William, duke of Normandy, defeated Harold of Wessex near Hastings in 1066.
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The Norman conquest - The Norman conquest - William, duke of Normandy, defeated Harold of Wessex near Hastings in 1066.
During his kingdom William had to resist many rebellions. The Norman conquest introduced a centralized form of feudal system into England. It was based on feudal hierarchy where the king gave lands to barons, who gave lands to knights and so on. barons and knights acquired great importance. Peasants were slaves of knights and they had to serve them everytime it was necessary. Another Norman innovation was the Royal consilium of curia composed by the barons. Then, in order to acquire knowledge of his new dominion and to make a complete survey of the economic life of the country, William sent people officially in charge to take note of all lands, houses and dominions in England.
The result of this huge operation was the Domesday Book. It had two objectives : first to provide information for levy the property tax , and second to give the King information of England. William's relationship with the Church was good: he continued to pay the annual tax (Peter's Pence) to Rome and the Pope had give his blessing to the Norman. The King introduces also the Bishop's Court of justice, which constituted a rival power to the King's Court because William controlled the nomination of Bishops and abbots, who were both spiritual and temporal lords. The English language evolved into Middle English dropping German and French inflections. until the 14th century in England were spoken three languages: French among the nobility, Latin among the clergy and English among the common people. The Plantagenets In 1154 Henry II of Anjou was made king. He restored order and stability; his first task was to reduce the power of the barons which he did with the help of professional soldiers. Knights could now pay the king a sum of money instead of giving the militar service and with this money the king was able to pay mercenaries. (Shield money).He imposed also the “Constitutions of Clarendon” in which he declared that clerks should first judged by the king's court and then by the church court. But Thomas à Becket opposed the king and for this reason was sent into exile in France. When he returned he was murdered in his own cathedral. Henry sent travelling judges round land to hold courts and officially introduced the Common Law, a juridical system developed in England, a consuetudinary right produced by law courts and applied in Anglo-Saxon countries. It is called Common Law because it became a juridical system common to all the England after its political unity, sent his judges to every England's corner to spread this right and it was influenced by past rulers as Saxon and Danes. Another important innovation was Trial by jury, in which the jury was only witness and had no power of verdict; in this way justice has been done. A trial usually goes on in this way: the case is presented, and English judge starts a long work of research in the archives