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The 1066 Norman Bruisers (Hardback)

How European Thugs Became English Gentry

British History Medieval History P&S History Pre WWI Medieval

By Helen Kay
Imprint: Pen & Sword History
Pages: 276
ISBN: 9781526759382
Published: 3rd February 2020

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History Hit

An article written by the author for Dan Snow's History Hit: '5 Ways the Norman Conquest Changed England'

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The 1066 Norman Bruisers conjures up the vanished world of England in the late Middle Ages and casts light on one of the strangest quirks in the nation’s history: how a bunch of European thugs became the quintessentially English gentry.

In 1066 go-getting young immigrant Osbern Fitz-Tezzo crossed the Channel in William the Conqueror’s army. Little did he know that it would take five years to vanquish the English, years in which the Normans suffered almost as much as the people they had set out to subdue. For the English, the Norman Conquest was an unmitigated disaster, killing thousands by the sword or starvation. But for Osbern and his compatriots, it brought territory and treasure – and a generational evolution they could never have imagined.

Osbern’s descendants settled in Cheshire, which played a pivotal role in medieval England as the launch pad for Edward I’s Welsh wars, the chief recruiting ground for royal armies and Richard II’s regional powerhouse. Successive members of the Boydell family fought for monarchs and magnates, oversaw royal garrisons, travelled abroad as agents of the crown and helped to administer the laws of the land. When they weren’t strutting across the stage of northwestern England, mingling with great men and participating in great events, they engaged in feuds, embarked on illicit love affairs and exerted their influence in the small corner of the country they had made their own. By 1378, when William Boydell died from wounds sustained in combat, the nation he defended was England and the enemy he opposed dwelled just forty miles from the place where Osbern had probably grown up.

This is a great book, as it gives a different look at a well written about period of English history.

Read the full review here

Medieval Sword School

About Helen Kay

Helen Kay has a BA in Jurisprudence and a PhD in English Literature, with a partial focus on Old and Middle English. She grew up in Windsor, where William the Conqueror built one of his many castles, but now divides her time between London and New York.

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