-The Norman Conquest and Feudalism-
The 25th December 1066 William I ‘The Conqueror’ was crowned in Westminster Abbey and in five years he, with the Normans, conquered all England.
William I brought several innovations: first of all he created a new aristocracy, establishing a feudal system: the King kept the best lands, towns and forests and distribuited the rest of those lands to the other Normans and even to a few Saxons; this people have to pay a rent to King in military services.
In those lands, the tenants-in-chief (that were barons, bishops and abbots) built castles, in order to demostrate and keep their power; those castles were first made in wood, but then in stone.
So this Feudal System allowed a minority to dominate a majority, in fact the tenants were able to sub-let their lands to lesser tenats (like knights), in return of some services, like a military service and an agricultural labour.
This Feudal Sistem, with those military defences and with people that worked lands, guaranteed security, food, peace and prosperity.
William I was even an efficient ruler: he sent his men throughout England to examine the land in order to make a complete survey of the economic life of the country; this survey was written in the ‘Domesday Book’, and it had two objectives: to provide informations for collecting taxes and to give the King a knowledge of the extent and distribution of the wealth of his tenants.
About Religion, William had to pay an annual tax to Rome and the Pope, which was called the ‘Peter’s Pence’.