The Feudal Kingdom of England, 1042-1216

By Frank Barlow | Go to book overview

5
ENGLAND AND NORMANDY, 1066-1100

I

ALTHOUGH the kingdom of England was a more valuable and dignified possession than the duchy of Normandy or the county of Maine, William I and his sons were always more interested in their continental lands than in their island acquisition. The pride of race tied them to their ancestral demesnes, and political dangers kept them involved rather with the Vexin and Maine than with the Welsh and Scottish marches. The new aristocracy of England showed in general the same bias. Some, like Eustace of Boulogne, remained foreign princes with English lands; some, like Roger of Montgomery or William fitzOsbern, were sorely divided in interest. A few men of the first generation, including the king, thought to find a solution in dividing their separated inheritance between their sons; but the experiment was premature. Hence the political history of England in the Norman period is dominated by continental themes. The duchy was impoverished by the loss of its best men who could make more splendid fortunes within the kingdom; but English interests followed in the wake of the interests of Normandy.

The late eleventh and early twelfth centuries were not a period of great achievement in Europe. The brilliant success of the Norman conquest of England, the indomitable triumph of the first Crusade, obscure, perhaps, the general mediocrity of result. In military affairs defence had the advantage over attack. A castellated country is defended to the utmost depth; and military engineering had not so developed as to make the reduction of even a simple castle easy. In the sphere of government ambition far outstripped the available means, both financial and administrative. The pope might announce

-137-

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The Feudal Kingdom of England, 1042-1216
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Introductory Note v
  • Preface vii
  • Contents ix
  • Maps and Charts xii
  • I - England in the Reign of Edward the Confessor 1
  • 2 - The Reign of Edward the Confessor 55
  • 3 - The Norman Conquest of England 77
  • 4 - The Anglo-Norman Kingdom 100
  • 5 England and Normandy, 1066-1100 137
  • 6 - The Zenith and the Nadir of Norman Rule, 1100-1154 171
  • 7 - Social Changes in England 235
  • 8 - The Re-Establishment of the Monarchy Under Henry II 283
  • 9 - The Angevin Empire 331
  • 10 - The Angevin Despotism 375
  • Epilogue 436
  • Note on Books 442
  • Index 445
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