T C Li Williams The Conqueror

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Page 1: T C Li Williams The Conqueror
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Williams the conqueror built castles all around England was so that he could

control them.

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Back in 1066, they would have built a ditch (moat) around the castle to stop attackers from coming in to the castle. The sloop on the castle would of helped them to defend of invaders because they (the archers) can shoot down in a straight line and the people climbing can’t move that fast hitting them in the eye (happened to Godwin when in the battle of Hastings).

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If an enemy wanted to attack a Castles he had to decide what the castles' weak points were and which siege weapons would be the most effective. 

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Before, wood was used to make castles but in the 12 century, then they changed it so stone instead. When they used wood to make castles, the most common one was a Motte & bailey castle. It was made out wood and earth

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To some of them, they were made of stone instead of wood because the wood rotted away but stone doesn’t rot and it is a lot stronger as well.

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During the 12th century many castles were improved and strengthened using stone instead of wood. Many ideas for improving defenses came from the east. Concentric castles from the later middle ages show this.

These castles had one walled enclosure built inside another. More complicated designs saw more and more walled enclosures inside one another, each improving the strength of the castle even more.

As new methods of warfare developed (such as the use of the cannon) the importance of the castle changed. They rapidly became status symbols rather than having military importance. Some historians argue that many castles were never anything but status symbols, and the Norman use of castles to show strength may suggest this.

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Towards the end of the Roman occupation of Britain, somewhere between AD290 and AD340, the Romans set up a fort named Anderida close to the sea at what is now known as Pevensey in East Sussex. Anderida was unlike most Roman forts in Britain in that it was built as an oval, following the shape of the peninsula it was built upon. Most Roman forts favoured a rectangular layout. When Anderida was occupied by the Romans the sea came right up to one of the walls, although the sea has since retreated and is now approximately four miles away. The majority of the outer walls and the gateways of this fort are intact today, making it one of the largest surviving examples of a Roman fort in Britain. When the Romans left Britain early in the 5th century AD, the fort fell into disrepair.

It became important again on the 28th September 1066 when William of Normandy and his army landed at Pevensey. They set up a temporary fort inside Anderida and used it to rest and plan before the battle of Hastings. Pevensey castle is in fact depicted in one of the early scenes in the Bayeux Tapestry. After defeating King Harold at the Battle of Hastings, King William gave the castle to his half-brother, Robert, Count of Mordain. He built a stone keep and bailey fortress in one corner of the Roman fort and repaired the walls where necessary. Over the centuries a moat and drawbridge were added and the gatehouse was built in the thirteenth century.

The castle was a good defensive stronghold and survived sieges in 1088 by William Rufus and in 1147 by King Stephen, but was badly damaged by King John in 1216. It was rebuilt and remained in use until the 15th century, when it was used as a prison. A grisly reminder of this time is the 'oubliette,' a deep pit in the ground, just inside the entrance to the castle. It finally decayed to ruin in the 18th century.

Since then it has remained mostly unoccupied except during times of war, when its defensive position made it useful again. It was used as a gun emplacement in 1588 during the threat of the Spanish Armada, and during the Second World War American and Canadian troops were stationed there to protect against shore landings. The towers were once again fortified to protect the troops from enemy bombardment, and these new fortifications were carefully blended with the Roman walls so that the enemy would not guess that there were troops stationed there.

In 1925 the Duke of Devonshire, the last owner of Pevensey Castle and incidentally the owner of most of nearby Eastbourne, gave the castle to the nation. Today Pevensey Castle is managed by English Heritage and is one of its most visited sites. Visitors can cross the drawbridge, climb the walls, view the towers and go into the dungeons whilst listening to a detailed commentary on the history of the site on an 'audio wand.' Entry to the Roman fort is free; entry to the castle costs: £3.50 per adult, £2.60 for seniors and £1.80 for children aged five and over. Children under five get in for free. There is parking available nearby, for which a charge is payable, currently £1.00 and refreshments can be purchased from the kiosk inside the castle or from the Castle Cottage tearoom and restaurant next to the car park.

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These early castles were constructed of wood using forced labour on land taken from the English rebels in a design called ‘mote &

bailey’. Usually they were built in sight of other castles on high ground or on river bends.

The first stage of construction was to dig a large mound of earth or ‘mote’ with a flat top on

which they would build a tower house or keep surrounded by a fence in which the Norman

lord would live.

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Williams was born in 1028 and died in 9th September 1087. Duke of Normandy from 1035 to 1087 and as King of England from 1066 to 1087. Historically, as Duke of Normandy, he is known as William II, and, as King of England, as William I. He is commonly referred to as William the Conqueror (Guillaume le Conquer ant) or William the Bastard (Guillaume le Bâtard). Several citizens taunted him during the siege of Alençon with reference to his illegitimacy and he had their eyes gouged out and their hands and feet cut off.

In support of his claim to the English crown, William invaded England in 1066, leading an army of Normans to victory over the Anglo-Saxon forces of Harold Godwinson at the Battle of Hastings, and suppressed subsequent English revolts in what has become known as the Norman Conquest.

His reign brought Norman culture to England, which had an enormous impact on the subsequent course of England in the Middle Ages. In addition to political changes, his reign also saw changes to English law, a programme of building and fortification, changes in the English language and the introduction of continental European feudalism into England.

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In 1087, in France, William burned Mantes (50 km westward from Paris), besieging the town subsequently. However, he fell off his horse, suffering fatal abdominal injuries, by the saddle pommel. In his deathbed, William divided his succession for his sons questionably (Rebellion of 1088, between both heirs).

Also during his deathbed, William pardoned many of his political adversaries (among whom Odo was).

William died at the age of 59, at the Convent of St Gervais, near Rouen, France, on 9 September 1087. William was buried in the Abbaye-aux-Hommes, which had been erected by him, in Caen, Normandy.

According to some sources, a fire broke out during the funeral; the original owner of the land on which the church was built claimed he had not been paid yet, demanding 60 shilling, which William's son Henry had to pay on the spot; and, in a most unregal postmortem, William's now corpulent body would not fit in the stone sarcophagus. Whether or not it burst after some unsuccessful prodding by the assembled bishop, filling the chapel with a foul smell and dispersing the mourners is a matter of some speculation. [

William's grave is currently marked by a marble slab with a Latin inscription, the slab dates from the early 19th century. The grave was defiled twice, once during the French war of religion, when his bones were scattered across the town of Caen and again during the French Revolution. Following those events, only William's left femur remains in the tomb.

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In 1085, William ordered the Domesday survey. Information was collected about all the lands in England and recorded in the Doomsday Book. This allowed for easier and fairer taxation and has provided modern historians a wealth of information about social and economic 11th-Century Britain. The Domesday Book recorded how much land a particular knight owned, how many villages were on the land, and the number of cattle, grain, and buildings in every village. William used the information to assess the military power and wealth he had access to. William was the only medieval king to attempt such a survey.

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We know rather few details about the battle itself. Harold took a position on some low hills and the Normans attacked that position. It was a hard fought battle that lasted the entire day, neither side able to get the better of the other.

As the day wore on, however, superior Norman discipline began to tell. Some of the Saxon forces began to melt away. Toward evening, Harold himself was killed by an arrow, but by the time he died the battle was clearly lost.

The story of the Battle of Hastings, and the events surrounding it, are told in the remarkable Bayeux Tapestry. Norman knights pursued Saxons well into the night, and by the next day there was no one to stand against the invader. William called his men back and set about securing his position. He had won a great battle, but he had not yet won England, and he needed to keep his army together.

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William relied on a basic strategy with archers in the front rank weakening the enemy with arrows, followed by infantry which would engage in close combat, and finally culminating in a cavalry charge that would break through the English forces. Yet from the very beginning, William's plan went awry. The archers had little effect on the English shield wall because

Harold had his men placed on the top of a hill to prevent the arrows from hitting them. Before the infantry could engage the Housecarls, a shower of stones and projectiles flung by the English caused heavy casualties amongst the Norman ranks. William, realizing that his attack was failing, was therefore forced to order his cavalry to attack far sooner than he had anticipated. Yet due to Harold's position, William's cavalry charge fizzled out as the horses struggled uphill. The still-intact English shield wall easily held back the Norman cavalry and, much to William's chagrin, many of Harold's housecarls were highly-skilled with the Danish battle axe, capable of causing ghastly wounds to a horse and its rider.

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