The Story of the Norman Conquest


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In 1066 History in England was changed forever. In fact people saw a bright light in the sky that year and they thought it was a sign that something bad was about to happen. The star was actually Haley’s Comet, which we can see every 75 years.

Some years before 1066, in 1016 a Danish King called Cnut had taken control over England and added it to his lands in Norway and Denmark. He was also a Viking. His son Harold I became the King in 1035. However his half brother Hardicnut was meant to be the next King but Harold took control of the country when Hardicnut was in Denmark. By 1042 Edward the Confessor had became King of England. Edward had spent much of his childhood in Normandy – which is a part of France. It is rumoured that during his time there he promised William Duke of Normandy to be the next King of England on Edward’s death. During his reign Edward devoted much of his time to religion and left much of the day to day work of a King to Godwin Earl of Wessex. Godwin actually helped Edward become King and even married Godwin’s daughter Edith. Godwin also had a son called Harold Godwinson – who became Edwards chief minister. Harold Godwinson is Edward’s Brother in law. By this time Harold Hardrada had become King of Denmark. Hardrada was keeping a close eye on events in England because he felt that the King of Denmark should be ruler of England because years ago King Cnut’s son Hardicnut (who was also King of Denmark) should have become King and not Harold I. In fact he believed Edward was not the rightful King at all.

Unfortunately 1066 saw the death of Edward the Confessor. The problem now was who should be the next King of England? This was the political crisis. Edward and Edith had no children and the closest relative was a boy called Edgar and so at the time Great Leaders step forward to try to make a claim for the title of King of England. The wise men of England were called Witan wanted Harold Godwinson to become king of England.

Facts PDF Worksheet:

    • Aimed at Students studying at UK Year 7 or equivalent
    • Free to download
    • Use as you wish in the classroom or home environment
    • Structured study guide and challenging tasks.