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  • Anglo-Saxon England

    Hello everyone,

    I am quite interested to know what people think would/could have been different had William the Bastard been defeated by his Anglo-Saxon opponents?

    It seems the Anglo-Norman claim to the French throne would have not existed and therefore the 100 years war would have been unable to press? Would an Empire across the Britons and British Isles have been more or less desired by a continued Anglo-Saxon power rather than an Anglo-Norman one?

    I have been reading a bit about Alfred the Great and am wondering if his vision had endured past 1066 how things may have been different. Now, of course, this is a big what if, and the further from 1066 you go the less sure you can be of any thing but I'd still be keen to read your opinions.

    Selous.
    ------
    'I would rather be exposed to the inconveniencies attending too much liberty than those attending too small a degree of it.' - Thomas Jefferson

    If you have questions about the forum please check the FAQ/Rules

  • #2
    Actually, I was more given to ponder what would have happened if Harald of Norway had won.
    The last big Viking push could have given us a very different England right there, minus the Norman Century.
    "Why is the Rum gone?"

    -Captain Jack

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    • #3
      If at Stamford Bridge Harald had handily beaten Harold instead of Harold hastily handling Harald a situation could arise where that bastard William wins a battle of attrition aginst Harald (not Harold) and an exhausted, and not initially large Norman force could be drawn into a long term battle of attririon with Harald, who would still might control much of England north of London and with a base across the sea in Scandinavia. A different, and much nastier, kettle of fish than the post-Hastings resistance he faced in actuality. And who would the surviving English nobles have supported?

      Of course, the general concensus of historians sees a Harald England as more northern oriented. You could imagine a British Isles/Scandinavia realm as opposed to the Angevin Empire. Probably quite a change in European outlook (including a quite different dominant world language than would eventually prove to be the case) N'est-ce pas?

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      • #4
        Originally posted by The Exorcist View Post
        Actually, I was more given to ponder what would have happened if Harald of Norway had won....
        We would talk funny these days. I have trouble with regular English, not sure I'd be able to manage some form of modern 'Anglish' or Fresian

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        • #5
          Originally posted by The Exorcist View Post
          Actually, I was more given to ponder what would have happened if Harald of Norway had won.
          The last big Viking push could have given us a very different England right there, minus the Norman Century.
          Certainly but I see the Anglo-Saxons and the Norse being a little closer than either to the Normans (although Normans - Norse-men) - the Anglo-Saxon language seems to have been closer to the Scandinavian languages and not so Norman French which the Normans certainly employed a lot when they took over England - which is why modern English is so different to that pre-conquest tongue. Even the names follow the same traditions, Anglo_Saxon names ending in -son and -dottir, and not a De Montford or De Tosney. A Scandinavian empire would have been a return to the Danelaw+, but an independent Anglo-Saxon England would be another thing again to the Norman conquest, which interests me.
          How more quick or slow would a conquest of the remaining Britons/Gaels in Scotland and Wales be if Anglo-Saxon England remains, and so on. If anything I think the Anglo-Saxons could be a little more insular as their rule would not have the connection to parts of France unlike the Anglo-Norman kings like Edward.
          ------
          'I would rather be exposed to the inconveniencies attending too much liberty than those attending too small a degree of it.' - Thomas Jefferson

          If you have questions about the forum please check the FAQ/Rules

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          • #6
            An alternate alternate 1066ish scenario:
            What if Edward the Confessor had had a male heir (the heir being in his twenties and a competent fighter when Edward died)? I'd think that Willy wouldn't have invaded, but what of Harald? His defeat at Stamford Bridge was as much due to luck and rashness of the Norse as the unquestioned solid generalship of Harold. The various claims, ruses (supposedly getting Harold to swear over a saints relics to support William's claim to the English throne) would presumably fall by the wayside. Or would they?

            If there's only one invasion in 1066 I'd think the odds favoring the Anglo-Saxons improve considerably.

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            • #7
              Big difficulty

              Originally posted by Tuor View Post
              An alternate alternate 1066ish scenario:
              What if Edward the Confessor had had a male heir (the heir being in his twenties and a competent fighter when Edward died)? I'd think that Willy wouldn't have invaded, but what of Harald? His defeat at Stamford Bridge was as much due to luck and rashness of the Norse as the unquestioned solid generalship of Harold. The various claims, ruses (supposedly getting Harold to swear over a saints relics to support William's claim to the English throne) would presumably fall by the wayside. Or would they?

              If there's only one invasion in 1066 I'd think the odds favoring the Anglo-Saxons improve considerably.
              Edward the confessor would have had to have taken up sex .

              Anyhaow, the Anglo Saxons would have prob. just acquired Ireland, skipped through Iceland, colonised North America by 1200 AD. Nothing special.
              Attached Files
              The trout who swims against the current gets the most oxygen..

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              • #8
                Had Harold Godwinson been defeated at Stamford Bridge it likely means Harald Hardrada is defeated later by William. Hardrada's problems are numbers, hostile locals and distance from reinforcements. Of the Saxon provinces only Tostig's was likely to back Hardrada if he wins and the remainder may very well back William or, more likely, Harold Godwinson's heir (blood or elected).

                It would make perfect sense for the Saxons to withdraw west and let William and Hardrada bleed each other. Once Hardrada is further weakened and William likewise weakened, the Saxons could stage a counterattack that ejects both. It should be noted that Godwinson did not even have close to his maximum strength at Stamford Bridge nor were all his heirs present either. He won Stamford with a mobile force of House Jarls and local forces.

                In the OTL William had just enough nobles from European families to install a member in each of the 9000 odd manorial estates in England and thus remove the Saxon land owners. Hardrada did not have anywhere near these numbers so his control could only be local (the north-east). With Hardrada too weak to beat both Saxons and Normans and the Normans now weakened fighting and likely defeating Hardrada, the Anglo-Saxons could recover, at least until the next European attempt.

                If Anglo-Saxon England continues it would would be slowly pulled into the European orbit if only because of critical mass. Harold Godwinson and the house of Essex were already becoming more involved and southward looking since the Danes were ejected early in the 11th C. The entire reason William made his claim to the thrown was due to family relations that had married into the Anglo-Saxon families. The Danish threat had been declining since the late 10th C and Anglo-Saxon England could not have remained looking north much longer even if it wanted to.
                The Purist

                Words ought to be a little wild, for they are the assault of thoughts on the unthinking - John Maynard Keynes.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Tuor View Post
                  ... The various claims, ruses (supposedly getting Harold to swear over a saints relics to support William's claim to the English throne) would presumably fall by the wayside. Or would they?

                  If there's only one invasion in 1066 I'd think the odds favoring the Anglo-Saxons improve considerably.
                  Hardrada and William both had claims to the thrown, they simply were not as strong (or local) and Harold Godwinson's. Stamford Bridge would not be decisive for the English, it was for the Danes.
                  The Purist

                  Words ought to be a little wild, for they are the assault of thoughts on the unthinking - John Maynard Keynes.

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                  • #10
                    Originanlly posted by MarkTwain
                    Edward the confessor would have had to have taken up sex .
                    He could have farmed out the work .Hey, it's a dirty job but someone had to do it.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by The Purist View Post
                      ...

                      In the OTL William had just enough nobles from European families to install a member in each of the 9000 odd manorial estates in England and thus remove the Saxon land owners. ...
                      9000 or 900 ?

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                      • #12
                        Closer to 9,000. Actually the Doomsday Book of 1086 listed 13,000 individual settlements.

                        Had Edgar the Aetheling (Edgar II of the Wessex Ruling House) been just ten years older, the Fyrd may have rallied behind him as a legitimate heir and the Normans would have been ejected by the sheer weight of numbers.
                        "I dogmatise and am contradicted, and in this conflict of opinions and sentiments I find delight".
                        Samuel Johnson.

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                        • #13
                          The Purist wrote:

                          Hardrada's problems are numbers, hostile locals and distance from reinforcements.
                          I'm not sure this is correct. Many of the locals in Northern England were of Viking descent, and while they may have preferred Harold Godwinson to Harald Hardrada, I could easily see them preferring Hardrada to William, who would seem far more alien (as well as having a rather unsavoury reputation for brutality).

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                          • #14
                            The elites were Norse as were some of their households (who held land) but the majority of the commoners were still Anglo-Saxon. Only Tostig (from the northeast) could provide any real local forces and these would have included a number of Norse or their decendants. Numbers were not on the side of Hardrada (nor was sentiment) and had he won at Stamford bridge he still has to face Wessex, its allies and the Normans. Tostig's actions did not endear him to the rest of the English houses either.

                            Numbers did not favour William either but the loss of so many family members of the Wessex nobility (the strongest in England) had a serious effect on succession and we know the results.
                            Last edited by The Purist; 23 Apr 14, 13:32.
                            The Purist

                            Words ought to be a little wild, for they are the assault of thoughts on the unthinking - John Maynard Keynes.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by BELGRAVE View Post
                              Closer to 9,000. Actually the Doomsday Book of 1086 listed 13,000 individual settlements.

                              Had Edgar the Aetheling (Edgar II of the Wessex Ruling House) been just ten years older, the Fyrd may have rallied behind him as a legitimate heir and the Normans would have been ejected by the sheer weight of numbers.
                              Yes,... the problems the Normans had in resisting assimilation is that they held the upper tier of society (the 9000 odd manorial estate) but the commoners and lesser Saxon nobility were still English.

                              The remaining English forces under Edgar may have triumphed but only if Europe (yes, Europe) did not reinforce William,.. and William had the backing of the Papacy. The Papacy was a very powerful card.
                              Last edited by The Purist; 23 Apr 14, 13:32.
                              The Purist

                              Words ought to be a little wild, for they are the assault of thoughts on the unthinking - John Maynard Keynes.

                              Comment

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