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The Rise and Expansion of Normandy and the Conquering of England by William I.

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  • The Rise and Expansion of Normandy and the Conquering of England by William I.

    1035 William I became duke and faced a series of baronial revolts. With the aid of his feudal suzerain, King Henry of France, William defeated his revolting barons in 1047 and razed their castles. The Union of Normandy and Maine was completed in 1063 against powerful opposition from the Counts of Anjou. William's alliance with Henry was broken in 1053 and Henry ravaged the heart of Normandy in 1058. Normandy was now a fully developed feudal state under firm ducal control. Military service, assessed in knight's fees, was attached to specific pieces of land, no castle could be built without ducal license. Private warfare and blood feud were strictly limited. Coinage was a ducal monopoly. The legal jurisdiction of the duke was wide, local government was under the duke's represantives, the viconte, who commanded the local forces, guarded the castles, did justice, collected the revenue, a large part of which was cash. The Church had been revivified, but here too the duke was supreme, naming bishops, most of the abbots and sittong in the provincial synods. Norman relations with England had grown closer and the tendency culminated in 1002 in the marriage of Duke Robert's sister Emma with King Ethelred. The son of this marriage, Edward the Confessor, educated largely at the Norman court, came to the throne of England in 1042 and died without heirs in 1066. The Witan at once elected Harold, Earl Godwin's son. William I of Normandy with a volunteer force, perhaps 6000 men, collected from Normandy , defeated Harold in the battle of Hastings on 14. Oct. 1066 and was crowned King of England on Christmas Day. William I now was named the Conqueror.

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