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british Normans
The Normans brought a powerful new aristocracy to Britain, and yet preserved much that was Anglo-Saxon about their new possession. What did they change and what did they leave? Twin invasions When Edward the Confessor died in 1066, he left a disputed succession. The throne was seized by his leading aristocrat, Harold Godwinson, who was rapidly crowned. Almost immediately, Harold faced two invasions - one from the king of Norway, Harald Hardrada, who was supported by Harold Godwinson's brother Tostig, and the other from William, Duke of Normandy. Harold defeated the Norwegian invasion at the Battle of Stamford Bridge in September 1066, but he was defeated and killed shortly afterwards at the Battle of Hastings, on 14 October in the same year. The victorious William, now known as 'the Conqueror', brought a new aristocracy to England from Normandy and some other areas of France. He also strengthened aristocratic lordship and moved towards reform of the church. At the same time, William was careful to preserve the powerful administrative machinery that had distinguished the regime of the late Anglo-Saxon kings. At William's death, his lands were divided, with his eldest son Robert taking control of Normandy, and his second son, William Rufus, becoming king of England. Rufus successfully dealt with rebellions and with the threat of his elder brother (he defeated Robert during an invasion of Normandy), and maintained the powerful kingship of his father. Following the death of Archbishop Lanfranc of Canterbury, good relations between king and church broke down, and the new archbishop, Anselm, became involved in quarrels with both Rufus and his successor Henry I.
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