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William the Conqueror and Wessex


This article is written in honour of a scholar whose many distinguished contributions include a history of Wessex that is the indispensable foundation for this analysis of how William the Conqueror (1066–87) shaped his Wessex inheritance. While adopting the standard definition of Wessex as consisting of the six historic counties of Devon, Dorset, Somerset, Wiltshire, Berkshire, and Hampshire, I only occasionally refer to Devon, since, although the Domesday record of that shire does contain typically ‘Wessex’ features, as far as we know William did not visit it after early 1068 when he besieged Exeter and then marched his army into Cornwall, before returning to Winchester to celebrate Easter.2 The article is also intended as a contribution to how different regions of England experienced the so-called Norman Conquest.

Dates and versions

hal-02612010 , version 1 (18-05-2020)



David Bates. William the Conqueror and Wessex. Langlands, Alexander James; Lavelle, Ryan. The Land of the English Kin : Studies in Wessex and Anglo-Saxon England in Honour of Professor Barbara Yorke, Brill, pp.517-537, 2020, Brill's Series on the Early Middle Ages, 26, 978 90 04 34949 0. ⟨10.1163/9789004421899_026⟩. ⟨hal-02612010⟩
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