SECTION II: HISTORY (cont.)
Part 21: The Normans (1066-1154).
Thus doubly armed, the Norman duke set forth on his enterprise against England. He had not a single partisan in the country ; but Tostig, the banished Englishman, was indirectly doing his work. For Tostig William was too slow; he betook himself to Harold Hardrada, the famous king of Norway, and either stirred him up to an attempt on England or joined him in an attempt which he had already planned. Harold was thus attached at once by two enemies, either of whom alone it might be hard to overcome. The Norwegian came first ; he landed in Yorkshire, defeated Eadwine and Morkere at Fulford, and on September 24 received the submission of York. Harold of England on the morrow overthrew the Norwegian invader at Stamfordbridge. Three days later the Normans landed at Pevensey ;the English king marched southward ; the northern earls kept back their forces, seemingly in the hope of a division of the kingdom. On October 14, Harold, at the head of the men of Wessex, East-Angilia, and part of Mercia, met William and his host on the hill of Senlac. After a hard-fought struggle, the Normans by a stratagem made their way on to the hill ; the king was wounded by an arrow and cut down by four Norman knights, and his personal following was slaughtered around him. The first step in the conquest of England was thus taken ; but the work was far from being done. After the fall of Harold, William had never again to fight a pitched battle ; the land was without a leader, and therefore without union. Local resistance was often valiant ; but it was only local resistance, and the land was conquered bit by bit.
On the death of Harold, the Witan in London chose Eadgar to the vacant throne. But the Mercian earls failed him, as they had failed Harold ; and their treason hindered any general national resistance. Before the end of the year, the newly chosen king and a large body of the chief men of the realm found it expedient to submit to the invader. He had then subdued the shires south of London, whose forces had been utterly cut off at Senlac ; he had crossed the Thames and threatened the city from the north. He was now chosen king and crowned at Westminster on Christmas day. He was thus king by the submission of the chief men, by the rite of coronation, and by the absence of any other claimant. But he was very far from having full possession of the whole kingdom. His actual authority did not go beyond the south-eastern part of the country. His dominions certainly reached from Hampshire to Norfolk. They probably took in Wiltshire, Oxfordshire, and Northamptonshire, with an outlying post in Herefordshire ;but the north, the south-west, and the greater part of central England were still unsubdued.
The conquest of these still independent districts was the result of a series of local campaigns spread over about two years, from the beginning of 1068 to the beginning of 1070. In 1067 William visited Normandy, and the oppression of his lieutenants, his half-brother Odo, bishop of Bayeux and earl of Kent, and William Fitz-Osbern, earl of Hereford, stirred up revolts in Kent and in Herefordshire. The Kentish revolt took the strange form of an alliance with a foreign prince, Eustace count of Boulogne, who had been himself in Williams service in his invasion. In Herefordshire the movement was more strictly national, though its chief Eadric, surnamed the Wild, who had never submitted to William, did not disdain an alliance with his Welsh neighbours. Eadric in fact held out till a much later time ; but the Kentishmen with their foreign allies were subdued beforee Williams return. At the end of the year the king came back, and with the beginning of the next year he betook himself to the conquest of what was still unconquered. His first march was towards the west, where Exeter and the whole of western England were still independent. They were first subdued in the spring of 1068. After a revolt in the next year, after two attempts in successive years on the part of Harolds sons, western England was finally subdued in the course of 1069. Northern England, as far as the northern boundary of Yorkshire, was first conquered in the autumn of 1068. An attempt on Durham in January 1069 was defeated. York and the North generally revolted more than once. In September 1069 Swegen of Denmark sent a great fleet to the help of the English, who where under the leadership of Eadgar, Waltheof the son of Siward, earl of Northampton and Huntingdon, and the other northern leaders. But, in the course of the winter of 1069-1070, the whole of northern and central England was finally conquered, Chester being the last point to hold out. After this time there were local revolts, but no very general resistance of any large part of the country. Early in 1070 William reviewed and dismissed his army at Salisbury. At the Easter feast of the same solemnly crowned by legates from Rome.
A distinction must be carefully drawn between the resistance to Williams arms in those districts which had never submitted to his authority and the revolts which happened after his power was fully established. The two are however divided by a very short interval of time. In the course of the summer of 1070 the fen-land was in revolt under Hereward .That inaccessible district can never have fully submitted ; still the warfare there was a new and distinct outbreak, and not a continuation of the earlier warfare at Exeter, York, and Chester. The abbey of Ely was the centre of resistance, and, in a country which so often formed the last shelter of defeated parties, it was defended for about a year. Earl Eadwine was slain on his way to join the insurgents ; Morkere was in the island at the time of its surrender, and was condemned to a life-long imprisonment. Hereward alone, with a few valiant followers, escaped by sea. He appears to have been afterwards reconciled to William, and even to have served him in his foreign wars. The manner of his death is uncertain.
The war at Ely was the last patriotic warfare on the part of the English against William. He was now undisputed master of England ;the nation had learned that the time for national resistance was past, and that local revolts could avail nothing. On the Welsh border he established the great earldoms of Chester, Shrewsbury, and Herefold, whose holders largely extended the power of the English kingdom at the expense of the Britons. Northumberland was entrusted to the care of a succession of earls, first English, then Norman. But on this side the frontiers of the kingdom were not, at this time enlarged. But from the very beginning of Williams conquest the northern frontier was a source of the deepest anxiety. The banished English, and specially the royal family, found shelter at the court of Malcolm of Scotland, who married Margaret, the sister of Eadgar Under cover of asserting their rights, Malcolm cruelly ravaged northern England. But in 1072 William himself entered Scotland and received the humage of Malcolm at Abernethy. He had thus succeeded to the empire, as well as to the immediate kingdom, of his West-Saxon predecessors. In the next year he employed English troops on the continent in winning back the revolted country of Maine. In 1074 he could afford to admit Eadgar, the rival king of a moment, to his favour.
A revolt which took place in 1075 only showed how firmly Williams power was established, and how little disposition there was on the part of the English to rise against him. Two of his own earls rose against him. One, Ralph earl of Norfolk, was an Englishman by birth ; but as he must have been banished under Eadward or Harold. His fellow rebel, Roger earl of herefold, was the son of Williams special friend William Fitz-Osbern. These two revolted ; but they had to trust mainly to the help of Breton mercenaries or adventurers ; Normans and English were leagued against them. The revolt was crushed ; Ralph escaped, Roger, like Morkere, spent the rest of his days in prison. But their fall brought down with them the last Englishman who held a secular post of the first rank under William. This was Waltheof, formerly the leader of the English at York, but who had submitted again and had been received to the kings highest favour. Besides his former earldoms of Northampton and Huntingdon, he had received the earldom of Northumberland. That name now means so much of Bernicia as had not passed to the Scottish kings ; that is, the present country so-called. Waltheof to have listened to the plans of his brother earls ; but he took no part in their revolt, and he even revealed the conspiracy to William. Yet he was the only one of the three whose life was taken. After a long imprisonment, he was on May 31, 1076, beheaded at Winschester. At no other time in Williams long reign did he send a political enemy to the scaffold ; and Watheof could hardly be called a political enemy. The Norman courtiers and his own Norman wife, the kings niece Judith, seem to have called for his blood. By the English he was looked on as a saint and martyr.
The last eleven years of Williams reign are far richer in continental than in English events. He was engaged in wars with his French and Breton neighbours, and with his rebellious eldest son Robert. In England a Danish invasion 1075, in concert with the revolt of the earls, led to a sack of York, and to nothing further. In 1080 Walcher, bishop of Durham and earl of Northumberland, was killed in a popular tumult. A revolt it could hardly be called; but it was cruelly punished by the kings brother Bishop Odo. After this we do not hear of so much as tumult. In 1086 an invasion from Denmark was again threatened by the Danish king Cnut. His enterprise was stopped by his death by the by the hands of his own subjects, which won him, somewhat strangely, the honours of martyrdom and the title of a saint. The next year, 1087, William himself died of an accidental hurt received while burning the town of Mantes in warfare with his neighbour and lord, Philip king Mantes in warfare with his neighbours and lord, Philip king of the French.
The Conqueror was now gone, but the tale of the Conquest is not quite over. Once act more of the drama is still to be told before we stop to consider the nature, the cause, and the results, of this wonderful revolution. By the dying all will of Willaim, Normady passed to his eldest son Robert ; England he wished to be the portion of his second son William surnamed the Red, was ackonowledged and crowned opposition. In the next year (1088) almost the whole of the Norman nobles rebelled on behalf of Robert. The king appealed to his English subjects. By their volour, seconded by the loyalty of the bishops, the Norman revolt was put down, and the crown of the Red King was made safe. This was the last time that Normans and English , as such, met in arms on English soil. The work of the Conquest had been so thoroughly done that it could bear in a certain sense to be undone. The conquest made by the Norman had been so thorough that it was not disturbed even by English victories over Normans. Within twenty-two years after Williams landing, his son, the second Norman king, owed his crown to the support of the native English against his own country men. Signs of distinction and jealousy between the two races may be discerned for some time longer ;but the last open warfare between them was when the English defended the throne of William Rufus against his Norman rebels.
Such is a short sketch of the leading events of the period which we may call the period of the Norman Conquest. Looking at it simply as an event, it is important to bear in mind its gradual nature. Nothing can be further from the truth than the notion that England passed at once into the hands of the Normans after a single battle. Still there is a sense in which it is not untrue to say that England was conquered in a single battle. After the fall of Harold, at all events after the northern earls withdrew their forces from the service of Eadgar, the conquest of England was only a question of time. Just as in the days of Aethelred, there was no acknowledged leader ; and throughout that age, under a worthy leader, the English people could do everything there was no man who could gather the whole force of the nation about him. There was no man who could stand up as Williams rival either in military or in political skill. Hence, after the one great battle, there was no common effort. The West resisted valiantly ; the North resisted valiantly ; but the resistance of each was isolated without any intelligent concert. Help came from Denmark ;but it was no avail when there was no generalship, to common plan, and when the Danish leaders were actually bribed by William. In all these ways the strength of the country was frittered away. Aelfred an Eadmund Ironside, whether defeated or victorious, fought battle after battle. They were real leaders. After Harold fell in the first battle, there was no real leaders left, and the first pitched battle was the last. Next to the fall of Harold and his brothers in the first battle. Williams greatest advantage was the submission of London and of the chief men assembled in London. This enabled to be crowned king at an early stage of the war, when not more than a third of the country was in his actual possession. From that time his government had a show of legality. The resistance of the west and north was, in fact, as truly resistance to an invading as the fight on Senlac itself. But, when William was once crowned, when there was no other king in the land, resistance to him took the outward form of rebellion. The gradual nature of the conquest, together with Williams position as crowned king at the head of an established government, even enabled him to turn the force of the conquered, districts against those which were still unconquered, and to subdue England in some measure by the arms of Englishmen Thus, within five years from his landing, anything like real resistance had come to an end. William was full king throughout the land. The revolt of the earls met with no national support, and the tumult, caused by local and personal wrongs such as might have happened in any age. The only general national impulse of a later date than the fall of Chester was, as we have just seen, that which led the English people to support that son of the Conqueror who appealed to them against that son of the Conqueror who was supported by the Norman nobles.
But the Norman conquest of England was something much more than the establishment of a Norman king or a Norman dynasty upon the throne of England. William, we must always remember, did not giver himself out as a conqueror. The name Conqueror, Conquoesstor, though applied with perfect truth in the common sense, must strictly be taken in the legal meaning of purchaser or acquirer. William claimed the crown as the lawful successor of Eadward. No doubt he would have been well pleased if his title had been peaceably acknowledged. As his claim was not acknowledged or taken notice of in any way, he had, from his own point of view, no course left except to make good his right by force; and, in a land where he had no native partisans, the making good of his rights by force meant the conquest of the land by a foreign army. The peculiar character of the Norman Conquest comes from this, that a legal claim to the crown was made good through conquest by a foreign army. Williams accession was something quite different from the mere peaceful succession of a foreign king. It was also something quite different from a mere foreign invasion without any legal pretext at all.
We must here, in considering the effects of the Norman Conquest, distinguish between those immediate effects which are rather the form which the Conquest itself took and those lasting effects which the peculiar nature of the Conquest caused it to have upon the whole future history of England. The peculiar nature of Williams claim, and the personal character of William himself, had the deepest influence both on the character of the Conquest itself as an event, and on the character of its permanent results.
We may say generally of William that he was a man who united the highest military skill of his age with a political skill which would have made him great in any age. He knew how to knit together a number of points, none of which really proved anything, but all of which in one way or another told in his favour, so as to give a plausible took to a claim which had no legal or moral ground whatever. He deceived other ; most likely he deceived himself. He was in no sort a vulgar oppressor, in on sort of contemptuous despiser of law and right. He never lost sight of formal justice and of a more than formal piety. He was cruel in the sense of not scrupling at any severity which would serve his purpose ; he was not cruel, in the sense of taking any pleasure in oppression for its own sake. He was guided strictly by the letter of the law, according to his reading of the law. In his own idea, he was not only guided by justice, but he tempered justice with mercy. It is certain that he often forgave those who revolted against him ; it is also certain that he carefully abstained from blood except in open battle. When he punished, it was always, with the single exception of Waltheof, by some penalty short of death. That the worse part of his character grew at the expense of the better is not wonderful in such a career Early in his reign he laid waste Northumberland out of a cruel policy ; later in his reign he laid waste a large tract of Hamsphire to form a forest for his own pleasure. In his earlier days Exeter withstood him, Le Mans revolted against him. Bot these cities he entered as a peaceful conqueror. In his last days he gave Mantes to the flames, and enjoyed the sight, when he had no wrong to avenge on the part of the people of Mantes, but when he was simply stirred up to wrath by a silly jest of their king.
The effect of the peculiar position and character of William was that his settlement was in truth a territorial conquest veiled under legal forms. In Williams reading of the law, if he was not himself actually he was not himself actually king from the moment of Eadwards death, yet at least he was the one lawful successor to the kingdom. It was therefore treason to fight against him, or to put any hindrance in the way of his taking possession of the crown. The lands and goods of traitors who confiscated to the crown; therefore the lands and goods of all who had opposed William, living or dead, were confiscated to him. The crown landsand in Williams reading of the law, the folkland was crown landof course passed to the new king. The whole folkland then, together with the lands of all who had fallen on Senlac, including the vast estates of Harold and his brothers, all passed to William, and was at his disposal. But, as no Englishman had supported his claims, as many Englishmen had opposed him in arms, the whole nation was involved either in actual or in constructive treason. The whole soil of England then, except the property of ecclesiastical corporations, was forfeited to the new king. But William was not inclined to press his claims to the uttermost ; at his first entry he allowed the mass of the English landowners to redeem the whole or a part of their possessions. Gradually, after each conquest of a district, after each suppression of a revolt, more land came into the kings power. That land was dealt with according to his pleasure. It was restored, wholly or in part, to its former owners ;it was granted away, wholly or in part, to new owners, as William thought good in each particular case. But in every case, whether a man kept his own land or received land which belonged to some one else, all land was held as a grant from the king. The only proof of lawful ownership was either the kings written grant, or else evidence that the owner had been put in possession by the kings order. Of this process of confiscation and regrant, carried out bit during the whole reign of William, Domesday is the record. We see that, in the course of Williams twenty-one years, by far the greater part of the land of England had changed hands. We see further, as we might take for granted in such a case, that by far the greater pat of the land which was granted to new owners was granted to Williams foreign followers. By the end of Williams reign all the greatest estates in England had passed into the hands of Normans and other strangers. But we see also that it is an utter mistake to believe that Englishmen were indiscriminately turned out of hearth and home. A few Englishmen who had, in whatever way, won Williams special favour kept great estates. A crowd of Englishmen kept small estates or fragments of great ones. In a vast number of cases the English owner kept his lands as tenant under a Norman grantee. Altogether the actual occupants of the soil mush have been much less disturbed than might have seemed possible in so great a transfer of land s from one set of owners to another.
The special features of this great transfer of land from men of one nation to men of another is that it was done gradually and under legal form. It was not a mere scramble for what every man could get ; nor was it like those cases in the early Teutonic invasions when the lands of the conquered, or a part of them, were systematically divided among the conquering army. Every step in Williams great confiscation was done regularly and according to his notion of law. There was no formal or general distinction between Normans and Englishmen. Every man, Norman or English, was dealt with according to his personal merits. Every man, Norman or English, held his land only b y a grant from King William. No general change was made in the tenure of land. The new owner got his land on the same terms on which the old owner had held it. The new owner was clothed with the same rights, and was burthened with the same liabilities, as the old one. William took lands, here, and granted them there, according to the circumstances of each case. Most commonly he took from Englishmen and gave to Normans. But he took from Englishmen and gave to Nomanas, not by virtue of any legal distinction between Englishmen and Normans, but because it was, as a rule, Englishmen who incurred forfeiture by resistance him, Normans who deserved reward by serving him.
As William dealt with lands, so he dealt with offices. The two processes were to some extent the same ; for most ecclesiastical and many temporal offices carried with them land or rights over land. Gradually, and under cover of law, the highest offices in Church and State were taken from Englishmen and bestowed on Normans. At the end of Williams reign there was no English earl, but one English bishop, and only a few abbots. But this change was not made all at once. In the appointment of earls William brought in a new policy which reversed that of Cnut. The great earldoms were broken up. There were no more earldom of Northumberland now meant only the modern country. Indeed William did not appoint earls at all, except in districts which were open to attack by land or seadistricts, in short, where the earls would have to play the part of marquesses. Kent, Norfolk, Northumberland, Chester, Shrewsbury, Hereford, were Williams only earldoms. Each of these had a special duty of guardianship against the Briton, the Scot, the Dane, and any possible enemies from Gaul or Germany. At his coming he established Norman earls in such parts of the earldoms of Harold and his brothers as he thought needed defence. Elsewhere he kept the English earls, and even appointed new ones, as the circumstances of the time dictated. At last, ten years after Williams coming, the last English earl was removed by the beheading of Waltheof. Others, sheriffs, stallers, and the like, were in the same way gradually changed. But smaller posts largely remained in the hands of Englishmen. It has been noticed, as marking some traits in Williams personal habits, that Eadwards English huntsmen kept their places, but that all the new kings cooks were strangers.
The same system was carried on with ecclesiastical offices also, though in this case a greater degree of caution was needed. The king might by himself, or at all events with the consent of his Witan, removed a sheriff, an earl, or any temporal officer ; to remove a bishop or abbot needed, in Williams view, full ecclesiastical sanction. Throughout Williams reign, when a bishop died, a foreign successor was found for him, and those English bishops against whom any canonical charge could be devised were removed without waiting for their deaths. The same general rule was applied to the abbots, though here the exclusion of Englishmen was not quite so strict. Though the greater number of the newly appointed abbots were strangers, a few Englishmen were appointed to abbeys even down to the end of Williams reign. In a series of synods, held in 1070 by the papal legates, the new organizational of the English Church began. The two metropolitan sees were filled by foreigners. York was vacant in ordinary course by the death of Ealdred ;it was bestowed on the Norman Thomas of Bayeux. Canterbury was vacated by the deposition of Stigand, and was bestowed on a far more famous man, Lanfranc of Pavia, Williams right hand man in the settlement of Church and State. Other sees were filled in the same years, and gradually, as bishops died or were deposed Normans took their places. At Williams death, Wulfstan of Worcester was the only bishop of English birth.
Of these changes in the possession of landed properly Domesday Book is the great record. This inique and invaluable document was drawn up in pursuance of a decree passed in the Christmas assembly of 1085-1086, and the necessary survey was made in the course of the first seven months of 1086. The immediate object of the survey was a final one, to insure that the tax on the land known as Danegeld_ might be more regularly paid and more fairly assessed. But William further took care to have a complete picture of his kingdom drawn up. We are told in all cases by whom the land was held at the time of the survey, and by whom it had been held in the time of King Eadward. We are told what was the value of the land at those two dates. This is the essence of the inquiry ; but was we also get a mass of statistics and a mass inquiry ; but local details of every kind. As a mere list of landowners under Eadward and under William, it enables us to trace the exact degree to which land had passed from Englishmen to Normans. And the incidental notices of tenures, customs, personal anecdotes, the local institutions of districts and towns, are at least as valuable as the essential parts of the survey. With their help we can see England as it was in 1086 more clearly than we can see it at any earlier time, more clearly than we can see it at any later time for a long while after. And not the least instructive thing about the survey is the light which throws on the general character of Williamss government, the system of legal fictions, the strict regard to a formal justice. William is assumed throughout as the lawful and immediate successor of Eadward. The reign of Harold is ignored. The grant of William is assumed as the one lawful source of property ;but there is throughout a clear desire to do justice according to that doctrine, to secure every man in his right, as William understood right, without any regard to race or rank. Powerful Normans, Williamss own brothers among them, are entered as withholding lands wrongfully, sometimes from other Normans, sometimes from Englishmen. Domesday, in short, may be set along side of the English Chronicle as one of the two great and unique sources of English history. They are possessions which have no parallel elsewhere.
In the constitution of England William made no formal change, and the particular laws of his enacting were few. The direct changes of his reign had some analogy to the direct changes which followed on the introduction of Christianity. No old institutions were abolished ; but some new institutions were set up by the side of the old ones. The old national assemblies went on, without any change in their formal constitution. The real change in their character was not a formal, but a practical one. The assembly which, at the beginning of Williams reign, was an assembly of Englishmen with here and there a Norman had, before the end of his reign, changed into an assembly of Normans with here and there an Englishman. The assemblies, as before, were in ordinary times mere gatherings of the great men of the realm ;but, as before, on special occasions, a vast multitude was brought together. Thus, when Domesday was finished in 1086, William gathered all the landowners of his kingdom, great and small, whether his tenants-in-chief or the tenants of an intermediate lord, and made them all become his men. No one act in English history is more important than this. By it William secured his realm against the growth of feudal doctrines and their abuses. It established the principle that, whatever duty a man might owe to any inferior lord, his duty to his sovereign lord the king came first. When this rule was once established, the mightiest earl in England could never be to William what William himself was to his own lord the King of the French. This one act of the wisdom of the Conqueror secured the unity of England for ever.
Of the few actual changes in the law which William made, most part were mere ordinances enacted to meet the immediate needs of the time. Thus, for instance, in the appeal to the judgment of God, the English ordeal and the Norman wager of battle were alike legalized and regulated. Provisions were made for the safety of Williams foreign followers, especially by the singular law of Murder and Englishry, according to which, if an unknown dead, he was held to be a Norman, unless he could be proved to be English. In legislating against the slave-trade, William only followed in the steps of former kings ; but in wholly forbidding the punishment of death, he acted on a personal theory of his own. But it must be remembered that, in Williams jurisprudence, the substitutes for death were mutilations which in modern ideas would be deemed worse than death. Most of these provisions were in their own nature temporary. The chief permanent change in our law which was due to an actual ordinance of William was a part of his ecclesiastical reformation, the separation of the temporal and spiritual jurisdictions. Hitherto the bishop and the earl had together in the Scírgemót, and had heard both ecclesiastical and temporal causes. This was now forbidden, and separate ecclesiastical court began. The strict forest law of Williams reign must also have been an innovation ; but it does not exist in the shape of a code ; we know it only by the complaint of the contemporary chronicles, and by the practice of later times. In all legal matters the ancient assemblies and the ancient forms went on ; nor was there any direct change in the language of the law. English remained, as before, an alternative language with Latin. But from this time the use of Latin gradually encroaches on the use of English. French is not used till a much later time.
But the immediate and formal changes which followed on Williams coming were of small account when compared with the indirect, and far more important, changes which came as it were of themselves as the natural result of his coming. A revolution was gradually wrought in everything that touched the relations of the kingdom within and without. But it was a revolution of a strange kind. It was a revolution which seemed, if not to root up our ancient institutions, at least practically so to transform them that they might be deemed to have passed away. It was a revolution which seemed to have broken down the spirit of Englishmen for ever under the yoke of strangers. But what that revolution really did was to call forth the spirit of Englishmen in a stronger and more abiding shape, and to enable us to win back under new forms the substance of the institutions which seemed for a moment to have passed away. This will then be the most place to go through the chief lasting results of the Conquest, and to show how deeply, and in why ways, that event has influenced our institutions and the general course of our history down to our own day.
First of all, the Norman Conquest altogether changed the European position of England. As soon as England was ruled by a continental prince who kept his dominions on the continent, Britain ceased to be that separate world which it had hitherto been. And, though after events brought us back in no small degree to our older insular character, yet Britain has never again become so completely another world as it was in the older day. We have already seen that it was through her connexion with Normandy that England was first led into that rivalry with France which has had so great an influence on our later history. England took up the quarrel of Normandy, and she carried it on her own account after Normandy had gone over to the other side. And, besides this special side of our history which is formed by the relations between England history which is formed by the relations between England and France, the Norman Conquest brought England in every way into closer connexion with continental nations generally. In ecclesiastical matters this took the form of a far closer connexion with the see of Rome than had been known before. The insular position of Britain had hitherto made the English Church far more independent of the see of Rome than the western churches generally. If the king of the English was looked on as the emperor of another world, the primate of all England was also looked on, and was sometimes directly spoken of, as the pope of another world. And it may be that the very fact that the English Church was more directly the child of the Roman Church than any other of the western churches may really have helped to strengthen the independence of the island church. It was pre-eminently a child. It was not a subject or a servant, nor could it pass for a part of the Roman Church itself. It was a child, but a child of full age, who owed reverence indeed, but who no longer owed servile obedience. One great effect of the Conquest was to weaken this insular independence, and to bring the insular Church more nearly into the same position as the churches of the mainland. In this, as in many other things, the Conquest did but confirm and hasten tendencies which were already at work. The reforms of Dunstants day marked one step Romewards. Another, we say, was marked by the pilgrimage of Cnut. The zeal of a new convert naturally filled the Danish king with a special reverence for the chief seat of the religion which he had embraced. The reign of Eadward, a special devotee of the Roman Church, wrought still more strongly in the same direction. In his day the interference of the Roman see in the affairs of England becomes more marked and constant than ever. But the great step of all was taken by William himself. When he sought for a papal confirmation of his claim to the crown of England, he went very far towards clothing the pope with a power to dispose of that crown. In Williams own hands the rights of his crown were safe. When Hildebrand himself called on to do homage for his crown, he refused to do what no king of the English had done before him. So while the great struggle of investitures was raging in Germany and Italy, William went on in England and in Normandy investing bishops and abbots with the staff, as the kings and dukes before him had done. Nor did Hildebrand ever blame William for doing what he branded as such deadly sin in his own sovereign the emperor. Under William the old ecclesiastical supremacy of the crown remained untouched ;but it is none the less true that two acts of his had a direct tendency to undermine it. The separation of the ecclesiastical and temporal jurisdictions led the way to those claims on the part of churchmen to be exempted from all temporal jurisdiction which were unheeded in his day, but which became matter of such important controversy under his successors. And, though he himself firmly refused all homage for his crown, yet, when he made the pope a judge between himself and Harold, he led the way for the day when his descendant took took his crown back again as a fief of the Roman see.
In other points also we see the way in which the Norman Conquest opened a path for increased intercourse between England and the continent. It was doubtless mainly owing to the Norman settlers that England took the share which she did in the crusades. The crusades was less stirred than Gaul, and Scandinavia was less stirred than Germany. England, in her old insular state, could hardly have played a greater part than Scandinavia. Again, with the accession of a foreign line of kings, foreign marriage become more common. The settlement of foreigner in England which began with the conquest and confiscations of William was followed by the coming of settlers of a more peaceful kind, of foreign merchants and of foreign scholars. And, if strangers came to make their fortunes in England, the general breaking down of barriers between nation and nation equally opened the way for the advancement of Englishmen in other lands. These were gradual and indirect of the great Norman revolution. But the Conquest itself, its confiscation of Englishmen of quite another kind. Englishmen, chafing under the yoke of the strangers, found their way to the extremest bounds of Europe. They took service under the Eastern emperor, and remained the surest bulwarks of his throne against the assaults of Turk and Frank alike.
With regard to the effects of the Conquest on English institution, the Norman king stepped into the position of his English predecessors. As king he claimed their rights, and no more. But the circumstances of the Conquest worked in every way to increase his power, and to provide him with new means of influence and new sources of revenue. The notion that William introduced a "feudal system" into England is a delusion which shows utter ignorance both of the position of William and of the general history of Europe. If by a "feudal system" is meant the state of things in Germany and Gaul, a state of things in which every great vassal became a rival to the king, William took direct care that no such "feudal system" should ever be introduced into his kingdom. But if by a "feudal systems" is meant merely the holding of land by military tenure, subject to the burthens of reliefs, wardship, marriage, and the like, though William certainly did not introduce such a "system" ready made, yet the circumstances of his reign did much to promote the growth of that kind of tenure, and of the whole class of ideas connected with it. Such tendencies were already growing in England, and his coming strengthened them. Under him the doctrine that all land is a grant from the crown became a fact. And, though he did not directly innovate on the Old-English tenures, yet we can see that the doctrine of military tenure began in his reign, and that it was put into a systematic shape, and carried out to its logical consequences, in the reign of his son. The Norman kings ruled in a twofold character ; they were all that their English predecessors had been, and something more. The Norman king was the chief of the state ; the state ; he was also the personal lord of every man in his kingdom. In the one character, he could call out the military force of the state; in the other, he could call on his tenants for the military service due from their lands. As chief of the state, he levied the ancient taxes due to the state ; as lord he levied the ancient taxes due to the state ; as lord he levied the ancient taxes due to the state ; as lord he levied the new-fangled profits which, according to the new-fanged-led ideas, were due to the lord from his tenants. In short, William brought in that side of feudal doctrine which helped to strengthen the crown, and kept out that side which helped to weaken it. The doctrine that a man was bound to weaken it. The doctrine that a man was bound to weaken it. The doctrine that a man was bound to follow his immediate lord had destroyed the royal power in other lands. William, by making himself the immediate lord of all his subjects, turned that doctrine into the strongest support of his crown.
This union of two sources of power in the Norman kings made their rule practically despotic. But their very despotism preserved English freedom. They had no temptation to uproot institutions which they found means to turn into instruments of their power. They had no temptation to abolish the national assemblies, in which they found little check on their will, and in which they both displayed their power and practically exercised it. The coming of William practically changed the character of those assemblies ; it gradually gave them a new name. But there was no sweeping away, no sudden revolution ; all was done gradually and by force of circumstances at particular times. Thus the forms of a free constitution went on ; there is no break between the earliest national assemblies and the latest. At some points of our history, the freedom of England seems sometimes to slumber ; but it never died. The seeming slumber under Norman despotism led to the awakening of the thirteenth century. The seeming slumber under Tudor despotism led to the awakening of the seventeenth.
The king was thus in possession of two sources of power, of two sources of revenue. One source came by inheritance from his Englis predecessors ; another came from the circumstances of Williams conquest. He was both king and lord of all men within his realm. To the English he was in the first place king ; to the Normans he was in the first place lord. Each race had need of him, and the Norman kings knew how to play off each race against the other. In the first days of the Conquest, the king, if he was not the friend of his English subjects, was at least not their worst enemy. His power was some protection against local oppressors. Both William Rufus and Henry I. were raised to the throne by the English in the teeth of Norman opposition. Gradually, as the two races drew together, as in a word the Normans became Englishmen, neither race needed the support of the king against the other, while both alike felt the heavy yoke of his dominion. Instead of the English people siding the king against the Norman barons, the Norman barons, changed into Englishmen, now became the leaders of the English people against the king.
The greatest effect of the Norman Conquest is really to be looked for, not in any sudden changes, least of all in any great and immediate legislative changes, but in a complete, though gradual, change of the administrative system, and in such changes of the law as followed upon those changes in the administration. And even the administrative changes seldom took the form of the utter abolition of anything old. They too rather took the form, sometimes of setting up something new by the side of the old, sometimes only of increasing the importance of one old institution at the increasing the importance of one old institution at the expense of another. Thus the national assemblies themselves changes character, and a variety of institutions were developed out of the national assemblies, by no cause so much as by the growth of the practice of summons. Wherever it becomes usual specially to summon particular members of an assembly, the first step is taken towards the exclusion of all who are not so specially summoned. In the great assembly at Salisbury, where all the landowners of England became the "men" of the king we see the first germs of Lords and Commons. The Witan are distinguished from the "land-sitting men." By the Witan, so called long after the Conquest, we are doubtless to understand those great men of the realm who were usually summoned to every assembly. The vast multitude who came to do their homage to the king were summoned only for that particular occasion. The personal right of summons is the essence of the peerage. It is the distinctive mark round which all the other honours and privileges of the peer have grown. The earls and the bishops of England, by never losing their right to the personal summons, have kept that right to personal attendance in the national assembly which was once common to all freemen, but which other freemen have lost. The Horse of lords represents by unbroken succession the Witan of the assembly of Salisbury ;that is, it represent by unbroken succession the old assemblies of the Teutonic democracy. Never did any institution so utterly change its character. But the change has been the gradual result of circumstances, without any violent break. The "land-sitting men," on the other hand, not summoned personally or regularly, but summoned in a mass when their attendance was specially needed, gradually lost the right of personal attendance, till in the end they gained instead the more practical right of appearing by their representatives. Thus grew the Commons. The steps by which our national assemblies took their final shape do not begin till a later time. But it is important to notice that the first glimpse of something like lords and Commonsa distinction which doubtless already existed in practice, but which is nowhere before put into a formal shapedates from the last years of the Conqueror.
The practice of summons thus gave birth to our final parliamentary constitution. It gave birth also to a vast number of administrative and judicial institutions, of which we see traces the Conquest, but which put on their definite shape under the Norman kings. The practic e of summons produced the House of Lords. It produced also the curia regis, the Kings Court, out of which so many institutions grew. The Kings Court is properly the national assembly itself ;but the name gradually came to be confined to a kind of judicial and administrative committee of the assembly. Even before the Norman Conquest, we get a faint glimpse of body of the kings immediate counsellors, bearing the name of the Theningmannagemót. Out of this body, to which was gradually attached the name of curia regis, grew, on the one side the Privy Council, and out of that the modern Cabinet, and on the other side the courts of law. The Cabinet, our most modern political institution, an institution so modern as to be unknown to the written law, is the last growth of the principle of summons. The Cabinet, the body to which in common use we have latterly come to give the name of Government, is simply a body of those privy councilors who are specially summoned. Those who are not summoned stay away. All the kings administrative and judicial, grew in the same way. They were committees of the national assembly, which gradually grew into separate being and separate powers, as the legislative, and judicial branches of government parted off more distinctly from one another.
Along with the practice of summons grew the importance of those who were most specially and habitually summoned, the great officers of the kings court and household. Soon after the Conquest these officers began to rise into an important which they had never held before. They may be divided into officers of state and officers of the household. The notion that offices in the royal household were honourable is part of the general doctrine of comitatus and its personal service, the doctrine out of which grew the nobility of the thegns. Some of these offices were simply old offices with new names. The staller became the constable, the bower-thegn became the chamberlain, the steward kept his English name. Some of these posts became hereditary and almost honorary. In some cases, as in that of the chamberlain and the steward, a secondary office of the same name grew up. Of greater importance and interest are those officers into whose hands came the chief powers of government under the king. Nothing is so important under th Norman reigns as the exchequer. But the exchequer is simply an old institution with a new name, and the treasurer is simply an old officer with a new name. The kings hoard or treasury must always have had a keeper ; but the hoarder, under the Latin name of treasurer, grew into increased importance in times when the main object of government seemed to be to fill the kings hoard. The hoard or treasury got the playful name of exchequer,1 and it grew into two departments of state, administrative and judicial. The treasurer himself grew into an officer of such power and dignity that, for a long time past, his office has been put into commission among several holders. And of these the chief has drawn in late years to himself more than the power, though without the dignity, of the old single-headed treasurer. The chancellor again is found by that title under Eadward the Confessor, and his office must have existed under some title as early as there was any settled government at all. But it is under importance and dignity, an importance and dignity which have been more lasting in his case than in the case of any other of the great officials of those days. But the greatest dignitary of the Norman reigns, the justiciar, really seems to have been wholly new. The name is first given to the regents who represented William in his absence from England ; and the office may well have grown up through the need which was felt for some such representative when the king visited hid dominions beyond sea. The justiciar appears as the first in rank among the great officers of state ; but while the chancellorship, remaining a single office, grew, the office of the justiciar was gradually divided among many holders. Among them all those, great and small, who administer justice in the kings name may claim to have a share.
The modern judicial system of England begins, in something like its present shape, in the reign of Henry II. But its growth is one of the direct results of the Norman Conquest. The older judicial system is essentially local and popular. The men of the township, of the hundred, of the shire, come together under their local chiefs. The highest judicial body of all, as well as the highest legislative body of all, the assembly of the nation, comes together under the chief of the nation, the king. At least as early as the reign of Aethelred we find examples of royal commissioners, like the missi of the Frankish emperors and kings, who are sent on the kings errand to the local courts. After the Conquest this system grows, till in the end the local chiefs, the earl and the bishop, are wholly displaced the kings judges. Thus grew up the lawyers doctrine that the king is the fountain of justice. But the popular element survived in the various forms of the jury. It is idle to debate about the invention or introduction of trial by the truth is that it never was invented or introduced, that, even more than other institutions, it emphatically grew. Its germs may be seen in all those cases, compurgation or any other, where a matter is decided by the oaths of man taken from the community at large. The Conquest caused a step in advance by the more constant employment of recognitions taken on oath. Under Henry II. the practice was still further strengthened ; but it was not till long after his day that the modern idea of the jury was established, as no longer witnesses but judges of facts. When their judicial character was fully established, that is, when in the reign of Charles II. they ceased to be called to account for their verdicts, the old popular character of the court in a great measure came back to them.
In this way justice became a more centralized in England than anywhere else. All the weightier causes came to be tried either in the kings own courts or by judges immediately commissioned by him. The local chiefs gave way to the kings representatives. One local officer indeed grew into increased activity. This was the officer who in each shire had always been specially the kings officer, the shire-reeve or sheriff, who looked after the interests of the king while the ealdorman or earl represented the separate being of the shire. Under William, eals ceased to be appointed, save where they had distinct military duties. Under his successors earldoms gradually sank into merely honorary dignities. But the sheriff was in the Norman reigns the busiest of all officers ; for he had to collect and bring in all that was due to the royal exchequer from the endless sources of income by which it was fed.
The main political result of the Norman Conquest thus was to strengthen every tendency that was already in beingand such the beginning of the growth to the thegnhoodby which the king, his authority, his officers, took the place of the nation and its authority. But the older system was undermined rather than overthrown, and the course of our history has, to a great extent, given us back the old institutions under other shapes. Thus, for instance, there was a strong tendency at work to turn the folkland, the land of the nation, into the land of the king. To this process the Conquest gave the finishing touch. The stroke by which the whole lay soil of England was held to stroke by which the whole lay soil of England was held to be forfeited to the Conqueror turned all folkland into terra regis. From Domesdy onward the folkland vanishes; but now that the crown lands are placed under the control of parliament, as part of the national revenue, the terra regis has practically become folkland again. And while the king, the highest lord, was thus encroaching on the nation, that is, on the community which took in all others, smaller lords were doing the like to the lesser communities which made up the nation. Under the older system all grants of sac and soc, that is, all grants to a particular person of any special jurisdiction exempt the ordinary local courts. Were in their own nature exceptional. As the new ideas grew, the manor, as it was called by the Normans, finally supplanted the township. Lawyers gradually found out that the exceptional novelty was the original states of things. Just as they ruled the king to be the fountain of justice, because he had gradually taken the administration of justice into his own hands, so they ruled that, whenever any rights of the community had escaped the grasp of the lord, their existence must necessarily be owing to an unrecorded grant of the lord. The ancient court of the people, the court baron, was held to be the court of the lord. Here again the evil has cured itself. The lord and his court have become harmless ; but they remain as curious examples of the way in which lawyers have read the history of England backwards.
Both as regarded the greater lord and the lesser, the tendency of the ideas which the Norman Conquest strongly confirmed was to put the notion of property before the notion of office Kingship, the highest office in the commonwealth, came to be looked on mainly as a possession. The king of the people has now put on the character of the lord of the land ; his title gradually changes into a form which better expresses this new position. The King of the English gradually changes into the King of England. William himself is still almost always Rex Anglorum. But the new territorial title now begins to creep into use, and from the beginning of the thirteenth century it altogether displaced the older style. But the new ideas did much more than merely change the royal style. As soon as office had changed into property, as soon as the chief of the people had changed into the lord of the land, the old rule that the king should be chosen out of the one kingly house began to stiffen into the doctrine of strict hereditary right. The general results of the Conquest were all in favour of that doctrine; but the circumstances of the reigns which immediately followed the Conquest all told the other way, and helped to keep up the elective character of the crown for some time longer. The ancient doctrine died out very slowly, but it did die out in the end. And then lawyers found out that the crown had been hereditary from the beginning, and ruled that the king never died, and that the throne never could be vacant. On the other hand, as office was turned into property, so property in land was turned into office, and carried with it much of the likeness of a miniature sovereignty. The doctrine of primogeniture also now naturally supplanted the old principle of division of lands. No doctrine could be more opposite to the old doctrine of nobility than the doctrine which gave everything to a single son in the family. In this way primogeniture has its good side. It gave us a peerage; but, in giving us a peerage, it saved us from a noblesse.
The immediate ecclesiastical effects of the Norman Conquest, those with in truth formed part of the process conquest, have been already spoken of. But the introduction of foreign prelates, and the closer relations with Rome, worked in many ways. The foreign bishop naturally stood at a greater distance from the native clergy than his English predecessor had done. Moreover, the new theories as to the tenure of land turned the bishop into a baron, holding as a tenant-in-chief of the crown. The bishop became in h is own diocese more of a lord and less of a father, while he was often kept away from his diocese by holding high temporal office. It gives a false view of the case to say that the prelates grasped at high temporal office : the case rather is that, in a time when education was chiefly confined to the clergy, public business was mainly in the hands of the kings clerks, and that they received bishoprics as the reward of their temporal services. Under such bishops the Church was secularized and feudalized. Ecclesiastical livings where looked on less as offices with an endowment for the maintenance of the holder than as benefices charged with certain duties might be discharged with certain duties which might be discharged by deputy. The relation of the parish priest to his bishop put on the likeness of the relation between a man and his lord. At the same time, the rage for founding monasteries, which was at its height in Normandy at the time of the Conquest, came into England with the Normans, and in the next century drew a fresh impulse from the foundation of the Cistercian order. The love of exemptions of all kinds led to a constant striving on the part of ecclesiastical bodies to be exempted from the ordinary ecclesiastical jurisdiction. This is shown, not only separate monasteries, but even by the cathedral chapters, especially where the place of the chapter was filled by a monastic body. And one immediate result of the Conquest was the transfer of the seats of several bishoprics from smaller towns to greater. This was in accordance with the continental notion of a bishop, by which he was looked on as primarily bishop of a city, while in English ides he was rather the bishop, first of a tribe, and then of a district. But this very change, one made by the Norman bishops themselves, may well have helped to bring about that separation between the bishop and his church which dates from this time. The bishop who had become a feudal lord, even when he was not altogether away from hid diocese on the kings service, commonly fixed hid dwelling-place in his rural castle rather than in his place in the city.
The social results of the Conquest were such as naturally followed on the general transfer of the greatest estates and highest offices of the country. The Conquest itself, the military occupation of William, was followed by a peaceful immigration of Normans and other strangers into England, especially into the merchant towns. London, above all, received a crowd of citizens of Norman birth. That these Englishmen in a wonderfully short time is one of the great features of our history. The causes are easy to see : with most men, if there be no special reason to the contrary, place of birth goes for more than descent by blood, and the stranger is gradually assimilated by the people among whom he dwells. And in the case of Normans and English, we can hardly that original kindred went for something. The Norman was simply a Dane who had adopted the French tongue and some French fashions ; he was easily won back into the Teutonic food But the circumstances of Williams conquest, his pretended legal claim to the crown and the whole system of legal fictions which grew round that claim, helped to bring all classes of his subjects together. The Norman settled in England was driven to become in some sort an Englishman. He held his estates of the King of the English, according to English law. The fusion of the two races was so speedy that a writer little more than a hundred years after the Conquest, the author of the famous Dialogus de Scaccario, could say that, among the free population, it was impossible to tell who was of Norman and who was of English birth. That is to say, the great must still have been all but purely Norman ; the lowest classes must have been all but purely English. In the intermediate classes, among the townsmen and the smaller landowners, the two races were so intermixed, and they had so modified one another, that the distinction between them had been forgotten. We might say that the effect of the Norman Conquest was to thrust every class, save one, of the older English society a step downwards. The churl, the simple freeman, had been gradually sinking for a long time before the Conquest. In the course of the century after the Conquest, he finally sank into the villain. On the other hand, if the churl gradually sank to the state villainage, the slave gradually rose to it. The Norman Conquest, while thrusting down every other class, undoubtedly helped to raise the most wretched and helpless class of all.
But while the Normans who setteled in England changed into Englishmen with remarkable speed, they of course, by the very fact of their fusion, did much to modify the character of Englishmen. A way was now opened for all that class of ideas which, for want of better names, may be called feudal and chivalrous. Chivalry is rather French than Norman ; and its development comes rather under the Angevin than the Norman kings. Still, so far as Normandy was influenced by France, so far as the Norman Conquest opened a way for French influence, and, we may add, French kings, in England, so far this whole class of ideas and feelings may be set down as results of the Norman Conquest. But in England chivalry never was really dominant. Teutonic notions of right and common sense were never wholly driven out. For the man unassisted by birth to rise harder in some ages than in others. There was no age in England when it was wholly impossible.
The greatest of the outward changes which were caused by the Norman Conquest was its effect on the language and literature of England. In the matter of language, as in other matters, the Conquest itself wrought no formal changes Whatever change happened was the gradual result of the state of things which the Conquest brought about. French was never substituted for English by any formal act. Documents were written in English long after the Conquest; and, though the use of English gradually dies out in the twelfth century, it dies out, not in favour of French, but in favour of Latin. French documents are not found till the thirteenth century ; they are not common till the latter part of that century. As it was with institutions, so it was with language. The old language was neither proscribed nor forgotten, but a new language came in by the side of it. William himself tried to learn English; his son Henry, if no other in his family, understood English, and seems even to have written it. Henry II. understood it, but seemingly did not speak it. By the end of the twelfth century, English seems to have been the most usual tongue among people of all classes. It was the language of common speech and or purely popular writings ; French was the more polite and fashionable language, the language of elegant literature; Latin was the language of learning. Every educated man in the latter part of the twelfth century must have been familiar with all three.
A foreign language was thus brought into England alongside of the native language, and it displaced the native language for certain purposes. Such a state of things could not fail to have a great effect on the English language itself. That effect largely took the usual form of strengthening tendencies which were already at work. The two changes with took place were the less of the old inflexions and the infusion of foreign words into the vocabulary. Neither of these processes began with the Conquest ; the Conquest simply strengthened and quickened them. The other Low-Dutch and Scandinavian tongues, which were brought under no such influences as English was by the Conquest, have lost their inflexions quite as thoroughly as English has. Even the High-Dutch, which keeps a comparatively large stock of inflexions, has lost a large part of the forms which were once common to High and Low. We may be sure than that we should have lost our inflexions, or most of them, even if the Normans had not come. Indeed, in one form of English, the dialect of the North, the inflexions had largely given way already, chiefly, it would seem, through the influence of the Danes. But when, though spoken by all classes, it was written only for the lower classes, there was no longer any fixed literary standard ; the grammatical forms therefore became confused and inaccurate. We see the chance at once in those parts of the Chronicles which were written in the twelfth century. On the other hand, the English tongue had taken in a few foreign words from the first coming of the English into Britain. The Roman missionaries brought in another stock. The Normans brought in a third. But in third stock, like the second, consisted for a while mainly of words which were more or less technical ; they were new names for new things. Through the twelfth century the two for new things. Through the twelfth century the two languages stood side by side, without either borrowing much from the other. It was not till the thirteenth century much from the other. It was not till the thirteenth century that French words came into any great extent to express things for which the English tongue had names already. Thus the English tongue gradually put on its later character. It remianed Teutonic in its essence. Teutonic in its grammatical forms. But it lost its inflexions, more thoroughly than some kindred tongues, not more thoroughly than some others. It also received a vast infusion of Romance words into the same in kind, as the Teutonic infusion into the vocabulary of the Romance languages, especially into French.
In literature, as distinguished from language, and also in art, the Norman epochs in our history. The breaking down of the barrier between the insular and the continental world did much for both. Learning had gone again in England through the Danish invasion ; and Eadward the Confessor, with all his fondness for foreigners, did little foreign scholars. Under William and his son Henry things altogether changed. The first two occupants of the see of Canterbury after the Conquest were the two greatest scholars of their day. Both of them were strangers is Normandy no less than in England : Landfranc come from Lombard Pavia, Anselm from Burgundian Aosta. After them England herself produced a goodly crop of scholars among her children of both races. While the Chronicles was still writing in our own tongue, a crowd of learned pens recorded English history in Latin. Florence of Worcester told the unvarnished tale of the early Norman reigns in a chronicle which is English in all but language. Henry of Huntingdon preserved to us large fragments of our ancient songs in a Latin dress. William of Malmesbury aspired to the character of a critical historian, a character still more nearly reached somewhat later by William of Newburgh. The statesmen-historians of Herny II.s day follow, and lead us on to the monastic historians of the thirteenth century. Yet, after all, cone would gladly exchange much of the light which they give us for a continuation of the English Chronicle in the English tongue.
One form of influence on language was the almost complete exchange of the Old-English proper names for a new set of names which came over with the Conqueror. The strictly Norman proper names, those which the Normans either brought with them from the North or had borrowed from the Franks, are as truly Teutonic as the English names ; a few names only were common to both countries. But, just at the time of the Conquest, the Normans were beginning to adopt scriptural and saintly names, which well all but unknown in England. With the Conquest a new fashion set in, and the names, whether Teutonic or saintly which were in Norman use gradually displaced the ancient English names. A few specially royal and saintly names, like Eadward and Eadmund, alone survived. Throughout the twelfth century we constantly find the father bearing an English name, while the son has one of the new fashion. This point is of importance. It at once marks and hides the fusion of races. It helps us to see that manay a man who was to all outward appearance a stranger was in truth of genuine English descent.
Along with the change in personal names came in the use of hereditary surnames. Surnames, in the sense of mere personal descriptions or nicknames, were already common both in England and in Normandy. But the hereditary surname, the name of the family handed on from father to son, was at time of the Conquest unknown in England, and it was only just coming into use in Normandy. The Norman brought the fashion into England, and the circumstances of the Conquest gave it a fresh impulse. While the many of the Normna settlers brought with them the surnames which they had already taken from their estates or birth-places in Normandy, a crowd of men of both races now took surnames from their estates and birth-places in England. The fashion to some extent affected local nomenclature also. On the whole, the Norman Conquest made but little change in this way. Few places, if any, lost their names. But some towns, castles, and monasteries of Norman foundation received French names; and a crowd of English towns and villages did, as it were, take Norman surnames, by taking the name of Norman lord to distinguish them from other places of the same name.
In those days art is almost synonymous with architecture, and the changes in that are which were wrought by the Norman Conquest were great indeed. There was then but little room for great displays of artistic architecture anywhere but in churches. But in this, as in all period of genuine art, the style used for buildings of all classes was the same. Up to the eleventh century all Western Europe had built in one style, in that older form of the Romanesque or round-arched architecture which came direct from Italy and was known as the mos Romanus. Its most striking feature is the tall, slender bell-towers which in England are a sign of work not later than the eleventh century, while in Germany they go on through the twelfth, and in Italy they never went out of use at all. In the course of the eleventh century several parts of Europe struck out new styles of their own, which still keep the round arch, and which are therefore properly classes as later varieties of the Romanesque type. One of these arose in Normandy, and was among other Norman fashions, brought into England by Eadward in the building of his new church at Westminster. After the Conquest the Norman style naturally became the prevailing fashion. One part of that fashion was the building of churches on a gigantic scale, such as had never before been seen in England. This fashion led the Norman bishops and abbots to pull down an rebuild most of the minsters of England. The earliest Norman style was an advance on the Primitive Romanesque in proportion and in vigour of style, casting off the mere imitation of Roman models which had lingered for so many ages. But in mere amount of ornament it was certainly no advance. The enriched Norman style comes in later. However, from the reign of William, one might perhaps say from the reign of Eadward, the older style gave way to the new. The Primitive models were now followed only in smaller and less important churches, where the use of the slender bell-towers lasted longer than any other feature. Yet the Norman style, in supplanting the earlier fashion, was in some measure influenced by it. The Norman churches of England have some distinctly English features of which there is no sign in those of Normandy.
We are told that great improvements in domestic architecture were brought in by the Normans; but, when we see the few Norman houses that are left to us, we may be inclined to think that the chief change was the freer application of stone to domestic work. It was only in houses of the very highest class, as in kings palaces, that there was room for any great display of art. Such buildings allowed of the great hall, with rows of columns and arches, like those of a church. For municipal architecture there was as yet no room in our island. But military architecture took one of its greatest steps in this age. Fortification had advanced in England from the hedge or palisade which Ida built at Bamburgh to the wall of squared stones with which Aethelstan had surrounded Exeter. But the Norman castle, name and thing, was brought in as something new in the days of Eadward, and the land was covered with them in the days of William. The massive square tower, of which the Conquerors Tower of London is the greatest example, is one type. The shell-keep, the polygonal wall raised most commonly on a mound of English work, is another type. In the days of our forefathers the castle was the very embodiment of wrong and oppression. The Chronicles never speaks of castle-building without some epithet or horror.
One result of these changes in the art of fortification was largely to change the character of the welfare as well as the tactics of the age immediately following the Conquest. The older warfare of England is a warfare of pitches battles. Such is the warfare of Aelfred; such is the warfare of Brithnoth and Ulfyctel and Eadmund Ironside. But the warfare of the twelfth century is mainly a warfare of sieges. The taking of towns and castles is endless; but between Senlac and the wars of the thirteenth century we hardly meet with more than two great battles in the open field, those of Tinchebrai and the Standard.
The changes in the character of warfare were accomplished by a more general change in the art of war. An ancient English army fought on foot; the horse was used only to carry the warrior to the field. When the time for action came, the kind or ealdorman and all his following dismounted. The old national weapon was the sword, which under Cnut was exchanged for the heavy Danish axe. The English armies of the eleventh century consisted of two classes, both footmen. The housecarls, the paid force and the king thegns and other personal followers of the king, wore coats of mail and carried shields, which could be made into a kind of fortification called the shield-wall. They hurled javelins at the beginning of the fight, and came to close conflict with axes. The irregular levies of the shire came armed with axes, javelins, clubs, or any other weapons that they could bring. But there was no cavalry, and there were but few archers. In the Norman system of warfare, cavalry and archers are the chief arms. The mailed knights charge or horseback with long lances raised high in the air; they use the sword and sometimes the iron mace, for close combat. The infantry are mainly archers; the mounted archer is rare. With the Conquest the Norman tactics naturally displaced the English. The Englishman grasped the weapon of his conqueror, and the fame of the English archers began. Yet the Norman manner of fighting was itself to some extent influenced by English practice. The English archer, though he had changed his weapon, was really true heir of the English axeman. In the fourteenth army lay in its infantry. And, earlier than this, the old traditions of English warfare were sometimes followed by the Normans themselves. More than once in wars of the twelfth century we find kinds and nobles getting down from their horses and fighting on foot, axe in hand, like Cnut or Harold.
We can now sum up the main results of the Norman Conquest. We can be hardly wrong in calling it the most important event in English history since the first coming of the English and their conversion to Christianity. It was a great and a violent change, a change which, either in its immediate or in its more distant results, touched everything in the land. Yet there was no break, no gap, parting the times before it from the times after it. The changes which it wrought were to a great extent only the strengthening of tendencies which were already at work. The direct changes which we may look upon as forming the Conquest itself, as distinguished from its more distant results, were done at once gradually and under cover of legal form. No old institutions were uprooted, though some of them were undermined by new institutions set up alongside of them. The revolution which seemed to be the overthrow of English freedom led in the end to its new birth. Under an broken succession of native kings, freedom might have died out step, as it did in some other lands. As it was, the main effect of the Conquest was to call out the ancient English spirit in a more definite and antagonistic shape, to give the English nation new leaders in the conquerors who were gradually changed into countrymen, and, by the union of the men of both races, to win back the substance of the old institutions under new forms.
FOOTNOTE (p. 294)
1 The more correct name is Heregeld, that is, a tax for the support of a paid military force. Danegeld is in strictness, money paid to the Danes as black mail by Aethelred and others. But, as both payments were unpopular, the two names got confounded, and Danegeld became the received name of the chief direct tax paid in those times.
FOOTNOTE (p. 297)
1 the older names are fiscus and thesaurus. Scaccarium or exchequer was the established name by the time of Henry II. It comes from the parti-coloured cloth with which the table was covered, which suggested the notion of a chess-board.
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