxon Chronicle D. 1066. in Douglas and Greenaway, p.142.

[26] Likely to have been the Witan (see footnote 2).

[27] Florence of Worcester, Annals, p.212

[28] Douglas, William the Conqueror – The Norman Impact Upon England. p.182.

[29] Tombs, The English & Their History, p. 42.

[30] Douglas, William the Conqueror – The Norman Impact Upon England. pp.169, 188; David Bates, William the Conqueror. New Haven, 2016. pp.165, 223.

[31] Douglas, William the Conqueror – The Norman Impact Upon England. p.206.

[32] Ibid., p.248.

[33] Ibid., pp.206-207.

[34] David Carpenter, The Struggle for Mastery: Britain 1066-1284. London, 2004. p.62.

[35] Douglas, William the Conqueror – The Norman Impact Upon England. p.248.

[36] Ibid., p.250.

[37] David Carpenter, The Struggle for Mastery, p.75.

[38] Douglas, William the Conqueror – The Norman Impact Upon England. p.258.

[39] Thomas, The Normal Conquest, p 60.

[40] Alison Reppy, Ordinance of William the Conqueror (1072) – Its Implications in the Modern Law of Succession, New York, 1954. p.4; Thomas, The Normal Conquest, p 59.

[41] Thomas, The Normal Conquest, pp.10, 59.

[42] David Carpenter, The Struggle for Mastery, pp.90-92.

[43] Clanchy, M.T. England And Its Rulers, Chichester, 2014. p.20.

[44] Douglas, William the Conqueror – The Norman Impact Upon England. p.211.

[45] Ibid., p.216.

[46] David Douglas and George Greenaway (eds.) English Historical Documents Vol. II (1042-1189). London, 1964. p.399.

[47] Ibid., p. 204.

[48] Anon. ‘The Laws of William the Conqueror’ in Douglas and Greenaway, p.400.

[49] Thomas, The Normal Conquest, p.84.

[50] David Carpenter, The Struggle for Mastery, p.102; Thomas, The Normal Conquest, p.85.

[51] Thomas, The Normal Conquest, p.10.

[52] David Carpenter, The Struggle for Mastery, p.76.

[53] Belloc, William the Conqueror, p. 114; David Bates, William the Conqueror. New Haven, 2016. pp.286-287.

[54] David Carpenter, The Struggle for Mastery, p.76.

[55] A hide or carucate varied in size but was often around 120 acres (David Carpenter, The Struggle for Mastery, p.63).

[56] Douglas, William the Conqueror – The Norman Impact Upon England. p.300.

[57] Anon. Anglo-Saxon Chronicle D.  1067. p.147.

[58] Tombs, The English & Their History, p. 44; Douglas, William the Conqueror – The Norman Impact Upon England. p.211.

[59] Reppy, Ordinance of William the Conqueror (1072) – Its Implications in the Modern Law of Succession, New York, p.5.

[60] Thomas, The Normal Conquest, p.60.

[61]Tombs, The English & Their History, p. 44-45; Thomas, The Normal Conquest, p.47.

[62] Ibid., p. 47.

[63] David Bates, William the Conqueror. New Haven, 2016. p.329.

[64] Tombs, The English & Their History, p. 50.

[65] Douglas, William the Conqueror – The Norman Impact Upon England. pp.275, 280.

[66] Ibid., p.276.

[67] Thomas, The Normal Conquest, pp.71-73, 82-83.

[68] Douglas, William the Conqueror – The Norman Impact Upon England. p.298.

[69] David Carpenter, The Struggle for Mastery, p.64.

[70] Douglas, William the Conqueror – The Norman Impact Upon England. pp.306, 308.

[71] Thomas, The Normal Conquest, p.98.

[72] Anon. ‘The Laws of William the Conqueror’ in Douglas and Greenaway, p.400.

[73] David Bates, William the Conqueror. New Haven, 2016. pp.462-463.

[74] Anon. ‘Anglo-Saxon Chronicle E’ in Douglas and Greenaway, p.161.

[75] Less than 180 tenants-in-chief are recorded in the Domesday Book as possessing estates rated an annual value of more than ₤100 (Douglas, William the Conqueror – The Norman Impact Upon England. p.269).

[76] Douglas, William the Conqueror – The Norman Impact Upon England. p.269.

[77] Ibid., p.266.

[78] David Carpenter, The Struggle for Mastery, p.79.

[79] Douglas, William the Conqueror – The Norman Impact Upon England. p.266.

[80] David Carpenter, The Struggle for Mastery, p.104.

[81] Douglas, William the Conqueror – The Norman Impact Upon England. p.290.

[82] Thomas, The Normal Conquest, pp.87, 143, 144.

[83] David Carpenter, The Struggle for Mastery, p.87.

1 Comment

Filed under Essays and talks

One response to “Was William really a Conqueror?

  1. Enjoyed your essay. I had no idea there was such continuity between ‘Saxon’ and Norman times in England (my only sources being Ivanhoe and Bulwer Lytton’s Harold).

    Liked by 1 person

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