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Middle Ages


In 1066 William of Normandy (also known as William the Conqueror) defeated the Anglo-Saxons at the Battle of Hastings. After this victory, William took land from the Anglo-Saxons nobles and gave them to his Normans.
The Anglo-Saxons tried to oppose this but by 1100 all land was in the hand of the Normans. After an initial period of conflict between the two populations, they eventually started to intermarry and merge.

William I introduced a system of government to England which is defined as Feudalism. It became a way of life in Medieval England and remained so for several centuries.
It consisted of a strong hierarchical system with the king at the top. Below the king there were barons and lords who divided up their lands and gave them to Norman knights. However, the knights had to swear an oath to their lord, collect taxes and fight for them...
The middle class was made up of merchants and yeomen. Merchants earned their living from commerce, yeomen owned their own (small) land.

At the bottom of this pyramid were the peasants or serfs. They were the majority of population.

It is one of Medieval England's greatest treasures. It is a record containing the information of who owned the land throughout the country. It was a way of making all people pay taxes. It can be defined as the first census in England.

Richard I, also known as Richard the Lionheart, left England to fight wars abroad. In his absence it was his brother King John who ruled the country, but he came up with strong opposition from the barons and from the population in general. He was eventually forced to sign a document: the Magna Charta in 1215. This document is seen as the first step towards democracy because it limits the power of the King.

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