Association de Sauvegarde du

CHATEAU DE GAVRAY

William the bastard becomes William the conqueror : Period 1066 – 1072

1066 – The reasons for the presence of  Harold Godwinson  in Normandy remain obscure, he is apparently in the service of  Edward the Confessor, King of England, heir of  Ethelred II and of Emma who had taken refuge in Rouen in 1042.  Harold, party chief  of the anglo-saxons hostile to the King and to Edward’s Normans that had returned with him from exile, is charged with confirming the promise made by the heirless Edward  to transmit the crown of England to William the BastardHarold, committed to William by various oaths, perjures himself on the death of Edward and seizes the crown for himself.
William goes to war, believing in the legitimacy of his cause and enlists the help of all his vassals, lay and ecclesiastic.  They collect  the necessary boats for  William’s fleet, raise battallions of foot soldiers and cavalry which form the backbone of the Duchy’s military force. William gets help from his Flemish and Breton allies.  Holy Roman Emperor Henry IV and the King of France, Philippe I  each minors, do not have the power to oppose the Duke of Normandy’s project.
William goes to war, believing in the legitimacy of his cause and enlists the help of all his vassals, lay and ecclesiastic.  They collect  the necessary boats for  William’s fleet, raise battallions of foot soldiers and cavalry which form the backbone of the Duchy’s military force. William gets help from his Flemish and Breton allies.  Holy Roman Emperor Henry IV and the King of France, Philippe I  each minors, do not have the power to oppose the Duke of Normandy’s project.
Since the English prelates were out of favour in Rome, Pope Alexander II,  backed by the Italian Normans, gives his benediction.   William sets out to conquer England bearing the standard the Pope has sent him.
18 June 1066 – The dedication of the Abbaye de la Trinité in Caen, in the presence of all the chiefs of the expedition, is the final solemn act which places the military enterprise under divine protection.
September 1066 -Harold prepares for the inevitable war.  The first serious challenge comes from Harald Hardrada, King of Norway allied to Tostig, Harold’s  rebellious brother.  Harald Hardrada  is overcome and killed at the battle of  Stanford Bridge.
14 October 1066William’s army makes landfall near Hastings and wins the battle in which Harold is killed.
William heads for London (they usually do) where he is crowned King of England on Christmas day.
He replaces the English aristocracy with his own loyalists, his army  controls the country from strategically built castles.  England does not have castles as such, relying on fortified towns and strongholds, including a good number of old Roman forts.

Scenes from the Bayeux tapestry; the Battle of Hastings


1068 -  Coronation of  Matilda, his wife, as Queen of England..
1069 – He crushes an uprising in Yorkshire which was backed by a fleet from Denmark.
1070 - Stigant, archbishop of  Canterbury, is deposed and replaced by Lanfranc, the Abbé from Saint Etienne de Caen,
1072 - Submission of the King of Scotland.

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