The Duchy of Normandy grew out of the 911 Treaty of Saint-Clair-sur-Epte between King Charles III of West Francia and Rollo, leader of the Vikings. The duchy was named for its inhabitants, the Normans.
From 1066 until 1204 it was held by the kings of England, except for the brief rule of Robert Curthose (1087–1106), eldest son of William the Conqueror but unsuccessful claimant to the English throne; and Geoffrey Plantagenet (1144–1150), husband of Empress Matilda and father of Henry II.
In 1202, Philip II of France declared Normandy forfeit to him and seized it by force of arms in 1204. It remained disputed territory until the Treaty of Paris of 1259, when the English sovereign ceded his claim except for the Channel Islands; i.e., the Bailiwicks of Guernsey and Jersey, and their dependencies (including Sark).
In the Kingdom of France, the duchy was occasionally set apart as an apanage to be ruled by a member of the royal family. After 1469, however, it was permanently united to the royal domain, although the title was occasionally conferred as an honorific upon junior members of the royal family. The last French duke of Normandy in this sense was Louis-Charles, duke from 1785 to 1789.
Duchy of Normandy
Duché de Normandie
Normandy's historical borders in the northwest of modern-day France and the Channel Islands
|Status||Vassal of the Kingdom of France|
|Duke of Normandy|
|William the Conqueror|
• 1199–1216 (1204)
|John Lackland (last)|
|Historical era||Middle Ages|
• Normandy conquered by Anjou
• Normandy conquered by French Crown
• Ducal ring destroyed
• French nominal ducal title abolished
|Today part of|| France|
The first Viking attack on the river Seine took place in 820. By 911, the area had been raided many times and there were even small Viking settlements on the lower Seine. The text of the Treaty of Saint-Clair-sur-Epte has not survived. It is only known through the historian Dudo of Saint-Quentin, who was writing a century after the event. The exact date of the treaty is unknown, but it was likely in the autumn of 911. By the agreement, Charles III, king of the West Franks, granted to the Viking leader Rollo some lands along the lower Seine that were apparently already under Danish control. Whether Rollo himself was a Dane or a Norwegian is not known. For his part, Rollo agreed to defend the territory from other Vikings and that he and his men would convert to Christianity.
The territory ceded to Rollo comprised the pagi of the Caux, Évrecin, Roumois and Talou. This was territory formerly known as the county of Rouen, and which would become Upper Normandy. A royal diploma of 918 confirms the donation of 911, using the verb adnuo ("I grant"). There is no evidence that Rollo owed any service or oath to the king for his lands, nor that there were any legal means for the king to take them back: they were granted outright. Likewise, Rollo does not seem to have been created a count or given comital authority, but later sagas refer to him as Rúðujarl (earl of Rouen).
In 924, King Radulf extended Rollo's county westward up to the river Vire, including the Bessin, where some Danes from England had settled not long before. In 933, King Radulf granted the Avranchin and Cotentin to Rollo's son and successor, William Longsword. These areas had been previously under Breton rule. The northern Cotentin had been settled by Norwegians coming from the region of the Irish Sea. There was initially much hostility between these Norwegian settlers and their new Danish overlords. These expansions brought the boundaries of Normandy roughly in line with those of the ecclesiastical province of Rouen.
The Norman polity had to contend with the Frankish and Breton systems of power that already existed in Normandy. In the early 10th century, Normandy was not a political or monetary unit. According to many academics, "the formation of a new aristocracy, monastic reform, episcopal revival, written bureaucracy, saints’ cults – with necessarily different timelines" were as important if not more than the ducal narrative espoused by Dudo. The formation of the Norman state also coincided with the creation of an origin myth for the Norman ducal family through Dudo, such as Rollo being compared to a "good pagan" like the Trojan hero Aeneas. Through this narrative, the Normans were assimilated closer to the Frankish core as they moved away from their pagan Scandinavian origins.
There were two distinct patterns of Norse settlement in the duchy. In the Danish area in the Roumois and the Caux, settlers intermingled with the indigenous Gallo-Romance-speaking population. Rollo shared out the large estates with his companions and gave agricultural land to his other followers. Danish settlers cleared their own land to farm it, and there was no segregation of populations.
In the northern Cotentin on the other hand, the population was purely Norwegian. Coastal features bore Norse names as did the three pagi of Haga, Sarnes and Helganes (as late as 1027). The Norwegians may even have set up a þing, an assembly of all free men, whose meeting place may be preserved in the name of Le Tingland.
Within a few generations of the founding of Normandy in 911, however, the Scandinavian settlers had intermarried with the natives and adopted much of their culture. But in 911, Normandy was not a political nor monetary unit. Frankish culture remained dominant and according to some scholars, 10th century Normandy was characterized by a diverse Scandinavian population interacting with the "local Frankish matrix" that existed in the region. In the end, the Normans stressed assimilation with the local population. In the 11th century, the anonymous author of the Miracles of Saint Wulfram referred to the formation of a Norman identity as "shaping [of] all races into one single people".
The Norman dukes created the most powerful, consolidated duchy in Western Europe between the years 980, when the dukes helped place Hugh Capet on the French throne, and 1050. Scholarly churchmen were brought into Normandy from the Rhineland, and they built and endowed monasteries and supported monastic schools. The dukes imposed heavy feudal burdens on the ecclesiastical fiefs, which supplied the armed knights that enabled the dukes to control the restive lay lords but whose bastards could not inherit. By the mid-11th century the Duke of Normandy could count on more than 300 armed and mounted knights from his ecclesiastical vassals alone. By the 1020s the dukes were able to impose vassalage on the lay nobility as well. Until Richard II, the Norman rulers did not hesitate to call Viking mercenaries for help to get rid of their enemies around Normandy, such as the king of the Francs himself. Olaf Haraldsson crossed the Channel in such circumstances to support Richard II in the conflict against the count of Chartres and was baptized in Rouen in 1014.
In 1066, Duke William defeated Harold II of England at the Battle of Hastings and was subsequently crowned King of England, through the Norman conquest of England. Anglo-Norman and French relations became complicated after the Norman Conquest. The Norman dukes retained control of their holdings in Normandy as vassals owing fealty to the King of France, but they were his equals as kings of England. From 1154 until 1214, with the creation of the Angevin Empire, the Angevin kings of England controlled half of France and all of England, dwarfing the power of the French king, yet the Angevins were still technically French vassals.
The Duchy remained part of the Anglo-Norman realm until 1204, when Philip II of France conquered the continental lands of the Duchy, which became part of the royal domain. The English sovereigns continued to claim them until the Treaty of Paris (1259) but in fact kept only the Channel Islands. Having little confidence in the loyalty of the Normans, Philip installed French administrators and built a powerful fortress, the Château de Rouen, as a symbol of royal power.
Although within the royal demesne, Normandy retained some specificity. Norman law continued to serve as the basis for court decisions. In 1315, faced with the constant encroachments of royal power on the liberties of Normandy, the barons and towns pressed the Norman Charter on the king. This document did not provide autonomy to the province but protected it against arbitrary royal acts. The judgments of the Exchequer, the main court of Normandy, were declared final. This meant that Paris could not reverse a judgment of Rouen. Another important concession was that the King of France could not raise a new tax without the consent of the Normans. However the charter, granted at a time when royal authority was faltering, was violated several times thereafter when the monarchy had regained its power.
The Duchy of Normandy survived mainly by the intermittent installation of a duke. In practice, the King of France sometimes gave that portion of his kingdom to a close member of his family, who then did homage to the king. Philippe VI made Jean, his eldest son and heir to his throne, the Duke of Normandy. In turn, Jean II appointed his heir, Charles.
In 1465, Louis XI was forced by the League of the Public Weal to cede the duchy to his eighteen-year-old brother, Charles de Valois. This concession was a problem for the king since Charles was the puppet of the king's enemies. Normandy could thus serve as a basis for rebellion against the royal power. In 1469, therefore, Louis XI convinced his brother to exchange Normandy for the Duchy of Guyenne (Aquitaine). Finally, at the request of the cowed Estates of Normandy and to signify that the duchy would not be ceded again, at a session of the Norman Exchequer on 9 November 1469 the ducal ring was placed on an anvil and smashed. Philippe de Commynes expressed was probably a common Norman thought of the time: "It has always seemed good to the Normans and still does that their great duchy really should require a duke" (A tousjours bien semblé aux Normands et faict encores que si grand duchié comme la leur requiert bien un duc).
There are traces of Scandinavian law in the customary laws of Normandy, which were first written down in the 13th century. A charter of 1050, listing several pleas before Duke William II, refers to the penalty of banishment as ullac (from Old Norse útlagr). The word was still current in the 12th century, when it was used in the Roman de Rou. Marriage more danico ("in the Danish manner"), that is, without any ecclesiastical ceremony in accordance with old Norse custom, was recognised as legal in Normandy and in the Norman church. The first three dukes of Normandy all practised it.
Scandinavian influence is especially apparent in laws relating to waters. The duke possessed the droit de varech (from Old Danish vrek), the right to all shipwrecks. He also had a monopoly on whale and sturgeon. A similar monopoly belonged to the Danish king in the Jutlandic law of 1241. Remarkably, whale and sturgeon still belong to the monarch in the United Kingdom in the twenty-first century, as royal fish. The Norman Latin terms for whalers (valmanni, from hvalmenn) and whaling station (valseta, from hvalmannasetr) both derive from Old Norse. Likewise, fishing in Normandy seems to have come under Scandinavian rules. A charter of 1030 uses the term fisigardum (from Old Norse fiskigarðr) for "fisheries", a term also found in the Scanian law of c. 1210.
There is no surviving reference to the hirð or the leiðangr in Normandy, but the latter probably existed. The surname Huscaille, first attested in 1263, probably derives from húskarl, but is late evidence for the existence of a hirð in the 10th century.
The Bailiwick of Guernsey (French: Bailliage de Guernesey) is one of three Crown dependencies.
Separated from the Dukedom and Duchy of Normandy by and under the terms of the Treaty (or Peace) of Le Goulet in 1204, the Bailiwick comprises a number of islands in the English Channel which fall into three separate sub-jurisdictions: Guernsey, Alderney and Sark.
A bailiwick is a territory administered by a Bailiff. The Bailiff of Guernsey is the civil head, and presiding officer of the States of Guernsey, but not of Alderney or Sark. He is the head of the judiciary of the Bailiwick.Channel Islands
The Channel Islands (Norman: Îles d'la Manche; French: Îles Anglo-Normandes or Îles de la Manche) are an archipelago in the English Channel, off the French coast of Normandy. They include two Crown dependencies: the Bailiwick of Jersey, which is the largest of the islands; and the Bailiwick of Guernsey, consisting of Guernsey, Alderney, Sark and some smaller islands. They are considered the remnants of the Duchy of Normandy and, although they are not part of the United Kingdom, the UK is responsible for the defence and international relations of the islands. The Crown dependencies are not members of the Commonwealth of Nations or of the European Union. They have a total population of about 164,541, and the bailiwicks' capitals, Saint Helier and Saint Peter Port, have populations of 33,500 and 18,207, respectively. The total area of the islands is 198 km2.
"Channel Islands" is a geographical term, not a political unit. The two bailiwicks have been administered separately since the late 13th century. Each has its own independent laws, elections, and representative bodies (although in modern times, politicians from the islands' legislatures are in regular contact). Any institution common to both is the exception rather than the rule. The Bailiwick of Guernsey is divided into three jurisdictions – Guernsey, Alderney and Sark – each with its own legislature. Although there are a few pan-island institutions (such as the Channel Islands office to the EU in Brussels, which is actually a joint venture between the bailiwicks), these tend to be established structurally as equal projects between Guernsey and Jersey. Otherwise, entities proclaiming membership of both Guernsey and Jersey might in fact be from one bailiwick only, for instance the Channel Islands Securities Exchange is in Saint Peter Port (and therefore Guernsey).
The term "Channel Islands" began to be used around 1830, possibly first by the Royal Navy as a collective name for the islands. The term refers only the archipelago to the west of the Cotentin Peninsula. The Isle of Wight, for example, is not a "Channel Island" (though, being in the Channel, it remains a "Channel island").Duke of Normandy
In the Middle Ages, the Duke of Normandy was the ruler of the Duchy of Normandy in north-western France. The duchy arose out of a grant of land to the Viking leader Rollo by the French king Charles III in 911. In 924 and again in 933, Normandy was expanded by royal grant. Rollo's male-line descendants continued to rule it down to 1135. In 1202 the French king Philip II declared Normandy a forfeited fief and by 1204 his army had conquered it. It remained a French royal province thereafter, still called the Duchy of Normandy, but only occasionally granted to a duke of the royal house as an apanage.Geoffrey Plantagenet, Count of Anjou
Geoffrey V (24 August 1113 – 7 September 1151)—called the Handsome or the Fair (French: le Bel) and Plantagenet—was the Count of Anjou, Touraine, and Maine by inheritance from 1129 and then Duke of Normandy by conquest from 1144. By his marriage to the Empress Matilda, daughter and heiress of Henry I of England, Geoffrey had a son, Henry Curtmantle, who succeeded to the English throne as King Henry II (1154–1189) and was the first of the Plantagenet dynasty to rule England; the name "Plantagenet" was taken from Geoffrey's epithet. His ancestral domain of Anjou gave rise to the name Angevin for three kings of England (Henry II his son and heir, and Henry's sons Richard and John), and what became known as the Angevin Empire in the 12th century.History of Guernsey
The history of Guernsey stretches back to evidence of prehistoric habitation and settlement and encompasses the development of its modern society.History of Jersey
The island of Jersey and the other Channel Islands represent the last remnants of the medieval Duchy of Normandy that held sway in both France and England. Jersey lies in the Bay of Mont Saint-Michel and is the largest of the Channel Islands. It has enjoyed self-government since the division of the Duchy of Normandy in 1204.List of Bailiffs of Jersey
This is a list of bailiffs of Jersey.
The position of Bailiff was created shortly after the Treaty of Paris 1259 in which the King of England, Henry III, gave up claim to all of the Duchy of Normandy but the Channel Islands. In 1290, separate bailiffs for Guernsey and Jersey were appointed.
The list of bailiffs is only reliably traceable from Philippe L’Evesque’s appointment in 1277, although earlier bailiffs are mentioned and the office may date from before 1204.
See also: list of Bailiffs of Guernsey, list of Seigneurs of Sark.Norman architecture
The term Norman architecture is used to categorise styles of Romanesque architecture developed by the Normans in the various lands under their dominion or influence in the 11th and 12th centuries. In particular the term is traditionally used for English Romanesque architecture. The Normans introduced large numbers of castles and fortifications including Norman keeps, and at the same time monasteries, abbeys, churches and cathedrals, in a style characterised by the usual Romanesque rounded arches (particularly over windows and doorways) and especially massive proportions compared to other regional variations of the style.Norman law
Norman law refers to the customary law of the Duchy of Normandy which developed between the 10th and 13th centuries and which survives today in the legal systems of Jersey and the other Channel Islands. It grew out of a mingling of Frankish customs and Viking ones after the creation of Normandy as a Norse colony under French rule in 911.
There are traces of Scandinavian law in the customary laws of Normandy. A charter of 1050, listing several pleas before Duke William II, refers to the penalty of banishment as ullac (from Old Norse útlagr). The word was still current in the 12th century, when it was used in the Roman de Rou. Marriage more danico ("in the Danish manner"), that is, without any ecclesiastical ceremony in accordance with old Norse custom, was recognised as legal in Normandy and in the Norman church. The first three dukes of Normandy all practised it.Scandinavian influence is especially apparent in laws relating to waters. The duke possessed the droit de varech (from Old Danish vrek), the right to all shipwrecks. He also had a monopoly on whale and sturgeon. A similar monopoly belonged to the Danish king in the Jutlandic law of 1241. The Norman Latin terms for whalers (valmanni, from hvalmenn) and whaling station (valseta, from hvalmannasetr) both derive from Old Norse. Likewise, fishing seems to have come under Scandinavian rules. A charter of 1030 uses the term fisigardum (from Old Norse fiskigarðr) for "fisheries", a term also found in the Scanian law of c. 1210.Norman customary law was first written down in two customaries in Latin by two judges for use by them and their colleagues: the Très ancien coutumier (Very ancient customary) authored between 1200 and 1245; and the Grand coutumier de Normandie (Great customary of Normandy, originally Summa de legibus Normanniae in curia laïcali) authored between 1235 and 1245.
The Channel Islands remained part of the Duchy of Normandy until 1204 when King Philip II Augustus of France conquered the duchy from King John of England. The islands remained in the personal possession of the King of England and were described as being a Peculiar of the Crown. They retained the Norman customary law and developed it in parallel with continental Normandy and France, albeit with different evolutions.Normandy
Normandy (; French: Normandie, pronounced [nɔʁmɑ̃di] (listen), Norman: Normaundie, from Old French Normanz, plural of Normant, originally from the word for "northman" in several Scandinavian languages) is one of the 18 regions of France, roughly referring to the historical Duchy of Normandy.
Normandy is divided into five administrative departments: Calvados, Eure, Manche, Orne, and Seine-Maritime. It covers 30,627 square kilometres (11,825 sq mi), comprising roughly 5% of the territory of metropolitan France. Its population of 3.37 million accounts for around 5% of the population of France. The inhabitants of Normandy are known as Normans, and the region is the historic homeland of the Norman language.
The historical region of Normandy comprised the present-day region of Normandy, as well as small areas now part of the departments of Mayenne and Sarthe. The Channel Islands (French: Îles Anglo-Normandes) are also historically part of Normandy; they cover 194 km² and comprise two bailiwicks: Guernsey and Jersey, which are British Crown dependencies over which Queen Elizabeth II reigns as Duke of Normandy.Normandy's name comes from the settlement of the territory by mainly Danish and Norwegian Vikings ("Northmen") from the 9th century, and confirmed by treaty in the 10th century between King Charles III of France and the Viking jarl Rollo. For a century and a half following the Norman conquest of England in 1066, Normandy and England were linked by Norman and Frankish rulers.Orderic Vitalis
Orderic Vitalis (Latin: Ordericus Vitalis; 1075 – c. 1142) was an English chronicler and Benedictine monk who wrote one of the great contemporary chronicles of 11th- and 12th-century Normandy and Anglo-Norman England. Modern historians view him as a reliable source.Rollo
Rollo or Gaange Rolf (Norman: Rou; Old Norse: Hrólfr; French: Rollon; c. 860 – c. 930 AD) was a Viking who became the first ruler of Normandy, a region of France. He is sometimes called the first Duke of Normandy. His son and grandson, William Longsword and Richard I, used the titles "count" (Latin comes or consul) and "prince" (princeps). His great-grandson Richard II was the first to officially use the title of Duke of Normandy. His Scandinavian name Rolf was extended to Gaange Rolf because he became too heavy as an adult for a horse to carry, therefore he had to walk ("gaa" in older Dano-Norwegian). Rollo emerged as the outstanding personality among the Norsemen who had secured a permanent foothold on Frankish soil in the valley of the lower Seine. Charles the Simple, the king of West Francia, ceded them lands between the mouth of the Seine and what is now Rouen in exchange for Rollo agreeing to end his brigandage, and provide the Franks with protection against future Viking raids.Rollo is first recorded as the leader of these Viking settlers in a charter of 918, and he continued to reign over the region of Normandy until at least 928. He was succeeded by his son, William Longsword in the Duchy of Normandy that he had founded. The offspring of Rollo and his followers became known as the Normans. After the Norman conquest of England and their conquest of southern Italy and Sicily over the following two centuries, their descendants came to rule Norman England (the House of Normandy), the Kingdom of Sicily (the Kings of Sicily) as well as the Principality of Antioch from the 10th to 12th century, leaving behind an enduring legacy in the histories of Europe and the Near East.Rouen Castle
Rouen Castle (Château Bouvreuil) was a fortified ducal and royal residence in the city of Rouen, capital of the duchy of Normandy, now in France. With the exception of the tower wrongly associated with Joan of Arc, which was restored by Viollet-le-Duc, the castle was destroyed at the end of the 16th century, its stones quarried for other construction.Saint Sampson, Guernsey
Saint Sampson (Guernésiais: Saint Samsaon; French: Saint Sampson), is one of the parishes of Guernsey, Channel Islands.
In 933 the islands, formerly under the control of William I, then Duchy of Brittany were annexed by the Duchy of Normandy. The island of Guernsey and the other Channel Islands represent the last remnants of the medieval Duchy of Normandy.The Guernésiais nickname for people from St Sampson is roînes (frogs).
The parish is divided into two non-contiguous sections, the bulk of the parish lying on the east coast, with a smaller section lying on the west coast. The parish of Vale borders the parish to the north and also extends between the two parts of St. Sampson.
What is currently the northern boundary of the parish originally ran along the south coast of Le Braye du Valle, a tidal channel that made the northern extremity of Guernsey, Le Clos du Valle, a tidal island.
La Braye du Valle was drained and reclaimed in 1806 by the British Government as a defence measure. The eastern end of the former channel became the town and harbour (from 1820) of St. Sampson's, now the second biggest port in Guernsey. The western end of La Braye is now Le Grand Havre. The roadway called The Bridge across the end of the harbour at St. Sampson's recalls the bridge that formerly linked the two parts of Guernsey at high tide.
The postal code for street addresses in this parish begins with GY2.Simon I de Montfort
Simon I de Montfort (c. 1025 – 25 September 1087) was a French nobleman. He was born in Montfort l'Amaury, in the Duchy of Normandy, and became its lord. He was the son of Amaury I of Montfort (c. 1000–1031) and Bertrade. At his death he was buried about 20 miles (32 km) away in Epernon, because it was the site of the fortress he was instrumental in constructing.Treaty of Louviers
The Treaty of Louviers was a peace agreement signed between King Richard I of England and King Philip II of France in the early part of January 1196 concerning, among other things, the manors of Andeli and Louviers that at the time were parcels of land of significance in Normandy. It aimed to settle the claims the Angevin kings of England had on French lands and, at least temporarily, to end the quarreling over the Duchy of Normandy.Treaty of Saint-Clair-sur-Epte
In the 840s, Viking Norsemen were entering the Frankish territories as raiders and, gradually, became settlers. The conception of Normandy as a nationhood was not yet founded; there was no unified duchy. Rather there was northwest Neustria, or Annals of St Bertain, which was commonly referred to as March of Brittany, the region between Seine and Loire, and no man's land. There are territories where various Vikings prevailed.Vale, Guernsey
Vale (Guernésiais: Lé Vale; French: Le Valle) is one of the ten parishes of Guernsey.
In 933 the islands, formerly under the control of William I, then Duchy of Brittany were annexed by the Duchy of Normandy. The island of Guernsey and the other Channel Islands represent the last remnants of the medieval Duchy of Normandy.Much of the Vale parish belonging to the fief Saint Michael, which benefited the Benedictine monks who lived in an abbey that had been built next to the Vale Church from when it was granted in 1032 by Robert of Normandy who had apparently been caught in a storm and his ship had ended up safe in Guernsey. The rights to the fief were removed by Henry VIII when he undertook the Dissolution of the Monasteries.White Ship
The White Ship (real name: French: la Blanche-Nef, Latin documents Latin: Candida navis) was a vessel that sank in the English Channel near the Normandy coast off Barfleur, on 25 November 1120. Only one of those aboard survived. Those who drowned included William Adelin, the only legitimate son and heir of King Henry I of England, his half-sister Matilda, his half-brother Richard and also Richard d'Avranches, 2nd Earl of Chester. William Adelin's death led to a succession crisis and a period of civil war in England known as the Anarchy.