The Norman Conquest stands out in English history as a pivotal event that transformed England. But was it really as influential as has been made out? The history of English personal naming may help us re-evaluate the impact of the Conquest and its aftermath.
Every nation has dates and events, which, rightly or wrongly, are seen as crucial in the making of that nation and its people. 1066 is such a date in English history. It has been seen as a point either side of which existed two decisively different worlds. The one constant across the 1000-year debate on the Norman Conquest is the agreement that the changes caused by it were significant, far-reaching and long-lasting. Indeed, it has been labelled as responsible for innovations including: feudalism, lordship, knights, castles, nucleated villages, parish churches, open field farms, centralised government, private property, the nuclear family and patrilineal inheritance.
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