Lecture: The Norman Conquest – Feudalism – Norman England – The Norman Church

At this point, William I was well cemented into England as their leader. He felt confident enough about his hold on England that he decided to go back to Normandy for a while. While he was there, he was killed by a stomach wound of some kind, but before he died he had time to appoint a successor. William II was his son, so he should have taken over for his father, but William I didn’t like his son very much, so he only gave him the minimum amount of power that he was required to by law which was the dukedom of Normandy. Technically, the dukedom didn’t include England. William I gave England to Robert, William II’s half-brother. So now, England is no longer under Norman rule.

Now my professor is going to talk about Feudalism for a long time. The basics are that all the land is held by the king and everyone else just rents it from him and that the obedience of the citizens is given in exchange for the protection by the Crown. There are certain services that people must perform for the king in order to stay on the land. The types of services are knights service (the cool one) which is basically providing the king with a soldier for 40 days a year during wartime, scutage which is money to give the king to pay for a knight that is not yourself, and sergeanty which is miscellaneous services like lawyer or groundskeeper. Roland the Farter is a mildly famous example of someone who gave these services. His job was to make the royal family laugh in exchange for land.

Okay, now we’re back to Norman England. Under William II, bureaucracy increased dramatically. The Domesday Book was started. William sent out lots of people to figure out who owned the land across the country. He probably did this so that he could tax people more effectively, but now it gives us a way to see who had power in England by the measure of their land. Robert wanted to go crusading, so he left William II in charge of England while he was gone. While Robert was gone, Henry I killed William II in a “hunting accident”. When Robert came back from crusading, he wanted his stuff back, but Henry wouldn’t give it to him so a war started. Robert lost and was kept as a prisoner.

Henry I had two children; a son and a daughter.  His son died before he was able to take the throne, so Henry wanted to give it to his daughter, Matilda. This was an issue apparently because a good portion of the country was like “Women can’t lead, they’re too weak.” So a war started about whether or not Matilda would lead. We weren’t told how this was resolved so… maybe next time?

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