Palace of Westminster
The Palace of Westminster serves as the meeting place of the House of Commons and the House of Lords, the two houses of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. Known as the Houses of Parliament after its occupants, the Palace lies on the north bank of the River Thames in the City of Westminster, in central London, England, its name, which derives from the neighbouring Westminster Abbey, may refer to either of two structures: the Old Palace, a medieval building-complex destroyed by fire in 1834, or its replacement, the New Palace that stands today. The palace is owned by the monarch in right of the Crown and, for ceremonial purposes, retains its original status as a royal residence. Committees appointed by both houses manage the building and report to the Speaker of the House of Commons and to the Lord Speaker; the first royal palace constructed on the site dated from the 11th century, Westminster became the primary residence of the Kings of England until fire destroyed much of the complex in 1512.
After that, it served as the home of the Parliament of England, which had met there since the 13th century, as the seat of the Royal Courts of Justice, based in and around Westminster Hall. In 1834 an greater fire ravaged the rebuilt Houses of Parliament, the only significant medieval structures to survive were Westminster Hall, the Cloisters of St Stephen's, the Chapel of St Mary Undercroft, the Jewel Tower. In the subsequent competition for the reconstruction of the Palace, the architect Charles Barry won with a design for new buildings in the Gothic Revival style inspired by the English Perpendicular Gothic style of the 14th–16th centuries; the remains of the Old Palace were incorporated into its much larger replacement, which contains over 1,100 rooms organised symmetrically around two series of courtyards and which has a floor area of 112,476 m2. Part of the New Palace's area of 3.24 hectares was reclaimed from the River Thames, the setting of its nearly 300-metre long façade, called the River Front.
Augustus Pugin, a leading authority on Gothic architecture and style, assisted Barry and designed the interior of the Palace. Construction started in 1840 and lasted for 30 years, suffering great delays and cost overruns, as well as the death of both leading architects. Major conservation work has taken place since to reverse the effects of London's air pollution, extensive repairs followed the Second World War, including the reconstruction of the Commons Chamber following its bombing in 1941; the Palace is one of the centres of political life in the United Kingdom. The Elizabeth Tower, in particular referred to by the name of its main bell, Big Ben, has become an iconic landmark of London and of the United Kingdom in general, one of the most popular tourist attractions in the city, an emblem of parliamentary democracy. Tsar Nicholas I of Russia called the new palace "a dream in stone"; the Palace of Westminster has been a Grade I listed building since 1970 and part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1987.
The Palace of Westminster site was strategically important during the Middle Ages, as it was located on the banks of the River Thames. Known in medieval times as Thorney Island, the site may have been first-used for a royal residence by Canute the Great during his reign from 1016 to 1035. St Edward the Confessor, the penultimate Anglo-Saxon monarch of England, built a royal palace on Thorney Island just west of the City of London at about the same time as he built Westminster Abbey. Thorney Island and the surrounding area soon became known as Westminster. Neither the buildings used by the Anglo-Saxons nor those used by William I survive; the oldest existing part of the Palace dates from the reign of William I's successor, King William II. The Palace of Westminster was the monarch's principal residence in the late Medieval period; the predecessor of Parliament, the Curia Regis, met in Westminster Hall. Simon de Montfort's parliament, the first to include representatives of the major towns, met at the Palace in 1265.
The "Model Parliament", the first official Parliament of England, met there in 1295, all subsequent English Parliaments and after 1707, all British Parliaments have met at the Palace. In 1512, during the early years of the reign of King Henry VIII, fire destroyed the royal residential area of the palace. In 1534, Henry VIII acquired York Place from Cardinal Thomas Wolsey, a powerful minister who had lost the King's favour. Renaming it the Palace of Whitehall, Henry used it as his principal residence. Although Westminster remained a royal palace, it was used by the two Houses of Parliament and by the various royal law courts; because it was a royal residence, the Palace included no purpose-built chambers for the two Houses. Important state ceremonies were held in the Painted Chamber, built in the 13th century as the main bedchamber for King Henry III; the House of Lords met in the Queen's Chamber, a modest Medieval hall towards the southern end of the complex, with the adjoining Prince's Chamber used as the robing room for peers and for the monarch during state openings.
In 1801 the Upper House moved into the larger White Chamber.
Viking expansion is the process by which Norse explorers and warriors, the latter known in modern scholarship as Vikings, sailed most of the North Atlantic, reaching south to North Africa and east to Russia and the Middle East as looters, traders and mercenaries. Vikings under Leif Erikson, the heir to Erik the Red, reached North America and set up a short-lived settlement in present-day L'Anse aux Meadows, Canada. Longer lasting and more established settlements were formed in Greenland, the Faroe Islands, Great Britain and Normandy, it is debated. There is much debate among historians about. One held idea is that it was a quest for retaliation against continental Europeans for their previous invasions of Viking homelands, such as Charlemagne's campaign to force Scandinavian pagans to convert to Christianity by killing any who refused to become baptized; the historian Rudolf Simek has observed, "It is not a coincidence if the early Viking activity occurred during the reign of Charlemagne." Those who favor this explanation point out that the penetration of Christianity into Scandinavia caused serious conflict and divided Norway for a century.
However, the first target of Viking raids was not the Frankish Kingdom, but Christian monasteries in England. According to the historian Peter Sawyer, these were raided because they were centers of wealth and their farms well-stocked, not because of any religious reasons. Another idea is that the Viking population had exceeded the agricultural potential of their homeland; this may have been true of western Norway, where there were few reserves of land, but it is unlikely the rest of Scandinavia was experiencing famine. Alternatively, some scholars propose that the Viking expansion was driven by a youth bulge effect: since the eldest son of a family customarily inherited the family's entire estate, younger sons had to seek their fortune by emigrating or engaging in raids. Peter Sawyer suggests that most Vikings emigrated due the attractiveness of owning more land rather than the necessity of having it. However, no rise in population, youth bulge, or decline in agricultural production during this period has been definitively demonstrated.
Nor is it clear why such pressures would have prompted expansion overseas rather than into the vast, uncultivated forest areas in the interior of the Scandinavian Peninsula, although emigration or sea raids may have been easier or more profitable than clearing large areas of forest for farm and pasture in a region with a limited growing season. An idea that avoids these shortcomings is that the Scandinavians might have practiced selective procreation leading to a shortage of women, that the Vikings' main motive for emigration was to acquire wives, although this would not explain why the Vikings chose to settle in other countries rather than bringing the women back with them to Scandinavia, it is possible that a decline in the profitability of old trade routes drove the Vikings to seek out new, more profitable ones. Trade between western Europe and the rest of Eurasia may have suffered after the Roman Empire lost its western provinces in the 5th century, the expansion of Islam in the 7th century may have reduced trade opportunities within western Europe by redirecting resources along the Silk Road.
Trade in the Mediterranean was at its lowest level in history when the Vikings began their expansion. The Viking expansion opened new trade routes in Arab and Frankish lands, took control of trade markets dominated by the Frisians after the Franks destroyed the Frisian fleet. Viking settlements in Ireland and Great Britain are thought to have been male enterprises, however some graves show nearly equal male/female distribution. Disagreement is due to method of classification; the males buried during that period in a cemetery on the Isle of Man had names of Norse origin, while the females there had names of indigenous origin. Irish and British women are mentioned in old texts on the founding of Iceland, indicating that the Viking explorers were accompanied there by women from the British Isles who either came along voluntarily or were taken along by force. Genetic studies of the population in the Western Isles and Isle of Skye show that Viking settlements were established by male Vikings who mated with women from the local populations of those places.
However, not all Viking settlements were male. Genetic studies of the Shetland population suggest that family units consisting of Viking women as well as men were the norm among the migrants to these areas; this may be because areas like the Shetland Islands, being closer to Scandinavia, were more suitable targets for family migrations, while frontier settlements further north and west were more suitable for groups of unattached male colonizers. During the reign of King Beorhtric of Wessex three ships of "Northmen" landed at Portland Bay in Dorset; the local reeve mistook the Vikings for merchants and directed them to the nearby royal estate, but the visitors killed him and his men. The earliest recorded planned Viking raid, on 6 January 793, targeted the monastery on the island of Lindisfarne, off the north-east coast of Northumbria. According to the 12th-century Anglo-Norman chronicler Symeon of Durham, the raiders killed the resident monks or threw them into the sea to drown or carried them away as slaves—along with some of the church treasures.
In 875, after enduring eight decades
Bishop of London
The Bishop of London is the ordinary of the Church of England Diocese of London in the Province of Canterbury. The diocese covers 458 km2 of 17 boroughs of Greater London north of the River Thames and a small part of the County of Surrey; the see is in the City of London where the seat is St Paul's Cathedral, founded as a cathedral in 604 and was rebuilt from 1675 following the Great Fire of London. Third in seniority in the Church of England after the Archbishops of Canterbury and York, the bishop is one of five senior bishops who sit as of right as one of the 26 Lords Spiritual in the House of Lords; the other four senior bishops are the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Archbishop of York, the Bishop of Durham and the Bishop of Winchester. The bishop's residence is The Dean's Court, City of London. For over 1000 years, Fulham Palace was the residence and from the 18th century the bishop had chambers at London House next to the Bishop's Chapel in Aldersgate Street; the current Bishop of London is Sarah Mullally.
She was confirmed on 8 March 2018 after acting in post after her canonical election on 25 January 2018. The diocesan bishop of London has had direct episcopal oversight in the Two Cities area since the institution of the London area scheme in 1979. According to a 12th-century list, which may be recorded by Jocelyne of Furness, there had been 14 "archbishops" of London, claiming London's Christian community was founded in the 2nd century under the legendary King Lucius and his missionary saints Fagan, Deruvian and Medwin. None of, considered credible by modern historians but, although the surviving text is problematic, either Bishop Restitutus or Adelphius at the 314 Council of Arles seems to have come from Londinium. However, according to sources, there had been 16 Romano-British "bishops" of London; the location of Londinium's original cathedral is uncertain. The present structure of St Peter upon Cornhill was designed by Christopher Wren following the Great Fire in 1666 but it stands upon the highest point in the area of old Londinium and medieval legends tied it to the city's earliest Christian community.
In 1995, however, a large and ornate 4th-century church was discovered on Tower Hill, which seems to have mimicked St Ambrose's cathedral in the imperial capital at Milan on a still-larger scale. This possible cathedral was built between 350 and 400 out of stone taken from other buildings, including its veneer of black marble, it was burnt down in the early 5th century. Following the establishment of the archdiocese of Canterbury by the Gregorian mission, its leader St Augustine consecrated Mellitus as the first bishop to the Saxon kingdom of Essex. Bede records that Augustine's patron, King Æthelberht of Kent, built a cathedral for his nephew King Sæberht of Essex as part of this mission; this cathedral was dedicated to St Paul. Although it's not clear whether Lundenwic or Lundenburh was intended, it is assumed the church was located in the same place occupied by the present St Paul's Cathedral atop Ludgate Hill in London. Renaissance rumours that the cathedral had been erected over a Roman temple of the goddess Diana are no longer credited: during his rebuilding of the cathedral following the Great Fire of 1666, Christopher Wren reported discovering no trace of such a structure.
Because the bishop's diocese includes the royal palaces and the seat of government at Westminster, he has been regarded as the "King's bishop" and has had considerable influence with members of the Royal Family and leading politicians of the day. Since 1748 it has been customary to appoint the Bishop of London to the post of Dean of the Chapel Royal, which has the amusing effect of putting under the bishop's jurisdiction, as dean, several chapels which are geographically in the Diocese of London but, as royal peculiars, are outside the bishop's jurisdiction as bishop; the Bishop of London had responsibility for the church in the British colonies in North America, although after the American Revolution of 1776, all that remained under his jurisdiction were the islands of the British West Indies. The diocese was further reduced in 1846, when the counties of Essex and Hertfordshire were ceded to the Diocese of Rochester; the dates and names of these early bishops are uncertain. Diocese of London website Bishop of London refuses to ban gay Bishop from church service The papers of the Bishops of London covering 1423–1945 are held at Lambeth Palace Library
Norman and Medieval London
This article covers the history of London from the Norman conquest of England in 1066 to the late 15th century. The Norman invasion of Britain in 1066 is considered to be the beginning of a new era in English history. William, Duke of Normandy, defeated English king Harold Godwinson at the Battle of Hastings. Having conquered Hampshire and Kent and his army turned to London. Having failed to cross London bridge at Southwark, William's army marched clockwise around London and waited to the north-west at Berkhamsted. Where, having realised that resistance was pointless, a delegation from London arrived to surrender the city, recognise William as King. William soon granted a charter for London in 1067 which upheld previous Saxon rights and laws. Under William several royal forts were constructed along the riverfront of London to defend against seaborne attacks by Vikings and prevent rebellions, its growing self-government became firm with election rights granted by King John in 1199 and 1215. In 1097 William Rufus, the third son of William I of England began the construction of Westminster Hall.
The hall was to become the basis of the Palace of Westminster which, throughout the Medieval period, was the prime royal residence. In 1089/90 William had given the royal manor of Bermondsey for the site of Bermondsey Abbey, founded in 1082 by Alwinus Child, a citizen of London; the new abbey thus lay directly across the Thames from the White Tower still under construction. In 1123 the Augustinian Priory Church of St Bartholomew-the-Great was founded at West Smithfield in the City of London. Whilst only the chancel of this once large church now survives, as a parish church, the entire nave having been demolished, it is one of the most important remnants of Norman architecture in London. In 1176 construction began of the most famous incarnation of London Bridge, built on the site of several earlier wooden bridges; this bridge would last for 600 years, remained the only bridge across the River Thames until 1739. London was a centre of England's Jewish population. Violence against Jews took place in 1190, after it was rumoured that the new King had ordered their massacre after they had presented themselves at his coronation.
May 1216 saw the last time that London was occupied by a continental armed force, during the First Barons' War. This was. Throughout the city and in the cathedral he was celebrated as the new ruler, it was expected. This was only temporarily true; the barons supporting the 29-year-old French prince decided to throw their support back to an English king when John died. Over the next several hundred years, London would shake off the heavy French cultural and linguistic influence, there since the times of the Norman conquest; the city, like Dover, would figure into the development of Early Modern English. In 1264 during the Second Barons' War, Simon de Montfort's rebels occupied London and killed 500 Jews while attempting to seize records of debts. London's Jewish community was forced to leave England by the expulsion by Edward I in 1290, they left for France and further afield. During the Peasants' Revolt of 1381 led by Wat Tyler, London was invaded. A group of peasants stormed the Tower of London and executed the Lord Chancellor, Archbishop Simon Sudbury, the Lord Treasurer.
The peasants looted the set fire to numerous buildings. Tyler was stabbed to death by the Lord Mayor William Walworth in a confrontation at Smithfield, thus ending the revolt. During the Wars of the Roses there was strong support in London for the Yorkist cause; the Lancastrian Henry VI was forced to leave London for the Midlands in 1456 due to hostile attitudes in the capital. He was captured and kept for five years in the Tower of London. London was captured by the Yorkist Edward IV in 1471, Henry executed; this ended the first phase of the Wars of the Roses. In the early Middle Ages, England had no fixed capital per se; the closest thing to a capital was Winchester where the royal treasury and financial records were stored. This changed from about 1200. From this point on, Royal government became centered upon Westminster, which became the de facto capital. In the Middle Ages, Westminster was a small town up river from the City of London. From the 13th century onwards London grew up in two different parts.
Westminster became the Royal capital and centre of government, whereas the City of London became the centre of commerce and trade, a distinction, still evident to this day. The area between them became urbanised by 1600. Trade and commerce grew during the Middle Ages, London grew as a result. In 1100 London's population was little more than 15,000. By 1300 it had grown to 80,000. Trade in London was organised into various guilds, which controlled the city, elected the Lord Mayor of London. Medieval London was made up of narrow and twisting streets, most of the buildings were made from combustible materials such as wood and straw, which made fire a constant threat. Sanitation in London was poor. London lost at least half of its population during the Black Death in the mid-14th century. Between 1348 and the Great Plague of 1666 there were sixteen outbreaks of plague in the city. Medieval Lo
Mercia was one of the kingdoms of the Anglo-Saxon Heptarchy. The name is a Latinisation of the Old English Mierce or Myrce, meaning "border people". Mercia dominated what would become England for three centuries, subsequently going into a gradual decline while Wessex conquered and united all the kingdoms into Kingdom of England; the kingdom was centred on the valley of the River Trent and its tributaries, in the region now known as the English Midlands. The kingdom did not have a single capital as such. In times before a sizable civil service the'capital' was wherever the king was at any given time. Early in its existence Repton seems to have been the location of an important royal estate. According to the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, it was from Repton in 873-4 that the Great Heathen Army deposed the King of Mercia. Earlier, King Offa seems to have favoured Tamworth, it was there where he was spent many a Christmas. For 300 years, having annexed or gained submissions from five of the other six kingdoms of the Heptarchy, Mercia dominated England south of the River Humber: this period is known as the Mercian Supremacy.
The reign of King Offa, best remembered for his Dyke that designated the boundary between Mercia and the Welsh kingdoms, is sometimes known as the "Golden Age of Mercia". Nicholas Brooks noted that "the Mercians stand out as by far the most successful of the various early Anglo-Saxon peoples until the ninth century", some historians, such as Sir Frank Stenton, believe the unification of England south of the Humber estuary was achieved during the reign of Offa. Mercia was a pagan kingdom; the Diocese of Mercia was founded in 656, with the first bishop, based at Repton. After 13 years at Repton, in 669 the fifth bishop, Saint Chad, moved the bishopric to Lichfield, where it has been based since. In 691, the Diocese of Mercia became the Diocese of Lichfield. For a brief period between 787 and 799 the diocese was an archbishopric, although it was dissolved in 803; the current bishop, Michael Ipgrave, is the 99th. At the end of the 9th century, following the invasions of the Vikings and their Great Heathen Army, much of the former Mercian territory was absorbed into the Danelaw.
At its height, the Danelaw included all of East Anglia and most of the North of England. The final Mercian king, Ceolwulf II, died in 879, it was ruled by a lord or ealdorman under the overlordship of Alfred the Great, who styled himself "King of the Anglo-Saxons". The kingdom had a brief period of independence in the mid-10th century, again briefly in 1016. Mercia is still used as a geographic designation, the name is used by a wide range of organisations, including military units, public and voluntary bodies. Mercia's exact evolution at the start of the Anglo-Saxon era remains more obscure than that of Northumbria, Kent, or Wessex. Mercia developed an effective political structure and adopted Christianity than the other kingdoms. Archaeological surveys show that Angles settled the lands north of the River Thames by the 6th century; the name "Mercia" is Old English for "boundary folk", the traditional interpretation is that the kingdom originated along the frontier between the native Welsh and the Anglo-Saxon invaders.
However, P. Hunter Blair argued an alternative interpretation: that they emerged along the frontier between Northumbria and the inhabitants of the Trent river valley. While its earliest boundaries will never be known, there is general agreement that the territory, called "the first of the Mercians" in the Tribal Hidage covered much of south Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire, Northamptonshire and northern Warwickshire; the earliest person named in any records as a king of Mercia is Creoda, said to have been the great-grandson of Icel. Coming to power around 584, he built a fortress at Tamworth, his son Pybba succeeded him in 593. Cearl, a kinsman of Creoda, followed Pybba in 606; the Mercian kings were the only Anglo-Saxon Heptarchy ruling house known to claim a direct family link with a pre-migration Continental Germanic monarchy. The next Mercian king, ruled from about 626 or 633 until 655; some of what is known about Penda comes from the hostile account of Bede, who disliked him – both as an enemy to Bede's own Northumbria and as a pagan.
However, Bede admits that Penda allowed Christian missionaries from Lindisfarne into Mercia, did not restrain them from preaching. In 633 Penda and his ally Cadwallon of Gwynedd defeated and killed Edwin, who had become not only ruler of the newly unified Northumbria, but bretwalda, or high king, over the southern kingdoms; when another Northumbrian king, Oswald and again claimed overlordship of the south, he suffered defeat and death at the hands of Penda and his allies – in 642 at the Battle of Maserfield. In 655, after a period of confusion in Northumbria, Penda brought 30 sub-kings to fight the new Northumbrian king Oswiu at the Battle of Winwaed, in which Penda in turn lost the battle and his life; the battle led to a temporary collapse of Mercian power. Penda's son Peada, who had converted to Christianity a
History of London
The history of London, the capital city of England and the United Kingdom, extends over 2000 years. In that time, it has become one of the world's most significant financial and cultural capital cities, it has withstood plague, devastating fire, civil war, aerial bombardment, terrorist attacks, riots. The City of London referred to as "the City", is the historic core of the Greater London metropolis, is today its primary financial district, though it represents only a small part of the wider metropolis. According to Historia Regum Britanniae, by Geoffrey of Monmouth, London was founded by Brutus of Troy about 1000–1100 B. C. after he defeated the native giant Gogmagog. Trinovantes were the Iron Age tribe. Geoffrey provides prehistoric London with a rich array of legendary kings, such as Lud who, he claims, renamed the town Caer Ludein, from which London was derived, was buried at Ludgate; some recent discoveries indicate probable early settlements near the Thames in the London area. In 1993, the remains of a Bronze Age bridge were found on the Thames's south foreshore, upstream of Vauxhall Bridge.
This bridge either went to a now lost island in the river. Dendrology dated the timbers to between 1750 BC and 1285 BC. In 2001, a further dig found that the timbers were driven vertically into the ground on the south bank of the Thames west of Vauxhall Bridge. In 2010, the foundations of a large timber structure, dated to between 4,800 BC and 4,500 BC, were found, again on the foreshore south of Vauxhall Bridge; the function of the mesolithic structure is not known. All these structures are on the south bank at a natural crossing point where the River Effra flows into the Thames, it is thought that the Thames was an important tribal boundary, numerous finds have been made of spear heads and weaponry from the Bronze and Iron Ages near the banks of the Thames in the London area, many of, used in battle. Archaeologist Leslie Wallace notes that "Because no LPRIA settlements or significant domestic refuse have been found in London, despite extensive archaeological excavation, arguments for a purely Roman foundation of London are now common and uncontroversial."
Londinium was established as a civilian town by the Romans about four years after the invasion of AD 43. London, like Rome, was founded on the point of the river where it was narrow enough to bridge and the strategic location of the city provided easy access to much of Europe. Early Roman London occupied a small area equivalent to the size of Hyde Park. In around AD 60, it was destroyed by the Iceni led by their queen Boudica; the city was rebuilt as a planned Roman town and recovered after 10 years, the city growing over the following decades. During the 2nd century Londinium was at its height and replaced Colchester as the capital of Roman Britain, its population was around 60,000 inhabitants. It boasted major public buildings, including the largest basilica north of the Alps, bath houses, an amphitheatre and a large fort for the city garrison. Political instability and recession from the 3rd century onwards led to a slow decline. At some time between AD 180 and AD 225, the Romans built the defensive London Wall around the landward side of the city.
The wall was about 3 kilometres long, 6 metres high, 2.5 metres thick. The wall would survive for another 1,600 years and define the City of London's perimeters for centuries to come; the perimeters of the present City are defined by the line of the ancient wall. Londonium was an ethnically diverse city with inhabitants from across the Roman Empire, including natives of Britannia, continental Europe, the Middle East, North Africa. In the late 3rd century, Londinium was raided on several occasions by Saxon pirates; this led, to the construction of an additional riverside wall. Six of the traditional seven city gates of London are of Roman origin, namely: Ludgate, Aldersgate, Cripplegate and Aldgate. By the 5th century, the Roman Empire was in rapid decline and in AD 410, the Roman occupation of Britannia came to an end. Following this, the Roman city went into rapid decline and by the end of the 5th century was abandoned; until it was believed that Anglo-Saxon settlement avoided the area around Londinium.
However, the discovery in 2008 of an Anglo-Saxon cemetery at Covent Garden indicates that the incomers had begun to settle there at least as early as the 6th century and in the 5th. The main focus of this settlement was outside the Roman walls, clustering a short distance to the west along what is now the Strand, between the Aldwych and Trafalgar Square, it was known as the - wic suffix here denoting a trading settlement. Recent excavations have highlighted the population density and sophisticated urban organisation of this earlier Anglo-Saxon London, laid out on a grid pattern and grew to house a population of 10-12,000. Early Anglo-Saxon London belonged to a people known as the Middle Saxons, from whom the name of the county of Middlesex is derived, but who also occupied the approximate area of modern Hertfordshire and Surrey. However, by the early 7th century the London area had been incorporated into the kingdom of the East Saxons. In 604 King Saeberht of Essex converted to Christianity and London received Mellitus, its first post-Roman bishop.
At this time E
Norman conquest of England
The Norman Conquest of England was the 11th-century invasion and occupation of England by an army of Norman, Breton and French soldiers led by the Duke of Normandy styled William the Conqueror. William's claim to the English throne derived from his familial relationship with the childless Anglo-Saxon king Edward the Confessor, who may have encouraged William's hopes for the throne. Edward was succeeded by his brother-in-law Harold Godwinson; the Norwegian king Harald Hardrada invaded northern England in September 1066 and was victorious at the Battle of Fulford, but Godwinson's army defeated and killed Hardrada at the Battle of Stamford Bridge on 25 September. Within days, William landed in southern England. Harold marched south leaving a significant portion of his army in the north. Harold's army confronted William's invaders on 14 October at the Battle of Hastings. Although William's main rivals were gone, he still faced rebellions over the following years and was not secure on his throne until after 1072.
The lands of the resisting English elite were confiscated. To control his new kingdom, William granted lands to his followers and built castles commanding military strongpoints throughout the land. Other effects of the conquest included the court and government, the introduction of the Norman language as the language of the elites, changes in the composition of the upper classes, as William enfeoffed lands to be held directly from the king. More gradual changes affected the agricultural classes and village life: the main change appears to have been the formal elimination of slavery, which may or may not have been linked to the invasion. There was little alteration in the structure of government, as the new Norman administrators took over many of the forms of Anglo-Saxon government. In 911 the Carolingian French ruler Charles the Simple allowed a group of Vikings under their leader Rollo to settle in Normandy as part of the Treaty of Saint-Clair-sur-Epte. In exchange for the land, the Norsemen under Rollo were expected to provide protection along the coast against further Viking invaders.
Their settlement proved successful, the Vikings in the region became known as the "Northmen" from which "Normandy" and "Normans" are derived. The Normans adopted the indigenous culture as they became assimilated by the French, renouncing paganism and converting to Christianity, they adopted the langue d'oïl of their new home and added features from their own Norse language, transforming it into the Norman language. They intermarried with the local population and used the territory granted to them as a base to extend the frontiers of the duchy westward, annexing territory including the Bessin, the Cotentin Peninsula and Avranches. In 1002 English king Æthelred the Unready married Emma of Normandy, the sister of Richard II, Duke of Normandy, their son Edward the Confessor, who spent many years in exile in Normandy, succeeded to the English throne in 1042. This led to the establishment of a powerful Norman interest in English politics, as Edward drew on his former hosts for support, bringing in Norman courtiers and clerics and appointing them to positions of power in the Church.
Childless and embroiled in conflict with the formidable Godwin, Earl of Wessex and his sons, Edward may have encouraged Duke William of Normandy's ambitions for the English throne. When King Edward died at the beginning of 1066, the lack of a clear heir led to a disputed succession in which several contenders laid claim to the throne of England. Edward's immediate successor was the Earl of Wessex, Harold Godwinson, the richest and most powerful of the English aristocrats. Harold was elected king by the Witenagemot of England and crowned by the Archbishop of York, although Norman propaganda claimed the ceremony was performed by Stigand, the uncanonically elected Archbishop of Canterbury. Harold was challenged by two powerful neighbouring rulers. Duke William claimed that he had been promised the throne by King Edward and that Harold had sworn agreement to this, his claim to the throne was based on an agreement between his predecessor, Magnus the Good, the earlier English king, whereby if either died without heir, the other would inherit both England and Norway.
William and Harald at once set about assembling ships to invade England. In early 1066, Harold's exiled brother, Tostig Godwinson, raided southeastern England with a fleet he had recruited in Flanders joined by other ships from Orkney. Threatened by Harold's fleet, Tostig moved north and raided in East Anglia and Lincolnshire, but he was driven back to his ships by the brothers Edwin, Earl of Mercia, Morcar, Earl of Northumbria. Deserted by most of his followers, Tostig withdrew to Scotland, where he spent the summer recruiting fresh forces. King Harold spent the summer on the south coast with a large army and fleet waiting for William to invade, but the bulk of his forces were militia who needed to harvest their crops, so on 8 September Harold dismissed them. King Harald Hardrada invaded northern England in early September, leading a fleet of more than 300 ships carrying 15,000 men. Harald's army was further augmented by the forces of Tostig, who threw his support behind the Norwegian king's bid for the throne.
Advancing on York, the Norwegians defeated a northern English army under Edwin and Morcar on 20 September at the Battle of Fulford. The two earls had rushed to engage the Norwegian forces before King Harold could arrive from the south. Alth