Norman Antiquities For Sale (1066 - 1135 AD)
Norman involvement in English affairs goes back to the early yaers of the 11th century. When King Æthelred's grip on the throne was loosened after decades of Scandinavian incursions, the king decided to go into exile in 1013 to the family of his Norman wife, Emma, and surrender England to the Viking leader, Sven (Sweyn) Forkbeard. Sven's rule lasted less than two years but the principle of dependance has been established. Æthelred eventually returned after Sven's death, but his son Eward retained strong emotional links to the Norman court and when he became king in 1051 he introduced a great many innovations into English royal life. Needless to say, these were evry unpopular with the Englsh and Anglo-Danich aristocracy who regarded the Normans with suspicion. The Norman state had only been founded a century before in 911 AD, set up as a buffer-state to keep Scandinaians out of the French heartland by the French crown using settlers from Norway uder their leader, Hrolfr Gangr. On Edward's death, childless, in January 1066 the succession crisis was avoided by Edward's nomination of Harold Godwineson as his successor and Harold's acclamation by the Witan (royal council) and populace in the traditional Anglo-Saxon manner. Duke William fof Normandy set about regaining the crown he saw as rightfully his, and the invasion force of NOrmans and Bretons which landed in Sussex in 1066 took Harold by surprise - the king was campaigning in Yorkshire against a Norwegian invasion. Harold rushed south, William advanced on London and the two armies clashed a few miles inland. Despite a day-long struggle, Harold fell and William claimed the throne. For the next two decades the Norman regime erected castles and exacted taxes in an attempt to gain every possible advantage from their conquest. William used ruthless tactics to suppress the English, and encouraged hauteur in his favourites, the barons who divided the country among them.
The Norman regime lasted less than a century but its effects were remembered as late as the (17th century) Civil War when soldiers in Cromwell's New Model Army complained of the 'Norman Yoke' and sought to overthrow the hereditary aristocracy. Norman architecture, castles and Romanesque decorative styles are among the more obvious visual signs of the Norman invasion. Here you will find some fine artefacts from the Norman period.
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