The Anglo Saxons were worse than the vikings.

Sindane

Ad Honorem
Aug 2013
4,600
Europe
They are different in several ways. Britain was not a single unified kingdom when the first anglo saxons arrived and, when they did, they came in larger numbers over a long period of time, creating their own smaller kingdoms which coalesced only later into a handful of larger kingdoms. The process was protracted. British Kingdoms persisted. When the Normans came, they had to beat the english army, led by one king of England and, having done so, the anglo saxon Witan voted for William to be king. Most of England submitted and by 1075, only 9 years after the battle, all of England was under his authority and the only major threat was from Denmark. The Normans built castles and ruled the anglo saxons by force of arms if required whereas the original anglo saxons built villages on vacated lands. There are clues to the very early kingdoms in the tribal hidage which mentions:



Most of the smaller early kingdoms have disapeared by the time of Offa, and some appear to have moved northwards. The names Spalda and Lindesfarona appear north of the Humber on Spaldington Moor and on Lindesfarne, hypothesised by some to indicate that, whilst some tribes migrated further west in Britain, others migrated north, via the sea. Overall the numbers are higher and over several generations.

Thanks authun

What I mean more is that after the Battle of Hastings and the various rebellions 1069 and so on, the Normans managed to rule completely and without any more resistance, from everyday labourers, for hundreds of years. Like the Anglo Saxons had done, eventually. The Normans became the big bosses and we know a lot about them, but there is hardly any DNA trace of them in the everyday English population today.

I suppose what I'm asking is that did the mass of people, in both cases, just shrug and think let them get on with it. Over a long or short period of time. That there was no replacement of the general population in either case. Meet the new boss, same as the old boss, sort of thing and that there is no point in opposing these warrior kings and their mates. So people just payed thier taxes to whoever and carried on with life regardless?
 
Likes: authun
Aug 2011
4,888
I suppose what I'm asking is that did the mass of people, in both cases, just shrug and think let them get on with it. Over a long or short period of time. That there was no replacement of the general population in either case. Meet the new boss, same as the old boss, sort of thing and that there is no point in opposing these warrior kings and their mates. So people just payed thier taxes to whoever and carried on with life regardless?
Yes it was a takeover of those anglo saxons who owned land by normans. The people who worked the land remained the same but, the whole point was to steal the wealth, the entire country was seen as loot for William and his followers. For the land to produce wealth, they needed the same people to keep working it, though the obligations changed. William and his men had much more power.

Normandy didn't export its labour to England. William still spent much of his time there and sought to consolidate his power and wealth in France and Brittany too. He needed his feudal pyramid to keep producing money and military obligations there. He wasn't going to swap Normandy for England, he wanted both. His method was to reward his knights with lands and titles and that only had value if people worked the land for them.

William took all the land in England and apportioned it out. Roughly, he kept 20% for his personal use, gave 25% to the Church and apportioned the rest to about 170 Tennants in Chief, or Barons. They didn't have all their lands in one place however. Their lands were divided into Manors, about 6000 of them. They varied in size, some having several villages, others having only one village. The barons used knights to manage the manors. All the villagers however, were the same but they were under a Lord and had a lower status with fewer rights. William needed money to pay for all this so, through his barons and then knights, the peasantry were taxed more. New courts were created, run by the Lord and new laws were introduced, eg if a Norman was killed and the murderer not identified, the entire village was fined, the so called Murdrum fines. This had been a law under danish rule and William reintroduced it. The english were left in no doubt that their role was to produce for their master and they had little say about anything else.
 
Likes: Isleifson
Aug 2011
4,888
Just asking, but isn’t “Gytha Thorkelsdottir” a prima facie Scandinavian family name?
She was a danish noblewomen yes. Her brother Ulf was married to King Canute's daughter Estrid. The danish house ceased when Edward the Confessor siezed the throne of England in 1042. Edwards father was the saxon Aethelred the Unready who had been deposed by the dane Swyen Forkbeard.
 
Oct 2012
5,422
Let's not forget that the Normans who conquered Britain in 1066 were themselves descended from Scandinavian settlers and not ethnically French, although they had adopted French Culture. Additionally lets not forget that the Franks who gave rise to said French Culture were themselves a Germanic tribe initially...
That is not true at all.

The Norse who came to Normandy did not annihilate or displace the natives, they ruled over them. They also intermarried with them right from the start. That includes the ruling class as well - Rollo for instance took a Frankish noblewoman as his wife.

By 1066 when Hastings was fought a century and a half had passed since the Norse came to Normandy. Assimilation had occurred long before and the Normans of Hastings were much more French than they were Norse. They also referred to themselves as Franks in the Bayeux Tapestry.

As for the Franks...similar to the Norse in Normandy they did not annihilate or displace the natives, who greatly outnumbered them. The Franks came to rule over the Gauls and were similarly assimilated. While France may owe it's name to the Franks it was ultimately the Gallo-Roman culture of the Gauls that won out. If it had not the French language would be Germanic rather than a romance language.
 
Oct 2012
5,422
I don't think that's true as Norse were tiny elite ruling over large native French population and from the start they were marrying not only french Noble girls but local women of humble origin as well.

Some french guy here also wrote few days ago that majority of Norman army as well was originally french and majority of solider were also from Briton/Brittany, Flanders and North France region.
The Norman army at Hastings was arranged into three groups. Only the center was Norman. The left wing consisted of Bretons and men from Poitou, Maine, and Anjou. The right was men from Picardy, Bolougne, and Flanders.

The argument that the Normans that came to England weren't French fails not just on the history of the Normans themselves, but also on the composition of William's army.
 
Dec 2011
2,844
She was a danish noblewomen yes. Her brother Ulf was married to King Canute's daughter Estrid. The danish house ceased when Edward the Confessor siezed the throne of England in 1042. Edwards father was the saxon Aethelred the Unready who had been deposed by the dane Swyen Forkbeard.
Estrid Svendsdatter was Cnut's sister, she was the mother of the later King Sweyn II Estridson and Beorn Estrithson.
Beorn was earl of the East Midlands., previously held by Sweyn Godwinson who had been exiled, Sweyn later returned from exile with his relatives in Denmark and killed his cousin Beorn.
Ulf may have been killed by Cnut after the battle of the Holy River.


Battle of Helgeå - Wikipedia
 
Dec 2011
2,844
The Norman army at Hastings was arranged into three groups. Only the center was Norman. The left wing consisted of Bretons and men from Poitou, Maine, and Anjou. The right was men from Picardy, Bolougne, and Flanders.

The argument that the Normans that came to England weren't French fails not just on the history of the Normans themselves, but also on the composition of William's army.
From the contemporary sources the Normans in the center clearly considered themselves Norman. The desertions that took place during the harrying of the north were all French not Norman, according to the Norman account of William of Poitiers (Orderic).
In Guy Bishop Amiens' French account of Hastings the French are the heroes, in the WoP Norman account the Normans are the heroes.
 
Dec 2011
2,844
Estrid Svendsdatter was Cnut's sister, she was the mother of the later King Sweyn II Estridson and Beorn Estrithson.
Beorn was earl of the East Midlands., previously held by Sweyn Godwinson who had been exiled, Sweyn later returned from exile with his relatives in Denmark and killed his cousin Beorn.
Ulf may have been killed by Cnut after the battle of the Holy River.


Battle of Helgeå - Wikipedia
Sweyn Godwinson may have been a son of Cnut and Gytha Thorkelsdóttir and why he was a bit of an outsider in the Godwin clan.
When Sweyn Estridson was in dispute with Harald Hardrada (they were originally allies) Earl Godwin asked the Witan for 50 ships to be sent to help his nephew, the Mercians and Siward of Northumbria objected, Siward was likely a relative of Harald Hardrada.
In 1066 Sweyn Estridson sent troops to support his cousin Harold after (claimed by WoP) saying he would support William.
 

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