Conquest of England 1069–86

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Map Code: Ax01882

Edgar Aetheling was a great survivor. Chosen by the Saxons to succeed King Harold he rebelled repeatedly against William the Conqueror and both of his sons, fought in Byzantium and Jerusalem, and died in his seventies in Scottish exile. He was already on his third rebellion when Danish King Sweyn joined him to invade the east coast of England. However, Edgar’s land campaign was a disaster, and William bought the Danes off. While Edgar fled to Scotland, the Anglo-Saxon rebel Hereward the Wake sacked Peterborough with Danish aid, then was besieged in Ely by William, who built a pontoon over the marshes to take the stronghold. William Fitzosbern, the Conqueror’s right-hand man began to subdue the Welsh borders, building a string of castles. The Conqueror devastated the north of England in 1070, known as the ‘harrying of the north’, then invaded Scotland, forcing Edgar’s expulsion. Edgar became reconciled with William and returned, but left again in a huff over his land allotment from the Domesday Book (1086).

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