1066, the Norman conquest of England

Essay by Emanuel C. ResendesUniversity, Bachelor'sA+, November 1996

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England...'was a farming country, land was its absorbing interest; and

originally plots of land had been owned outright by the men who settled and

cleared them, and inherited by their children. But such independent farmers

had no defense against the Viking raids, or resources to tide them over disasters

like cattle sickness, a series of bad harvests, fire or storm. In the course of time,

almost every man in the country had attached himself by mutual promises to

somebody more powerful, who could help to protect him and his family in times

of stress. Small landowners had surrendered the nominal ownership of their

land to their protectors - who in turn held the land in duty to somebody higher.

This evolution has often been called a loss of freedom, and so it was; but

absolute personal freedom had come to be, as perhaps it has always been, a

dangerous illusion.

Its loss was really a gain; the acceptance of the duties and

mutual support of a social system, the end of anarchy'(13-14).

The first paragraph sums up the life of the commoners in England and

also very similar to Normandy. Both countries were very much alike but yet

distinct in their own subtle ways. In my essay I will discuss the similarities

and differences between Anglo-Saxon England and Normandy including their

feudal system. I will also compare and contrast Harold of England and William

the Conqueror as portrayed in 1066.

England and Normandy had very similar feudal system. In both systems

'everyone held his plot of land in duty to someone higher' (61). The English had

serfs and the Normans had peasants at the very bottom. They were the workers

(slaves) that grew the crops and took care of the land for the upper class. The

Normans had lords and...