The History of England

from Celts through 20th century

The Norman Invasion

Category: Brief History of

Englandwas submitted to a Danish King Conute in 1016 and became a part of the Great Danish Empire which included Denmark and Norway. After the Danish invasion King Edward I (the Confessor) was restored to the throne. Previously he was brought up to Normandy during the years of Danish rule and came to England with Norman friends and clergy.

Monkish in his ideas, his main interest was the church and it was he who founded the Westminster Abbey. During his reign there was a certain opposition to the Norman rule and Edward’s brother-in-law named Harold, the Earl of Wessex, became the leader of anti – Norman party. So Harold II was the last Anglo – Saxon king before the Norman Conquest of England and it was he who headed the battle of Hastings in 1066, which decided the history of England and marked the beginning of the Norman invasion.

14th October 1066 is the most celebrated date in English history. On that day the crucial engagement between the English army under King Harold and the invading troops of William, Duke of Normandy took place. In preparation for the great confrontation two Norman castles were put up on English soil – at Pevensey and at Hastings.

William’s well – trained army met the defending English forces. The battle ended with Harold’s death from an arrow in the eye and the English were routed. William the Conqueror founded battle Abbey to atone for the terrible slaughter of this hand – to hand combat and the high altar stood on the very spot where Harold fell mortally wounded. A memorial stone marks the place today.

The English lost the battle because England was united only in name and there was no immediate resistance. Had it been a united country the battle of Hastings would not have decided its history. In just one day the invasion of England had succeeded but the crown was secured, fulfilling the promise made to William by King Edward the Confessor some 15 years earlier. The Normans imposed unity and linked it permanently with the culture of Southern Europe.

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