How William the Conqueror’s Invasion Across the Sea Didn’t Go Exactly as Planned

How William the Conqueror’s Invasion Across the Sea Didn’t Go Exactly as Planned

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This article is an edited transcript of 1066: Battle of Hastings with Marc Morris, available on Our Site TV.

The Battle of Hastings was fought on 14 October 1066 between the Norman-French army of William, the Duke of Normandy, and an English army under the Anglo-Saxon King Harold Godwinson, beginning the Norman conquest of England. It took place approximately 7 miles (11 kilometres) northwest of Hastings, close to the present-day town of Battle, East Sussex, and was a decisive Norman victory.

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Harold Godwinson proclaimed himself king of England in 1066, and immediately braced for retaliation. His biggest rival was Duke William of Normandy.

Harold didn’t fear anything from the north, so he stationed his army and fleet – and we’re told it was the biggest army anyone had ever seen – along the south coast of England from the spring of that year, and they waited there for the whole summer. But nothing arrived. No one came.

Bad weather or a strategic move?

Now, the contemporary sources say that William didn’t sail because the weather was bad – the wind was against him. Since the 1980s, historians have argued that the weather idea was clearly just Norman propaganda, however, and that William was evidently delaying until Harold stood his army down. But the numbers don’t seem to work for that argument.

Historians with greater nautical experience would argue that when you’re ready, when D-Day comes and the conditions are right, you have to go.

The great problem with arguing that William was waiting with his army until Harold stood his own army down, however, is that the two men were facing the same logistical problem.

William had to keep his thousands-strong mercenary force in a field in Normandy from one week to the next, all the while dealing with the attendant difficulties of supply and sanitation. He didn’t want to watch his army consuming his carefully hoarded stockpile, he wanted to get going. Thus, it is perfectly credible to see how the Norman duke could have been delayed by the weather.

If you went to school in the UK, chances are you spent hours of class time learning about 1066. Whether they're fond memories or times you'd rather forget, revisit the Norman Conquest with us now.

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We’re told by the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle that on 8 September 1066, Harold stood down his army because he couldn’t keep it there any longer; it had run out of material and foodstuffs. So the king was forced to disband his forces.

The invasion fleet sets sail

About four or five days later, the Norman fleet set sail from the place where William had mustered his fleet – the mouth of the River Dives in Normandy.

But he set out in terrible conditions, and his whole fleet – which he had carefully prepared for months and months – was blown, not to England, but eastwards along the coast of northern France to the neighbouring province of Poitiers and a town called Saint-Valery.

William spent another fortnight in Saint-Valery, we’re told, looking at the weathercock of Saint-Valery Church and praying every day for the wind to change and the rain to stop.

He even went to the trouble of exhuming the body of Saint-Valery himself and parading it round the Norman camp to obtain prayers from the whole of the Norman army because they needed God on their side. This wasn’t a cynical move – 1,000 years ago, the person who decided battles at the end of the day was believed to be God.

The Norman invasion fleet lands in England, as depicted by the Bayeux Tapestry.

The Norman must have thought, after weeks and weeks of rain and contrary winds, that God was against them and that the invasion wasn’t going to work. Then, on the 27 or 28 September, the wind changed direction.

This is where we are really reliant on only one source, William of Poitiers. People have it in the neck for William of Poitiers because he’s a propagandist source, but he was also one of William the Conqueror’s chaplains. So although he’s exaggerating everything all the whole time, he was very close to William, and thus a very important source.

The legend of William

He is the source that tells us that, as they’re crossing the Channel from Saint-Valery towards the south coast of England, William’s ship flew ahead of the others due to its sleek design. The Normans were crossing at night so William’s ship became separated from the rest of the fleet.

When they awoke the next morning, when the sun came up, the flagship couldn’t see the rest of the fleet, and there was a moment of drama on William’s ship.

Dr Marc Morris is an historian and broadcaster, specialising in the Middle Ages. He is the author of 'William I: England's Conqueror'.

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The reason why William of Poitiers’ version of events is slightly suspicious here is that it serves as a great character note for the Norman duke.

Like all great generals, he apparently displayed nothing but sangfroid in that period of stress and we’re told he just sat down to a hearty breakfast, washed down with some spiced wine.

By the time he had finished breakfast, the lookout saw ships on the horizon. Ten minutes later, the lookout said there were “so many ships, it looked like a forest of sails”. The problem with William of Poitiers is his attempts to emulate classical authors like Cicero. This is one of those occasions, because it looks like a legendary tale. It looks slightly suspicious.

There’s also a story from Robert Wace in the 1160s, which is probably apocryphal, where William is said to have landed on the shore and tripped over, with someone saying, “He’s grabbing England with both hands”.

When William landed in England, Harold wasn’t even there – by that time, the Vikings had landed. So in some ways, the delays actually benefited him, and he was able to establish himself in the south of England, before going on to defeat Harold in the Battle of Hastings later that month.

Pompey the Great assassinated

Upon landing in Egypt, Roman general and politician Pompey is murdered on the orders of King Ptolemy of Egypt.

During his long career, Pompey the Great displayed exceptional military talents on the battlefield. He fought in Africa and Spain, quelled the slave revolt of Spartacus, cleared the Mediterranean of pirates, and conquered Armenia, Syriaਊnd Palestine. Appointed to organize the newly won Roman territories in the East, he proved a brilliant administrator.

In 60 B.C., he joined with his rivals Julius Caesar and Marcus Licinius Crassus to form the First Triumvirate, and together the trio ruled Rome for seven years. Caesar’s successes aroused Pompey’s jealousy, however, leading to the collapse of the political alliance in 53 B.C. The Roman Senate supported Pompey and asked Caesar to give up his army, which he refused to do. In January 49 B.C., Caesar led his legions across the Rubicon River from Cisalpine Gaul to Italy, thus declaring war against Pompey and his forces.

Caesar made early gains in the subsequent civil war, defeating Pompey’s army in Italy and Spain, but he was later forced into retreat in Greece. In August 48 B.C., with Pompey in pursuit, Caesar paused near Pharsalus, setting up camp at a strategic location. When Pompey’s senatorial forces fell upon Caesar’s smaller army, they were entirely routed, and Pompey fled to Egypt.

Pompey hoped that King Ptolemy, his former client, would assist him, but the Egyptian king feared offending the victorious Caesar. On September 28, Pompey was invited to leave his ships and come ashore at Pelusium. As he prepared to step onto Egyptian soil, he was treacherously struck down and killed by an officer of Ptolemy.


Known colloquially to the English as the Narrow Sea [ citation needed ] , until the 18th century, the English Channel had no fixed name either in English or in French. It was never defined as a political border, and the names were more or less descriptive. It was not considered as the property of a nation. Before the development of the modern nations, British scholars very often referred to it as Gaulish (Latin: Gallicum) and French scholars as British or English. [5] The name English Channel has been widely used since the early 18th century, possibly originating from the designation Engelse Kanaal in Dutch sea maps from the 16th century onwards. In modern Dutch, however, it is known as Het Kanaal (with no reference to the word "English"). [6] Later, it has also been known as the British Channel [7] or the British Sea. It was called Oceanus Britannicus by the 2nd-century geographer Ptolemy. The same name is used on an Italian map of about 1450, which gives the alternative name of canalites Anglie—possibly the first recorded use of the Channel designation. [8] The Anglo-Saxon texts often call it Sūð-sǣ ('South Sea') as opposed to Norð-sǣ ('North Sea' = Bristol Channel). [ citation needed ] The common word channel was first recorded in Middle English in the 13th century and was borrowed from Old French chanel, variant form of chenel 'canal'.

The French name la Manche has been used since at least the 17th century. [3] The name is usually said to refer to the Channel's sleeve (French: la manche) shape. Folk etymology has derived it from a Celtic word meaning 'channel' that is also the source of the name for the Minch in Scotland, [9] but this name is not attested before the 17th century, and French and British sources of that time are perfectly clear about its etymology. [10] The name in French has been directly adapted in other Romance languages (Spanish: Canal de la Mancha, Portuguese: Canal da Mancha, Italian: Canale della Manica, Romanian: Canalul Mânecii). The name in Breton (Mor Breizh) means 'Breton Sea', and its Cornish name (Mor Bretannek) means 'British Sea'.

Geography Edit

The International Hydrographic Organization defines the limits of the English Channel as follows: [11]

The Strait of Dover (French: Pas de Calais), at the Channel's eastern end, is its narrowest point, while its widest point lies between Lyme Bay and the Gulf of Saint Malo, near its midpoint. [2] It is relatively shallow, with an average depth of about 120 m (390 ft) at its widest part, reducing to a depth of about 45 m (148 ft) between Dover and Calais. Eastwards from there the adjoining North Sea reduces to about 26 m (85 ft) in the Broad Fourteens where it lies over the watershed of the former land bridge between East Anglia and the Low Countries. It reaches a maximum depth of 180 m (590 ft) in the submerged valley of Hurd's Deep, 48 km (30 mi) west-northwest of Guernsey. [12] The eastern region along the French coast between Cherbourg and the mouth of the Seine river at Le Havre is frequently referred to as the Bay of the Seine (French: Baie de Seine). [13]

There are several major islands in the Channel, the most notable being the Isle of Wight off the English coast, and the Channel Islands, British Crown dependencies off the coast of France. The coastline, particularly on the French shore, is deeply indented several small islands close to the coastline, including Chausey and Mont Saint-Michel, are within French jurisdiction. The Cotentin Peninsula in France juts out into the Channel, whilst on the English side there is a small parallel strait known as the Solent between the Isle of Wight and the mainland. The Celtic Sea is to the west of the Channel.

The Channel acts as a funnel that amplifies the tidal range from less than a metre as observed at sea [ clarification needed ] to more than 6 metres as observed in the Channel Islands, the west coast of the Cotentin Peninsula and the north coast of Brittany. The time difference of about six hours between high water at the eastern and western limits of the Channel is indicative of the tidal range being amplified further by resonance. [14]

In the UK Shipping Forecast the Channel is divided into the following areas, from the east:

Geological origins Edit

The Channel is of geologically recent origin, having been dry land for most of the Pleistocene period. [15] Before the Devensian glaciation (the most recent glacial period, which ended around 10,000 years ago), Britain and Ireland were part of continental Europe, linked by an unbroken Weald–Artois anticline, a ridge that acted as a natural dam holding back a large freshwater pro-glacial lake in the Doggerland region, now submerged under the North Sea. During this period the North Sea and almost all of the British Isles were covered by ice. The lake was fed by meltwater from the Baltic and from the Caledonian and Scandinavian ice sheets that joined to the north, blocking its exit. The sea level was about 120 m (390 ft) lower than it is today. Then, between 450,000 and 180,000 years ago, at least two catastrophic glacial lake outburst floods breached the Weald–Artois anticline.

The first flood would have lasted for several months, releasing as much as one million cubic metres of water per second. [16] [17] The flood started with large but localized waterfalls over the ridge, which excavated depressions now known as the Fosses Dangeard. The flow eroded the retaining ridge, causing the rock dam to fail and releasing lake water into the Atlantic. After multiple episodes of changing sea level, during which the Fosses Dangeard were largely infilled by various layers of sediment, another catastrophic flood carved a large bedrock-floored valley, the Lobourg Channel, some 500 m wide and 25 m deep, from the southern North Sea basin through the centre of the Straits of Dover and into the English Channel. It left streamlined islands, longitudinal erosional grooves, and other features characteristic of catastrophic megaflood events, still present on the sea floor and now revealed by high-resolution sonar. [18] [19] [20] Through the scoured channel passed a river, which drained the combined Rhine and Thames westwards to the Atlantic.

The flooding destroyed the ridge that connected Britain to continental Europe, although a land connection across the southern North Sea would have existed intermittently at later times when periods of glaciation resulted in lowering of sea levels. [21] At the end of the last glacial period, rising sea levels finally severed the last land connection.

Ecology Edit

As a busy shipping lane, the Channel experiences environmental problems following accidents involving ships with toxic cargo and oil spills. [22] Indeed, over 40% of the UK incidents threatening pollution occur in or very near the Channel. [23] One of the recent occurrences was the MSC Napoli, which on 18 January 2007 was beached with nearly 1700 tonnes of dangerous cargo in Lyme Bay, a protected World Heritage Site coastline. [24] The ship had been damaged and was en route to Portland Harbour.

The channel, which delayed human reoccupation of Great Britain for more than 100,000 years, [25] has in historic times been both an easy entry for seafaring people and a key natural defence, halting invading armies while in conjunction with control of the North Sea allowing Britain to blockade the continent. [ citation needed ] The most significant failed invasion threats came when the Dutch and Belgian ports were held by a major continental power, e.g. from the Spanish Armada in 1588, Napoleon during the Napoleonic Wars, and Nazi Germany during World War II. Successful invasions include the Roman conquest of Britain and the Norman Conquest in 1066, while the concentration of excellent harbours in the Western Channel on Britain's south coast made possible the largest amphibious invasion in history, the Normandy Landings in 1944. Channel naval battles include the Battle of the Downs (1639), Battle of Dover (1652), the Battle of Portland (1653), the Battle of La Hougue (1692) and the engagement between USS Kearsarge and CSS Alabama (1864).

In more peaceful times the Channel served as a link joining shared cultures and political structures, particularly the huge Angevin Empire from 1135 to 1217. For nearly a thousand years, the Channel also provided a link between the Modern Celtic regions and languages of Cornwall and Brittany. Brittany was founded by Britons who fled Cornwall and Devon after Anglo-Saxon encroachment. In Brittany, there is a region known as "Cornouaille" (Cornwall) in French and "Kernev" in Breton [26] In ancient times there was also a "Domnonia" (Devon) in Brittany as well.

In February 1684, ice formed on the sea in a belt 4.8 km (3.0 mi) wide off the coast of Kent and 3.2 km (2.0 mi) wide on the French side. [27] [28]

Route to Britain Edit

Remnants of a mesolithic boatyard have been found on the Isle of Wight. Wheat was traded across the Channel about 8,000 years ago. [29] [30] ". Sophisticated social networks linked the Neolithic front in southern Europe to the Mesolithic peoples of northern Europe." The Ferriby Boats, Hanson Log Boats and the later Dover Bronze Age Boat could carry a substantial cross-Channel cargo. [31]

Diodorus Siculus and Pliny [32] both suggest trade between the rebel Celtic tribes of Armorica and Iron Age Britain flourished. In 55 BC Julius Caesar invaded, claiming that the Britons had aided the Veneti against him the previous year. He was more successful in 54 BC, but Britain was not fully established as part of the Roman Empire until completion of the invasion by Aulus Plautius in 43 AD. A brisk and regular trade began between ports in Roman Gaul and those in Britain. This traffic continued until the end of Roman rule in Britain in 410 AD, after which the early Anglo-Saxons left less clear historical records.

In the power vacuum left by the retreating Romans, the Germanic Angles, Saxons, and Jutes began the next great migration across the North Sea. Having already been used as mercenaries in Britain by the Romans, many people from these tribes crossed during the Migration Period, conquering and perhaps displacing the native Celtic populations. [33]

Norsemen and Normans Edit

The attack on Lindisfarne in 793 is generally considered the beginning of the Viking Age. For the next 250 years the Scandinavian raiders of Norway, Sweden, and Denmark dominated the North Sea, raiding monasteries, homes, and towns along the coast and along the rivers that ran inland. According to the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle they began to settle in Britain in 851. They continued to settle in the British Isles and the continent until around 1050. [34]

The fiefdom of Normandy was created for the Viking leader Rollo (also known as Robert of Normandy). Rollo had besieged Paris but in 911 entered vassalage to the king of the West Franks Charles the Simple through the Treaty of St.-Claire-sur-Epte. In exchange for his homage and fealty, Rollo legally gained the territory he and his Viking allies had previously conquered. The name "Normandy" reflects Rollo's Viking (i.e. "Northman") origins.

The descendants of Rollo and his followers adopted the local Gallo-Romance language and intermarried with the area's inhabitants and became the Normans – a Norman French-speaking mixture of Scandinavians, Hiberno-Norse, Orcadians, Anglo-Danish, and indigenous Franks and Gauls.

Rollo's descendant William, Duke of Normandy became king of England in 1066 in the Norman Conquest beginning with the Battle of Hastings, while retaining the fiefdom of Normandy for himself and his descendants. In 1204, during the reign of King John, mainland Normandy was taken from England by France under Philip II, while insular Normandy (the Channel Islands) remained under English control. In 1259, Henry III of England recognised the legality of French possession of mainland Normandy under the Treaty of Paris. His successors, however, often fought to regain control of mainland Normandy.

With the rise of William the Conqueror the North Sea and Channel began to lose some of their importance. The new order oriented most of England and Scandinavia's trade south, toward the Mediterranean and the Orient.

Although the British surrendered claims to mainland Normandy and other French possessions in 1801, the monarch of the United Kingdom retains the title Duke of Normandy in respect to the Channel Islands. The Channel Islands (except for Chausey) are Crown dependencies of the British Crown. Thus the Loyal toast in the Channel Islands is La Reine, notre Duc ("The Queen, our Duke"). The British monarch is understood to not be the Duke of Normandy in regards of the French region of Normandy described herein, by virtue of the Treaty of Paris of 1259, the surrender of French possessions in 1801, and the belief that the rights of succession to that title are subject to Salic Law which excludes inheritance through female heirs.

French Normandy was occupied by English forces during the Hundred Years' War in 1346–1360 and again in 1415–1450.

England and Britain: Naval superpower Edit

From the reign of Elizabeth I, English foreign policy concentrated on preventing invasion across the Channel by ensuring no major European power controlled the potential Dutch and Flemish invasion ports. Her climb to the pre-eminent sea power of the world began in 1588 as the attempted invasion of the Spanish Armada was defeated by the combination of outstanding naval tactics by the English and the Dutch under command of Charles Howard, 1st Earl of Nottingham with Sir Francis Drake second in command, and the following stormy weather. Over the centuries the Royal Navy slowly grew to be the most powerful in the world. [35]

The building of the British Empire was possible only because the Royal Navy eventually managed to exercise unquestioned control over the seas around Europe, especially the Channel and the North Sea. During the Seven Years' War, France attempted to launch an invasion of Britain. To achieve this France needed to gain control of the Channel for several weeks, but was thwarted following the British naval victory at the Battle of Quiberon Bay in 1759.

Another significant challenge to British domination of the seas came during the Napoleonic Wars. The Battle of Trafalgar took place off the coast of Spain against a combined French and Spanish fleet and was won by Admiral Horatio Nelson, ending Napoleon's plans for a cross-Channel invasion and securing British dominance of the seas for over a century.

First World War Edit

The exceptional strategic importance of the Channel as a tool for blockading was recognised by the First Sea Lord Admiral Fisher in the years before World War I. "Five keys lock up the world! Singapore, the Cape, Alexandria, Gibraltar, Dover." [36] However, on 25 July 1909 Louis Blériot made the first Channel crossing from Calais to Dover in an aeroplane. Blériot's crossing signalled a change in the function of the Channel as a barrier-moat for England against foreign enemies.

Because the Kaiserliche Marine surface fleet could not match the British Grand Fleet, the Germans developed submarine warfare, which was to become a far greater threat to Britain. The Dover Patrol, set up just before the war started, escorted cross-Channel troopships and prevented submarines from sailing in the Channel, obliging them to travel to the Atlantic via the much longer route around Scotland.

On land, the German army attempted to capture French Channel ports in the Race to the Sea but although the trenches are often said to have stretched "from the frontier of Switzerland to the English Channel", they reached the coast at the North Sea. Much of the British war effort in Flanders was a bloody but successful strategy to prevent the Germans reaching the Channel coast.

At the outset of the war, an attempt was made to block the path of U-boats through the Dover Strait with naval minefields. By February 1915, this had been augmented by a 25 kilometres (16 mi) stretch of light steel netting called the Dover Barrage, which it was hoped would ensnare submerged submarines. After initial success, the Germans learned how to pass through the barrage, aided by the unreliability of British mines. [37] On 31 January 1917, the Germans restarted unrestricted submarine warfare leading to dire Admiralty predictions that submarines would defeat Britain by November, [38] the most dangerous situation Britain faced in either world war. [ citation needed ]

The Battle of Passchendaele in 1917 was fought to reduce the threat by capturing the submarine bases on the Belgian coast, though it was the introduction of convoys and not capture of the bases that averted defeat. In April 1918 the Dover Patrol carried out the Zeebrugge Raid against the U-boat bases. During 1917, the Dover Barrage was re-sited with improved mines and more effective nets, aided by regular patrols by small warships equipped with powerful searchlights. A German attack on these vessels resulted in the Battle of Dover Strait in 1917. [39] A much more ambitious attempt to improve the barrage, by installing eight massive concrete towers across the strait was called the Admiralty M-N Scheme but only two towers were nearing completion at the end of the war and the project was abandoned. [40]

The naval blockade in the Channel and North Sea was one of the decisive factors in the German defeat in 1918. [41]

Second World War Edit

During the Second World War, naval activity in the European theatre was primarily limited to the Atlantic. During the Battle of France in May 1940, the German forces succeeded in capturing both Boulogne and Calais, thereby threatening the line of retreat for the British Expeditionary Force. By a combination of hard fighting and German indecision, the port of Dunkirk was kept open allowing 338,000 Allied troops to be evacuated in Operation Dynamo. More than 11,000 were evacuated from Le Havre during Operation Cycle [42] and a further 192,000 were evacuated from ports further down the coast in Operation Ariel in June 1940. [43] The early stages of the Battle of Britain [44] featured German air attacks on Channel shipping and ports despite these early successes against shipping the Germans did not win the air supremacy necessary for Operation Sealion, the projected cross-Channel invasion.

The Channel subsequently became the stage for an intensive coastal war, featuring submarines, minesweepers, and Fast Attack Craft. [4]

The narrow waters of the Channel were considered too dangerous for major warships until the Normandy Landings with the exception, for the German Kriegsmarine, of the Channel Dash (Operation Cerberus) in February 1942, and this required the support of the Luftwaffe in Operation Thunderbolt.

Dieppe was the site of an ill-fated Dieppe Raid by Canadian and British armed forces. More successful was the later Operation Overlord (D-Day), a massive invasion of German-occupied France by Allied troops. Caen, Cherbourg, Carentan, Falaise and other Norman towns endured many casualties in the fight for the province, which continued until the closing of the so-called Falaise gap between Chambois and Montormel, then liberation of Le Havre.

The Channel Islands were the only part of the British Commonwealth occupied by Germany (excepting the part of Egypt occupied by the Afrika Korps at the time of the Second Battle of El Alamein, which was a protectorate and not part of the Commonwealth). The German occupation of 1940–1945 was harsh, with some island residents being taken for slave labour on the Continent native Jews sent to concentration camps partisan resistance and retribution accusations of collaboration and slave labour (primarily Russians and eastern Europeans) being brought to the islands to build fortifications. [45] [46] The Royal Navy blockaded the islands from time to time, particularly following the liberation of mainland Normandy in 1944. Intense negotiations resulted in some Red Cross humanitarian aid, but there was considerable hunger and privation during the occupation, particularly in the final months, when the population was close to starvation. The German troops on the islands surrendered on 9 May 1945, a day after the final surrender in mainland Europe.

The English Channel coast is far more densely populated on the English shore. The most significant towns and cities along both the English and French sides of the Channel (each with more than 20,000 inhabitants, ranked in descending order populations are the urban area populations from the 1999 French census, 2001 UK census, and 2001 Jersey census) are as follows:

America - Albion's Orphan - A history of the conquest of Britain - 1760

Though it took nearly a week for the news to reach Budapest where Archduke Leopold served as Palatine of Hungary (effectively Governor or Viceroy for the King of Hungary, Joseph II), Joseph's younger brother would take several days to grieve as his aides prepared for the solemn procession from Budapest to Vienna. Joseph had died with no surviving issue and the next brother in line, Leopold, was now the ruler of the Habsburg hereditary lands (Austria, Bavaria, Hungary-Transylvania, Bohemia-Moravia, Dalmatia, Serbia, etc).

Within a respectful time period, there would be a new election for Holy Roman Emperor. As the Habsburgs had controlled the office for centuries with only a handful of exceptions, Leopold was not worried about his chances. Yes, the Electors of Saxony, Hanover and Brandenburg were unhappy with the Habsburg expansion into Germany but Leopold was sure of the support of the Wittelsbachs of the Palatinate and the Clerical Electors (Mainz, Trier and Cologne). Combined with the Electoral two votes which the Habsburgs already controlled (Bohemia and Bavaria), the election was merely a formality.

But Leopold was more concerned about the potential for chaos in the Kingdom of Serbia. Not inclined to punish an entire people for the attack of a few, the new ruler of the Habsburg lands would be uncomfortably aware of the level of resistance throughout the assorted peoples of the Empire to Joseph's centralization policies which removed the ancient privileges of the local Parliaments. If it were just the nobles, then perhaps the people and church could have aligned with the Emperor on these reforms. However, Joseph had spent years attacking the church as well as attempting "cultural transformation" by "Germanizing" the constituent states of the Empire. This brought widespread resentment and frequent uprisings from all classes.

Leopold shared his late brother's politics but knew that Joseph had moved too quickly across the board. No doubt frustrated at Maria Theresa's refusal to grant her son and heir any real power in the Habsburg lands during her long lifetime, Joseph was already in middle age by the time he acquired actual authority and wanted to change as much as possible in as short and amount of time. Leopold, more prudent than his brother, knew that the reforms Joseph forced upon the nations of his crown should have been undertaken over a 50 year period, not a ten year period.

Despite many new laws, the lion's share had never actually been implemented due to lack of funds or general resentment by the peoples of the Empire.

Now, the aging Leopold would be left to try to clean up the mess. First, he had to deal with the conspirators. Though he loathed making martyrs of anyone, he knew that the foolish students must hang. However he determined to make it a private event, rather than public. He saw no reason to encourage a riot.

Then, Leopold would selectively roll back a few reforms to show his own willingness to compromise followed by a prudent review of the reforms, determining which were most important and worth pushing at the moment.

Unfortunately for Leopold, the Hungarian peasantry, encouraged by the church and nobles, rose up within a week of Leopold's departure from Budapest. They would be followed by a general revolt in Serbia and sporadic unrest in Silesia, Bohemia and Moravia.

By 1791, much of the Habsburg Empire would be facing internal violence.

On Christmas Eve, 1790, Louis XV would finally succumb to the rigors of age (and his own dissolute lifestyle). Historians would have a dim view of his long, long reign. King since age five, Louis wasted much of France's wealth on wars which gained little. Indeed, more was gained by negotiation than ever gained in his wars. These included the former Austrian Netherlands and the Duchies of Bar and Lorraine.

Even the overseas Empire had failed to grown to any significant extent despite the fall of Britain. The great sinkhole for French Gold, New France, had fallen to the British and Americans in the previous war and was, quite simply, not worth the effort of reconquering given France's dire financial straits and the need to expend resources putting down slave revolts in the West Indies.

Yes, France had seen Britain collapse as a power, the Dutch Republic crumble into a petty client state, Spain alternately an ally or neutral and, perhaps most importantly, Austria's influence pushed away from the French borders. For all the problems of his reign, France's position in Europe seemed utterly secure as there seemed no threats to the metropolis itself. This was the age-old goal of the French Kings, securing the borders. It seemed unlikely than any one power could threaten France's position while no obvious coalition was likely to form by her neighbors.

Perhaps Louis XV's greatest battle had been with the regional Parliaments. Though often viewed as lazy and inclined to leave his ministers in command of the country while he tended to his hunting and mistresses, that did not mean Louis XV lacked a spine. He selected able ministers and was resolute in supporting them. A combination of reformers and royalists, the Ministers of the past twenty-five years had effectively broken the power of the regional Parliaments where corrupt nobles effectively controlled both finances and law. A new central legal system based upon actual statute laws was put in place with the intent of competent justice and fairness for all. Taxes were now collected by paid crown agents, not local nobles, clergy or "tax farmers" whom soaked the peasants dry.

By 1790, the worst of the debt crisis was past as the debt was down to a mere 2,000,000,000 francs with an annual surplus paying down five to seven percent of the principal in addition to actually paying interest payments. The gradual and painful reconstruction of French finances allowed for the reformation of the national bank a few years prior.

The French military, with no immediate threats on the horizon, would be scaled back. The Navy was reduced in scale even as what was left was modernized by new training regimens for the common sailors and academies for the officers. Coppered hulls were now the standard rather than the exception. A modest building program would see the scrapping of old and obsolete ships.

With Britain a memory, England without a real navy, Spain mired in its own affairs, the Dutch republic a shadow of its former glory, Austria only beginning to build a real navy, the Ottoman still bogged down in civil war, there seemed to be no threats at sea. Russia may be a problem in the future and America was reportedly pressing for a navy of 20 heavy ships (later it would be determined that "heavy" referred to frigates, not 1st Rate Ships-of-the-line), but immediately there was no problem at sea.

The army, which had reached over 250,000 in the previous war, was slowly scaled back as well 120,000 and this included the 15,000 in England and 12,000 in the west Indies. In one of his first actions, the new King Louis XVI would pronounce the recall of ALL French troops from England by the end of 1791 (and halving it in the West Indies). This was decried in some quarters as a counterproductive measure as it would conceivably allow England to rebuild its power. It was also viewed as a potential betrayal of allies and trading partners Scotland, Wales, Cornwall, Ireland and America, not to mention the King whom the French had propped up for the past twenty-five years.

The actions of the new King of France would have unforeseen consequences for the people of England and Britain as a whole for the simmering rage built up in some quarters by the insurgent force of the English Republican Army and the descendants of the old Parliamentary Oligarchy which had controlled Britain in the past were ready to rise up en masse at the first sign of weakness.

As it would turn out, France would not have to worry about any direct threats from Britain for quite a while.

Within a week of the proclamation of Louis XVI, violence spread the length of Britain as a bitter omni-directional war shattered the shaky peace.

The Art of Conquest in England and Normandy

On September 28, 1066, the tiny community of Pevensey (on the south-east coast of England), huddled inside the ruins of a late Roman fortification. They would soon be overwhelmed with the arrival of William, Duke of Normandy , and an army intent on invasion. Thousands of invaders had crossed the English Channel from Normandy on hundreds of open longships that were big enough to carry cavalry horses and the supplies needed to lay siege to the coastal cities guarding England.

Map showing the coasts of Normandy (in present-day France) and the location of the Battle of Hastings, in England

William had been preparing for the invasion since the last Anglo-Saxon king of England, Edward the Confessor, had died without a direct heir months earlier.

Edward had been succeeded by a newly appointed ruler, Harold Godwinson, but both William and the King of Norway, Harold Hardrada, also laid claim to the throne. Harold Hardrada had crossed the North Sea to invade near present-day Newcastle in the north of England, arriving at almost exactly the same time as William’s army made land further south. Forced to defend two coasts almost three hundred miles apart in quick succession, Harold Godwinson succeeded in defeating the king of Norway, but fell on the field at the Battle of Hastings, just up the coast from Pevensey, shot through the eye with an arrow. Harold’s sizeable army was no match for the mounted warriors William had brought from Normandy. His forces quickly marched west, to Dover and Canterbury, then east, leaving devastation in their wake. By Christmas, 1066, William the Conqueror had been crowned king of England, but facing a rebellion, he continued to lay waste to a huge swath of the country before he had all of England firmly within his grasp.

The death of King Harold at the Battle of Hastings (detail), Bayeux Tapestry, c. 1070, embroidered wool on linen, 20 inches high (Bayeux Museum)

Weaving a Norman tale

The works of art and architecture made in the wake of this invasion testify to the power of art as a tool for colonization. Perhaps the most famous of these is the Bayeux Tapestry. Within twenty years of the Norman Conquest of England, needle-workers embroidered dozens of scenes describing the invasion onto this 230-foot-long linen strip using wool and linen yarn. Between narrow upper and lower borders populated by animals, people and objects that act as a subtle commentary on the central narrative, a history of the Norman Conquest unscrolls from left to right, ending abruptly with a tattered, incomplete scene of mace-wielding Anglo-Saxon foot soldiers fleeing the victorious Normans. Embroidered Latin titles help to identify people, places and events.

Wounded soldiers and horses (detail), Bayeux Tapestry, c. 1070, embroidered wool on linen, 20 inches high (Bayeux Museum)

Scholars have never pinned down where or by whom the embroidery was carried out, or where it was meant to be displayed—a mystery compounded by the fact that this is the only storytelling textile strip of this sort preserved from the Middle Ages. In it, William is portrayed ordering his men to build a fleet of longships, stock them with arms and armor, food, wine, and horses, and set sail for England, where they feast, plan, and finally attack. The ensuing slaughter is unflinchingly rendered: in the lower border, dismembered bodies are stripped by battlefield looters. The style of the tapestry, with its gangly-limbed, beaky-nosed figures, agitated gestures, stolid drapery folds, abrupt changes in scale, and multicolored trees made of rubbery, interlaced fronds, has similarities to other works found on both sides of the Channel. Anglo-Saxon England and the Duchy of Normandy had been exchanging artwork, artists, clergy, and nobles well before the Conquest (their rulers were closely related—King Edward the Confessor’s mother, Emma of Normandy, was William the Conqueror’s great aunt).

Normans first meal in England, at the center is Bishop Odo, who gazes out as he offers a blessing over the cup in his hand (detail), Bayeux Tapestry, c. 1070, embroidered wool on linen, 20 inches high (Bayeux Museum)

If we can’t use style to judge where the tapestry was made, we can instead turn to the story, which displays an indisputably Norman bias, to identify its intended audience. Many medieval texts retold the events of the invasion from both the Anglo-Saxon and Norman perspectives, but Bishop Odo of Bayeux, William’s half brother, figures prominently in the Bayeux tapestry, where he is shown blessing a feast on the eve of battle, advising William, and rallying the troops. It is likely, then, that Odo commissioned the tapestry to celebrate his brother’s victory, and the tale that unfolds along its length highlights William’s (and Odo’s) valor and the supposed wrongdoings of Harold Godwinson, who is depicted swearing an oath to be William’s vassal , but then allowing himself to be crowned King of England. The tapestry completely ignores Harold’s victory over the Norwegian king, instead focusing on events of interest to Normans.

Preparations for war, including the building of a motte-and-bailey (detail), Bayeux Tapestry, c. 1070, embroidered wool on linen, 20 inches high (Bayeux Museum)

Motte-and-bailey castles

While the tapestry’s renditions of ships, weapons, horses, feasts and buildings have been mined by historians for information about daily life and military campaigns, many details are doubtless the result of artistic license. Still, the tapestry showcases some important Norman innovations. After the feast presided over by Bishop Odo, the invaders are shown shoveling dirt onto a striped mound crowned by a structure labeled Hesteng ceastra (above). This is the castle of Hastings, one of several such castles (including one at Dover, discussed below, as well as the Tower of London) that William had built during and after his invasion. With these, he imported into England a type of defensive structure that was typical in Normandy and became essential for establishing control over his new English subjects.

The simplest of Norman castles comprised a mound, or motte, of alternating layers of earth and stones, topped with a wooden palisade and an enclosed residence, or keep , and surrounded by a ditch. Either surrounding this or contiguous with it was an open yard, or bailey , ringed with a wooden defensive barrier. Such defenses could be thrown up quickly and made use of existing land features. They provided security for the soldiers, horses, and equipment necessary to subdue the surrounding inhabitants, a vantage point from which to observe potential foes, and a looming presence to intimidate them.

Model of a motte-and-bailey (Carisbrooke Castle, 14th century, England) (photo: Charles D. P. Miller)

Lacking a standing professional army that could defend the walls of a city, medieval rulers like William appointed nobles to subdue parcels of the countryside in return for land and goods. If a castle’s location proved to be advantageous in the long term, the wooden structure on top was replaced with a masonry keep that provided permanent and more comfortable housing for the governing lord and his family. Round, rectangular, or faceted, these could be hollow shell keeps with buildings clustered against an exterior wall, or solid great towers, like the keep at Dover (below).

Aeriel view of Dover Castle, 12th century (Kent, England) (photo: Lieven Smits)

Topping these structures one often sees crenellations , which allowed archers to defend the perimeter while sheltering behind a stone wall. At Dover, as was typical, the wooden palisade surrounding the bailey was over time replaced by multiple concentric stone walls, a moat, and a barbican (an outer fortified gate).

With its towering presence, the motte-and-bailey castle combined the practical functions necessary to govern a rural population or the inhabitants of a conquered city with the symbolism of domination.

Durham Cathedral on the River Wear, Norman construction founded 1093 (Durham, England) (photo: Domstu)

A Norman cathedral

William the Conqueror had first visited Durham Cathedral—then an Anglo-Saxon stone church—on its peninsula in a bend of the River Wear (above) on his first northern campaign. Durham Cathedral was an important touchstone of Anglo-Saxon national identity, holding the relics of Cuthbert, their patron saint. Recognizing its strategic importance, William fortified one end of the site with a motte-and-bailey castle, and invited another Norman, William of Saint-Calais (who then became Bishop William), to take over the venerable cathedral and remake it in the image of a Norman church. Bishop William expelled the clergy he found there and replaced them with Benedictine monks . By 1093, he had begun construction on the largest and most technically innovative Norman church of its time.

Edward the Confessor’s body being carried into Westminster Abbey, Bayeux Tapestry, c. 1070, embroidered wool on linen, 20 inches high (Bayeux Museum)

The Anglo-Saxons were already familiar with some Norman building practices and styles. In the Bayeux Tapestry, we see Edward the Confessor’s body carried to Westminster Abbey, which had been dedicated just days before his death. The church is depicted as a substantial structure with arcades (here, rows of columns topped with arches), clerestory windows, a transept and multiple towers. Edward had built it to be his own burial church, and excavations show that it probably resembled a Norman abbey near where Edward had spent much of his youth. At the time, observers described Westminster Abbey’s style as new and unusual. In the wake of the Conquest, however, major English churches were built or rebuilt only in this style rather than in the then prevalent Anglo-Saxon style, marking Norman control of the Church in starkly visual terms.

William the Conqueror and his wife, Matilda, had already commissioned impressive church buildings in their Norman capital city, Caen, that showcased the key characteristics of the Norman style. We can also see these at Durham, begun after William’s death but still part of the legacy of his invasion. A façade with two monumental towers looms over the fortifications and the steep banks of the Wear surrounding Durham’s peninsula. Behind this façade, a broad nave is separated from aisles by massive arches framed with complex decorative stone moldings, sitting on gigantic alternating piers.

Interior of Durham Cathedral, Norman construction founded 1093 (Durham, England) (photo: Oliver-Bonjoch)

Heavy stone, cleverly disguised

The clerestory windows of the nave and transept sit behind an interior passage and yet another arcade that create the effect of a multi-layered wall. Soaring over this multitude of arches are gargantuan ribbed groin vaults that covered the broad main area of the church, were probably the earliest and certainly the widest in Norman architecture. Their lightness and clever variations in curvature and height attest to the technical prowess of the builders. Stonemasons embellished the arches and piers with intricately carved patterns, and incised the outer wall of the aisle with interwoven arches. With these layers and details, the cathedral’s builders and masons emphasized the colossal weight of stone that supports the vaults, while at the same time diffusing this effect of weightiness using surface ornamentation. Together the technically demanding vaults and the wealth of hand-carved decoration broadcast the power of the cathedral and its bishop, who had the means to command the materials and artisans necessary to build such a monument.

Interior of Durham Cathedral, Norman construction founded 1093 (Durham, England) (photo: Simon Varwell)

Led by a decisive ruler, the Norman invaders at the beginning of the eleventh century brought with them a rich set of artistic and architectural approaches that helped them display their new power and authority over the Anglo-Saxon population.

Quote of the Day

There is nothing in libertarian theory that justifies dithering at home as conditions abroad get worse by the day.

This point has been one of the main differences among people who consider themselves libertarian. Libertarian isolationism in response to threats of aggression from overseas is like a self-defense strategy in which you let an assailant shoot at you before you think yourself justified in shooting back. In reality you sometimes have to take preemptive action if you want to survive. Life isn’t a court of law where you have the luxury of due process before deciding if you are justified in punishing the accused. An individual, group or nation that behaves in a way that reasonable people see as threatening should have no expectation of being left alone by potential victims.

64 thoughts on &ldquoQuote of the Day&rdquo

The biggest threat to this country is the invasion from Mexico. I don’t give a rat’s ass who controls Donetsk or for that matter Jerusalem.

You may not care about jihad but jihad cares about you.

We should reserve the option to attack our enemies before they arrive at our southern border.

Yes, I expect ISIS will march into Peoria any day now.

The security threat to the US from Mexico is many orders of magnitude greater than the security threat from ISIS.

The highly porous southern border allows those desiring to harm US citizens, whether by direct violent action or the simple parasitism inherent of the open border welfare state, easy access to our citizens, their lives and their wealth. A government that values its citizenry would not permit the present conditions.

Defending our southern border and defending against our enemies abroad are not mutually exclusive.

Intervention in the Middle East is a huge distraction from the real threats to our contry. Sealing the US – Mexican border could be done at a tiny fraction of the cost of our idiotic and disastrous wars in the Middle East. We should get out of the Middle East, seal our borders and let the peoples of the Middle East butcher each other to their heart’s content.

Voted for Ron Paul, did you?

I’m surprised how many conditions I see around the world today remind me of the 1930’s.

The butchers of the Middle East will never be happy with only butchering among themselves. They have masters that need to be served and those masters need PR wins to use to attract resources to continue the butchering. Striking at the Great Satan is a big PR win.

Which is all to repeat Jonathan’s comment that you may not care about Jihad but Jihad cares about you.

Despite the enormous cost, having bases on two sides of Iran was not a bad thing. Those were sunk costs and giving them up for nothing was strategic idiocy.

“Intervention in the Middle East is a huge distraction from the real threats to our contry. ”

Which include jihadis working at the Minneapolis Airport. You are a nice example of libertarian tunnel vision. They seem to think that law and order is the normal state of nature.

You can argue all you want but the blunt fact is that the military has been decimated by cutbacks in both troop levels and weapons systems, and a significant part of the citizenry is either opposed to any military action in the Mideast, or anywhere else, and/or exhausted from the past years of effort in that region.

Given the strategic vision of the current regime, or lack of it, there is little possibility of significant and effective action in any area, and that definitely includes the Mideast and our southern border.

We are a laughingstock around the world, and it will take a significant change in electoral belief, administrative purpose, and military capabilities to affect any change in that situation.

Given the relentless antagonism of the media and academia to any form of military action by the west, and especially the US, it will be a long and difficult course to regain any international credibility.

As I have said many times at Samizdata in regards to the question of military action, there is little will, money, or capability left for the US to undertake anything more than cosmetic military action. The rest of the world, we are told, has been clamoring for this type of uninvolved posture from this country for a long time.

Well, now they, and we, are getting exactly what all the “right thinking” people have said was best for everyone.

It doesn’t matter where you are in the world, or whether you are an ally or an enemy—you’re on your own.

Agreed, VR. I am not an expert and haven’t done very much recent heavy research on this among the mil-blogs – but my sense is that the military is tired and unenthusiastic about going full-tilt in the middle-east at the bidding of the current Plastic President.Just tired, tired and tired once again. He gave away all the work done in blood to stabilize Iraq. The purge of the higher ranks – which appears to be politically motivated, and the purge of the mid-ranks, for which the given rationale is economic … that does leave a mark and a memory. I watched a link ( of the so-called Commander in Chief making a speech before the American Legion convention. It was … at the very least, embarrassing. They were sitting on their hands, listening in stony silence, save for the small claque, reported to be sitting up in the front row.

President Bush was reported to have met privately with the next of kin of every war casualty incurred during his administration. Has Obama done the same?

Whether you like it or not we’re now focused on ourselves.

Jihad happens. Take your medicine, you too are mortal. Learn it.

We were there, we were stabbed in the back with ROE, Abu Gharib, witch-hunts, investigations. ISIS is the same people with Syrians thrown in. You should have let us win. You wanted to be righteous. Choke on it.

Our soldiers and marines are tired, our Generals are hollow imitations, the active military is going through a post-war drawdown, PC games. Of course they don’t want anymore turns at being target practice.

Screw. Screw you. If anyone did anything nasty – defined as looks bad on camera – you’d be discussing Rule of Law, process and all the rest. You – you America, you Dems, You GOP, You Libertarians, you University of Chicago, you Academe – you aren’t only impossible to defend due to your own backstabbing nonsense, you’re frankly not worthy of it.

Oh I will if and when the time comes, again. But that’s for me.

You can go screw yourselves, and you did. Take your medicine. Faithless, False, Fickle, Weak.

And of course I’m an Iraq Vet. 2X.

” He gave away all the work done in blood to stabilize Iraq.”

I keep saying this but it is how I feel, and we all know that feelings are most importent these days.

I keep thinking of 1940 France. We are almost there.

I think that Epstein is asking the wrong questions. Rand’s father actually introduced legislation to make use of the letters of marque and reprisal power after 9/11. It would actually be an interesting hypothetical to put before Senator Paul. Did he think that his father was onto something in 2001 and 2007 when he introduced that solution and does he think that America and the world would be better off with that approach?

I’m not holding my breath for the media to pursue that line of questioning.

Libertarian foreign policy doesn’t really map very well to the conventional camps inside the beltway and I was disappointed that Epstein, who is generally smarter than this, pretended that Sen. Paul’s Aug 29th comments about IS just didn’t happen.

In an emailed comment, however, Paul elaborated by saying: “If I were President, I would call a joint session of Congress. I would lay out the reasoning of why ISIS is a threat to our national security and seek congressional authorization to destroy ISIS militarily.”

That is not the statement of a pacifist.

Epstein’s article ran September 2nd, four days later. There should have been time to pull the article, fix it, or at least mention it.

That may be a significant correction re Rand Paul. OTOH, Paul has thought it necessary to update his foreign-policy statements on at least one other occasion (to reassure pro-Israel voters), so it’s not obvious to me where Paul really stands. Perhaps Epstein would have done better not to make Paul the focus of his column.

” He gave away all the work done in blood to stabilize Iraq.”

The jewel in the crown of the 0. administration’s inadequacies.

Ron Paul has the ability to say what he wants, as he is in a protected district. Any challenger to his seat would be at a great disadvantage however, he has grown lazy in this position and needs to let those, who have the energy to change, to emerge with new ideas and he certainly must help his friends in their battles against the current system.

Jonathan – It’s not obvious to me either where Paul actually stands because few people seem to be asking him the right questions to elicit exactly what sort of libertarian foreign policy he would pursue. This would lead to strategic miscalculation both at home and abroad in the case of a successful Paul run for president. Paul certainly isn’t going to go out of his way, volunteering to lay out a new approach to foreign policy. The people who actually vote on the nuance of foreign policy are sub 1% of voters so the upside available is miniscule. A larger number will, however, shy away from the weird, the new, the untried, so the downside risk is considerably larger.

Surely part of the reason the border frightens is it trashes of the rule of law, dissipates and dirties our common vision & responsibiity & heritage (at least as much by identity driven politicians and social workers who work against rather than for assimilaton). Still ISIS weights those worries – as it weights our fear of the porous border. Large importations of Somali to the heartlands is worrisome in itself, perhaps, but more so when we see what Minneapolis exports. The rumors (or are they rumors) that ISIS has a cell or more in Juarez underlines the connections between our worries as does Putin’s influence to our South and his powering of the anti-oil groups. He’s playing a more complicated game than our leaders (unless their’s is covert). And those people who ignored Ukraine in the twenties and the Hitler/Stalin pact of the 30’s soon found the birds in Kiev and Donetsk dying in the coal shaft might have been seen as warning – and weren’t. God, I wish Romney’d been elected. But I don’t see any Republicans, even the isolationist wing, delusional or subversive (it is hard to tell with people like Obama and Reid, Jarrett and the msm, which it is).

Of course, Americans don’t want to go back into the east or up aganst Putin. Would you follow Obama anywhere? Or assume he had your back? I’d be looking for a shiv in my back.

Knucklehead – The various factions in the Middle East left to themselves would be far too busy fighting each other to concern themselves about the US if we would just get out of the Middle East and control our borders to prevent the entry of dangerous groups like Muslims or low IQ Mexican Mestizos.

Mike K. – I am not a libertarian. If we didn’t allow Muslim immigration into the US we wouldn’t have jihadis working at the Minneapolis Airport.

I don’t think that law and order are the normal state of nature. I have noticed that Hussein and Ghadaffi seemed to have been a lot more successful at imposing law and order in places like Iraq and Libya than we have been.

Ginny – If you wish to die for Donetsk go there and fight for Kiev. I do ‘t give a damm about Donetck.

Ginny – Bringing Somalis into the US is utter madness. The best case is that they will wind up as welfare parasites. The worst case is terroism and violence.

Mike K. � France”. Get a grip man. ISIS is not Germany. They have no ability to significantly harm the US. They’re not going to march into Peoria. For that matter Germany in 1940 was not going to march into Peoria and posed little threat to the US.

Good to see that I guessed wrong about your voting, and that you are elaborating somewhat on your opinions.

The reason ISIS is a problem is not that it’s extremely strong but that it’s demonstrating hostile intent to us and we aren’t responding effectively as it rolls over our allies. Thus it grows stronger, our allies grow weaker, and other players (Putin, e.g.) are encouraged to exploit our weakness. As a matter of tactical self-interest we would do better to attack ISIS now rather than risk attack, possibly closer to home, from a strengthened ISIS later. Libertarians such as, perhaps, Rand Paul, as well as isolationists such as yourself, do not take adequate consideration of such issues in their eagerness to elevate non-interventionism as a principle.

The other, related, problem is the threat of WMD, either from a loose bomb if Pakistan falls apart or from Iran or somewhere else. This threat isn’t going to go away if we attempt to walk away from foreign involvement and barricade ourselves at home.

ISIS is no more a threat to us than Boko Haram or whatevfer the hell it’s called or any other of the myriad of bloodthirsty groups running around the world. The Mexican drug cartels are far more of a significant threat than ISIS.

Jim:“Intervention in the Middle East is a huge distraction from the real threats to our contry. ”

MikeK: Which include jihadis working at the Minneapolis Airport.

Are you saying that those jihadis are Minnesota Swedes, Norwegians, and Anglo-Saxons who converted to Islam? Otherwise Jim is correct. If it weren’t for your immigration policy (fully endorsed by virtually all Republicans, especially George Bush) you wouldn’t have this problem.

Voted for Ron Paul, did you?

If he did he threw away his vote as RP supports the replacement of Americans with cheap labour foreigners. There is only one thing libertarians care about? $Money$

>>There is only one thing libertarians care about? $Money$

If there’s one thing you can count on modern Brits to do, it’s explain everything they only vaguely understand using Marxist theory. They’re saturated in the stuff.

The “distraction from the real threats” assertion is bullshit, a rhetorical diversion. It’s like saying we shouldn’t have fought Nazi Germany until after we defeated Japan. Why a country should restrict itself to dealing with one threat at a time is never explained.

If we hadn’t fought Nazi Germany there would probably have never been a Communist takeover of Eatern Europe. Best thing wuold have been to let the Nazis and Communists slaughter one another to exhaustion. Going for the unconditional surrender of Germany was a huge gift to Stalin.

If we had played our cards right in the Far East we could probably have avoided war with Japan and allowed it to bleed itself to exhaustion in China. Probably never would have been a Connunist China.

Jonathan – ISIS’ demonstrations of hostile intent to the US is about as significant as a dog baying at the moon.

If we hadn’t fought Nazi Germany there would probably have never been a Communist takeover of Eatern Europe. Best thing wuold have been to let the Nazis and Communists slaughter one another to exhaustion. Going for the unconditional surrender of Germany was a huge gift to Stalin.

If we had played our cards right in the Far East we could probably have avoided war with Japan and allowed it to bleed itself to exhaustion in China. Probably never would have been a Connunist China.

When you’re hypothesizing like that it’s easy suppose any outcome you desire, because it’s fictional.

Let’s play though. Suppose they fought to a standoff. You still have Stalin in power in the USSR and Hitler has conquered Europe and the UK. Stable world? Positive outcome?

Japan had SE Asia and much of China under its firm grasp, it was no contest there. An expansionist Japanese Empire in control of most of Asia is a positive outcome?

By the 1950’s we may well have had the Japanese navy off the coast of California and the German Navy off the Atlantic coast. Better outcome then actually transpired or not?

Germany had no chance of invading the UK. A bloody stalemate on the Eastern Front would have left both Germany and the Soviet Union exhausted. Same thing for Japan in China.

I don’t history supports your assertions.

You have no way of knowing what would have happened in 1942 and later if the USA had somehow stayed out of the war. We might have ended up facing Germany and Japan alone and from a worse strategic position than the one that existed in Dec. 1941. There are some risks that a responsible national govt can’t afford to take, and worse things for a country than overseas military interventions. For example, being attacked at home. In this regard your error is of the same kind that the libertarians make: you are either foolish enough to imagine that you have the ability to predict which of our enemies will be the most dangerous, or you are naive enough to believe that we will remain undisturbed as long as we don’t intentionally disturb our enemies. Either error is likely to lead eventually to attacks against us.

If the Japanese had had the sense not to attack the US she presumably would have stayed out of the war, because then Hitler would have had no reason to declare war on her.

Yes, if. And then additional ifs on top of that.

FDR made the decision to support England and France by 1937.
The American public was neutral until the UK won the Battle of Britain. By the end of 1940 the nation was behind the war effort.

We were going into the European Theater whether or not Japan attacked us.

Grurray, I’m not sure I agree with that. I seem to recall FDR won the election of 1940 on a platform promise to keep us out of yet another European war. I think the American public were OK with arming allies like the UK, but I think Pearl Harbor was a complete shock. It changed everything. I wasn’t there, but that’s what I read.

The pacifism of words is the first hindrance to clarity. Russia invaded the Ukraine, ISIS are Islamists, and those who lawlessly come across the borders are illegal. This may be off topic, but no matter how we set our priorities we need to acknowledge the true categories.

Jim said “ISIS is no more a threat to us ….”. Shouldn’t you have qualified this with the word “now”?

Also, have to disagree with you about the possible invasion of England. 25 to 40 miles of the English Channel to cross, IF the efforts of German air force had been successful….

(Newt Gingrich, in one of his historical novels argues that the Luftwaffe should have concentrated on airfields and radar installations rather than bombing docks, industrial areas, and London,s population. Given the close-run nature of the air Battle of Britain, destruction of Britain,s air power could have paved the way for Normandy in reverse.)

Partial isolationism served us well in WWII and WWI. We should strive for it now. If we act as the world’s defender in every case we create a dependent class of nations (I’m reminded of the nurturing by the US govt. of inner city slums and impoverished people in general these days, the creation of a “dependency”) and we get played. We should gradually but surely withdraw form other nations businesses. We are 70 years on from WWII and our deep involvement in the world stems from that event. It is time to move on.

We should extend military power only when it is in the interest of the U.S. Extending it to ISIS is in it’s interest if only for the morale of U.S. citizens and as an object lesson and reminder to the potential bandit/thugs of the world. The propaganda value to the existing bandit/thugs is too effective to go unanswered.

IF the U.S. gov’t. insists on imperialim it had better become more and not less draconian in the administration of empire and make the imperialism pay for itself while making life better for the occupied peoples else it doesn’t mak any sense. A very tall order for a country that can’t or won’t control it’s own border.

See FDR’s 1937 Quarantine Speech.
He was hamstrung by The Neutrality Act but worked around it.

The non-interventionists were in the Republican Party, but the eventual nominee Wilkie was not in their camp.
After he was nominated, FDR dropped all pretense and signed the Destroyer Deal and implemented the draft in September just before the election.

I don’t have the time or inclination to answer everybody in detail but a general comment – No strategy in the real world is risk-free. Sure one can hypothesize all kinds of possible dangers to the US coming from any conceivable place, South Ossetia say, but we do not have the resources to counter every conceivable threat our imaginations can come up. The Bush Administration seemed to have convinced itself that Hussein was a threat to this country. Their fevered imaginings of Hussein’s WMD turned out to be totally delusional. However it lead them to spend huge amounts of money on a disastrous war.

By the way if it is so easy to launch an invasion across the English channel how come nobody’s done it since William the Conqueror.

Grurray, I’m not arguing about FDR’s personal outlook on the world situation. I’m simply saying those who voted for him, and the American public in general, wanted to stay out of the war. They didn’t see it as our problem. And the memory of the WWI bloodbath was only 20 years in the past. I think Pearl Harbor pulled us into the war like no lesser event could have. Very much like 9/11 but with the Japanese Empire as the perpetrator, which then became a focus of our wrath. And rightly so.

By the way if it is so easy to launch an invasion across the English channel how come nobody’s done it since William the Conqueror.

Because there were easier and richer targets close by that didn’t require a navy and amphibious landings.

The Bush Administration seemed to have convinced itself that Hussein was a threat to this country. Their fevered imaginings of Hussein’s WMD turned out to be totally delusional.

Let’s not rewrite history to support a debate point. Many intelligence services in the West believed Saddam had an ongoing nuclear weapons program which he was hiding. Saddam was clearly insane, or insanely brutal, or both. Arm that with nuclear weapons and now you have a real problem.

I didn’t support going into Iraq when we did. I also didn’t see an immediate threat. However badly he was being dealt with, I didn’t see a war as necessary. Mainly because war is unpredictable, not just the fighting but the long term aftermath, as we’ve seen. But I could see and understand the other viewpoint as well. It was not an easy call, like the situations we see now. A lot of damned if you, damned if you don’t situations.

IF the U.S. gov’t. insists on imperialim it had better become more and not less draconian in the administration of empire and make the imperialism pay for itself while making life better for the occupied peoples else it doesn’t mak any sense.

I agree with the first statement. As to the second, if it turns out our political class finds that Empire pays, it will expand Empire along with draconian tyranny without end. See the voracious, corrupt, and tyrannical US federal government nascent monster for an example. I think we have as much to fear from it as from ISIS. And it’s a closer and more powerful threat to every American.

A very tall order for a country that can’t or won’t control it’s own border.

The US government is perfectly capable of controlling that border. The Democrats have deliberately chosen not to, in clear violation of the law, because immigrants vote Democrat. A government that casually commits crimes against its own people is a government that needs a stake driven through its heart. Would you trust them to administer an Empire? I wouldn’t.

“The Bush Administration seemed to have convinced itself that Hussein was a threat to this country. Their fevered imaginings of Hussein’s WMD turned out to be totally delusional.”

This is not a truthful description of the reasons for the war. In 2003, the West was dependent on middle eastern oil. The invasion of Kuwait was a threat to Saudi Arabia and that oil. That is why the first gulf war was fought.

After 9/11, we were under pressure to remove our military facilities from Saudi Arabia and to do so, we would have had to remove the pressure on Saddam. He would have won that cold, or at least warm, war with us. That was dangerous in the aftermath of 9/11. The WMD were introduced to assist Blair in his debates in Parliament. Wolfowitz tried to explain to leftist reporters why sanctions would not work when he told them Iraq sat on “a sea of oil.” That, of course, set off the lefty hysteria of “No blood for oil !”

I agree the occupation was botched. One reason was that Turkey stabbed us in the back by refusing to permit the northern approach in the invasion. Turkey has been turning Islamist under Erdogan and that was a surprise. When we came up from the south, the Sunni areas were a refuge for the worst elements of Saddam’s regime. Those same elements are now leading ISIS.

We could now survive quite well without Saudi oil if we had a government that was rational about energy. We don’t. Europe is already awash in jihadis and Muslims. Imagine if the Islamists were in control of the oil.

We still are a nation that does business, much of it with other nations. “Fortress America,” which seems to be Jim’s desire, would not work any better than it would have in the 1940s.

Anyone who doubts that Hitler could have defeated Britain in 1940 should read “Five Days in London: May 1940” It was far closer than most remember.

The Bayeux Tapestry Chronicles the Epic Ancient Battle for England

Bayeux Tapestry, ca. 11th century. © Bayeux Museum. Courtesy of the Ville de Bayeux.

Installation view of the Bayeux Tapestry, ca. 11th century. © S. Maurice — Bayeux Museum. Courtesy of the Ville de Bayeux.

Bayeux Tapestry, ca. 11th century. Photo via Wikimedia Commons.

Bayeux Tapestry, ca. 11th century. © Bayeux Museum. Courtesy of the Ville de Bayeux.

Gentlemen, I have a plan

In Normandy, William summoned his leading nobles to Lillebonne to announce his wish to fight for his rightful place as King of England. He would make it clear those who supported him would be well rewarded.

William needed every persuasive tactic learnt in his 38 years as, although within Normandy the nobles had pledged fielty, he could not force them to do anything outside of his lands. They would also be a much more effective fighting force if they believed in his cause…

First he met with eight of his richest and greatest supporters and set out his case against Harold and his belief in his own rightful place as king of England. They agreed to follow him. They also advised he consult all of his vassals.

Keep it in the family – Duke William with half brothers Odo and Robert.

The vassals were practical and less easy to convince. They complained that Harold’s fleet and army were too big to take on. William responded angrily saying his own army would grow and that ‘wars are won not by numbers but by courage’. He emphasises Harold’s grasp on the throne was unlawful ‘we shall fight to gain what we received as a gift’.

William finally won them over with a little help from a Norman Machiavelli called William fitz Osbern.

Medieval man management

William encouraged the unhappy vassals to discuss their concerns in a room away from him, with William fitz Osbern. Here they felt able to make their complaints and fears loudly known enemy numbers were vast, the Norman fleet could never compete with that of the English on water etc etc. They talked until exhausted then went back to William with fitz Osbern as their spokesperson.

It all began with the death of Edward the Confessor, in January 1066. The Bayeux tapestry depicts Edward on his deathbed, offering the English crown to Harold, and this event is reflected in most of the chronicles of the time.

Edward's corpse was eventually borne in state to his own new cathedral church at Westminster, and the tapestry shows Harold there, being offered the crown by the magnates of England, among whom must have been Edwin and Morcar.

Harold was crowned at Westminster Abbey by Archbishop Stigand of Canterbury and Archbishop Ealdred of York. It is significant that only the former is depicted (and actually named) on the Bayeux tapestry, as his appointment had never been recognised by the Pope, allowing the Norman propaganda machine to portray Harold's coronation as illegal.

On the tapestry, the members of the congregation shown as witnessing the event are facing Harold, but their eyes are turned towards Halley's Comet, which is depicted in the sky as a portent of the doom to come. Harold is seen receiving news of the Comet with fear in his eyes.

These bad omens for Harold were important to William of Normandy, who was set on claiming the English crown for himself - omens as important as the 'promise' of 1051 and the 'oath' of 1064. This was because, despite his pre-eminent position, he required the active co-operation of his nobles for the great venture he was planning - the venture to invade England and become the English king.

William could not just demand support from his nobles, he had to convince them of his case. He needed to show his followers that his claim was a lawful one, and that he had God on his side. So when he decided on invasion, he took elaborate measures to ensure he had strong support, and even sent an envoy to the Pope asking for his blessing.

William did not move immediately. He only began plans for an invasion after Tostig arrived in neighbouring Flanders, looking for support against Harold in a projected invasion of Northumbria. This was the lever that William needed: with Harold occupied in the north, William could invade in the south. Whether or not he thought God was on his side, William's preparations were very down to earth.


At the time of the Norman Conquest the North consisted of what became Yorkshire, Durham, and Northumberland in the east and Lancashire with the southern parts of Cumberland and Westmorland in the west. [1] The population of the north pre-conquest can be described as "Anglo-Scandinavian" carrying a cultural continuity from a mixing of Viking and Anglo-Saxon traditions. The dialect of English spoken in Yorkshire may well have been unintelligible to people from the south of England, and the aristocracy was primarily Danish in origin. [2]

Further, communications between the north and south were difficult, partly due to the terrain but also because of the poor state of the roads. The more popular route between York and the south was by ship. [3] In 962 Edgar the Peaceful had granted legal autonomy to the northern earls of the Danelaw in return for their loyalty this had limited the powers of the Anglo-Saxon kings who succeeded him north of the Humber. The earldom of Northumbria stretched from the Tees to the Tweed. [2]

After the defeat of the English army and death of Harold Godwinson at the Battle of Hastings, English resistance to the conquest was centred on Edgar Ætheling, the grandson of Edmund Ironside. Ironside was half-brother to Edward the Confessor. [4] It is said [4] the English conceded defeat, not at Hastings, but at Berkhamsted two months later when Edgar and his supporters submitted to William in December 1066. [4] However, of all the men who submitted to William at Berkhamsted it was only Ealdred, Archbishop of York, who would remain loyal to the Norman king. [5] William faced a series of rebellions and border skirmishes in Dover, Exeter, Hereford, Nottingham, Durham, York and Peterborough. [6]

Copsi, a supporter of Tostig (a previous Anglo-Saxon earl of Northumbria who had been banished by Edward the Confessor), was a native of Northumbria and his family had a history of being rulers of Bernicia, and at times Northumbria. Copsi had fought in Harald Hardrada's army with Tostig, against Harold Godwinson at the Battle of Stamford Bridge in 1066. He had managed to escape after Harald's defeat. When Copsi offered homage to William at Barking in 1067, William rewarded him by making him earl of Northumbria. [7] After just five weeks as earl, Copsi was murdered by Osulf, son of Earl Eadulf III of Bernicia. When, in turn, the usurping Osulf was also killed, his cousin, Cospatrick, bought the earldom from William. He was not long in power before he joined Edgar Ætheling in rebellion against William in 1068. [7]

With two earls murdered and one changing sides, William decided to intervene personally in Northumbria. [8] He marched north and arrived in York during the summer of 1068. The opposition melted away, with some of them – including Edgar – taking refuge at the court of the Scottish king Malcolm III. [9]

Back in Northumbria, William changed tack and appointed a Norman, Robert de Comines, as earl, rather than an Anglo-Saxon. Despite warnings from the bishop, Ethelwin, that a rebel army was mobilised against him, Robert rode into Durham with a party of men on 28 January 1069, [10] where he and his men were surrounded and slaughtered. [8] [11] The rebels then turned their attention to York where they killed the guardian of the castle there plus a large number of his men. [8] [11] William's response was swift and brutal: he returned to York, where he fell on the besiegers, killing or putting them to flight. [12]

Possibly emboldened by the fighting in the north, rebellions broke out in other parts of the country. William sent earls to deal with problems in Dorset, Shrewsbury and Devon, while he dealt with rebels in the Midlands and Stafford. [13]

Edgar Ætheling had sought assistance from the king of Denmark, Sweyn II, a nephew of King Canute. Sweyn assembled a fleet of ships under the command of his sons. The fleet sailed up the east coast of England raiding as they went. The Danes with their English allies retook the city of York. [14] Then, in the winter of 1069, William marched his army from Nottingham to York with the intention of engaging the rebel army. However, by the time William's army had reached York, the rebel army had fled, with Edgar returning to Scotland. As they had nowhere suitable on land to stay for the winter, the Danes decided to go back to their ships in the Humber Estuary. After negotiation with William, it was agreed that, if he made payment to them, then they would go home to Denmark without a fight. [15] With the Danes having returned home, William then turned to the rebels. As they were not prepared to meet his army in pitched battle, he employed a strategy that would attack the rebel army's sources of support and their food supply. [13]

William's strategy, implemented during the winter of 1069–70 (he spent Christmas 1069 in York), has been described by William E. Kapelle and some other modern scholars as an act of genocide. [16] [17] [a] Contemporary biographers of William considered it to be his cruellest act and a "stain upon his soul". [19] Writing about the Harrying of the North, over fifty years later, the Anglo-Norman chronicler Orderic Vitalis wrote (summarized):

The King stopped at nothing to hunt his enemies. He cut down many people and destroyed homes and land. Nowhere else had he shown such cruelty. This made a real change. To his shame, William made no effort to control his fury, punishing the innocent with the guilty. He ordered that crops and herds, tools and food be burned to ashes. More than 100,000 people perished of starvation.
I have often praised William in this book, but I can say nothing good about this brutal slaughter. God will punish him. [20]

The land was ravaged on either side of William's route north from the River Aire. His army destroyed crops and settlements and forced rebels into hiding. In the New Year of 1070 he split his army into smaller units and sent them out to burn, loot, and terrify. [21] Florence of Worcester said that from the Humber to the Tees, William's men burnt whole villages and slaughtered the inhabitants. Food stores and livestock were destroyed so that anyone surviving the initial massacre would succumb to starvation over the winter. The survivors were reduced to cannibalism. [22] Refugees from the harrying are mentioned as far away as Worcestershire in the Evesham Abbey chronicle. [23] [24] [25] [b]

In 1086, Yorkshire still had large areas of waste territory. The Domesday Book entries indicate wasteas est or hoc est vast (it is wasted) for estate after estate in all a total of 60% of all holdings were waste. It states that 66% of all villages contained wasted manors. Even the prosperous areas of the county had lost 60% of its value compared to 1066. Only 25% of the population and plough teams remained with a reported loss of 80,000 oxen and 150,000 people. [26] [27]

Independent archaeological evidence supports the massive destruction and displacement of people. The archaeologist Richard Ernest Muir wrote that there was evidence for the "violent disruption [that] took place in Yorkshire in 1069–71, in the form of hoards of coins which were buried by the inhabitants." [26] B.K. Roberts in his book The Making of the English Village, suggests the reason that large numbers of villages have been laid out in regular pattern in Durham and Yorkshire, was through a restructuring at a single point in time, as opposed to natural settlement growth. He goes on to say that it is highly unlikely that such plans could have resulted from piecemeal additions and must have been necessary after the Harrying of the North. The dating is thought to be secure as it is known that Norman lords used similar regular plans in founding new towns in the 'plantation' of rural settlements in other conquered parts of the British Isles. [28] [29] [30]

However, although the Domesday Book records large numbers of manors in the north as waste, some historians have posited it was not possible for William's relatively small army to be responsible for such wide-scale devastation imputed to him, so perhaps raiding Danes [c] or Scots [d] may have contributed to some of the destruction. It has been variously argued that waste signified manorial re-organisation, some form of tax break, or merely a confession of ignorance by the Domesday commissioners when unable to determine details of population and other manorial resources. [34] [35]

According to Paul Dalton, [35] it was questionable whether the Conqueror had the time, manpower or good weather necessary to reduce the north to a desert. It was evident, from the chroniclers, that William did harry the north but as the bulk of William's troops, Dalton suggests, were guarding castles in southern England and Wales, and as William was only in the north for a maximum of three months, the amount of damage he could do was limited. [35]

Mark Hagger [33] suggests that in the words of the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, William's Harrying of the North was "stern beyond measure" [36] but should not be described as genocide as William was acting by the rules of his own time, not the present. [a] [33] Vegetius, the Latin writer, wrote his treatise De Re Militari in the fourth century about Roman warfare, and Hagger posits that this still would have provided the basis for military thinking in the eleventh century. [33] Vegetius said, "The main and principal point in war is to secure plenty of provisions and to destroy the enemy by famine", so Hagger's conclusion is that the Harrying of the North was no worse than other similar conflicts of the time. [33] [37]

Other historians have questioned the figures supplied by Orderic Vitalis, who was born in 1075 and would have been writing Ecclesiastical History around 55 years after the event. The figure of 100,000 deaths was perhaps used in a rhetorical sense, as the estimated population for the whole of England, based on the 1086 Domesday returns, was about 2.25 million thus, a figure of 100,000 represented a large proportion of the entire population of the country at that time (

David Horspool concludes that despite the Harrying of the North, being regarded with some "shock" in Northern England for some centuries after the event, the destruction may have been exaggerated and the number of dead not as high as previously thought. [23]

In 1076 William appointed another Earl of Northumbria. This time it was William Walcher, a Lotharingian, who had been appointed the first non-English Bishop of Durham in 1071. [39] [40] [41]

Having effectively subdued the population, William carried out a complete replacement of Anglo-Saxon leaders with Norman ones in the North. The new aristocracy in England was predominately of Norman extraction however, one exception was that of Alan Rufus, a trusted Breton lord, who obtained in 1069–1071 a substantial fiefdom in North Yorkshire, which the Domesday Book calls "the Hundred of the Land of Count Alan", later known as Richmondshire. [42] [43] Here Alan governed, as it were, his own principality: the only location held by the King in this area was Ainderby Steeple on its eastern edge, while Robert of Mortain [44] held one village on its southern fringe the other Norman lords were excluded, whereas Alan retained the surviving Anglo-Danish lords or their heirs. Alan also exercised patronage in York, where he founded St Mary's Abbey in 1088. By 1086 Alan was one of the richest and most powerful men in England. [45]

In Scotland, Malcolm married the Ætheling's sister, Margaret, in 1071. [9] Edgar sought Malcolm's assistance in his struggle against William. [8] The marriage of Malcolm to Edgar's sister profoundly affected the history of both England and Scotland. The influence of Margaret and her sons brought about the Anglicisation of the Lowlands and provided the Scottish king with an excuse for forays into England, which he could claim were to redress the wrongs against his brother-in-law. [46]

The formal link between the royal house of Scotland and Wessex was a threat to William, who marched up to Scotland in 1072 to confront the Scottish king. The two kings negotiated the Treaty of Abernethy (1072), through which, according to the Anglo Saxon Chronicle, Malcolm became William's vassal among the other provisions was the expulsion of Edgar Ætheling from the Scottish court. [40] [47] Edgar finally submitted to William in 1074. William's hold on the crown was then theoretically uncontested. [47] [48]

In 1080 Walcher, the Bishop of Durham, was murdered by the local Northumbrians. In response, William sent his half-brother Odo, Bishop of Bayeux north with an army to harry the Northumbrian countryside. Odo destroyed much land north of the Tees, from York to Durham, and stole valuable items from Durham monastery. Many of the Northumbrian nobility were driven into exile. [49]

As a result of the depopulation, Norman landowners sought settlers to work in the fields. Evidence suggests that such barons were willing to rent lands to any men not obviously disloyal. Unlike the Vikings in the centuries before, Normans did not settle wholesale in the shire, but only occupied the upper ranks of society. This allowed an Anglo-Scandinavian culture to survive beneath Norman rule. Evidence for continuity can be seen in the retention of many cultural traits:

Many personal names of a pre-conquest character appear in charters that date from the 11th to the 13th century. The vigorous northern literary tradition in the Middle English period and its distinctive dialect also suggest the survival of an Anglo-Scandinavian population. The relative scarcity of Norman place-names implies that the new settlers came in only at the top rank. Domesday Book shows that at this level, however, Norman takeover in Yorkshire was virtually complete. [50]

Of the monasteries built, Fountains Abbey became one of the largest and richest. [51] Along with the foundation of the northern monasteries, the Normans increased the number of motte-and-bailey castles they built there. [52]

The Normans used the church as an agent of colonisation and, post-1070, founded several monasteries in the north. There had been no monasteries north of Burton upon Trent before the harrying. [52] From the Norman point of view, the Harrying of the North was a successful strategy, as large areas, including Cheshire, Shropshire, Derbyshire and Staffordshire were devastated, and the Domesday Book confirms this, although in those counties it was not as complete as in Yorkshire. The object of the harrying was to prevent further revolts in Mercia and Northumbria however, it did not prevent rebellions elsewhere. [53] [54]


  1. Culbert

    Well done, you were visited by the simply magnificent idea

  2. Moran

    No matter how hard we all try, it will still be as the universe intended. While I was reading my brain died.

  3. Nelson

    "My hut is on the edge, my office is in the center!" It was a quiet St. Bartholomew's night. The student does not know in two cases: either he has not passed it yet, or has already passed it.

  4. Cloridan

    I am sure it is the lie.

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