Normans were established in England after the Norman Conquest of 1066. The Normans, or Northmen, were actually descendants of the Vikings. Vikings, under Chief Stirgud the Stout, invaded the Orkneys and Northern Scotland in the 9th century. A century later, under Jarl Thorfinn Rollo, they invaded France. After Rollo laid siege to Paris, the French King Charles the Simple conceded defeat and granted northern France to the Vikings. Rollo became the first Duke of Normandy, the territory of the North Men. Duke William who invaded and defeated England in 1066, descended from Rollo.
In the 11th century, the path of English history was drastically altered by the Norman Conquest, which imposed an alien aristocracy, introduced feudal institutions, and linked England commercially, ecclesiastically and culturally with Europe rather than Scandinavia. Moreover, the social revolution wrought by the Norman Conquest was completed by the rebellions of 1068 and 1069, which led to the displacement of the old English ruling class. In these rebellions, thousands of thanes lost their lands and were replaced by the Normans, who applied the Feudal System to English land-holding traditions. The Norman Conquest also had a profound influence on the English religion because the Normans, with their reforming ideas, entered into the higher offices of the Church. Whenever possible, the Normans retained many of the principle institutions of the Anglo-Saxon monarchy.
The Norman dynasty ended in 1154, with the death of the Stephen, the last Norman King. Although he was good-natured and chivalrous, Stephen was a naive, weak, and incompetent leader who lacked both the gift of leadership and the ruthlessness needed by a 12th century king. As a result, thirty-five years of peace gave way to two decades of turbulence. In 1153, Henry of Anjou, who governed nearly half of France as Count of Anjou, Duke of Aquitaine, and Duke of Normandy, invaded England and forced Stephen to agree to name him as his successor. When Stephen died in 1154, Henry of Anjou became king as Henry II and began the Angevin or Plantagenet dynasty.
- ^ Swyrich, Archive materials