THE NORMAN CONQUESTThere’s one year in the English history that masks the very beginning of Middle Ages strong feudal system. In 1066 William The Conqueror, duke of Normandy, crossed the English Channel from France, defeated the Saxon King Harold at the Battle Of Hastings and conquered England. Shortly after William had himself elected King of England. He required all feudal lords to take an oath to him as Supreme Ruler and distributed huge tracts of land to lords who had to prove their loyalty to the crown participating in struggles and wars, if necessary. However ,he permitted the English people to retain many of their own laws and customs, even if e forced them to use the French language. That’s why in the English language there are still many French words.
William kept a careful listing of all property in England for tax purposes and showed no regard for sex when he massacred rebels by the thousand. The development of a strong national state was not the only result of the Norman Conquest; in countryside are many castles and cathedrals built in the Norman style and the customs, manners, dress and literature in England were also strongly influenced by the French.
For centuries after the death of William, the English kings were to struggle with the French kings for the control of the French territory. Similarly, the French kings were to interfere in English politics.