England was early medieval England, existing from the 5th
to the 11th century from the end of
Roman Britain until the Norman
conquest in 1066. It consisted of various Anglo-Saxon kingdoms until
927 when it was united as the
Kingdom of England
Kingdom of England by King Æthelstan
(r. 927–939). It became part of the
North Sea Empire
North Sea Empire of Cnut the
Great, a personal union between England,
Norway in the
Anglo-Saxons were the members of Germanic-speaking groups who
migrated to the southern half of the island of Great Britain from
continental Europe and their cultural descendants. Anglo-Saxon history
thus begins during the period of Sub-
Roman Britain following the end
of Roman control, and traces the establishment of Anglo-Saxon kingdoms
in the 5th and 6th centuries (conventionally identified as seven main
kingdoms: Northumbria, Mercia, East Anglia, Essex, Kent, Sussex, and
Wessex), their Christianisation during the 7th century, the threat of
Viking invasions and Danish settlers, the gradual unification of
Wessex hegemony during the 9th and 10th centuries, and
ending with the
Norman conquest of England
Norman conquest of England by
William the Conqueror
William the Conqueror in
Anglo-Saxon identity survived beyond the Norman conquest, came to
be known as
Englishry under Norman rule and ultimately developed into
the modern English people.
2 Historical context
3 Migration and the formation of kingdoms (400–600)
Heptarchy and Christianisation (7th and 8th centuries)
4.2 Other minor kingdoms and territories
5 Viking challenge and the rise of
Wessex (9th century)
6 English unification (10th century)
England under the Danes and the
Norman conquest (978–1066)
7.1 Payment of Danegeld
7.2 Rise of Cnut
7.3 Edward becomes king
7.4 Death of Edward the Confessor
Battle of Fulford
Battle of Fulford and aftermath
7.6 William of
Normandy sails for England
8 See also
12 External links
Bede completed his book Historia ecclesiastica gentis Anglorum
(Ecclesiastical History of the English People) in around 731. Thus the
English people (Latin: gens Anglorum; Anglo-Saxon: Anglecynn)
was in use by then to distinguish Germanic groups in Britain from
those on the continent (Old Saxony in Northern Germany).[a] The
term 'Anglo-Saxon' came in practice in the 8th century (probably by
Paul the Deacon) to distinguish English Saxons from continental Saxons
(Ealdseaxe, 'old' Saxons).
The historian James Campbell suggested that it was not until the late
Anglo-Saxon period that
England could be described as a nation
state. It is certain that the concept of "Englishness" only
developed very slowly.
Main articles: Sub-
Roman Britain and End of Roman rule in Britain
As the Roman occupation of Britain was coming to an end, Constantine
III withdrew the remains of the army in reaction to the barbarian
invasion of Europe. The Romano-British leaders were faced with
an increasing security problem from seaborne raids, particularly by
Picts on the east coast of England. The expedient adopted by the
Romano-British leaders was to enlist the help of Anglo-Saxon
mercenaries (known as foederati), to whom they ceded territory.
In about 442 the
Anglo-Saxons mutinied, apparently because they had
not been paid. The Romano-British responded by appealing to the
Roman commander of the Western empire, Aëtius, for help (a document
known as the Groans of the Britons), even though Honorius, the Western
Roman Emperor, had written to the British civitas in or about 410
telling them to look to their own defence. There then
followed several years of fighting between the British and the
Anglo-Saxons. The fighting continued until around 500, when, at
the Battle of Mount Badon, the Britons inflicted a severe defeat on
Migration and the formation of kingdoms (400–600)
Main article: Anglo-Saxon settlement of Britain
See also: Migration period
2nd to 5th century simplified migration patterns.
There are records of Germanic infiltration into Britain that date
before the collapse of the Roman Empire. It is believed that the
earliest Germanic visitors were eight cohorts of
Batavians attached to
the 14th Legion in the original invasion force under
Aulus Plautius in
AD 43. There is a recent hypothesis that some of the
native tribes, identified as Britons by the Romans, may have been
Germanic-language speakers, but most scholars disagree with this due
to an insufficient record of local languages in Roman-period
It was quite common for Rome to swell its legions with foederati
recruited from the German homelands. This practice also extended
to the army serving in Britain, and graves of these mercenaries, along
with their families, can be identified in the Roman cemeteries of the
period. The migration continued with the departure of the Roman
Anglo-Saxons were recruited to defend Britain; and also
during the period of the Anglo-Saxon first rebellion of 442.
Anglo-Saxon Chronicle is to be believed, the various
Anglo-Saxon kingdoms which eventually merged to become
founded when small fleets of three or five ships of invaders arrived
at various points around the coast of
England to fight the Sub-Roman
British, and conquered their lands. The language of the migrants,
Old English, came over the next few centuries to predominate
throughout what is now England, at the expense of
British Celtic and
Map of Briton settlements in the 6th century.
The arrival of the
Anglo-Saxons into Britain can be seen in the
context of a general movement of
Germanic peoples around Europe
between the years 300 and 700, known as the
Migration period (also
called the Barbarian Invasions or Völkerwanderung). In the same
period there were migrations of Britons to the Armorican peninsula
Normandy in modern-day France): initially around 383
during Roman rule, but also c. 460 and in the 540s and 550s; the
460s migration is thought to be a reaction to the fighting during the
Anglo-Saxon mutiny between about 450 to 500, as was the migration to
Britonia (modern day Galicia, in northwest Spain) at about the same
time. The historian Peter Hunter-Blair expounded what is now
regarded as the traditional view of the Anglo-Saxon arrival in
Britain. He suggested a mass immigration, fighting and driving the
Sub-Roman Britons off their land and into the western extremities of
the islands, and into the Breton and Iberian peninsulas. This view
was probably influenced by sources such as Bede, where he talks about
the Britons being slaughtered or going into "perpetual servitude".
According to Härke the more modern view is of co-existence between
the British and the Anglo-Saxons. He suggests that several
modern archaeologists have now re-assessed the invasion model, they
have developed a co-existence model largely based on the Laws of Ine.
The laws include several clauses that provide six different wergild
levels for the Britons, of which four are below that of freeman.
Although it was possible for the Britons to be rich freemen, in
Anglo-Saxon society, generally it seems that they had a lower status
than that of the Anglo-Saxons.
Discussions and analysis still continue on the size of the migration,
and whether it was a small elite band of
Anglo-Saxons who came in and
took over the running of the country, or a mass migration of peoples
who overwhelmed the Britons.
According to Gildas, initial vigorous British resistance was led by a
man called Ambrosius Aurelianus, from which time victory
fluctuated between the two peoples.
Gildas records a "final" victory
of the Britons at the Battle of Mount Badon in c. 500, and this
might mark a point at which
Anglo-Saxon migration was temporarily
Gildas said that this battle was "forty-four years and
one month" after the arrival of the Saxons, and was also the year of
his birth. He said that a time of great prosperity followed.
But, despite the lull, the
Anglo-Saxons took control of Sussex, Kent,
East Anglia and part of Yorkshire; while the West Saxons founded a
kingdom in Hampshire under the leadership of Cerdic, around 520.
However, it was to be 50 years before the
Anglo-Saxons began further
major advances. In the intervening years the Britons exhausted
themselves with civil war, internal disputes, and general unrest:
which was the inspiration behind Gildas's book De Excidio Britanniae
(The Ruin of Britain).
The next major campaign against the Britons was in 577, led by Cealin,
king of Wessex, whose campaigns succeeded in taking Cirencester,
Gloucester and Bath (known as the Battle of Dyrham). This
Wessex ended abruptly when the
fighting among themselves, and resulted in
Cealin eventually having to
retreat to his original territory. He was then replaced by
was possibly his nephew):
Cealin was killed the following year, but
the annals do not specify by whom. Cirencester subsequently
became an Anglo-Saxon kingdom under the overlordship of the Mercians,
rather than Wessex.
Heptarchy and Christianisation (7th and 8th centuries)
Main articles: Northumbria, Mercia,
Offa of Mercia, Heptarchy, and
Christianisation of the Anglo-Saxon Kingdoms
By 600, a new order was developing, of kingdoms and sub-Kingdoms.
Henry of Huntingdon (a medieval historian) conceived the idea of the
Heptarchy, which consisted of the seven principal Anglo-Saxon kingdoms
Heptarchy literal translation from the Greek: hept – seven; archy
Anglo-Saxon and British kingdoms c. 800
The four main kingdoms in Anglo-Saxon
Northumbria, including sub-kingdoms
Bernicia and Deira
Other minor kingdoms and territories
Kingdom of the Iclingas, a precursor state to Mercia
Isle of Wight, (Wihtwara)
Meonwara, the Meon Valley area of Hampshire
At the end of the 6th century the most powerful ruler in
Æthelberht of Kent, whose lands extended north to the River
Humber. In the early years of the 7th century,
Kent and East
Anglia were the leading English kingdoms. After the death of
Æthelberht in 616,
Rædwald of East Anglia
Rædwald of East Anglia became the most powerful
leader south of the Humber.
Silver coin of Aldfrith of
Northumbria (686–705). OBVERSE:
+AldFRIdUS, pellet-in-annulet; REVERSE: Lion with forked tail standing
Following the death of Æthelfrith of Northumbria, Rædwald provided
military assistance to the Deiran Edwin in his struggle to take over
the two dynasties of
Bernicia in the unified kingdom of
Northumbria. Upon the death of Rædwald, Edwin was able to pursue
a grand plan to expand Northumbrian power.
The growing strength of Edwin of
Northumbria forced the Anglo-Saxon
Penda into an alliance with the Welsh King Cadwallon ap
Cadfan of Gwynedd, and together they invaded Edwin's lands and
defeated and killed him at the
Battle of Hatfield Chase
Battle of Hatfield Chase in
633. Their success was short-lived, as Oswald (one of the sons
of the late King of Northumbria, Æthelfrith) defeated and killed
Cadwallon at Heavenfield near Hexham. In less than a decade Penda
again waged war against Northumbria, and killed Oswald in the Battle
of Maserfield in 642.
His brother Oswiu was chased to the northern extremes of his
kingdom. However, Oswiu killed
Penda shortly after, and Mercia
spent the rest of the 7th and all of the 8th century fighting the
kingdom of Powys. The war reached its climax during the reign of
Offa of Mercia, who is remembered for the construction of a
150-mile-long dyke which formed the Wales/
England border. It is
not clear whether this was a boundary line or a defensive
position. The ascendency of the Mercians came to an end in 825,
when they were soundly beaten under
Beornwulf at the Battle of
Ellendun by Egbert of Wessex.
Christianity had been introduced into the
British Isles during the
Roman occupation. The early Christian Berber author, Tertullian,
writing in the 3d century, said that "Christianity could even be found
in Britain." The Roman Emperor Constantine (306–337), granted
official tolerance to Christianity with the
Edict of Milan
Edict of Milan in 313.
Then, in the reign of Emperor Theodosius "the Great" (378–395),
Christianity was made the official religion of the Roman Empire.
Escomb Church, a restored 7th century Anglo-Saxon church. Church
architecture and artefacts provide a useful source of historical
It is not entirely clear how many Britons would have been Christian
when the pagan
Anglo-Saxons arrived. There had been attempts
to evangelise the Irish by
Pope Celestine I
Pope Celestine I in 431. However, it
Saint Patrick who is credited with converting the Irish
en-masse. A Christian Ireland then set about evangelising the rest
of the British Isles, and
Columba was sent to found a religious
community in Iona, off the west coast of Scotland. Then Aidan was
sent from Iona to set up his see in Northumbria, at Lindisfarne,
between 635–651. Hence
Northumbria was converted by the Celtic
Bede is very uncomplimentary about the indigenous British clergy: in
his Historia ecclesiastica he complains of their unspeakable crimes,
and that they did not preach the faith to the Angles or Saxons.
Pope Gregory I
Pope Gregory I sent Augustine in 597 to convert the Anglo-Saxons, but
Bede says the British clergy refused to help Augustine in his
mission. Despite Bede's complaints, it is now believed that
the Britons played an important role in the conversion of the
Anglo-Saxons. On arrival in the south east of
England in 597,
Augustine was given land by King
Æthelberht of Kent
Æthelberht of Kent to build a
church; so in 597 Augustine built the church and founded the See at
Canterbury. He baptised Æthelberht in 601, then continued with
his mission to convert the English. Most of the north and east of
England had already been evangelised by the Irish Church. However,
Sussex and the Isle of Wight remained mainly pagan until the arrival
of Saint Wilfrid, the exiled Archbishop of York, who converted Sussex
around 681 and the Isle of Wight in 683.
It remains unclear what "conversion" actually meant. The
ecclesiastical writers tended to declare a territory as "converted"
merely because the local king had agreed to be baptised, regardless of
whether, in reality, he actually adopted Christian practices; and
regardless, too, of whether the general population of his kingdom
did. When churches were built, they tended to include pagan as
well as Christian symbols, evidencing an attempt to reach out to the
pagan Anglo-Saxons, rather than demonstrating that they were already
Even after Christianity had been set up in all of the Anglo-Saxon
kingdoms, there was friction between the followers of the Roman rites
and the Irish rites, particularly over the date on which Easter fell
and the way monks cut their hair. In 664 a conference was held at
Whitby Abbey (known as the Whitby Synod) to decide the matter; Saint
Wilfrid was an advocate for the Roman rites and Bishop Colmán for the
Irish rites. Wilfrid's argument won the day and Colmán and his
party returned to Ireland in their bitter disappointment. The
Roman rites were adopted by the English church, although they were not
universally accepted by the Irish Church.
Viking challenge and the rise of
Wessex (9th century)
Main articles: Danelaw, Viking Age, and Alfred the Great
England in 878 showing the extent of the Danelaw
Between the 8th and 11th centuries, raiders and colonists from
Scandinavia, mainly Danish and Norwegian, plundered western Europe,
including the British Isles. These raiders came to be known as the
Vikings; the name is believed to derive from Scandinavia, where the
Vikings originated. The first raids in the
British Isles were
in the late 8th century, mainly on churches and monasteries (which
were seen as centres of wealth). The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle
reports that the holy island of
Lindisfarne was sacked in 793. The
raiding then virtually stopped for around forty years; but in about
835 it started becoming more regular.
The walled defence round a burgh. Alfred's capital, Winchester. Saxon
and medieval work on Roman foundations.
In the 860s, instead of raids, the Danes mounted a full-scale
invasion. In 865 an enlarged army arrived that the Anglo-Saxons
described as the Great Heathen Army. This was reinforced in 871 by the
Great Summer Army. Within ten years nearly all of the Anglo-Saxon
kingdoms fell to the invaders:
Northumbria in 867, East Anglia in 869,
and nearly all of
Mercia in 874–77. Kingdoms, centres of
learning, archives, and churches all fell before the onslaught from
the invading Danes. Only the Kingdom of
Wessex was able to
survive. In March 878, the Anglo-Saxon King of Wessex, Alfred,
with a few men, built a fortress at Athelney, hidden deep in the
marshes of Somerset. He used this as a base from which to harry
the Vikings. In May 878 he put together an army formed from the
populations of Somerset, Wiltshire, and Hampshire, which defeated the
Viking army in the Battle of Edington. The
Vikings retreated to
their stronghold, and Alfred laid siege to it. Ultimately the
Danes capitulated, and their leader Guthrum agreed to withdraw from
Wessex and to be baptised. The formal ceremony was completed a few
days later at Wedmore. There followed a peace treaty between
Alfred and Guthrum, which had a variety of provisions, including
defining the boundaries of the area to be ruled by the Danes (which
became known as the Danelaw) and those of Wessex. The Kingdom of
Wessex controlled part of the Midlands and the whole of the South
(apart from Cornwall, which was still held by the Britons), while the
Danes held East Anglia and the North.
After the victory at Edington and resultant peace treaty, Alfred set
about transforming his Kingdom of
Wessex into a society on a full-time
war footing. He built a navy, reorganised the army, and set up a
system of fortified towns known as burhs. He mainly used old Roman
cities for his burhs, as he was able to rebuild and reinforce their
existing fortifications. To maintain the burhs, and the standing
army, he set up a taxation system known as the Burghal Hidage.
These burhs (or burghs) operated as defensive structures. The Vikings
were thereafter unable to cross large sections of Wessex: the
Anglo-Saxon Chronicle reports that a Danish raiding party was defeated
when it tried to attack the burh of Chichester. The burhs,
although primarily designed as defensive structures, were also
commercial centres, attracting traders and markets to a safe haven,
and they provided a safe place for the king's moneyers and mints.
A new wave of Danish invasions commenced in the year 891,
beginning a war that lasted over three years. Alfred's new
system of defence worked, however, and ultimately it wore the Danes
down: they gave up and dispersed in the summer of 896.
Alfred is also remembered as a literate king. He or his court
commissioned the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, which was written in Old
English (rather than in Latin, which was the language of the European
annals). Alfred's own literary output was mainly of translations,
though he wrote introductions and amended manuscripts as well.
English unification (10th century)
Æthelstan and Edgar of England
On Alfred's death in 899, his son
Edward the Elder
Edward the Elder succeeded him.
Alfred's son Edward, and his grandsons Æthelstan, Edmund I, and
Eadred, continued the policy of resistance against the Vikings.
In Mercia, from 874–879 the western half was ruled by Ceowulf II,
who was succeeded by Æthelred. In 886/887 Æthelred married
Alfred's daughter Æthelflæd. When Æthelred died in 911, his
widow administered the Mercian province with the title "Lady of the
Mercians". As commander of the Mercian army she worked with her
brother, Edward the Elder, to win back the Mercian lands that were
under Danish control. Edward and his successors expanded Alfred's
network of fortified burhs, a key element of their strategy, enabling
them to go on the offensive. Edward recaptured Essex in 913.
Edward's son, Æthelstan, annexed
Northumbria and forced the kings of
Wales to submit; at the Battle of
Brunanburh in 937, he defeated an
alliance of the Scots, Danes, and
Vikings to become King of all
Along with the Britons and the settled Danes, some of the other
Anglo-Saxon kingdoms disliked being ruled by Wessex. Consequently, the
death of a
Wessex king would be followed by rebellion, particularly in
Northumbria. In 973, Alfred's great-grandson, Edgar, was crowned
England and Emperor of Britain at Bath. On his coinage he
had inscribed EADGAR REX ANGLORUM ("Edgar, King of the English").
Edgar's coronation was a magnificent affair, and many of its rituals
and words could still be seen in the coronation of Elizabeth II in
1953, though in English rather than Latin.
The presence of Danish and Norse settlers in the
Danelaw had a lasting
impact; the people there saw themselves as "armies" a hundred years
after settlement: King Edgar issued a law code in 962 that was to
include the people of Northumbria, so he addressed it to Earl Olac
"and all the army that live in that earldom". There are over
3,000 words in modern English that have Scandinavian roots,
Additionally, more than 1,500 place-names in
England are Scandinavian
in origin; for example, topographic names such as
Howe, Norfolk and
Howe, North Yorkshire
Howe, North Yorkshire are derived from the
Old Norse word haugr
meaning hill, knoll, or mound. In archeology and other
academic contexts the term "Anglo-Scandinavian" is often used for
Scandinavian culture in England.
England under the Danes and the
Norman conquest (978–1066)
Viking longboat replica in Ramsgate, Kent
Two years after his coronation at Bath, Edgar died while still only in
his early thirties. He left two surviving sons, Edward (the
eldest) and his half-brother Æthelred. Edward was crowned king,
at Kingston, but three years later he was assassinated by one of his
half-brother's retainers, with the assistance of Æthelred's
stepmother. Hence Æthelred II was crowned in 978, and although
he reigned for thirty-eight years, one of the longest reigns in
English history, he earned the name "Æthelred the Unready", as he
proved to be one of England's most disastrous kings. William of
Malmesbury, writing in his Chronicle of the kings of
England about one
hundred years later, was scathing in his criticism of Æthelred,
saying that he occupied the kingdom, rather than governed it.
Just as Æthelred was being crowned, the Danish King Gormsson was
trying to force Christianity onto his domain. Many of his
subjects did not like this idea, and shortly before 988, Swein, his
son, drove his father from the kingdom. The rebels, dispossessed
at home, probably formed the first waves of raids on the English
coast. The rebels did so well in their raiding that the Danish
kings decided to take over the campaign themselves.
In 991 the
Vikings sacked Ipswich, and their fleet made landfall near
Maldon in Essex. The Danes demanded that the English pay a
ransom, but the English commander
Byrhtnoth refused; he was killed in
the ensuing Battle of Maldon, and the English were easily
defeated. From then on the
Vikings seem to have raided anywhere
at will; they were contemptuous of the lack of resistance from the
English. Even the Alfredian systems of burhs failed. Æthelred
seems to have just hidden, out of range of the raiders.
Payment of Danegeld
By the 980s the kings of
Wessex had a powerful grip on the coinage of
the realm. It is reckoned there were about 300 moneyers, and 60 mints,
around the country. Every five or six years the coinage in
circulation would cease to be legal tender and new coins were
issued. The system controlling the currency around the country
was extremely sophisticated; this enabled the king to raise large sums
of money if needed. The ability to raise large sums of money
was needed after the battle of Maldon, as Æthelred decided that,
rather than fight, he would pay ransom to the Danes in a system known
as Danegeld. As part of the ransom, a peace treaty was drawn up
that was intended to stop the raids. However, rather than buying the
Vikings off, payment of
Danegeld only encouraged them to come back for
The Dukes of
Normandy were quite happy to allow these Danish
adventurers to use their ports for raids on the English coast. The
result was that the courts of
Normandy became increasingly
hostile to each other. Eventually, Æthelred sought a treaty with
the Normans, and ended up marrying Emma, daughter of Richard I, Duke
Normandy in the Spring of 1002, which was seen as an attempt to
break the link between the raiders and Normandy.
Then, on St. Brice's day in November 1002, Danes living in
England were slaughtered on the orders of Æthelred.
Rise of Cnut
In the summer of 1013, Sven Forkbeard, King of Denmark, brought the
Danish fleet to Sandwich, Kent. From there he went north to the
Danelaw, where the locals immediately agreed to support him. He
then struck south, forcing Æthelred into exile in Normandy
(1013–1014). However, on 3 February 1014 Sven died suddenly.
Capitalising on his death, Æthelred returned to
England and drove
Sven's son, Cnut, back to Denmark, forcing him to abandon his allies
in the process. In 1015, Cnut launched a new campaign against
England. Edmund fell out with his father, Æthelred, and struck
out on his own. Some English leaders decided to support Cnut, so
Æthelred ultimately retreated to London. Before engagement with
the Danish army, Æthelred died and was replaced by Edmund. The
Danish army encircled and besieged London, but Edmund was able to
escape and raised an army of loyalists. Edmund's army routed the
Danes, but the success was short-lived: at the
Battle of Ashingdon
Battle of Ashingdon the
Danes were victorious and many of the English leaders were
killed. Cnut and Edmund agreed to split the kingdom in two, with
Wessex and Cnut the rest.
In 1017, Edmund died in mysterious circumstances, probably murdered by
Cnut or his supporters, and the English council (the witan) confirmed
Cnut as king of all England. Cnut divided
England into earldoms:
most of these were allocated to nobles of Danish descent, but he made
an Englishman earl of Wessex. The man he appointed was Godwin, who
eventually became part of the extended royal family when he married
the king's sister-in-law. In the summer of 1017, Cnut sent for
Æthelred's widow, Emma, with the intention of marrying her. It
seems that Emma agreed to marry the king on condition that he would
limit the English succession to the children born of their union.
Cnut already had a wife known as
Ælfgifu of Northampton
Ælfgifu of Northampton who bore him
two sons, Svein and Harold Harefoot. However it seems that the
church regarded Ælfgifu as Cnut's concubine rather than his
wife. In addition to the two sons he had with Ælfgifu, he had a
further son with Emma, who was named Harthacnut.
When Cnut's brother, Harald II, King of Denmark, died in 1018
Cnut went to
Denmark to secure that realm. Two years later, Cnut
Norway under his control, and he gave Ælfgifu and their son
Svein the job of governing it.
Edward becomes king
One result of Cnut's marriage to Emma was to precipitate a succession
crisis after his death in 1035, as the throne was disputed
between Ælfgifu's son, Harald Harefoot, and Emma's son,
Harthacnut. Emma supported her son by Cnut, Harthacnut, rather
than a son by Æthelred. Her son by Æthelred, Edward, made an
unsuccessful raid on Southampton, and his brother Alfred was murdered
on an expedition to
England in 1036. Emma fled to Bruges when
Harald Harefoot became king of England, but when he died in 1040
Harthacnut was able to take over as king.
developed a reputation for imposing high taxes on England. He
became so unpopular that Edward was invited to return from exile in
Normandy to be recognised as Harthacnut's heir, and when
Harthacnut died suddenly in 1042 (probably murdered), Edward (known to
posterity as Edward the Confessor) became king.
Edward was supported by Earl Godwin of
Wessex and married the earl's
daughter. This arrangement was seen as expedient, however, as Godwin
had been implicated in the murder of Alfred, the king's brother. In
1051 one of Edward's in-laws, Eustace, arrived to take up residence in
Dover; the men of Dover objected and killed some of Eustace's
men. When Godwin refused to punish them, the king, who had been
unhappy with the Godwins for some time, summoned them to trial.
Stigand, the Archbishop of Canterbury, was chosen to deliver the news
to Godwin and his family. The Godwins fled rather than face
trial. Norman accounts suggest that at this time Edward offered
the succession to his cousin, William (duke) of
Normandy (also known
as William the Conqueror, William the Bastard, or William I),
though this is unlikely given that accession to the Anglo-Saxon
kingship was by election, not heredity – a fact which Edward would
surely have known, having been elected himself by the Witenagemot.
The Godwins, having previously fled, threatened to invade England.
Edward is said to have wanted to fight, but at a Great Council meeting
in Westminster, Earl Godwin laid down all his weapons and asked the
king to allow him to purge himself of all crimes. The king and
Godwin were reconciled, and the Godwins thus became the most
powerful family in
England after the king. On Godwin's death
in 1053, his son Harold succeeded to the earldom of Wessex; Harold's
brothers Gyrth, Leofwine, and Tostig were given East Anglia, Mercia,
and Northumbria. The Northumbrians disliked Tostig for his harsh
behaviour, and he was expelled to an exile in Flanders, in the process
falling out with his brother Harold, who supported the king's line in
backing the Northumbrians.
Death of Edward the Confessor
St Bene't's Church
St Bene't's Church of Cambridge, the oldest extant building in
Cambridgeshire; its tower was built in the late Anglo-Saxon period.
On 26 December 1065, Edward was taken ill He took to his bed and
fell into a coma; at one point he woke and turned to Harold Godwinson
and asked him to protect the Queen and the kingdom. On 5
Edward the Confessor
Edward the Confessor died, and Harold was declared
king. The following day, 6 January 1066, Edward was buried and
Harold Godwinson had grabbed the crown of England, others
laid claim to it, primarily William, Duke of Normandy, who was cousin
Edward the Confessor
Edward the Confessor through his aunt, Emma of Normandy. It is
believed that Edward had promised the crown to William. Harold
Godwinson had agreed to support William's claim after being imprisoned
in Normandy, by Guy of Ponthieu. William had demanded and received
Harold's release, then during his stay under William's protection it
is claimed, by the Normans, that Harold swore a solemn oath of loyalty
Harald Hardrada ("The Ruthless") of
Norway also had a claim on
England, through Cnut and his successors. He had, too, a further
claim based on a pact between Harthacnut, King of
Denmark (Cnut's son)
and Magnus, King of Norway.
Tostig, Harold's estranged brother, was the first to move; according
to the medieval historian Orderic Vitalis, he travelled to
enlist the help of William, Duke of Normandy, later to be known as
William the Conqueror. William was not ready to get
involved so Tostig sailed from the Cotentin Peninsula, but because of
storms ended up in Norway, where he successfully enlisted the help of
Harald Hardrada. The Anglo Saxon Chronicle has a different
version of the story, having Tostig land in the Isle of Wight in May
1066, then ravaging the English coast, before arriving at Sandwich,
Kent. At Sandwich Tostig is said to have enlisted and press
ganged sailors before sailing north where, after battling some of the
northern earls and also visiting Scotland, he eventually joined
Hardrada (possibly in Scotland or at the mouth of the river
Battle of Fulford
Battle of Fulford and aftermath
According to the Anglo Saxon Chronicle (Manuscripts D and E) Tostig
became Hadrada's vassal, and then with 300 or so longships sailed up
Humber Estuary bottling the English fleet in the river Swale and
then landed at
Riccall on the Ouse on 24 September. They
marched towards York, where they were confronted, at Fulford Gate, by
the English forces that were under the command of the northern earls,
Edwin and Morcar; the battle of Fulford Gate followed, on 20
September, which was one of the bloodiest battles of mediaeval
times. The English forces were routed, though Edwin and Morcar
escaped. The victors entered the city of York, exchanged hostages and
were provisioned. Hearing the news whilst in London, Harold
Godwinson force-marched a second English army to Tadcaster by the
night of the 24th, and after catching
Harald Hardrada by surprise, on
the morning of the 25 September, Harold achieved a total victory over
the Scandinavian horde after a two-day-long engagement at the Battle
of Stamford Bridge. Harold gave quarter to the survivors allowing
them to leave in 20 ships.
Normandy sails for England
Section of the
Bayeux Tapestry showing Harold being killed at Hastings
Harold would have been celebrating his victory at Stamford Bridge on
the night of 26/27 September 1066, while William of Normandy's
invasion fleet set sail for
England on the morning of 27 September
1066. Harold marched his army back down to the south coast, where
he met William's army, at a place now called Battle just outside
Hastings. Harold was killed when he fought and lost the Battle of
Hastings on 14 October 1066.
Battle of Hastings
Battle of Hastings virtually destroyed the Godwin dynasty. Harold
and his brothers Gyrth and Leofwine were dead on the battlefield, as
was their uncle Ælfwig, Abbot of Newminster. Tostig had been killed
at Stamford Bridge. Wulfnoth was a hostage of William the Conqueror.
The Godwin women who remained were either dead or childless.
William marched on London. The city leaders surrendered the kingdom to
him, and he was crowned at Westminster Abbey, Edward the Confessor's
new church, on Christmas Day 1066. It took William a further ten
years to consolidate his kingdom, during which any opposition was
suppressed ruthlessly; in a particularly brutal process known as the
Harrying of the North, William issued orders to lay waste the north
and burn all the cattle, crops and farming equipment and to poison the
earth. According to Orderic Vitalis, the Anglo-Norman chronicler,
over one hundred thousand people died of starvation. Figures
based on the returns for the
Domesday Book estimate that the overall
England in 1086 was about 2.25 million, so the
figure of one hundred thousand deaths, due to starvation, would have
been a huge proportion (about one in 20) of the population.
By the time of William's death in 1087, those who had been England's
Anglo-Saxon rulers were dead, exiled, or had joined the ranks of the
peasantry. It was estimated that only about 8 percent of the land
was under Anglo-Saxon control. Nearly all the Anglo-Saxon
cathedrals and abbeys of any note had been demolished and replaced
with Norman-style architecture by 1200.
Medieval Britain portal
Coinage in Anglo-Saxon England
Kingdom of Cornwall
Prosopography of Anglo-Saxon England
Timeline of Anglo-Saxon England
^ Throughout this article Anglo-Saxon is used for Saxon, Angle, Jute
or Frisian unless it is specific to a point being made; "Anglo-Saxon"
is used when the culture is meant as opposed to any ethnicity.
^ a b Higham, Nicholas J., and Martin J. Ryan. The Anglo-Saxon World.
Yale University Press, 2013. pp. 7–19
^ Campbell. The Anglo-Saxon State. p. 10
^ Ward-Perkins, Bryan (2000). "Why did the
Anglo-Saxons not become
more British?". The English Historical Review. 115 (462): 513–33.
^ Hills, C. (2003) Origins of the English Duckworth, London.
ISBN 0-7156-3191-8, p. 67
^ Jones. The end of Roman Britain: Military Security. pp. 164–68.
The author discusses the failings of the Roman army in Britain and the
reasons why they eventually left.
^ Jones. The end of Roman Britain. p. 246. "Roman Britain's death
throes began on the last day of December 406 when Alans, Vandals, and
Sueves crossed the Rhine and began the invasion of Gaul"
^ a b Morris. The Age of Arthur. pp. 56–62.
Picts and Saxons.
^ Myres. The English Settlements. p. 14. Talking about Gildas
references to the arrival of three keels (ships), "... this was the
number of ship loads that led to the foedus or treaty settlement.
Gildas also uses in their correct sense technical terms, annona,
epimenia, hospites, which most likely derive from official documents
relating to the billeting and supply of barbarian foederati."
^ Morris. Age of Arthur. p. 75. – Gildas: "... The federate
complained that their monthly deliveries were inadequately paid..."
– "All the greater towns fell to their enemy...."
^ Gildas.The Ruin of Britain II.20 . What
Gildas had to say about the
letter to Aëtius.
^ Dark. Britain and the End of the Roman Empire. p. 29. Referring to
Gildas text about a letter: "The Britons...still felt it possible to
appeal to Aetius, a Roman military official in Gaul in the mid-440s"
^ Dark. Britain and the End of the Roman Empire. p. 29. "Both Zosimus
Gildas refer to the 'Rescript of Honorius', a letter in which the
Western Roman emperor told the British civitas to see to their own
^ Esmonde Cleary. The Ending of Roman Britain. pp. 137–38. The
author suggests that the "Rescript of Honorius" may have been for a
place in southern Italy rather than Britain and that the chronology is
^ Morris. The Age of Arthur. Chapter 6. The War
^ a b c d Gildas. The Ruin of Britain. II.26 – Mount Badon is
referred to as Bath-Hill in this translation of
^ a b Myers, The English Settlements, Chapter 4: The Romano British
Background and the Saxon Shore. Myers identifies incidence of German
people in Britain during the Roman occupation.
^ Cassius Dio, Roman History, Book LX, p417.While these events were
happening in the city, Aulus Plautius, a senator of great renown, made
a campaign against Britain; for a certain Bericus, who had been driven
out of the island as a result of an uprising, had persuaded Claudius
to send a force thither.
^ Cassius Dio, Roman History, Book LX p. 419.Thence the Britons
retired to the river Thames at a point near where it empties into the
ocean and at flood-tide forms a lake. This they easily crossed because
they knew where the firm ground and the easy passages in this region
were to be found; but the Romans in attempting to follow them were not
so successful. However, the Germans swam across again and some others
got over by a bridge a little way up-stream, after which they assailed
the barbarians from several sides at once and cut down many of them.
^ Forster et al. MtDNA Markers for Celtic and Germanic Language Areas
British Isles in Jones. Traces of ancestry: studies in honour
of Colin Renfrew. pp. 99–111 Retrieved. 26 November 2011
^ Sally Thomason. Language log Nutty Journalists' (and Others')
Language Theories. Retrieved. 26 November 2011
^ Alaric Hall, 'A gente Anglorum appellatur: The Evidence of Bede's
Historia ecclesiastica gentis Anglorum for the Replacement of Roman
Names by English Ones During the Early Anglo-Saxon Period', in Words
in Dictionaries and History: Essays in Honour of R. W. McConchie, ed.
Olga Timofeeva and Tanja Säily, Terminology and Lexicography Research
and Practice, 14 (Amsterdam: Benjamins, 2011), pp. 219–31 (pp.
^ Ward-Perkins. The fall of Rome: and the end of civilisation
Particularly pp. 38–39
^ Welch, Anglo-Saxon England, Chapter 8: From
Roman Britain to
^ Myers. The English Settlements, Chapter 5: Saxons, Angles and Jutes
on the Saxon Shore
^ Jones. The End of Roman Britain. p. 71. – ..the repetitious
entries for invading ships in the Chronicle (three ships of Hengest
and Horsa; three ships of Aella; five ships of
Cerdic and Cynric; two
ships of Port; three ships of Stuf and Wihtgar), drawn from
preliterate traditions including bogus eponyms and duplications, might
be considered a poetic convention.
^ a b Morris, The Age of Arthur, Ch.14:Brittanny
^ Bell-Fialkoff/ Bell: The role of migration in the history of the
Eurasian steppe, p. 303. That is why many scholars still subscribe to
the traditional view that combined archaeological, documentary and
linguistic evidence suggests that considerable numbers of Anglo-Saxons
settled in southern and eastern England.
Roman Britain and early
England Particularly Chapter
8: The Age of Invasion
Ecclesiastical History of the English People
Ecclesiastical History of the English People I.15.
^ Welch, Anglo-Saxon England. A complete analysis of Anglo-Saxon
Archaeology. A discussion of where the settlers came from, based on a
comparison of pottery with those found in the area of origin in
Germany. Burial customs and types of building.
^ Myers, The English Settlements, p. 24; Talking about Anglo-Saxon
archaeology: "...the distribution maps indicate in many areas the
Anglo-Saxon shows a marked tendency to follow the Romano-British
pattern, in a fashion which suggests a considerable degree of temporal
as well as spatial overlap."
^ a b Heinrich Härke. Ethnicity and Structures in Hines. The
Anglo-Saxons pp. 148–49
^ a b Attenborough. The laws of the earliest English kings. pp.
^ Jones, The End of Roman Britain, Ch. 1: Population and the
Invasions; particularly pp. 11–12: "In contrast, some scholars
shrink the numbers of the Anglo-Saxon invaders to a small, potent
elite of only a few thousand invaders."
^ Welch, Anglo-Saxon England, p. 11: "Some archaeologists seem to
believe that very few immigrants...were involved in the creation of
Gildas describes the settlement of Saxon
mercenaries in the eastern part of the country, their reinforcement
and subsequent successful rebellion...suggests more than just a
handful of military adventurers.
Bede felt secure in his belief that
he was not of British descent... Further his list of three principle
peoples who migrated here... is echoed in the archaeological record."
^ Bell, The role of migration in the history of the Eurasian steppe,
p. 303: "As for migrants, three kinds of hypotheses have been
advanced. Either they were a warrior elite, few in numbers but
dominant by force of arms; or they were farmers mostly interested in
finding good agricultural land; or they were refugees fleeing
unsettled conditions in their homelands. Or they might have been any
combination of these."
^ Pattison, 'Is it Necessary to Assume an Apartheid-like Social
Structure in Early Anglo-Saxon England?' in Proceedings of the Royal
Society B 2008 275, pp. 2423–29; and 'Integration vs Apartheid in
Post-Roman Britain' in Human Biology 2011 83, pp. 715–33: "Opinions
vary as to whether there was a substantial Germanic invasion or only a
relatively small number arrived in Britain during this period.
Contrary to the assumption of limited intermarriage made in the
apartheid simulation, there is evidence that significant mixing of the
Germanic peoples occurred, and that the early law codes,
such as that of King Ine of Wessex, could have deliberately encouraged
^ Gildas. The Ruin of Britain. II.25 -With their unnumbered vows they
burden heaven, that they might not be brought to utter destruction,
took arms under the conduct of Ambrosius Aurelianus, a modest man, who
of all the Roman nation was then alone in the confusion of this
troubled period by chance left alive.
^ a b c Morris, The Age of Arthur, Chapter 16: English Conquest
^ Gildas.The Ruin of Britain I.1.
^ Snyder.The Britons. p. 85
^ Stenton. Anglo-Saxon England. p. 29.
^ Stenton. Anglo-Saxon England. p. 30.
^ Morris. The Age of Arthur. p. 299
^ Wood.The Domesday Quest. pp. 47–48
^ Greenway, Historia Anglorum, pp. lx–lxi. "The HA (Historia
Anglorum) is the story of the unification of the English monarchy. To
project such an interpretation required Henry (of Huntingdon) to
exercise firm control over his material. One of the products of this
control was his creation of the Heptarchy, which survived as a concept
in historical writing into our own time".
Bede Ecclesiastical History of the English People, Tr.
^ a b c d Charles-Edwards After-Rome: Nations and Kingdoms, pp.
^ Snyder,The Britons, p. 176.
^ Bede, History of the English, II.20
^ Snyder, The Britons, p. 177
^ a b c d Snyder.The Britons. p. 178
^ Snyder.The Britons. p. 212
^ a b Snyder.The Britons.pp. 178–79
^ Stenton. Anglo-Saxon England. p. 231
^ Charles Thomas Christianity in
Roman Britain to AD 500. pp.
48–50: Saint Alban is discussed in detail, as when he lived and was
martyred gives an indication of the state of Christianity in Roman
Britain. Dates suggested for his martyrdom are 209 or 251–259 or c.
^ Snyder.The Britons. pp. 106–07
^ Charles Thomas Christianity in
Roman Britain to AD 500. p. 47
^ R. M. Errington Roman Imperial Policy from Julian to
Theodosius. Chapter VIII. Theodosius
^ Jones, The End of Roman Britain, pp. 174–85: Religious Belief and
Political loyalty. The author suggests the British were supporters of
the Pelagian heresy, and that the numbers of Christians were higher
^ Snyder,The Britons, p. 105.In 5th and 6th centuries Britons in large
numbers adopted Christianity..
^ a b Snyder, The Britons, pp. 116–25
^ Charles-Edwards. After Rome:Society, Community and Identity. p. 97
^ a b Charles-Edwards. After Rome:Conversion to Christianity. p. 132
^ Bede, History of the English People, I.22
^ Bede, History of the English People, II.2
^ Charles-Edwards, After Rome:Conversion to Christianity, pp. 128–29
^ Snyder, The Britons, pp. 135–36
^ Charles-Edwards, After Rome:Conversion to Christianity, p. 127
^ Charles-Edwards, After Rome:Conversion to Christianity, pp. 124–39
^ Charles-Edwards, After Rome:Conversion to Christianity, p. 104
^ Bede, History of the English People, IV.13 and IV.16
^ Kirby, The Church in Saxon Sussex in Brandon. The South Saxons., pp.
160–73. Kirby suggests that there would have been Christian
communities already in Sussex. King Æthelwealh and his wife were
already Christian, he having been baptised in Mercia. The pre-existing
converts, in Sussex, would have been evangelised by the Irish church,
Bede and Eddius (Wilfred's biographer) were indifferent to the
Irish Church. It was also politic to play up Wilfrid's role.
^ Charles-Edwards, After Rome:Conversion to Christianity, p. 126
^ Blair. The Church in Anglo-Saxon Society. Ch.1. particularly pp.
^ Mayr-Harting. The coming of Christianity. p. 146. Talking of Pope
Gregory's policy he said that:..the
Anglo-Saxons should be led to
Christianity step by step. The old temples were now to be kept for
Christian worship; Christian worship was to be accompanied with the
old feasts of cattle.
^ Jennifer O'Reilly, After Rome: The Art of Authority, pp. 144–48
^ a b c Bede. History of the English People, III.25 and III.26
^ Sawyer, The Oxford illustrated history of Vikings, p. 1.
^ a b Sawyer, The Oxford illustrated history of Vikings, pp. 2–3.
^ Standard English words which have a Scandinavian Etymology. Viking:
"Northern pirate. Literally means creek dweller."
^ Starkey,Monarchy, Chapter 6: Vikings
^ Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, 793.This year came dreadful fore-warnings
over the land of the Northumbrians, terrifying the people most
woefully: these were immense sheets of light rushing through the air,
and whirlwinds, and fiery dragons flying across the firmament. These
tremendous tokens were soon followed by a great famine: and not long
after, on the sixth day before the ides of January in the same year,
the harrowing inroads of heathen men made lamentable havoc in the
church of God in Holy-island (Lindisfarne), by rapine and slaughter.
^ a b c d Starkey, Monarchy, p. 51
Monarchy p. 65
^ a b c d Asser, Alfred the Great, pp. 84–85.
^ Asser, Alfred the Great, p. 22.
^ Medieval Sourcebook: Alfred and Guthrum's Peace
^ Wood, The Domesday Quest, Chapter 9: Domesday Roots. The Viking
^ a b Starkey, Monarchy, p. 63
^ Horspool, Alfred, p. 102. A hide was somewhat like a tax – it was
the number of men required to maintain and defend an area for the
King. The Burghal Hideage defined the measurement as one hide being
equivalent to one man. The hidage explains that for the maintenance
and defence of an acre's breadth of wall, sixteen hides are required.
Anglo-Saxon Chronicle 894.
^ Starkey, Monarchy, pp. 68–69.
^ Starkey, Monarchy, p. 64
Anglo-Saxon Chronicle 891
^ Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, 891–896
^ a b Horspool, "Why Alfred Burnt the Cakes", The Last War, pp.
^ a b Horspool, "Why Alfred Burnt the Cakes", pp. 10–12
^ Asser, Alfred the Great, III pp. 121–60. Examples of King Alfred's
^ Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, 899
^ a b c d Starkey, Monarchy, p. 71
^ a b c d Yorke.Kings and Kingdoms of Early Anglo-Saxon England, p.
^ Welch,Late Anglo-Saxon
England pp. 128–29
^ Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, 937. The ASC gives a description of the build
up to the battle and the battle itself. However, there is disagreement
by historians on the accuracy of the date.
^ Starkey,Monarchy, p. 74
^ Starkey, Monarchy, p. 76
^ a b Woods, The Domesday Quest, pp. 107–08
^ The Viking Network: Standard English words which have a Scandinavian
^ a b Crystal, The
Cambridge Encyclopedia of the English Language pp.
^ Ordnance Survey: Guide to Scandinavian origins of place names in
^ a b c Starkey, Monarchy, p. 76
^ Starkey, Monarchy, p. 76. The modern ascription 'Unready' derives
from the Anglo-Saxon word unraed, meaning "badly advised or
^ Malmesbury, Chronicle of the kings of England, pp. 165–66. In the
year of our Lord's incarnation 979, Ethelred ... obtaining the
kingdom, occupied rather than governed it, for thirty seven years. The
career of his life is said to have been cruel in the beginning,
wretched in the middle and disgraceful in the end.
^ a b c d Stenton. Anglo Saxon England. p. 375
^ a b c Starkey, Monarchy, p. 79
^ a b c Starkey, Monarchy, p. 80
^ a b Wood, Domesday Quest, p. 124
^ Campbell, The Anglo Saxon State, p. 160. "..it has to be accepted
that early eleventh century kings could raise larger sums in taxation
than could most of their medieval successors. The numismatic evidence
for the scale of the economy is extremely powerful, partly because it
demonstrates how very many coins were struck, and also because it
provides strong indications for extensive foreign trade."
^ Wood, Domesday Quest, p. 125
^ Stenton. Anglo-Saxon England. p. 376
^ Stenton. Anglo-Saxon England. p. 377. The treaty was arranged.. by
Archbishop Sigeric of Canterbury and Ælfric and Æthelweard, the
ealdermen of the two West Saxon provinces.
^ Williams, Aethelred the Unready, p. 54
^ Williams, Æthelred the Unready, pp. 52–53.
^ a b c d e Sawyer. Illustrated History of Vikings. p. 76
^ a b c d e f g Wood, In Search of the Dark Ages, pp. 216–22
^ Anglo Saxon Chronicle, 1016
^ Starkey, Monarchy, p. 94.
^ Anglo Saxon Chronicle, 1017: ..before the calends of August the king
gave an order to fetch him the widow of the other king, Ethelred, the
daughter of Richard, to wife.
^ a b c d Brown. Chibnal. Proceedings of the Battle Conference on
Anglo-Norman studies. pp. 160–61
^ a b c Lapidge, Anglo-Saxon England, pp. 108–09
^ a b c Lapidge. Anglo-Saxon England. pp. 229–30
^ a b c d e f Lapidge, Anglo-Saxon England, pp. 161–62
^ Lapidge, Anglo-Saxon England, p. 230
^ a b Barlow, The Godwins, pp. 57–58
^ a b Barlow, The Godwins, pp. 64–65
^ a b Woods, Dark Ages, pp. 229–30
^ Barlow, The Godwins, pp. 83–85. The value of the Godwins holdings
can be discerned from the Domesday Book.
^ Barlow, The Godwins, pp. 116–23
^ a b c Anglo Saxon Chronicle, 1065 AD
Monarchy p. 119
^ a b Starkey, Monarchy, p. 120
^ a b c Anglo Saxon Chronicle. MS C. 1066.
^ a b c d Woods, Dark Ages, pp. 233–38
^ a b Barlow, The Godwins, "Chapter 5: The Lull Before the Storm".
^ a b Vitalis. The Ecclesiastical history of
England and Normandy.
Volume i. Bk. III Ch. 11. pp. 461–64 65
^ a b c d Barlow, The Godwins, pp. 134–35.
^ Anglo Saxon Chronicle. MS D. 1066.
^ Barlow, The Godwins, p. 138
^ Barlow, The Godwins, pp. 136–137
^ a b Barlow, The Godwins, pp. 137–38
^ Woods, Dark Ages, pp. 238–40
^ Barlow, The Godwins, "Chapter 7: The Collapse of the Dynasty".
^ Woods, Dark Ages, p. 240.
^ Barlow, The Godwins, p. 156.
^ a b Woods, Dark Ages, pp. 248–49
^ Starkey. Monarchy. pp. 138–39
^ Vitalis. The ecclesiastical history. p. 28 His camps were scattered
over a surface of one hundred miles numbers of the insurgents fell
beneath his vengeful sword he levelled their places of shelter to the
ground wasted their lands and burnt their dwellings with all they
contained. Never did William commit so much cruelty, to his lasting
disgrace, he yielded to his worst impulse and set no bounds to his
fury condemning the innocent and the guilty to a common fate. In the
fulness of his wrath he ordered the corn and cattle with the
implements of husbandry and every sort of provisions to be collected
in heaps and set on fire till the whole was consumed and thus
destroyed at once all that could serve for the support of life in the
whole country lying beyond the
Humber There followed consequently so
great a scarcity in
England in the ensuing years and severe famine
involved the innocent and unarmed population in so much misery that in
a Christian nation more than a hundred thousand souls of both sexes
and all ages perished..
England under the Normans. pp. 290–92
England under the Normans. p. 1
^ Wood. The Doomsday Quest. p. 141
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