The Norman Conquest
Run by School of History, Philosophy and Social Sciences
40 Credits or 20 ECTS Credits
Organiser: Dr Susan Johns
Overall aims and purpose
1066 is arguably one of the most significant dates in British History and William the Conqueror one of the most famous kings of England. The Normans destroyed the Anglo-Saxon elite and transformed England in many ways so that within twenty years of 1066 the political, cultural and mental landscapes were very different. The Battle of Hastings and the ensuing conquest was controversial in contemporary society and ushered in dramatic changes in England and beyond as the Normans took their conquest to Wales, Scotland and later, Ireland. This course will offer students the opportunity to analyse a wide range of evidence for the history of the Norman Conquest of England. It also considers the impact of the Normans on the ‘Celtic’ diaspora, and, thus considers the nature of Norman incursions into Wales and Scotland in the late eleventh century. It will include detailed study of primary evidence through close analysis of relevant sources. The module will introduce students to the historiography of the period and will challenge students to critically engage with theories and debates about the interpretation of evidence to facilitate a critical comparative approach. The course will demonstrate that a variety of sources including documentary forms such as charters and seals, literary and narrative sources and legal texts can be studied. It will introduce students to the major topics of political, social, and economic history of the period, allowing them to consider broad questions of chronology and development.
After introducing the historiographical and historical background and interpretative frameworks for the period the course will offer students the opportunity to analyse a wide range of evidence for the history of the late Anglo-Saxon England, the Norman Conquest of England and the wider political, social and economic changes in Britain. Specific topics studies include the late Anglo-Saxon Monarchy and Edward the Confessor, the social and political structures of Anglo-Saxon England, the rise of Normandy, 1066 and the battles of Gate Fulford, Stamford Bridge and Hastings, the aftermath of Hastings and the Norman consolidation of power, rebellion and its consequences, administrative change, Domesday Book, feudalism, castles and architecture, women, the church, the Normans in Wales and Scotland in the late eleventh century. It will include detailed study of primary evidence through close analysis of relevant sources. The module will introduce students to the historiography of the period and will challenge students to critically engage with theories and debates about the interpretation of evidence to facilitate a critical comparative approach. The course will demonstrate that a variety of sources including documentary forms such as charters and seals, literary and narrative sources and legal texts can be studied. It will introduce students to the major topics of political, social, and economic history of the period, allowing them to consider broad questions of chronology and development. The emphasis during the seminars will be on discussion of key primary sources and key historiographies.
Good students (B- to B+) will demonstrate a solid level of achievement and depth of knowledge in all the criteria in the C- to C+ range, and will in addition exhibit constructive engagement with different types of historical writing and historiographical interpretation. Ideas will be communicated effectively and written work will include a good range of sources/reading and demonstrate a clear understanding of the issues and of the existing interpretations expressed in a well-structured, relevant, and focused argument. Students at the top end of this band will engage with and critique the ideas that they come across, and synthesise the various interpretations they find to reach their own considered conclusions. Written work will be correctly presented with references and bibliography where appropriate.
Excellent students (A- and above) will show strong achievement across all the criteria combined with particularly impressive depths of knowledge and/or subtlety of analysis. In written work, they will support their arguments with a wealth of relevant detail/examples. They will also demonstrate an acute awareness of the relevant historiography and give an account of why the conclusions reached are important within a particular historical debate. They may show a particularly subtle approach to possible objections, nuancing their argument in the light of counter-examples, or producing an interesting synthesis of various contrasting positions. Overall, the standards of content, argument, and analysis expected will be consistently superior to top upper-second work. Standards of presentation will also be high.
Threshold students (D- and D) will have done only a minimum of reading, and their work will often be based partly on lecture notes and/or basic textbooks. They will demonstrate in their written assessments some knowledge of at least parts of the relevant field, and will make at least partially-successful attempts to frame an argument which engages with historical controversies, but they will fail to discuss some large and vital aspects of a topic; and/or deploy only some relevant material but partly fail to combine it into a coherent whole; and/or deploy some evidence to support individual points but often fail to do so and/or show difficulty weighing evidence (thereby relying on unsuitable or irrelevant evidence when making a point). Alternatively or additionally, the presentation of the work might also be poor, with bad grammar and/or punctuation, careless typos and spelling errors, and a lack of effective and correct referencing.
C- to C+
Students in this band (C- to C+) will demonstrate a satisfactory range of achievement or depth of knowledge of most parts of the module, and will make successful, if occasionally inconsistent, attempts to develop those skills appropriate to the study of History at undergraduate level. In the case of the written assessments, the answers will attempt to focus on the question, although might drift into narrative, and will show some evidence of solid reading and research. The argument might lose direction and might not be adequately clear at the bottom of this category. Written work will be presented reasonably well with only limited errors in grammar, punctuation, and referencing, and not to the extent that they obscure meaning.
Knowledge and understanding of primary sources for the period (promoted by student examination of a file of such sources (either in hard copy or online) which forms part of the course literature). The ability to analyse these sources and use them in argument will be promoted by seminars (some of which will concentrate on the sources in the file), and by feedback on coursework. Demonstrate an advanced understanding of techniques of source criticism in major texts and other sources
The ability to analyse individual pieces of historical evidence very closely (promoted in specially designated seminars and tested by the written assessments).
the ability to gather and deploy evidence and to find and exchange information from both primary and secondary sources.
An awareness of the competing interpretations of the Norman Conquest, and an ability to judge between them (gained through private reading and seminars, many of which will take the form of debates on the period).
An ability to form and present cogent historical arguments (promoted by experiencing arguments in reading, by practice in seminars (especially seminar presentations), and by feedback on coursework essays, and tested by the written assessments).
A detailed knowledge of the events and developments of the Norman Conquest gained through private reading and seminar discussions and tested by the written assessments.
Degree essay questions will test knowledge and understanding of the overall development of the writing of history and historiography. Answers will be graded (in accordance with the marking criteria) by considering the scope of reading; content (the depth of knowledge displayed); the focus and clarity of argument; analysis (the ability to judge between interpretations and back arguments with evidence); presentation; and the ability to use references and bibliography appropriately [see Student Handbook for assessment criteria in these areas.] Answers will be expected to show detail of knowledge about the topic discussed and to engage with current historiographic controversies.
Essays are a test of your skills to research a topic; to analyse material and understand different interpretations of the past; to produce clear, evidence-based and properly referenced historical argument; to present your findings in good English; and your ability to organize your time so that the work is submitted by the deadline. Degree essays are supposed to be the result of considerable reading and research and of time spent considering your historical argument. Little credit will be given for work which simply repeats lectures or basic textbooks. The essays and their bibliographies will be expected to show evidence of wide reading (including journal articles and monographs). The argument of the work is expected to show independent judgement and engagement with any relevant historiographical debates. REMEMBER that you MUST provide references and a bibliography in the correct format. All essays should be submitted electronically via Blackboard/Turnitin. All essays should be word-processed and well-presented. They must include a full bibliography and proper references. All assessed degree essays will be penalized according to University rules if they are handed in after the deadline and you have not arranged an extension.
Essay Questions in the examination will test knowledge and understanding of specific aspects of the period. Answers will be graded by considering content (the range of knowledge displayed); the directness and clarity of the argument; analysis (the ability to judge between interpretations and back arguments with evidence). Answers will be expected to draw examples and evidence from across the period, but to analyse the evidence they use with care; and to engage with current historiographic controversies. Students will answer three essay questions in three hours.
|ESSAY||Primary Source essay||
Degree essay questions will test knowledge and understanding of the overall development of the writing of history and historiography. Answers will be graded (in accordance with the marking criteria) by considering the scope of reading; content (the depth of knowledge displayed); the focus and clarity of argument; analysis (the ability to judge between interpretations and back arguments with evidence); presentation; and the ability to use references and bibliography appropriately [see Student Handbook for assessment criteria in these areas.] Answers will be expected to show detail of knowledge about the topic discussed and to engage with current historiographic controversies. The primary source essay is an opportunity to engage directly with primary sources in detail and the topic will be based on sources discussed during the course. The sources may be chosen from the document pack provided at the start of the year or chosen from other sources after discussion with the module convenor.
Teaching and Learning Strategy
A field trip to historic sites relevant to the course
The module is taught entirely by seminars. There will be two x one-and-a-half to two-hour long seminars every week. Students will need to prepare in advance for these meetings, and will often be given tasks to complete during them, too.
Including preparing for seminar discussions, general reading around the topic, and research for the written assessments.
- Literacy - Proficiency in reading and writing through a variety of media
- Computer Literacy - Proficiency in using a varied range of computer software
- Self-Management - Able to work unsupervised in an efficient, punctual and structured manner. To examine the outcomes of tasks and events, and judge levels of quality and importance
- Exploring - Able to investigate, research and consider alternatives
- Information retrieval - Able to access different and multiple sources of information
- Inter-personal - Able to question, actively listen, examine given answers and interact sensitevely with others
- Critical analysis & Problem Solving - Able to deconstruct and analyse problems or complex situations. To find solutions to problems through analyses and exploration of all possibilities using appropriate methods, rescources and creativity.
- Safety-Consciousness - Having an awareness of your immediate environment, and confidence in adhering to health and safety regulations
- Presentation - Able to clearly present information and explanations to an audience. Through the written or oral mode of communication accurately and concisely.
- Teamwork - Able to constructively cooperate with others on a common task, and/or be part of a day-to-day working team
- Mentoring - Able to support, help, guide, inspire and/or coach others
- Argument - Able to put forward, debate and justify an opinion or a course of action, with an individual or in a wider group setting
- Self-awareness & Reflectivity - Having an awareness of your own strengths, weaknesses, aims and objectives. Able to regularly review, evaluate and reflect upon the performance of yourself and others
- Leadership - Able to lead and manage, develop action plans and objectives, offer guidance and direction to others, and cope with the related pressures such authority can result in
Subject specific skills
- problem solving to develop solutions to understand the past
- understanding the complexity of change over time; in specific contexts and chronologies
- being sensitive to the differences, or the "otherness" of the past, and the difficulty to using it as a guide to present or future action
- being sensitive to the role of perceptions of the past in contemporary cultures
- producing logical and structured arguments supported by relevant evidence
- planning, designing, executing and documenting a programme of research, working independently
- marshalling and critically appraising other people's arguments, including listening and questioning
- demonstrating a positive and can-do approach to practical problems
- demonstrating an innovative approach, creativity, collaboration and risk taking
- presenting effective oral presentations for different kinds of audiences, including academic and/or audiences with little knowledge of history
- preparing effective written communications for different readerships
- making effective and appropriate forms of visual presentation
- making effective and appropriate use of relevant information technology
- making critical and effective use of information retrieval skills using paper-based and electronic resources
- collaborating effectively in a team via experience of working in a group
- appreciating and being sensitive to different cultures and dealing with unfamiliar situations
- critical evaluation of one's own and others' opinions
- engaging with relevant aspects of current agendas such as global perspectives, public engagement, employability, enterprise, and creativity
Resource implications for students
It would be useful to purchase one or two key textbooks, but otherwise none
Barber, M., The Two Cities: Medieval Europe 1050-1320 (London and New York, 1992). Barlow, F., The Norman Conquest and Beyond (London, 1983). The New Oxford History of England (Oxford England: Clarendon Press, 2000) Bates, D., William the Conqueror (London, 1989). Baxter, Stephen., The Earls of Mercia: Lordship and Power in Late Anglo-Saxon England (Oxford, 2007). Bradbury, J., The Battle of Hastings (Stroud, 1998). Brown, R.A., The Normans and the Norman Conquest (2nd edn. Woodbridge, 1985). --------------The Normans (1984). -------------- ‘The Norman Conquest’, in Saul, Nigel (ed.), England in Europe (London, 1994), pp. 36-47. Brownlie, Siobhan, Memory and myths of the Norman Conquest (2013) Chibnall, M., Anglo-Norman England 1066-1166 (Oxford, 1986). Clanchy, M.T., From Memory to Written Record: England, 1066-1307 (2nd ed., Oxford, 1993) Crick, Julia and Van Houts, Elisabth, A Social History of England 900-1200 (Cambridge, 2011) Garnett, George, Conquered England: kingship, succession, and tenure, 1066-1166 (Oxford ; New York. 2007). Essential reading. Golding, Brian, Conquest and Colonization: The Normans in Britain, 1066-1100 (London, 1994). Essential reading. Hamilton, Sarah, Church and People in the Medieval West (Harlow, 2013) ebook (useful for understanding medieval piety, use to explore the views of monastic writers) Horrox Rosemary and Ormrod W. Mark, A Social History of England, 1200-1500 (Cambridge : Cambridge University Press, 2006, useful for thinking about how England changed after the Norman Conquest) ebook Higham, N.J., The Norman Conquest (Stroud, 1998). D. Hill, An Atlas of Anglo-Saxon England (Oxford, 1981) Loyn, H.R., The Norman Conquest (3rd edn, London, 1982). ----------- Anglo-Saxon England and the Norman Conquest (2nd edn, Harlow, 1991). ----------- ‘1066: should we have celebrated?’ Historical Research, 63 (1990), 119-27. Matthew, D., Britain and the Continent 1000-1300: The Impact of the Norman Conquest (Britain and Europe) (London, 2005). McLynn, F.J., 1066: The Year of the Three Battles (London, 1998). Garnett, G., ‘Conquered England, 1066-1215’, in Saul, Nigel (ed.), The Oxford Illustrated History of Medieval England (Oxford, 1997), pp. 61-101, 281-2. Thomas, Hugh M., The Norman conquest : England after William the Conqueror (Lanham, Md. : Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, c2007). Walker, D., The Normans in Britain (Historical Association studies) (Oxford and Cambridge (MA), 1995). Yoshitake, K., ‘The reign of William the Conqueror and the Anglo-Norman realm: problems of continuity, discontinuity and change’, in Kondo, Kazuhiko (ed.), State and Empire in British History: Proceedings of the Fourth Anglo-Japanese Conference of Historians, 10-12 September 2003, International Community House, Kyoto, Japan ([s.l.], 2003), pp. 21-26. Essential
Courses including this module
Compulsory in courses:
- 3QV1: BA History and English Literature year 3 (BA/ELH)
- P3V1: BA Film Studies and History year 3 (BA/FSH)
- V100: BA History year 3 (BA/H)
- V103: BA History and Archaeology year 3 (BA/HA)
- VV41: BA Herit, Archae & Hist year 3 (BA/HAH)
- VV42: BA Heritage, Archaeology & History with International Exp year 4 (BA/HAHIE)
- V1V9: BA History with Archaeology with International Experience year 4 (BA/HAIE)
- V1V4: BA History with Archaeology year 3 (BA/HAR)
- MVX1: BA History/Criminology year 3 (BA/HCR)
- LV11: BA History/Economics year 3 (BA/HEC)
- RV11: BA History/French year 4 (BA/HFR)
- V1W6: BA History with Film Studies year 3 (BA/HFS)
- V1W7: BA History with Film Studies with International Experience year 4 (BA/HFSIE)
- RV21: BA History/German year 4 (BA/HG)
- 8B03: BA History (with International Experience) year 4 (BA/HIE)
- RV31: BA History/Italian year 4 (BA/HIT)
- V1P5: BA History with Journalism year 3 (BA/HJ)
- VW13: BA History and Music year 3 (BA/HMU)
- V1PM: BA Hanes gyda Newyddiaduraeth year 3 (BA/HN)
- RV41: BA History/Spanish year 4 (BA/HSP)
- LVJ1: BA Cymdeithaseg/Hanes year 3 (BA/HSW)
- V130: BA Mediaeval and Early Modern His year 3 (BA/MEMH)
- WV33: Music & Hist & Welsh Hist (IE) year 4 (BA/MHIE)
- VVV1: BA Philosophy and Religion and History year 3 (BA/PRH)
- VVV2: BA Philosophy and Religion and Welsh History year 3 (BA/PRWH)
- LV31: BA Sociology/History year 3 (BA/SH)
- LV41: BA Social Policy/History year 3 (BA/SPH)
- LVK1: BA Polisi Cymdeithasol/Hanes year 3 (BA/SPWH)
- QV51: BA Cymraeg/History year 3 (BA/WH)
- VP23: BA Welsh History and Film Studies year 3 (BA/WHFS)
- VV12: BA Welsh History/History year 3 (BA/WHH)
- LVH2: BA Welsh History/Sociology year 3 (BA/WHS)
- V101: MArts History year 3 (MARTS/HIST)
Optional in courses:
- V104: BA Welsh History and Archaeology year 3 (BA/WHAR)