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 William the Conqueror

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PaulRyckier
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PostSubject: William the Conqueror   Mon 25 Apr 2016, 17:19

I saw yesterday a documentary on the French-German Arte about William the Conqueror.
Although I am quite familiar with the story I always thought that William invaded England to have more land and might...at least that is what one thinks at the first sight when one hears how those poor Anglo-Saxons of Harold were submitted and became underdogs...at least to the narrative of some in England...
But now I learned yesterday that the King of England had promised the English crown to his family, in fact William of Normandy...and even Harold no family had sworn in France before the church and there are official acts about it in Latin that he would support William to become King of England...and commit perjury for the church was a serious wrong step in that time...
And now before the old King of England died for whatever reason he seems on his deathbed to have appointed Harold as his successor...and the next day Harold let him crown King of England...
http://www.bbc.co.uk/timelines/zp88wmn#zs4987h
http://www.bbc.co.uk/timelines/zp88wmn#zq3br82


Kind regards, Paul.
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Gilgamesh of Uruk
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PostSubject: Re: William the Conqueror   Mon 25 Apr 2016, 18:25

Unfortunately for William's claim, the English monarchy wasn't the property of the reigning king, to bequeath and bestow wherever he wished - it was the right and duty of the Witanagemot to ceosan to cyninge. They chose Harold, so William had no claim, under English law. If he did become the rightful king it was by Right of Conquest - like Henry VII (and some would argue Stephen, Henry IV, William & Mary etc). The "oath" Harold took is disputed - was it extracted by force, as Harold's supporters avow (if so it was null and void), or by trickery (the "hidden relics" school of thought), in which case it was equally numb and vague.
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PaulRyckier
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PostSubject: Re: William the Conqueror   Mon 25 Apr 2016, 20:56

Thank you so much Gilgmaesh for the immediate reply.

What one all learns on this site...never heard until now about the"witanagemot"...
On the every present wiki:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Witenagemot


When I studied the Merovings about Clovis I learned about the Frankish custom to chose the king and then raise him on the shield...Some Germanic assembly common to the Anglo-Saxons too?

"The "oath" Harold took is disputed - was it extracted by force, as Harold's supporters avow (if so it was null and void), or by trickery (the "hidden relics" school of thought), in which case it was equally numb and vague."

In the French/English/German documentary they aluded too a certain pressure but no to the trickery...what do you mean with the "hidden relics"? And is your source English or French Wink Wink Wink ?

While I am at the subject of historical documentaries...I loved the BBC's documentaries for instance about the World at War...true documentaries...but nowadays they inject between the commentaries quarters of an hour reenactments of CC B de Mille like films instead of coming with contemparary material...no it is not easy to follow continuously the historical narrative and background...and the BBC is nowadays as bad...I still remember Minette's BBC "Charles II"...
But perhaps is the viewers public changed? And that wants entertainment and not to deep cutting information...?

Kind regards, Paul.
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Gilgamesh of Uruk
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PostSubject: Re: William the Conqueror   Mon 25 Apr 2016, 21:04

Paul - the Bayeux Tapestry shows the oath - the "hidden relics" bit comes from a number of Saxon sources.
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Anglo-Norman
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PostSubject: Re: William the Conqueror   Tue 26 Apr 2016, 12:31

My personal feeling is that William genuinely believed he had a right to the English Crown, whatever the legal reality of that claim.  It's interesting that at his coronation he still sought the assent of the English nobility (even if they were hardly likely to refuse it!).

But then, as a good Jersey boy - and therefore a native of the last free bit of the Duchy of Normandy, and of the Duke's personal demesne, no less - I suppose I'm naturally inclined to be sympathetic to him.  I do know that when I went to the Battle of Hastings re-enactment last year, and the crowd were offered mini-Papal Banners or Standards of Wessex to wave - my Papal Banner was rather lost in the sea of Wessex supporters...
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LadyinRetirement
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PostSubject: Re: William the Conqueror   Tue 26 Apr 2016, 13:07

Paul, the seventh paragraph in the article I have linked explains about the hidden relics.http://mercedesrochelle.com/wordpress/?p=387

As for the state of the BBC's historical documentaries - on one they presented a lady who writes rather (to me at least) bodice-rippery novels (yes the unnamed "historian" is referred on another thread on this website) as an expert.  I'm not one of those persons who thinks anything modern is bad but there has been some "dumbing down" on TV - there seems to have been some belief than peoples' attention spans have decreased.
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PaulRyckier
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PostSubject: Re: William the Conqueror   Tue 26 Apr 2016, 17:11

@LadyinRetirement wrote:
Paul, the seventh paragraph in the article I have linked explains about the hidden relics.http://mercedesrochelle.com/wordpress/?p=387

As for the state of the BBC's historical documentaries - on one they presented a lady who writes rather (to me at least) bodice-rippery novels (yes the unnamed "historian" is referred on another thread on this website) as an expert.  I'm not one of those persons who thinks anything modern is bad but there has been some "dumbing down" on TV - there seems to have been some belief than peoples' attention spans have decreased.



Lady in Retirement,

thank you very much for the elaborated approach of Mercedes Rochelle (also from Jersey as Norman, as I see. I visited Jersey some years ago on the instigation of Anglo-Norman).

But again, and you know as a Belgian I am neutral in the Anglo-French relations Wink , and reading the comments....can it be that the "hidden relics" are an hoax from the pro Saxon historians...after all, is it possible that this trick could be done and spread among the nobles, where even Anglo-Saxon nobles were present...and the Latin text of the oath had to be prepared beforehand and Harold could read Latin I presume? But I agree narratives can easely be adapted by pressure of the local ruler...
In any case the pressure on Harold seems to be fully admitted by the historians...

Kind regards and happy to be able to reply once to you...Paul.
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Anglo-Norman
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PostSubject: Re: William the Conqueror   Tue 26 Apr 2016, 17:39

@PaulRyckier wrote:


thank you very much for the elaborated approach of Mercedes Rochelle (also from Jersey as Norman, as I see. I visited Jersey some years ago on the instigation of Anglo-Norman).

Mercedes Rochelle, in fact, turns out to be from New Jersey.  I take issue with her claim that Harold's oath included handing over Dover Castle to William.  Quite apart from the fact that (as I understand it) no-one is entirely sure what Harold swore, there was no castle at Dover!  Indeed, until William turned up there were only two castles in England, both built and owned by ex-pat Normans.  Perhaps there was some sort of burgh at Dover, but the castle was founded by William, seemingly built from scratch and not a rebuild of an existing fortification.
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PaulRyckier
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PostSubject: Re: William the Conqueror   Tue 26 Apr 2016, 19:01

Anglo-Norman,

yes New Jersey...I thought Jersey, mislead by the French probably "Jersian" name "Rochelle" and "Mercedes" rings also a bit Latin/French/mediterranean... Wink

Your continental friend, Paul.
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FrederickLouis
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PostSubject: Re: William the Conqueror   Thu 22 Dec 2016, 22:45

In 1051, William is believed to have visited England and met his cousin Edward the Confessor. How much written documentation is there on this meeting?
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nordmann
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PostSubject: William the Conqueror   Fri 23 Dec 2016, 09:56

No documentation confirming such a meeting exists. Subsequent documented histories attested to it existing, though only from partisan Norman sources.

FL wrote:
In 1051, William is believed to have visited England

I would say the opposite - in fact he is generally not believed at all to have "visited" Edward, in any official sense at least, and if he did he most definitely acquired no promise of succession as certain Norman historians claimed afterwards. This "promise" has been put forward (again by post-conquest historians) as one reason behind Godwin's 1051 revolt against Edward, though tellingly not by Edward or Godwin at the time, whose motives and distrusts for each other were well documented and well known. Nor is any good explanation found for how William could take time out from his own internecine revolts (in which he was at times the revolter as well as the revolted against) to engage in such an official emissary. And of course only a Norman ignorant or arrogantly disregarding of the rules of the Witenagemot would have had Edward even contemplating such a promise anyway, even if Godwinson's supporters also made a similar claim about Edward on his deathbed, probably to counter any such rumour that a promise of any kind had been extended to the Norman duke fifteen years before.

However if one compares these two claims the difference is marked. Godwinson's claim has the dying king asking Harold to "protect" the realm, nothing more. This still keeps the Witan in the picture, though with an obvious attempt to posthumously impose a favourable outcome for Harold using vicarious Royal approval of his candidacy. William's claim simply circumvents the Witan altogether.

These claims by both men's supporters are probably, in historical terms, valuable not for their potential veracity at the time but simply as a fair indication of the decline of influence of the Witan after generations of assault on its integrity by Norse claimants, some of whom had already succeeded through ignoring it when they could not simply control it. William's behaviour fits into this pattern too, and is remarkable only in that he was the first to abolish it completely having got around it through mendacious and strong-arm means.

After that history itself could be re-written in his favour. And it appears it was. Especially the bit about Harold's pledge of allegiance to William in Normandy which even William had to explain in great detail after claiming the crown, it apparently having been unknown to anyone at the time.
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