Alex Burghart

What the Anglo-Saxons made of 1066 and all that followed

Some fled to Scotland or abroad; others stayed to harry the invaders. But the chronicles are mostly silent, reflecting the pathos of their plight

Hereward the Wake fights against the imposition of a Norman abbot at Peterborough in 1070. [Getty Images]

By any yardstick, the Norman Conquest was a ghastly business. Within two decades, the English aristocracy had been more than decimated, all of England’s cathedrals were being levelled and rebuilt, the north had been harried and the language of government changed. What made it worse was that it was utterly unnecessary.

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