2007 Bob Parrish

In 911 A.D. Charles III "The Simple," King of France granted land on the
northern coast of France, on either side of the River Seine, to a Viking leader
known as Rollo (or Rolf).  In return Rollo pledged his loyalty and agreed to
defend the area against other Viking raiders.

Rollo and his men were Norsemen, probably from Norway.  The fiefdom
he was granted was called "Normandy" and his followers became known as
Normans.  While the Normans adopted Christianity and the French language
they were culturally different from both their Scandinavian predecessors and
their French neighbors.  However, they did retain the fighting ethos of the
Vikings and developed a strong warrior class whose members eventually
fought throughout Europe and the eastern Mediterranean.

In 1066 Edward "The Confessor," the King of England died without leaving
an heir.  (Edward's mother, Emma, was a Norman and the great granddaughter
of Rollo.)  Claiming that Edward had named him as his successor, William,
Duke of Normandy invaded England.  (William also descended from Rollo and
he and Edward were 1st cousins, once removed.)  At the Battle of Hastings, on
14 October 1066, Duke William defeated Harold Godwinson who had taken the
throne after Edward's death.  On Christmas Day 1066 Duke William was
crowned King of England in Westminster Abbey and became known in
history as "William the Conqueror."

By the time of his death in 1087, William had almost completely replaced the
Anglo-Saxon nobility with Normans throughout England.  For the next 300-plus
years the King of England and his lords spoke French while their subjects spoke
English.  (King Henry V, who ascended to the throne in 1413, was the first King
of England after the Norman Conquest who was really proficient in English and
conducted official state business in English.)

Following a series of Scottish raids into northern England, William invaded
Scotland in 1072 and forced the King of the Scots, Malcolm III "Canmore,"
to pay homage to him in the Treaty of Abernathy.  Malcolm also had to
surrender his son, Duncan as a hostage.  When William died in 1087 Duncan
was released and in 1090 Malcolm again invaded northern England.  He was
defeated in 1090 by William II "Rufus" and the terms of the Treaty of
Abernathy were re-invoked.

In the years that followed, the Norman influence in Scotland grew stronger and
the kingdom moved away from its originally Gaelic cultural orientation and
closer to that of England.  This was particularly true when Malcolm III's
youngest son David became King of the Scots in 1124.  Since his father's death
in 1093 David had spent much of his youth in the court of King Henry I of
England.  Henry, the son of William the Conqueror, had married Malcolm III's
daughter Matilda and therefore was David's brother-in-law.

Under David's reign the feudal system was implemented in the Scottish Lowlands.
Tracts of land were given to Anglo-Norman barons in exchange for their
loyalty and service.  This process was described by the disgruntled Highlanders
as "invasion by invitation," and led to at least two revolts during David's reign.
For the next 160 years relations between the King of the Scots and the King of
the English were relatively good and many of the Scottish noble families were
related to English nobility.  One of Scotland's greatest heroes, Robert the Bruce
was descended from a Norman baron who had accompanied William the
Conqueror on his invasion in 1066.  The Stewart dynasty descended from the
Norman Walter Fitz Alan who had received large estates from David along with
the hereditary title of "Steward of Scotland."


 
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2007 Bob Parrish

2008 NTDWA