How did 1066 change England?

by lola

This is a question I love to think about. I've lived through the fall of the Berlin Wall. Life changed rather dramatically at that time, but compared to 1066 those changes were probably a walk in the park.

So what did change after William the Conqueror won the battle of Hastings?

  • all the land suddenly belonged to the new Norman king and he handed it out to his supporters piecemeal

  • England's official language became French - and stayed that way for almost three hundred years

  • castles grew up all across the country, wooden at first, and were rebuilt in stone later. Cathedrals and churches were also rebuilt in stone.

  • The laws of Saxon England were replaced by Norman laws. Some of these were extremely strict to discourage rebellions and uprisings against the Normans.

  • Before the conquest, 15-20% of the Anglo-Saxon population were slaves. When the Normans come into power, they abolish slavery.

  • New foods, new names for existing foods and new cooking methods and recipes arrived with the Normans.

  • And, of course, taxes went up and up and up...

This very excellent book from the Living Histories series deals exactly with that question.

What changed when the Normans won England?

And it does it very well covering not just politics and warfare, but religion, family life, entertainment, scholarship, travel and a few other topics along the way.

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