From Legend to History (A.D. 449-1485)

From Legend to
(A.D. 449-1485)
The Conquest of Britain
► Two
groups of Celts from Southern Europe
invades Britain between 800-600 B.C.
 The Britons settled on the island of Britain
 The Gaels settled on what is now Ireland
Both were farmers and hunters organized
into clans.
Priests called druids settled disputes
Next came the Romans
► Began
invading in 55 B.C.
Julius Caesar made some hasty invasions
The true conquest took place 100 years later
Roman rule lasted for 300 years
Last Roman legions left to defend Rome in A.D.
The Anglo-Saxons
► As
Romans left, the Anglo-Saxons began
invading from what is now Germany
► They were deep sea fisherman and farmers
The Coming of Christianity
► By
the 4th century, the Romans had
accepted Christianity and had introduced it
to Britain.
► A century later, when the Celts fled the
Anglo-Saxons, they took their Christian faith
with them.
► Even after Rome fell in A.D. 476, the Celtic
Christian church continued to thrive.
Coming of Christianity continued
► Monks
gained converts in North and
established monasteries
► St. Augustine established a monastery at
Canterbury and began converting rulers
► Church provided counsel to quarreling
rulers, promoted peace, and helped unify
the English people
Danish Invasion
► Comprised
of the Norse of Norway and the
Danes of Denmark (collectively known as
► Rising populations in these two countries
led to them pirating and settling in the
British Isles
► They destroyed monasteries, entire villages,
sacred relics, and manuscripts
► In
871, Alfred the Great ascended to the
Wessex throne. Stopped Danish
► Negotiated a truce where he controlled
southern England and the Danes controlled
the East and North
► Alfred preserved remnants of pre-Danish
civilization and encouraged rebirth of
learning and education
► Danes
continued to push for control in
► 1042, Edward the Confessor ascended to
the throne. His death in 1066 led to the
end of the Anglo-Saxon period of history.
The Norman Conquest
► These
were descendants of the Vikings who
invaded the coast of France in the 9th
► William, Duke of Normandy, had family ties
to Edward the Confessor.
► When Edward died in 1066, Saxon council
of Elders elected Harold II to be king
► William
claimed that Edward had promised
him the throne.
► He crossed the English Channel to assert his
claim by force
► At Battle of Hastings, Harold II was killed,
and William emerged victorious
► Over next five years he suppressed AngloSaxon nobility, and he confiscated their
► He
saw to it that Normans controlled the
government and that business was
conducted in Norman French or Latin
► Remade England by implementing the
Feudal System
The Feudal System
► Involved
the exchange of property for
personal service
► Theory
King owned all land
He parceled it out to his powerful supporters
He gave these supporters titles-usually “Baron”
They in turn paid taxes and supplied a certain
number of Knights should the king need them
 Knights received
smaller parcels of land
for their services
 These parcels were
called manors
 The peasants who
worked on these
manors were called
serfs, and they were
the lowest class in the
feudal system
The Reign of the Plantagenets
► Norman
rule ended in 1154, when Henry
Plantagenet, Count of Anjou, came to the
throne as Henry II.
► His concern with legal matters led him into
a conflict with the church
► When the archbishop of Canterbury died,
Henry appointed his friend, Thomas Becket
to the position. He thought Becket would
go along with royal policy
► Instead,
Becket defied the king and
appealed to the Pope. This angered Henry
► In 1170, thinking they were doing the king
a favor, four of Henry’s knights murdered
Becket in his cathedral
► Henry quickly condemned the action and
tried to atone for it by making a pilgrimage
to Becket’s tomb
► Since
then, a pilgrimage to Becket’s shrine
at Canterbury became a common English
means of showing religious devotion
The Magna Carta
► The
next king after Henry II was Richard I
► Richard spent most of his reign doing
overseas military expeditions
 This proved to be quite costly
King John ended up inheriting these debts
John tried to pay these debts by raising taxes
The barons resisted these measures and forced
King John to sign the Magna Carta
► The
Magna Carta was a document where
the king stated he couldn’t raise taxes
without first meeting with the barons.
► This restriction on the King’s power was the
first step towards a constitutional
government in England
Lancasters, Yorks, and Tudors
► In
1399, the House of Lancaster replaced
the Plantagenets on the throne.
► These kings included Henry IV, V, VI all of
whom were central characters in
Shakespearean historical dramas
► Through the 15th century, York and
Lancaster competed for the throne
► This led to the war of the Roses (14551485)
► Henry
Tudor, distant cousin and supporter of
Lancaster, led a rebellion against the
unpopular York king-Richard III- and killed
Richard in battle
► Henry Tudor was crowned Henry VII and
married Richard’s niece
► This united the house of Lancaster w/ York,
thus ending the War of the Roses
Decline of the Feudal System
► After
the Plague swept across England in
1348 & 1349, massive labor shortages
increased the value of peasant work.
► Peasants began to get paid and experience
more freedom
► The peasants staged a revolt that was
crushed, but the seeds were planted for a
more liberal future
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