Vikings were Norse seafarers speaking the Old Norse language, who during the late 8th to late 11th centuries and traded from their Northern European homelands across wide areas of Europe, explored westwards to Iceland and Vinland. The term is commonly extended in modern English and other vernaculars to the inhabitants of Norse home communities during what has become known as the Viking Age; this period of Nordic military and demographic expansion constitutes an important element in the early medieval history of Scandinavia, the British Isles, Kievan Rus' and Sicily. Facilitated by advanced sailing and navigational skills, characterised by the longship, Viking activities at times extended into the Mediterranean littoral, North Africa, the Middle East. Following extended phases of exploration and settlement, Viking communities and governments were established in diverse areas of north-western Europe, Belarus and European Russia, the North Atlantic islands and as far as the north-eastern coast of North America.
This period of expansion witnessed the wider dissemination of Norse culture, while introducing strong foreign cultural influences into Scandinavia itself, with profound developmental implications in both directions. Popular, modern conceptions of the Vikings—the term applied casually to their modern descendants and the inhabitants of modern Scandinavia—often differ from the complex picture that emerges from archaeology and historical sources. A romanticised picture of Vikings as noble savages began to emerge in the 18th century. Perceived views of the Vikings as alternatively violent, piratical heathens or as intrepid adventurers owe much to conflicting varieties of the modern Viking myth that had taken shape by the early 20th century. Current popular representations of the Vikings are based on cultural clichés and stereotypes, complicating modern appreciation of the Viking legacy; these representations are not always accurate — for example, there is no evidence that they wore horned helmets.
One etymology derives víking from the feminine vík, meaning "creek, small bay". Various theories have been offered that the word viking may be derived from the name of the historical Norwegian district of Viken, meaning "a person from Viken". According to this theory, the word described persons from this area, it is only in the last few centuries that it has taken on the broader sense of early medieval Scandinavians in general. However, there are a few major problems with this theory. People from the Viken area were not called'Viking' in Old Norse manuscripts, but are referred to as víkverir,'Vík dwellers'. In addition, that explanation could explain only the masculine and ignore the feminine, a serious problem because the masculine is derived from the feminine but hardly vice versa; the form occurs as a personal name on some Swedish runestones. The stone of Tóki víking was raised in memory of a local man named Tóki who got the name Tóki víking because of his activities as a viking; the Gårdstånga Stone uses the phrase "ÞeR drængaR waRu wiða unesiR i wikingu", referring to the stone's dedicatees as vikings.
The Västra Strö 1 Runestone has an inscription in memory of a Björn, killed when "i viking". In Sweden there is a locality known since the middle ages as Vikingstad; the Bro Stone was risen in memory of Assur, said to have protected the land from vikings. There is little indication of any negative connotation in the term before the end of the Viking Age. Another etymology, one that gained support in the early twenty-first century, derives Viking from the same root as Old Norse vika, f.'sea mile', originally'the distance between two shifts of rowers', from the root *weik or *wîk, as in the Proto-Germanic verb *wîkan,'to recede'. This is found in the Proto-Nordic verb *wikan,'to turn', similar to Old Icelandic víkja'to move, to turn', with well-attested nautical usages. Linguistically, this theory is better attested, the term most predates the use of the sail by the Germanic peoples of North-Western Europe, because the Old Frisian spelling shows that the word was pronounced with a palatal k and thus in all probability existed in North-Western Germanic before that palatalisation happened, that is, in the 5th century or before.
In that case, the idea behind it seems to be that the tired rower moves aside for the rested rower on the thwart when he relieves him. The Old Norse feminine víking may have been a sea journey characterised by the shifting of rowers, i.e. a long-distance sea journey, because in the pre-sail era, the shifting of rowers would distinguish long-distance sea journeys. A víkingr would originally have been a participant on a sea journey characterised by the shifting of rowers. In that case, the word Viking was not connected to Scandinavian seafarers but assumed this meaning when the Scandinavians begun to dominate the seas. In Old English, the word wicing appears first in the Anglo-Saxon poem, which dates from the 9th century. In Old English, in the history of the archbishops of Hamburg-Bremen written by Adam of Bremen in about 1070, the term referred to Scandi
London is the capital and largest city of both England and the United Kingdom. Standing on the River Thames in the south-east of England, at the head of its 50-mile estuary leading to the North Sea, London has been a major settlement for two millennia. Londinium was founded by the Romans; the City of London, London's ancient core − an area of just 1.12 square miles and colloquially known as the Square Mile − retains boundaries that follow its medieval limits. The City of Westminster is an Inner London borough holding city status. Greater London is governed by the Mayor of the London Assembly. London is considered to be one of the world's most important global cities and has been termed the world's most powerful, most desirable, most influential, most visited, most expensive, sustainable, most investment friendly, most popular for work, the most vegetarian friendly city in the world. London exerts a considerable impact upon the arts, education, fashion, healthcare, professional services and development, tourism and transportation.
London ranks 26 out of 300 major cities for economic performance. It is one of the largest financial centres and has either the fifth or sixth largest metropolitan area GDP, it is the most-visited city as measured by international arrivals and has the busiest city airport system as measured by passenger traffic. It is the leading investment destination, hosting more international retailers and ultra high-net-worth individuals than any other city. London's universities form the largest concentration of higher education institutes in Europe. In 2012, London became the first city to have hosted three modern Summer Olympic Games. London has a diverse range of people and cultures, more than 300 languages are spoken in the region, its estimated mid-2016 municipal population was 8,787,892, the most populous of any city in the European Union and accounting for 13.4% of the UK population. London's urban area is the second most populous in the EU, after Paris, with 9,787,426 inhabitants at the 2011 census.
The population within the London commuter belt is the most populous in the EU with 14,040,163 inhabitants in 2016. London was the world's most populous city from c. 1831 to 1925. London contains four World Heritage Sites: the Tower of London. Other landmarks include Buckingham Palace, the London Eye, Piccadilly Circus, St Paul's Cathedral, Tower Bridge, Trafalgar Square and The Shard. London has numerous museums, galleries and sporting events; these include the British Museum, National Gallery, Natural History Museum, Tate Modern, British Library and West End theatres. The London Underground is the oldest underground railway network in the world. "London" is an ancient name, attested in the first century AD in the Latinised form Londinium. Over the years, the name has attracted many mythicising explanations; the earliest attested appears in Geoffrey of Monmouth's Historia Regum Britanniae, written around 1136. This had it that the name originated from a supposed King Lud, who had taken over the city and named it Kaerlud.
Modern scientific analyses of the name must account for the origins of the different forms found in early sources Latin, Old English, Welsh, with reference to the known developments over time of sounds in those different languages. It is agreed; this was adapted into Latin as Londinium and borrowed into Old English, the ancestor-language of English. The toponymy of the Common Brythonic form is much debated. A prominent explanation was Richard Coates's 1998 argument that the name derived from pre-Celtic Old European *lowonida, meaning "river too wide to ford". Coates suggested that this was a name given to the part of the River Thames which flows through London. However, most work has accepted a Celtic origin for the name, recent studies have favoured an explanation along the lines of a Celtic derivative of a proto-Indo-European root *lendh-, combined with the Celtic suffix *-injo- or *-onjo-. Peter Schrijver has suggested, on these grounds, that the name meant'place that floods'; until 1889, the name "London" applied to the City of London, but since it has referred to the County of London and Greater London.
"London" is sometimes written informally as "LDN". In 1993, the remains of a Bronze Age bridge were found on the south foreshore, upstream of Vauxhall Bridge; this bridge either reached a now lost island in it. Two of those timbers were radiocarbon dated to between 1750 BC and 1285 BC. In 2010 the foundations of a large timber structure, dated to between 4800 BC and 4500 BC, were found on the Thames's south foreshore, downstream of Vauxhall Bridge; the function of the mesolithic structure is not known. Both structures are on the south bank. Although there is evidence of scattered Brythonic settlements in the area, the first major settlement was founded by the Romans about four years after the invasion
Wallingford is a historic market town and civil parish located to the south of Oxford on the River Thames in England. Located in the county of Berkshire, it was transferred to Oxfordshire for the purposes of administration in 1974. Wallingford is situated 12 miles north of Reading, 13 miles south of Oxford and 11 miles north west of Henley-on-Thames; the town's population was 11,600 in the 2011 census. The town has played an important role in English history starting with the surrender of Stigand to William the Conqueror in 1066, which led to his taking the throne and the creation of Wallingford Castle; the castle and the town flourished for much of the Middle Ages. The Treaty of Wallingford, which ended a civil war known as The Anarchy between King Stephen and Empress Matilda, was signed there; the town entered a period of decline after the arrival of the Black Death and falling out of favour with the Tudor monarchs before being called on once again during the English Civil War. Wallingford held out as the last remaining Royalist stronghold in Berkshire before surrendering after a 16-week siege.
Fearing that Wallingford Castle could be used in a future uprising, Oliver Cromwell ordered its destruction. Since Wallingford has become a market town and centre of local commerce. At the centre of the town is a large open market square with the war memorial and 17th century arcaded town hall to the south, the Corn Exchange theatre to the east and numerous shops around the edges. Off the square there are a number of historic inns. Although it was a small town, Wallingford once had 14 churches. Wallingford is run by a town council consisting of 16 members, it is part of the South Oxfordshire district and the county of Oxfordshire, having been represented by the Municipal Borough of Wallingford. Its Member of Parliament is Ed Vaizey, the County Councillor is Lynda Atkins, one of five Independent members of the Oxfordshire County Council. Wallingford developed around an important crossing point of the River Thames. There is evidence of Roman activity in the area who have left traces of occupation, roads and pottery, but the Anglo-Saxons built the first settlement.
Wallingford has been fortified since the Anglo-Saxon period when it was an important fortified borough of Wessex with the right to mint royal coinage. It was enclosed with substantial earthworks by King Alfred the Great in the ninth century as part of a network of fortified towns known as burhs, or burghs, to protect Wessex against the Vikings; these defences can still be discerned as a group of four square areas around the centre of the town and are well-preserved. Wallingford became the seat of the county's Ealdorman. During the Norman conquest in 1066, the Anglo-Saxon lord Wigod allowed William the Conqueror's invading armies into Wallingford to rest and to cross the Thames unopposed, it is in Wallingford that Stigand the Archbishopric of Canterbury surrendered and submitted to William thereby all but ending opposition to William's ascent to the throne. From Wallingford, William with Stigand and his armies rode east to Berkhamsted where he received the final surrender from Edgar and the rest of the English leadership before marching on London for his coronation on Christmas Day.
At that time, the river at Wallingford was the lowest point. The town subsequently stood in high favour with the Normans; the Domesday Book of 1085 lists Wallingford as one of only 18 towns in the kingdom with a population of over 2,000 people. Wallingford Castle was built soon afterward on the orders of William and became a key strategic centre controlling the Thames crossing and surrounding area. Wallingford Priory known as Holy Trinity Priory, is believed to have stood on the site of the Bullcroft recreation ground off the High Street; this Benedictine priory was established on land granted to St Albans Abbey in 1097 by Henry I, Geoffrey the Chamberlain gave the priory to St Albans Paul, 14th Abbot of St Albans, who sent some of his monks to establish a cell there. Wallingford Priory produced the mathematician Richard of Wallingford and the chronicler John of Wallingford. Wallingford provided refuge for the Empress Matilda's party during the civil war that began after her father Henry I's death.
After the fall of Oxford Castle to Stephen in 1141, Matilda fled to Wallingford, according to some historic accounts in the snow under a moonlit sky. Wallingford Castle was besieged unsuccessfully a number of times with the Treaty of Wallingford ending the conflict there in November 1153; the town was granted a Royal Charter in 1155 by the new king, Henry II, being the second town in England to receive one. During Prince John's unsuccessful revolt against his brother king Richard I whilst Richard was involved with the Third Crusade, John seized Wallingford Castle in 1189; the rebellion failed, John was forced to return the castle to the king's administrators. King John reclaimed the castle after his inheriting the crown in 1199. John modernised and enlarged the Castle and used it extensively during the First Barons' War; the castle was a regular royal residence until the Black Death arrived in 1349. The castle declined subsequently; the road from London to Gloucestershire passed through Wallingford, the town flourished as a trading centre throughout most of the Middle Ag
In the history of Europe, the Middle Ages lasted from the 5th to the 15th century. It began with the fall of the Western Roman Empire and merged into the Renaissance and the Age of Discovery; the Middle Ages is the middle period of the three traditional divisions of Western history: classical antiquity, the medieval period, the modern period. The medieval period is itself subdivided into the Early and Late Middle Ages. Population decline, counterurbanisation, collapse of centralized authority and mass migrations of tribes, which had begun in Late Antiquity, continued in the Early Middle Ages; the large-scale movements of the Migration Period, including various Germanic peoples, formed new kingdoms in what remained of the Western Roman Empire. In the 7th century, North Africa and the Middle East—once part of the Byzantine Empire—came under the rule of the Umayyad Caliphate, an Islamic empire, after conquest by Muhammad's successors. Although there were substantial changes in society and political structures, the break with classical antiquity was not complete.
The still-sizeable Byzantine Empire, Rome's direct continuation, survived in the Eastern Mediterranean and remained a major power. The empire's law code, the Corpus Juris Civilis or "Code of Justinian", was rediscovered in Northern Italy in 1070 and became admired in the Middle Ages. In the West, most kingdoms incorporated the few extant Roman institutions. Monasteries were founded; the Franks, under the Carolingian dynasty established the Carolingian Empire during the 8th and early 9th century. It covered much of Western Europe but succumbed to the pressures of internal civil wars combined with external invasions: Vikings from the north, Magyars from the east, Saracens from the south. During the High Middle Ages, which began after 1000, the population of Europe increased as technological and agricultural innovations allowed trade to flourish and the Medieval Warm Period climate change allowed crop yields to increase. Manorialism, the organisation of peasants into villages that owed rent and labour services to the nobles, feudalism, the political structure whereby knights and lower-status nobles owed military service to their overlords in return for the right to rent from lands and manors, were two of the ways society was organised in the High Middle Ages.
The Crusades, first preached in 1095, were military attempts by Western European Christians to regain control of the Holy Land from Muslims. Kings became the heads of centralised nation-states, reducing crime and violence but making the ideal of a unified Christendom more distant. Intellectual life was marked by scholasticism, a philosophy that emphasised joining faith to reason, by the founding of universities; the theology of Thomas Aquinas, the paintings of Giotto, the poetry of Dante and Chaucer, the travels of Marco Polo, the Gothic architecture of cathedrals such as Chartres are among the outstanding achievements toward the end of this period and into the Late Middle Ages. The Late Middle Ages was marked by difficulties and calamities including famine and war, which diminished the population of Europe. Controversy and the Western Schism within the Catholic Church paralleled the interstate conflict, civil strife, peasant revolts that occurred in the kingdoms. Cultural and technological developments transformed European society, concluding the Late Middle Ages and beginning the early modern period.
The Middle Ages is one of the three major periods in the most enduring scheme for analysing European history: classical civilisation, or Antiquity. The "Middle Ages" first appears in Latin in 1469 as media tempestas or "middle season". In early usage, there were many variants, including medium aevum, or "middle age", first recorded in 1604, media saecula, or "middle ages", first recorded in 1625; the alternative term "medieval" derives from medium aevum. Medieval writers divided history into periods such as the "Six Ages" or the "Four Empires", considered their time to be the last before the end of the world; when referring to their own times, they spoke of them as being "modern". In the 1330s, the humanist and poet Petrarch referred to pre-Christian times as antiqua and to the Christian period as nova. Leonardo Bruni was the first historian to use tripartite periodisation in his History of the Florentine People, with a middle period "between the fall of the Roman Empire and the revival of city life sometime in late eleventh and twelfth centuries".
Tripartite periodisation became standard after the 17th-century German historian Christoph Cellarius divided history into three periods: ancient and modern. The most given starting point for the Middle Ages is around 500, with the date of 476 first used by Bruni. Starting dates are sometimes used in the outer parts of Europe. For Europe as a whole, 1500 is considered to be the end of the Middle Ages, but there is no universally agreed upon end date. Depending on the context, events such as the conquest of Constantinople by the Turks in 1453, Christopher Columbus's first voyage to the Americas in 1492, or the Protestant Reformation in 1517 are sometimes used. English historians use the Battle of Bosworth Field in 1485 to mark the end of the period. For Spain, dates used are the death of King Ferdinand II in 1516, the death of Queen Isabella I of Castile in 1504, or the conquest of Granada in 1492. Historians from Romance-speaking countries tend to divide the Middle Ages into two parts: an earlier "High" and late
Æthelstan or Athelstan was King of the Anglo-Saxons from 924 to 927 and King of the English from 927 to 939 when he died. He was his first wife, Ecgwynn. Modern historians regard him as one of the greatest Anglo-Saxon kings, he never had no children. He was succeeded by Edmund; when Edward died in July 924, Æthelstan was accepted by the Mercians as king. His half-brother Ælfweard may have been recognised as king in Wessex, but died within three weeks of their father's death. Æthelstan encountered resistance in Wessex for several months, was not crowned until September 925. In 927 he conquered the last remaining Viking kingdom, making him the first Anglo-Saxon ruler of the whole of England. In 934 he invaded Scotland and forced Constantine II to submit to him, but Æthelstan's rule was resented by the Scots and Vikings, in 937 they invaded England. Æthelstan defeated them at the Battle of Brunanburh, a victory which gave him great prestige both in the British Isles and on the Continent. After his death in 939 the Vikings seized back control of York, it was not reconquered until 954.
Æthelstan centralised government. These meetings were attended by rulers from outside his territory Welsh kings, who thus acknowledged his overlordship. More legal texts survive from his reign than from any other 10th-century English king, they show his concern about widespread robberies, the threat they posed to social order. His legal reforms built on those of Alfred the Great. Æthelstan was one of the most pious West Saxon kings, was known for collecting relics and founding churches. His household was the centre of English learning during his reign, it laid the foundation for the Benedictine monastic reform in the century. No other West Saxon king played as important a role in European politics as Æthelstan, he arranged the marriages of several of his sisters to continental rulers. By the ninth century the many kingdoms of the early Anglo-Saxon period had been consolidated into four: Wessex, Mercia and East Anglia. In the eighth century, Mercia had been the most powerful kingdom in southern England, but in the early ninth, Wessex became dominant under Æthelstan's great-great-grandfather, Egbert.
In the middle of the century, England came under increasing attack from Viking raids, culminating in invasion by the Great Heathen Army in 865. By 878, the Vikings had overrun East Anglia and Mercia, nearly conquered Wessex; the West Saxons fought back under Alfred the Great, achieved a decisive victory at the Battle of Edington. Alfred and the Viking leader Guthrum agreed on a division that gave Alfred western Mercia, while eastern Mercia was incorporated into Viking East Anglia. In the 890s, renewed Viking attacks were fought off by Alfred, assisted by his son Edward and Æthelred, Lord of the Mercians. Æthelred was married to his daughter Æthelflæd. Alfred was succeeded by Edward. Æthelwold, the son of Æthelred, King Alfred's older brother and predecessor as king, made a bid for power, but was killed at the Battle of the Holme in 902. Little is known of warfare between the English and the Danes over the next few years, but in 909, Edward sent a West Saxon and Mercian army to ravage Northumbria.
The following year the Northumbrian Danes attacked Mercia, but suffered a decisive defeat at the Battle of Tettenhall. Æthelred was succeeded as ruler of Mercia by his widow Æthelflæd. Over the next decade, Edward and Æthelflæd conquered East Anglia. Æthelflæd died in 918 and was succeeded by her daughter Ælfwynn, but in the same year Edward deposed her and took direct control of Mercia. When Edward died in 924, he controlled all of England south of the Humber; the Viking king Sihtric ruled the Kingdom of York in southern Northumbria, but Ealdred maintained Anglo-Saxon rule in at least part of the former kingdom of Bernicia from his base in Bamburgh in northern Northumbria. Constantine II ruled Scotland, apart from the southwest, the British Kingdom of Strathclyde. Wales was divided into a number of small kingdoms, including Deheubarth in the southwest, Gwent in the southeast, Brycheiniog north of Gwent, Gwynedd in the north. According to William of Malmesbury, Æthelstan was thirty years old when he came to the throne in 924, which would mean that he was born around 894.
He was the oldest son of Edward the Elder and the tallest. He was Edward's only son by Ecgwynn. Little is known about Ecgwynn, she is not named in any pre-Conquest source. Medieval chroniclers gave varying descriptions of her rank: one described her as an ignoble consort of inferior birth, while others described her birth as noble. Modern historians disagree about her status. Simon Keynes and Richard Abels believe that leading figures in Wessex were unwilling to accept Æthelstan as king in 924 because his mother had been Edward the Elder's concubine. However, Barbara Yorke and Sarah Foot argue that allegations that Æthelstan was illegitimate were a product of the dispute over the succession, that there is no reason to doubt that she was Edward's legitimate wife, she may have been related to St Dunstan. William of Malmesbury wrote that Alfred the Great honoured his young grandson with a ceremony in which he gave him a scarlet cloak, a belt set with gems, a sword with a gilded scabbard. Medieval Latin scholar Michael Lapid
The Britons known as Celtic Britons or Ancient Britons, were Celtic people who inhabited Great Britain from the British Iron Age into the Middle Ages, at which point their culture and language diverged into the modern Welsh and Bretons. They spoke the ancestor to the modern Brittonic languages; the traditional view that the Celtic Britons migrated from the continent across the English Channel, with their languages and genes in the Iron Age has been undermined in recent decades by the contention of many scholars that Celtic languages had instead spread north along the Atlantic seaboard during the Bronze Age, the results of genetic studies, which show a large continuity between Iron Age and older British populations, suggesting trans-cultural diffusion was very important in the introduction of the Celtic languages. The earliest evidence for the Britons and their language in historical sources dates to the Iron Age. After the Roman conquest of Britain in the 1st century, a Romano-British culture emerged, Latin and British Vulgar Latin coexisted with Brittonic.
During and after the Roman era, the Britons lived throughout Britain. Their relationship with the Picts, who lived north of the Firth of Forth, has been the subject of much discussion, though most scholars now accept that the Pictish language was related to Common Brittonic, rather than a separate Celtic language. With the beginning of Anglo-Saxon settlement and Gaelic Scots in the 5th and 6th centuries, the culture and language of the Britons fragmented, much of their territory was taken over by the Anglo-Saxons and Scots Gaels; the extent to which this cultural and linguistic change was accompanied by wholesale changes in the population is still a matter of discussion. During this period some Britons migrated to mainland Europe and established significant colonies in Brittany, the Channel Islands as well as Britonia in modern Galicia, Spain. By the beginning of the 11th century, remaining Brittonic Celtic-speaking populations had split into distinct groups: the Welsh in Wales, the Cornish in Cornwall, the Bretons in Brittany, the Cumbric speaking people of the Hen Ogledd in southern Scotland and northern England, the remnants of the Pictish people in the north of Scotland.
Common Brittonic developed into the distinct Brittonic languages: Welsh, Cumbric and Breton. The earliest known reference to the inhabitants of Britain seems to come from 4th century BC records of the voyage of Pytheas, a Greek geographer who made a voyage of exploration around the British Isles between 330 and 320 BC. Although none of his own writings remain, writers during the time of the Roman Empire made much reference to them. Pytheas called the islands collectively αἱ Βρεττανίαι, translated as the Brittanic Isles; the peoples of these islands were called the Πρεττανοί, Pritani or Pretani. The group included Ireland, referred to as Ierne "inhabited by the race of Hiberni", Britain as insula Albionum, "island of the Albions"; the term Pritani may have reached Pytheas from the Gauls, who used it as their term for the inhabitants of the islands. The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, compiled by the orders of King Alfred the Great in 890, subsequently maintained and added to by generations of anonymous scribes until the middle of the 12th century, starts with this sentence: "The island Britain is 800 miles long, 200 miles broad, there are in the island five nations: English, Scottish and Latin.
The first inhabitants were the Britons, who came from Armenia, first peopled Britain southward." The Latin name in the early Roman Empire period was Britanni or Brittanni, following the Roman conquest in AD 43. The Welsh word Brython was introduced into English usage by John Rhys in 1884 as a term unambiguously referring to the P-Celtic speakers of Great Britain, to complement Goidel. "Brittonic languages" is a more recent coinage intended to refer to the ancient Britons specifically. In English, the terms "Briton" and British for many centuries denoted only the ancient Celtic Britons and their descendants, most the Welsh and Bretons, who were seen as heirs to the ancient British people. After the Acts of Union 1707, the terms British and Briton came to be applied to all inhabitants of the Kingdom of Great Britain, including the English and some Northern Irish; the Britons spoke an Insular Celtic language known as Common Brittonic. Brittonic was spoken throughout the island of Britain, as well as offshore islands such as the Isle of Man, Scilly Isles, Hebrides, Isle of Wight and Shetland.
According to early medieval historical tradition, such as The Dream of Macsen Wledig, the post-Roman Celtic-speakers of Armorica were colonists from Britain, resulting in the Breton language, a language related to Welsh and identical to Cornish in the early period and still used today. Thus the area today is called Brittany. Common Brittonic developed from the Insular branch of the Proto-Celtic language that developed in the British Isles after arriving from the continent in the 7th century BC; the language began to diverge.
A manor house was the main residence of the lord of the manor. The house formed the administrative centre of a manor in the European feudal system; the term is today loosely applied to various country houses dating from the late medieval era, which housed the gentry. They were sometimes fortified, but this was intended more for show than for defence. Manor houses existed in most European countries where feudalism existed, where they were sometimes known as castles, so on; the lord of the manor may have held several properties within a county or, for example in the case of a feudal baron, spread across a kingdom, which he occupied only on occasional visits. So, the business of the manor required to be directed and controlled by regular manorial courts, which appointed manorial officials such as the bailiff, granted copyhold leases to tenants, resolved disputes between manorial tenants and administered justice in general. A large and suitable building was required within the manor for such purpose in the form of a great hall, a solar might be attached to form accommodation for the lord.
Furthermore, the produce of a small manor might be insufficient to feed a lord and his large family for a full year, thus he would spend only a few months at each manor and move on to another where stores had been laid up. This gave the opportunity for the vacated manor house to be cleaned important in the days of the cess-pit, repaired, thus such non-resident lords needed to appoint a steward or seneschal to act as their deputy in such matters and to preside at the manorial courts of his different manorial properties. The day-to-day administration was carried out by a resident official in authority at each manor, who in England was called a bailiff, or reeve. Although not built with strong fortifications as were castles, many manor-houses were fortified, which required a royal licence to crenellate, they were enclosed within walls or ditches which also included agricultural buildings. Arranged for defence against roaming bands of robbers and thieves, in days long before police, they were surrounded by a moat with a drawbridge, were equipped with gatehouses and watchtowers, but not, as for castles, with a keep, large towers or lofty curtain walls designed to withstand a siege.
The primary feature of the manor house was its great hall, to which subsidiary apartments were added as the lessening of feudal warfare permitted more peaceful domestic life. By the beginning of the 16th century, manor houses as well as small castles began to acquire the character and amenities of the residences of country gentlemen, many defensive elements were dispensed with, for example Sutton Place in Surrey, circa 1521. A late 16th-century transformation produced many of the smaller Renaissance châteaux of France and the numerous country mansions of the Elizabethan and Jacobean styles in England. Before around 1600, larger houses were fortified for true defensive purposes but as the kingdom became internally more peaceable after the Wars of the Roses, as a form of status-symbol, reflecting the position of their owners as having been worthy to receive royal licence to crenellate; the Tudor period of stability in England saw the building of the first of the unfortified great houses, for example Sutton Place in Surrey, circa 1521.
The Dissolution of the Monasteries under King Henry VIII resulted in many former monastical properties being sold to the King's favourites, who converted them into private country houses, examples being Woburn Abbey, Forde Abbey, Nostell Priory and many other mansions with the suffix Abbey or Priory to their name. During the second half of the reign of Queen Elizabeth I and under her successor King James I the first mansions designed by architects not by mere masons or builders, began to make their appearance; such houses as Burghley House, Longleat House, Hatfield House are among the best known of this period and seem today to epitomise the English country house. Nearly every large medieval manor house had its own deer-park adjoining, emparked by royal licence, which served as a store of food in the form of venison. Within these licensed parks deer could not be hunted by royalty, nor by neighbouring land-owners nor by any other persons. During the 16th century many lords of manors moved their residences from their ancient manor houses situated next to the parish church and near or in the village and built a new manor house within the walls of their ancient deer-parks adjoining.
This gave them space. The suffixes given to manor houses today have little substantive meaning, many have changed over time, thus a manor house may have been known as "Heanton House" in the 18th century and in the 19th century as "Heanton Court" and as "Heanton Satchville". "Court" was a suffix which came into use in the 16th century, contemporary topographers felt the need to explain the term to their readers. Thus the Devonshire historian Tristram Risdon clarified the term at least three times in his main work, Survey of Devon: "This now lord of these lands Sir Robert Basset hath his dwelling at Heanton-Court, in this parish, an adjunct importing a manor-house in the lord's signiory". "This Nutwell Court, which signifies a mansion-house in a signiory, came to the family of Prideaux". and regarding the manor of Yarnscombe: "Their house is called "Court", which implieth a manor house, or chief dwelling in a lordship". The biographer John Prince, (1643–1723