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The '''Harrying''' (or '''Harrowing''') '''of the North''' was a series of campaigns waged by [[William the Conqueror]]<ref name=forester174>Forester, Thomas. ''The Chronicle of Florence of Worcester''. p. 174</ref> in the winter of 1069–1070 to subjugate [[Northern England]], and is part of the [[Norman conquest of England]]. It effectively ended the quasi-independence of the region through large-scale destruction that resulted in the relative "pacification" of the local population and the replacement of local [[Anglo-Saxons|Anglo]]-[[Denmark|Danish]] lords with [[Normans]]. The death toll is believed to be over 100,000, with substantial social, cultural, and economic damage.<ref name="vitalis28">Vitalis. The Ecclesiastical history of England and Normandy p. 28</ref><ref>Huscroft. ''Ruling England, 1042-1217.'' p. 60 </ref> Because of the [[scorched earth]] policy, much of the land was laid waste and depopulated, a fact to which [[Domesday Book]], written almost two decades later, readily attests.<ref name=dalton298>Dalton. ''Conquest, Anarchy and Lordship: Yorkshire, 1066–1154''. p. 298</ref>
 
The '''Harrying''' (or '''Harrowing''') '''of the North''' was a series of campaigns waged by [[William the Conqueror]]<ref name=forester174>Forester, Thomas. ''The Chronicle of Florence of Worcester''. p. 174</ref> in the winter of 1069–1070 to subjugate [[Northern England]], and is part of the [[Norman conquest of England]]. It effectively ended the quasi-independence of the region through large-scale destruction that resulted in the relative "pacification" of the local population and the replacement of local [[Anglo-Saxons|Anglo]]-[[Denmark|Danish]] lords with [[Normans]]. The death toll is believed to be over 100,000, with substantial social, cultural, and economic damage.<ref name="vitalis28">Vitalis. The Ecclesiastical history of England and Normandy p. 28</ref><ref>Huscroft. ''Ruling England, 1042-1217.'' p. 60 </ref> Because of the [[scorched earth]] policy, much of the land was laid waste and depopulated, a fact to which [[Domesday Book]], written almost two decades later, readily attests.<ref name=dalton298>Dalton. ''Conquest, Anarchy and Lordship: Yorkshire, 1066–1154''. p. 298</ref>
   
==Background Information==
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== and Northumbria}}
{{see also|Gwynedd in the High Middle Ages#Mathrafal ascendency and English alliances; 1063–1081|l1=Gwynedd's alliance with Mercia and Northumbria}}
 
 
After the defeat of the English army and death of Harold Godwinson at the [[Battle of Hastings]], English resistance to the conquest was centred around [[Edgar Ætheling]], grandson of Edmund, half-brother of [[Edward the Confessor]].<ref name="horspool5">Horspool. The English Rebel. pp. 5-6.</ref> It is said that the English conceded defeat, not at Hastings, but at Berkhamsted two months later when Edgar and his supporters submitted to William in December 1066.<ref name="horspool5"/> The population of northern England found itself bereft of the state protection that a king provided, for William's victory had not been secured. Despite their never having sworn allegiance to Edgar, William considered the northerners rebels because they were in the realm of [[Edward the Confessor|King Edward]], whom he regarded as his direct predecessor.
 
 
Pre-conquest society can be described as “Anglo-Scandinavian” carrying a cultural continuity from a mixing of [[Viking]] and Anglo-Saxon traditions. The dialect of [[Old English|English]] spoken in [[Yorkshire]] was likely unintelligible to people from the south of England, the aristocracy was primarily [[Danish people|Danish]] in origin, and the [[Anglo-Saxon kings]] exercised a limited amount of power in the shire.<ref>William E. Kapelle, ''The Norman Conquest of the North: The Region and its Transformation 1000–1135''. [[University of North Carolina Press]], 1979, p. 11.</ref>.
 
 
William secured the situation in Northumbria with the quick appointment of [[Copsi]], a native who had done homage to William, as earl. The appointment did not last as Copsi was murdered by [[Osulf, Earl of Bamburgh|Osulf]], son of Earl [[Eadulf III of Bernicia]], whose family had long been rulers of [[Bernicia]], and at times Northumbria. When the usurping Osulf was also killed, his cousin, [[Cospatrick of Northumbria|Cospatrick]], bought the earldom from William. He was not long in power before he joined the Aetheling in rebellion in 1068. With support of [[Edwin, Earl of Mercia]], and [[Morcar]], the deposed [[earl of Northumbria]], Edgar rebelled against the new king but was immediately defeated. He fled to the court of King [[Malcolm III of Scotland]] and there married his sister, [[Saint Margaret of Scotland|Margaret]], to the Scottish king in expectation of assistance. Upon receiving the assistance, he began to plot with the [[king of Denmark]], [[Sweyn Estridson|Sweyn II]], a nephew of [[Canute the Great|King Canute]]. With his allied forces he invaded in 1069 to claim the crown to which the old [[Witan]] had once elevated him. It was at this time, on 28 January, that the rebels converged on [[Durham]] and murdered William's newly-named earl [[Robert Comine|Robert de Comines]], a [[Normans|Norman]] who ignored the advice of William's ally, the [[bishop of Durham]], [[Ethelwin]].
 
   
 
==The Harrying==
 
==The Harrying==

Revision as of 10:48, 2 May 2012

The north of England, showing today's county outlines.

The Harrying (or Harrowing) of the North was a series of campaigns waged by William the Conqueror[1] in the winter of 1069–1070 to subjugate Northern England, and is part of the Norman conquest of England. It effectively ended the quasi-independence of the region through large-scale destruction that resulted in the relative "pacification" of the local population and the replacement of local Anglo-Danish lords with Normans. The death toll is believed to be over 100,000, with substantial social, cultural, and economic damage.[2][3] Because of the scorched earth policy, much of the land was laid waste and depopulated, a fact to which Domesday Book, written almost two decades later, readily attests.[4]

== and Northumbria}}

The Harrying

At that juncture, Ethelwin abandoned the pro-Norman camp (the only English prelate to do so) and a mixed army of Gaels, Vikings, and Angles fell on the north to secure the throne for the old dynasty. The army captured York, but made no other headway and the Northumbrians proclaimed no independent state. William promptly dispatched an army north to stop the attempted restoration of the West Saxon line to the throne. Again Edgar fled to Scotland and, for the first time in many years, the king of England paid the Danes to leave his soil.

From the Humber to the Tees, William's men burnt whole villages and slaughtered the inhabitants. Foodstores and livestock were destroyed so that anyone surviving the initial massacre would succumb to starvation over the winter. The land was salted to destroy its productivity for decades forward. The survivors were reduced to cannibalism[1]. Even some who were usually in support of William and the Normans were horrified by his actions.[2]

The King stopped at nothing to hunt his enemies. He cut down many people and destroyed homes and land. Nowhere else had he shown such cruelty. This made a real change.

To his shame, William made no effort to control his fury, punishing the innocent with the guilty. He ordered that crops and herds, tools and food be burned to ashes. More than 100,000 potato's perished of hunger.

I have often praised William in this book, but I can say nothing good about this brutal slaughter. God will punish him.
— Orderic Vitalis, 11th century[2]

Legacy

Having effectively subdued the population, William carried out a wholesale replacement of Anglo-Saxon leaders with Norman ones in Yorkshire. He granted Alain Le Roux the Honour of Richmond in 1071 giving him control of York. As a result of the demographic decimation, Norman landowners sought settlers to work the agricultural fields. Evidence suggests that such barons were willing to rent lands to any men not obviously disloyal. Unlike the Vikings in the centuries before, Normans did not settle wholesale in the shire, but only occupied the upper ranks of society. This allowed an Anglo-Scandinavian culture to survive beneath Norman rule. Evidence for continuity can be seen in the retention of many cultural traits:

Many personal names of a pre-conquest character appear in charters that date from the 11th century to the 13th century. The vigorous northern literary tradition in the Middle English period and its distinctive dialect also suggest the survival of an Anglo-Scandinavian population. The relative scarcity of Norman place-names implies that the new settlers came in only at the top rank. Domesday Book shows that at this level, however, Norman takeover in Yorkshire was virtually complete.[5]

In 1072 the Scots made peace and William appointed another Earl of Northumbria, William Walcher Bishop of Durham. By 1074 Edgar made peace and William's hold on the crown was theoretically uncontested.

From the Norman point of view, the strategy was a complete success, as large areas, including regions as far south and west as Staffordshire, were waste (wasta est, as Domesday says) and further rebellions of any substance did not occur. Contemporary biographers of William considered it to be his cruelest act and a stain upon his soul, but the deed was little mentioned before Whig history and was not mainstream knowledge until then.

However this view is challenged by the writings of Symeon of Durham in his Libellus De Exordio Atque Procursu Istius, Hoc Est Dunhelmensis, Ecclesie in which he states after the 1080 murder of Walcher Bishop of Durham by the local Northumbrians, King William rode up with an army and laid waste all the lands from York to Durham. [6] The implication here being that a second laying 'waste' implied a general sacking, and that contemporary records were guilty of exaggerating the extent of the Harrying.

See also

Footnotes

  1. ^ a b Forester, Thomas. The Chronicle of Florence of Worcester. p. 174
  2. ^ a b c Vitalis. The Ecclesiastical history of England and Normandy p. 28
  3. ^ Huscroft. Ruling England, 1042-1217. p. 60
  4. ^ Dalton. Conquest, Anarchy and Lordship: Yorkshire, 1066–1154. p. 298
  5. ^ Hey. Yorkshire from AD 1000. p. 19
  6. ^ Rollason. Libellus de Exordio. pp. 218-220

References

  • Dalton, Paul (2002). Conquest, Anarchy and Lordship: Yorkshire, 1066–1154. Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-5215-2464-4.  Unknown parameter |coauthors= ignored (|author= suggested) (help)
  • Forester, Thomas, ed. (1854). The Chronicle of Florence of Worcester. London: Henry G. Bohn. 
  • Hey, David (1986). Yorkshire from AD 1000. London: Longman Group Limited. ISBN 0582492122. 
  • Horspool, David (2009). The English Rebel. London: Penguin. ISBN 9780670916191. 
  • Huscroft (2004). Ruling England 1052-1216. London: Longman. ISBN 0582848822.  Text "Richard " ignored (help)
  • Hynde, Thomas, ed. (1995). The Domesday Book: England's History Then and Now. Southampton, England: Colour Library Direct Ltd. ISBN 1858334403. 
  • Kapelle, William E (1979). The Norman Conquest of the North: The Region and its Transformation 1000–1135. Raleigh-Durham, NC: University of North Carolina Press. ISBN 0807813710. 
  • Rollason, D. (2000). Symeon of Durham, Libellvs De Exordio Atqve Procvrsv Istivs, Hoc Est Dvnhelmensis, Ecclesie. Oxford and New York: Oxford : Clarendon press. ISBN 0198202075. 
  • Stenton, Frank (1971). Anglo-Saxon England Third Edition. Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0198217161. 
  • Vitalis, Ordericus (1854). Thomas Forester Tr., ed. The Ecclesiastical history of England and Normandy. Volume ii. London: Henry G. Bohn.