William’s Problems after 1066

1066 – After the Battle

williamWith Harold fallen, and the survivors of the English fyrd  having melted away into the night, the huscarles  held their ground and fought on grimly until they were cut down and killed.  After the slaughter, William and his army must have been exhausted, and no doubt slept in their armour on the battlefield.

When they had rested, the army marched on London. After some resistance at first, the city surrendered. William probably received some reinforcements from Normandy, and on Christmas Day 1066, had himself crowned king of England. Now, he had to decide what to do next.

With a partner, imagine you’re William, and decide how to deal with each problem.  Some possible solutions to each problem are given, but you may think of others!

My army is quite big, and it’s expensive to keep going…
 *Tell them all to go home: the war’s over.
* Keep some of them – I must have an army!
*Keep them all –the war’s not over yet
*Sell the horses and armour
*Make the English pay for my army

My knights are expecting big rewards for having risked their lives for me…
* Say ‘thanks’ and tell them to go home
* Give them English land

My mercenaries need to be paid… 
* Make the English pay, then send them home
* Tell them I haven’t got any money

I’m in a foreign city: I don’t feel safe …
*Just go home to Normandy
* Build a palace in the countryside
* Build a castle in the heart of the city
* Pretend I’m not scared

I can’t speak their language…
 * Make them learn French
* Learn English
* Hire interpreters
* Who cares about their stupid language?

I don’t understand their laws and customs…
* I’m keen to learn how they do things here
* As long as everything works, that’s fine
* I’m king – I make the laws here!

This is a rich land!
* I must find out how much it’s all worth
* … and then tax the people!
* I don’t need their money; let them keep it

What’s happening in Normandy while I’m not there to look after it? 
* Who cares – I’m king of England now
* My family will run things while I’m not there
* I must go back as often as possible
* I’ll go home and leave someone to look after England

Some of the English earls, especially in the north, haven’t surrendered yet… 
* Let them keep the north: it’s too cold anyway
* We’ll talk, and come to some agreement
* Surrender or die you scum!

Many people aren’t sure my claim to the throne is a good one: they don’t trust me…
 * Make everybody swear obedience to me
* Persuade them I’m the rightful king
* Remind them Harold is dead and I’m king