Anglo-Saxon England and the Norman Conquest, 1060-66
The Saxon Times looks at how the events of 1066 may have been reported by an English newspaper and takes a chronological, topical and contemporary view of the tumultuous events that surround the Norman Conquest of England as they unfolded and appeared to its readers through the ‘eye-witnesses’ reports of the Saxon Times reporters.
By the time of the Norman Conquest, England had been Anglo-Saxon for 600 years but the death of King Edward the Confessor (1042–66) and the subsequent events that led to the Battle of Hastings changed England forever.
When King Edward the Confessor died in January 1066 nobody could have foreseen the year of bloodshed and mayhem that would take place. Everything seemed settled and peaceful.
England had developed a strong government, a prosperous economy and extensive trade links across the North Sea and the Channel.
A strict social system was headed by the aristocracy with most Anglo-Saxons ‘peasant farmers’, who in return for protection from a lord, owed him service such as military service in return for land to farm.
This military service had created a militia ‘the fyrd’ for defence of the realm which had finally provided some peace from Viking invasion and was one of the reasons that England had such a well-organised government.
The succession crisis of 1066, following the death of King Edward the Confessor meant that once again greedy, envious foreign eyes were being cast toward England.
Invasion was not far off.
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· How Anglo-Saxon society worked
· How Harold Godwinson became king of England
· Why other people also claimed the throne of England
· What happened in 1066: the year of the Norman invasion.
The Saxon Times aims to:
· Inspire curiosity to know more about the past
· Increase knowledge of and understanding about 1066
· Understand how people’s lives have shaped the nation
The Saxon Times will:
· Extend knowledge of the year 1066
· Identify the significant events of 1066 in chronological order
· Help develop perspective and argument
· Help weigh the available evidence
· Help understand the complexity of people’s lives and the relationships between different groups