1066: the year of the conquest

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The year 1066 is one of the most historically remembered years in England.  Before the year began there was peace prevailing all over the land, however by the time the year was coming to an end, there was typical change. In his works about the year of the conquest, Howarth talks about governance in England, its organization and about the life of the common man who were alive during that century. Under the three aspects he depicts the way of life of the medieval English town. He also draws on the issue of how Normans influenced England and how the influence changed the countries culture forever. During the defeat of England by the Normans, the country was under the rule of William who was the conqueror at the Hastings battle of 1066. His victory in the battle was perceived as good luck as opposed to military tactics.

One of the themes discussed in this book is the events revolving around the Battle of Hastings. The story in the book begins and ends with focus on a small village and its inhabitant’s culture. It depicts the tremendous changes which that occurred during this period. According to Reeves (2005), the battle resulted from a dispute over who was the right king of England after king Edward had passed away. Harold who had served for long in the government was chosen as the King of England by the English Witans. However he was not directly linked to the r royal family.  Harold required to have made allegations with William in 1064 but he did not do it. Harold’s failure to do this led to William plan to invade England in order to take back what he perceived as rightfully belonging to him. William had planned for the battle to take place in August of 1066 but it failed, as bad winds blocked his entrance to English Channel.  Harold Hadrada who was king of Norway, invaded England from the northern side which gave a better position for William to invade. Two days from the b beginning of the battle reached Pevensey where he never met any opposition and thus he spent about fortnight invading England.  William finally defeated Godwinson who had taken his troops to the Starmford Bridge and thus William was crowned as the King of England.

During the spring of 1066, Harold’s brother Tostig Godwison who had gone to exile invaded England from the south. Godwinson later was later accompanied by other ships coming from Orkney. However he was threatened by the fleets sent by Harold and he decided to move to the north where he was also raided by other troops. Upon his defeat he withdrew and moved to Scotland to recruit new force. In September the same year, 1066, king Harald invaded England from the North according to Mallalieu  (2009). However his troops were overcome by Tostig’s forces which threw his support from throne of the Norwegian King. The Norwegians defeated the northern English army and thus occupied   the city. During the summer Harold’s army had spent in the south coast waiting to conquer Williams’ army. However the Harold had to release his fleet as they had to harvest their crops after the summer. After becoming awera of the Norwegian invasion Harold gathered his army and defeated the Norwegians in the battle of Stamford Bridge. During the battle Tasting and Harald of Norway were killed which a major was set back to the Norwegians. Harold’s army was weakened by the battle.

Before the arrival, Aglo-saxon England had one of the most complicated systems of governance in Western Europe. England was organized into administrative units which were referred to as shires. The units were of almost same size as well as shape and they were run by sheriff. The shires were autonomous they could not be well controlled. The government had permanent and physical locations and the medieval government remained always on the move. The country had a permanent treasury located at Winchester from where permanent government bureaucracy as well as document archive grew. The government has an accounting office referred to as Exchequer, these systems grew in sophistication.


With the end of the 1066 England having fought a series of battles, there were emerging concepts of democracy, citizenship, racism and imperialism. These were triggered by the urge for liberation and better governance. The framework of the mediaval English monarch developed it cultural and social aspects. The period brought with it the sense of victory leading to development in governance.

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  1. Mallalieu, H. (2009). 1066 and Rather More. London: Frances Linclon ltd.
  2. Reeves, J. (2005). Trajectories in Near Eastern apocalyptic: A postrabbinic Jewish apocalypse reader. Atlanta: Society of Biblical Lit.
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