The End of Saxon England? Revisiting the Norman Conquest, 1035-1135: Chapter II – Castles, Abbeys, Cathedrals & Churches.

Andrew James

Knights, Barons & Castles:

The knights who served William ‘the Conqueror’ were armed in many respects as their English opponents, wearing mail hauberks and conical helmets, and carrying kite-shaped shields, lances, swords and maces. If battlefield tactics were dominated by the mounted knight, the strategies of war were increasingly subject to the powerful influence of the castle. William’s trained knights were ideal troops for use against the scattered English risings but they were unsuited to the prolonged task of holding regions whose loyalty was suspect. His followers also thought it necessary to impress the natives with their might. Throughout the land, they erected castles, fitting monuments to their mastery. They were simple affairs at first – earth mounds (mottes), surrounded by ditches and surmounted by fenced enclosures (baileys). Within their wooden towers (keeps) inside the baileys, the foreign landlords felt secure from the Saxon peasantry. From these strongholds, they sallied…

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