ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

So what did the Normans ever do for us?!!

Updated on November 25, 2015
Rochester Castle
Rochester Castle


By us I mean the Anglo-Saxons that had been gradually subdued and beaten into submission by the Norman conquest of the 11th Century.

Let us reflect on the conquering achievements of the bastard Duke of Normandy in his role as King of England. In his twenty-one years of rule, what exactly did he achieve?

The first achievement that leaps to mind is castles. The Normans knew how to throw up a mud hill, stick giant wooden stakes around it and shelter behind this relatively secure construction. With the local area secure, they then progressed to upgrade the Motte and Bailey to a stone construction using stone from Norman quarries. These castles would then keep the local population under control and discourage any further insurrection.

So apart from castles, what did the Normans ever do for us?

King Edward had spent many years in exile in Normandy before his accession to the English throne in 1042. With his life experience and with the Anglo-Saxon nobility, he created the Witan (Council) to advise and carry out his instruction. When William became King he did not change the format of this Council, but only its leaders from Anglo-Saxon to Norman. William realised that for the invasion to succeed, he needed to keep as much continuity to Anglo-Saxon life as possible. The administrative frameworks of England and Normandy were run in very similar fashions, so there was little change required to a country that was rich in agriculture, coin and population. England had become the envy of most of Medieval Europe and was seen as a very rich prize.

Domesday Book in its chest
Domesday Book in its chest


In December 1085, William commissioned an account of all the lands, manors, crops and livestock that belonged to the Lords of England. These Lords had sworn their fealty to William and paid him an annual tithe or tax. William needed to know the extent of their property so he could tax them accordingly. This account became known as the Domesday Book and was completed in August 1086. It had taken seven months to gather the required information from 13,148 settlements in England. It was published shortly before William’s death. The fact that seven teams of scribes could travel England and ascertain this quality of information was a testament to the organisation and administration that was already in place before the Norman Conquest. The Norman collation of this data into two volumes, The Great and Little Domesday book is a legacy for us all to share 1000 years later.

So apart from castles and the Domesday Book, what did the Normans ever do for us?

Apart from the scorched earth policy and famine metred out to the Northern counties in the ‘Harrowing of the North’ in 1070 as punishment for the rebellion in York, there is not much else to add to William’s glowing list of achievements.

What is perceived as a Norman conquest of the Anglo-Saxon people in power and mind can only be attributed to the fact that the framework of a very successful race was already in place.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • alancaster149 profile image

      Alan R Lancaster 

      6 years ago from Forest Gate, London E7, U K (ex-pat Yorkshire)

      What a shame Monty Python never did a film called 'The Life of Ethelwulf', with a Saxon serf always being taken for the king by his adoring subjects(I should cocoa)!

      Aside from castles, Domesday and serfdom what DID the Normans ever do for us?

    • Storybailey profile imageAUTHOR

      Paul Bailey 

      7 years ago from Aylesbury, England

      I totally agree. Fate was not on Harold's side. I think the Battle of Hastings would have had a different outcome if Harold Hardrada had attacked a year later!

    • Robwrite profile image


      7 years ago from Oviedo, FL

      The Normans would likely have never conquored England in the first place if it hadn't been for Harold Harota & his vikings, who battled the King Harold Godwin and his English troops immediately before the Norman invasion, leaving the wounded, exhausted English no time to prepare for William and his Normans.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)