The Anglo-Normans were mainly the descendants of the Normans who ruled England following the conquest of William of Normandy of 1066, although some Normans were already in England before the conquest. Following the Battle of Hastings, the invading Normans and their descendants formed a distinct population in England. They later spoke what became the Anglo-Norman language.
The Norman Conquest of England
- The history and story of Anglo-Normans
- 3 references/further readings on material
Summary of Anglo-Norman Cultures
The origins of the Normans dates back to and around 1066, and were located in western Europe. William the Conqueror's people wished to dominate Britain from their first arriva, wishing to own Britain for themselves and force their views on the locals of the area. The locals of Britain had ethical and militarical hostilities with the Anglo-Normans. "The bilingual divide simplifies the Conquest's ethic complexities, given that a sixth to a fifth of forces were leaders and troops from areas beyond Norman control." (Crane, p. 37)The book Doomsday recorded massive losses of landlords for and within England. William the Conqueror controlled over seventeen percent of England's land, the invading forces controlled nearly fifty percent, and the church controlled about and around one quarter of the remaining land.
The new settlers acquired "religion and traditions." (Crane, p. 36) At first they refused such things because of their superiority over the locals. At one point in time, the English lost control of much of the church and only one Englishman remained in power out of the original sixteen Bishporics.
Edward the Confessor had a historical importance to the region for the Norman dynasty. He attempted to rewrite the conquest. Lineal rights from blood lines caused many instances of conflict. Edward's blood line is tracable to Richard the first of Normandy, whom William the Conqueror claimed rights. There was a common drive to unit England's history of conquest, but it was a struggle.
England struggled against their invaders, but the identity of England was a mess. Courts and dominating states exploited territories. There wasn't peace amongt their own blood. "The inhabitants of England are no longer continentals-yet French continues to be the language of courts, law, of polite communication, and to a larger degree of vernacular language." (Crane, p. 43) It is interesting that they do not even recognize their own langauge as an identity, they have somehow become dependant on others rather than themselves. They didn't even trust their own language.
Women of the time were being to hold esteem for the culture of Anglo-Normans. Queen Matilda was the first female pataron of old French writing. "Generous to her crowds of scholars, equally famed for verse and for singing." (Crane, p. 45) She descended of English kings, educated in converts or Romsey and Wilton.
The French influence had such a success because of their power, culture, and associations. The French were looked upon as role models. "As early as the 1200, a number of treatises on the language appear that explain French conjugation, pronunciation and vocabulary." (Crane, p. 48) Much of the Anglo-Norman writing came from the thriteenth and early fourteenth centuries. Romances and chronicles came about. There were close relation between the Anglo writing culture and Middle English Literatures.
1) David Douglas, Normans, Folio Society, London 2002
2) David Crouch, The Normans: the History and Dynasty, London 2002, 2003
3) David Wallace, (Crane) The Cambridge History of Medieval English Literature, Cambridge University 1999
4)WikiPedia, the free internet encyclopedia
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