The Vikings

see also Vikings Time Line

The Vikings arrived in France for the first time in 820, when they sailed up the River Seine. Twenty years later, they returned.

In 844 they stayed in France during the winter. Previously, they had only visited in summer.

The Vikings began to arrive in force. By 861 they had sacked Rouen six times. A famous raid took place on the monastery of Jumieges. in 885-86, Paris was besieged. Charles the Simple decided to come to an agreement with the Vikings rather than continuing to oppose them outright.

Jumping ahead a bit, as a result of the Vikings, many districts and places received a new name.

Harfleur, Barfleur, Honfleur
Caudebec, Briquebec, Blacqueville
vallon, crique
pont sur un ruisseau


In 911, by the treaty of Saint-Clair-sur- Epte (a village mid-way between Paris and Rouen), the King of France, Charles the Simple (Charles III), in order to stop the pillaging, recognized the authority of the Viking chief Rollon (or Hrolfr, or Rollo) (who became baptised) over the region of Rouen - seemingly intended by the French to be a temporary measure.

However the Rouen enclave survived - just. At one stage they responded to Charles request for military assistance. Charles had been imprisoned by Raoul, Duke of Burgundy. But the Normans were too weak to help Charles and Raoul responded by devastating the Rouen enclave.

Two further grants are recorded. In 924 Bessin and Maine, although it is not certain whether this was an extension over existing Viking communities, or not. In 933 Cotentin and Avranche were granted to Guillaume. The Cotentin was already occupied by many Viking settlers.


Guillaume Longue-Epée

930 Guillaume Longue-Epée succeeds Rollo, as the 'Count of Rouen'.

In 937, he married Leutgarde, a direct descendant of Charlemagne, although his successor, Richard 1, was born to Sprota of Bayeux.

Guilllaume refounded Jumieges around 940

In 955 he extended the territory as far as Cherbourg. The Duchy came to have almost identical boundaries to the old region of Neustria, a region whose boundaries had been preserved in the boundaries of the ecclesiastical region governed by the Church in Rouen.

It is often said that Guillaume found it necessary to send his son to Bayeux to learn Danish, such was the extent of assimilation with the French.

In the 10th. and 11th. Century, the dukes followed a politic of centralization and conquest (temporary control of Brittany and, in 1031, over the French Vexin) all resting on the economic prosperity of the region and on the church, reformed by Cluny.

Guillaume was assassinated while meeting with Arnulf, Count of Flanders, on Saturday 17 December 942. This 'meeting' took place on an island in the River Somme at Picquigny, west of Amiens.

Richard 1

In 942 Richard 1 Sans Peur became leader at the age of about 9. His lands were invaded by the French king, Louis IV, and his allies, as well as by a Viking leader, Harald, from the Cotentin. After various confused events and fallings-out between the invaders, Richard was confirmed in his position in 945.

He ruled for 51 years and was formally recognized as Count of Normandy (although he styled himself as 'Duke').

Eight monasteries were founded during his reign.

In 950s he married Emma, sister of Hugh Capet, although she died prematurely and he later married his frilla, Gunnor.

Betwen 961-962, his lands were invaded from an alliance between Lothar, King of France and the Count of Blois-Chartres.

961-963 Richard restored the abbey of Saint Ouen in Rouen. Mont St Michael was formally re-established in 966. At Fecamp developed an institution which had been established by his father, but this was not approved by Cluny, they only granted their favor under Richard 2. William of Dijon>Abbot John 1079.

965 Pact of Gisors

Richard 1 aided the accession of the Hugh Capet, his brother in law, to the French throne, in 987. In 991, he was fighting on Hugh's behalf.

Vikings attacking England were using Normandy as a base, which apart from upsetting the English, alos upset the Pope - the idea that Normandy should be giving succour to pagan people. In 991, Richard made a treaty in Rouen with English representatives, that they would cease to give aid to the Vikings.

He achieved a great coup in 1002 when his daughter, Emma, was married to the King of England, Ethelred II.

Richard II

996 Richard II, le bon.

Vikings attacking England used Normandy as a base, contravrning Richard 1's treaty. Seemingly as a result of these raids, Ethelred II (the Unready) married Emma, Richard II's sister, (as his second wife) in 1002. This appears as an attempt to close off support for the Vikings. This marriage is to become the root of Guillaume's claim to the English throne.

Around 1003, he married Judith, daughter of Conan, Count of Rennes, allegedly at Mont St Michael. (Frilla 1017 Papia)

From 1003 to 1005, Normans joined wiith a struggle of The French king Robert II in Burgundy.

Viking raids still continued and Ethelred did try to retaliate against Normandy - he had sailed along the coasts of the Cotentin, where he had tried to land.

In 1013, Svein Haraldsson invaded England in revenge for Ethelred's pogrpm against Danish emigrants in 1002. Just prior to this, Richard had met Swein in Rouen and offered Normandie as a haven for Danish ships, and as a market for their plunder. Ethelred and Emma fled to Normandy. Ethelred returned to England in 1014 when Svein died. But Svein's son, Canute, returned soon after. Ethelred died in 1016, appointing Edmund Ironside as his successor. After being defeated by Canute, Edmund agreed to a joint-kingship but died a few months later.

1014, the Normans became embroiled in a border war with Odo of Blois. Viking mercenaries were engaged for the strugle, including Olaf Haraldsson, a future King of Norway. Canut had overthrown Ethelred and became King himself. 1016 Edward and and Alfred (and the Bishop of London) sought shelter in Normandie.

The name of 'Normandy' first appears in written soucrs in the 1010s

Richard III

In August 1026 Richard III became duke, at 18 years old. He immediately married Adela, assumed to the daughter of King Robert of France. However, his brother Robert almost immediately rebelled against him. Although Richard had retained the castle of Falaise within Robert's domain, Robert nevertheless seized the castle. Richard surrounded Robert at Falaise, and won the day. Richard died suddenly at Rouen in 1028. It is often stated that he was poisoned by Robert, but that is just rumor.


Nicholas, the young heir of Richard was somehow deprived of his inheritance and Robert became Duke in 1028. Nicholas actually became abbot of saint Ouen in 1034, and ruled there until 1092, outliving his cousin, Guillaume the Conqueror.

1030 approx. took over Alencon after Guillaume I Talvas yielded.

1031 Henri 1 sought refuge, and later attained French throne with Norman help.

In a dispute with Brittany, Robert sacked Dol, and repulsed a revenge attack on Avranches. In 1033, Alan of Brittany and Robert were reconciled by Robert, the Archbishop of Rouen and uncle of both parties.

In 1033, the King of France, Henri I, was ousted by his step-mother, Constance, who installed her own son, Robert, as King. Henri fled to Fecamp to seek the help of Duke Robert. Robert helped Henri regain his throne, and received the Vexin as a reward, although this territory appeared to be a source of future problems between France and Normandy.

Edward and and Alfred were still sheltering in Normandie. Some sources say Robert launched a campaign on their behalf - weather deterred him and the invasion fleet was blown towards the Channel Islands. Previously Richard II had been quite happy to allow Canute to govern in England.

Robert went on a pilgrimage and left the duchy under command of Archbishop Robert of Rouen. In January, he had gathered the nobles at Fecamp, and bad them to swear loyalty to Guillaume as his successor. Count Alan III of Brittany care of Guillaume. Osbern He died in Nicaea on 2 or 3 July 1035.

Le duché devient l'un des Ètats le plus prospères et les plus puissants de l'Europe occidentale.

Guillaume II, le Conquerant

Initial Comments : Modern-day DNA studies tend to show low measures of Scandanavian influence. Although Scandanavian inflence on place names is marked, it is not as marked as in Britain. All-in-all, it is assumed that the Norman Invasion of England was more French, than Viking. (There is a school of thought that the uprising in the North of England against William the Conqueror, which was very violently suppressed by him, resulted in a significant net loss of Scandanavian influence in England - most danish people who had settled in England had settled in the North)

1035 Guillaume became Duke at 7 or 8 years old. He had been left in the care of Robert, Archbishop of Rouen, Count Gilbert of Eu-Brionne and Count Alan III of Brittany among others. He was brought up with three others of his age - William Fitzosbern, Roger of Montgomery and Roger of Beaumont.

Roger of Montgommery chased from Normandy for his 'perfidy'.

1036 Canute had died in 1035 and Harold Harefoot, his son, became the main contender, but by no means unanimous choice, for the throne. In 1036, Edward and Alfred attempted a coup. Edward faced strong opposition after landing in Southampton and returned to Normandie. Alfred sailed from Flanders, but was soon captured. He was taken to Ely and blinded so severely that he died soon after.

1037 Archbishop Robert dies. He is replaced by Mauger, the son of Richard II and his frilla Papia. The situation becomes more precarious for Guillaume.

In 1040, Alan of Brittany died at Vimoutiers while besieging a rebel castle and Gilbert of Brionne was assassinated about six months later while out riding. Osbern Herfasston (FitzArfast) the steward had his throat cut, under the orders of Guillaume de Montgommery (whose father had been expelled from the duchy by the 'guardians'), while sleeping in the same room as Duke Guillaume (in order to protect him). This was at Vandreuil, residence of the Montgommery family

1040/41 while Guillaume's guardians were being murdered, an actual revolt was started by Roger of Tosny - a revolt put down by Roger of Beaumont.

Count Waleran of Meulan escaped to Normandie after a struggle with Henri of France. When Henri realised that Waleran was gaining aid from Norman friends, he seized the border fortress of Tillieres, and followed this up with raids across the Hiemois, seizing Argentan. In about 1043, command of the Norman army was given to Ralph de Gace, son of Archbishop Robert and one of those who had murdered Count Gilbert. He immdiately waged war against Henri's ally, Thurstin Goz, regaining Falaise. King Henri withdrew.

Harthacanute de facto King of England from 1040. Edward returned to England 1041 sharing the throne. Harthacanute died age 23 in 1043 and Edward was appointed King. He was crowned on Easter Day 1043.

1042 Lanfranc of Pavia entered Le Bec. He experience a rapid rise to prior. Under him, it became one of the most famous schools in Northern Europe, attracting Anselm in about 1060.

1046 A revolt started which was more co-ordinated than previous revolts. Guy of Burgundy joined the rebellion - he was a grandson of Richard II via his mother Adele. Guillaume had given him Gilbert's former castle at Brionne.

1047 Henri 1 enterded Normandie to defend Guillaume, returning Norman favor to him in the past. He met up with Guillaume west of Caen, and there followed the Battle of Val-ès-Dunes. The rebel Raoul II Taisson left the field before battle commenced and later attacked his erstwhile rebel allies, which appears to have been a major turning-point in deciding the outcome of the battle. The exact location of the battle site is not known today, the name does not exist today. This was to be the last rebellion of the young duke's minority. Guy escaped from the field of battle to Brionne. Guillaume offered him pardon as long as his castle was destroyed but Guy refused. The Council of Caen in October 1047 set out the new conditions of peace. It instituted the Truce of God which prohibited war between Wednesday evening and Monday morning, although the Duke himself was exempt from these conditions.

Either at end of 1049 or beginning of 1050, Guillaume was requested to help Henri 1, in his projected campaign against Anjou. Two years after Val-ès-Dunes, Guillaume was able to lead a mucher stronger Norman army to assist Henri in the siege of Mouliherne in Anjou.

1049 a marriage between Mathilde, daughter of Baudouin V Count of Flanders (and niece of the French king) , and Guillaume was forbidden by Pope Leo IX at the Council of Reims in October 1049. The reasons for the Pope's decision was based on conditions which are not relevant together, plus a few misunderstandings/technicalities (probably) - Guillaume and Mathilde were not really closely related (although both were descended from Rollon). An alternative reason could lie with the struggles around the Holy Roman Empire, where Henri and Baudouin were fighting against the Emperor. Leo was an appointee of the Emperor, whereas Guillaume was forced to support Henri of France, as his vassal.

Nevertheless, the marriage went ahead in 1050 (or the next year, 1053 at latest - the exact date is not known).

According to the popular story, in 1059 Lanfranc obtained a dispensation for the marriage from Pope Nicholas 2 at the second Laternan Council. The couple were required to build two abbeys as a 'penance' for their actions. In reality, it would appear that in 1051, the help of Robert Champard (former abbot of Jumieges and current Archbishop of Canterbury) was enlisted to intercede with the Pope. Robert travelled to Rome in 1051 and stopped off to meet Guillaume on the way. At least one other attempt was being made simultaneously. If it is true that the two abbays were built to pacify the Pope, then they fitted in marvellously with Guillaume's plan to upgrade Caen which resulted in it becoming Normandy's second-largest town only a few decades later. The building of the abbays would be consistent with this early form of 'town-planning' and could just as easily be explained without reference to the wishes of the Pope.

1049 his half-brother (same mother) Odo (or Eudes) was made Bishop of Bayeux at the age of 19?

1049 Guy surrended and left Normandie for Burgundy.

Geoffroi Martel had resisted the siege of Mouliherne and attacked Tours and Alencon. 1051 Guillaume besieged Domfront where the Count of Anjou, Geoffroi Martel, had installed a garrison in collaboration with the Bellemes. He hoped to attack by surprise but was betrayed by someone whose identity can only be guessed at. Nevertheless while seeming to setle in for a siege of Domfront, he suddenly made a surprise attack on Alencon by surprise and took the town. On hearing of this (plus the atrocities carried out on several inhabitants of Alencon), Domfront surrended.

1052 an alliance was made between Count of Anjou and Henri, as Henri became aware of Normandie's power. Guillaume tried to stop the alliance. In 1053, a revolt started in Rouen, which provided the excuse needed by Henri and Geoffroi to attack the duchy. Guillaume's uncles, Mauger and William of Arques, rose up against their nephew. Despite the rebels being given assistance by the King of France, the besieged Arques surrended. In October, Guillaume had been victorious at a battle near St-Aubin-sur-Scie. Mauger was relieved of his post of Archbishop and exiled to Guernsey. The new archbishop was Manilius.

During winter 1053/54, Normandie was invaded by two armies. Upper Normandy was invaded by Eude, brother of the king of France. The king himself and the Count of Anjou invaded Evreux. The aim was to join up near Rouen. Guillaume likewise split his forces in two.

In March 1054 Eude's troops stopped for the night at Mortemer-sur-Eaulne. The Normans, under Gautier Giffard, advanced during the night, blocked the exits and set fires. Henri retreated and peace was made at end of 1054 and beginning of 1055. The chateau of Breteuil was built and put under command of Guillaume Fils-Osbern.

In 1057, France and Anjou resumed their campaign against Normandie. They entered via Maine, stopped at the Abbaye de Saint-Pierre-sur-Dives. They pillaged and burned while moving North, passed thru Caen, which had no castle or effective fortifications at the time, and reached the Orne. It was at that point that Guillaume moved his forces from Falaise - he knew that the French would have to cross the Dives at the bridge of Varaville.

1060 Henri 1 died allowing a formal peace agreement to be made - prior to this, Henri had not agreed with some of the Norman's demands. Henri's son, Philippe, was eight years old and was made a ward of Baouduin, Guillaume's father-in-law.

In 1060, Geoffroi Martel had also died, and in 1063 the Normans invaded Maine. He took Le Mans without a direct fight, but then laid siege to Mayenne, capturing it by setting it alight with the help of flaming arrows. By the end of 1063, he was effectively master of Maine.

By 1063 Guillaume was the undisputed master of Normandie. Lanfranc to St. Etienne.

Edward the Confessor was descended from Dukes of Normandy (on his mother's side). According to Norman history. this was one of the factors that made him decide in favor of Guillaume, the son of his cousin Robert the Magnificent, and against his brothers-in-law Harold, Tostig etc. In reality, Edward did not have fond memories of his Norman exile or of his mother's actions towards him. Edward had been forced to marry Edith (daughter of Godwin, Earl of Wessex) as a price of allegiance from the powerful Godwin family. However, in 1051 he expelled the Godwins and sent his wife to a nunerey. By 1052, the Godwins were back by force of arms to their former positions and Edith. Robert, Archbishop of Canterbury, sent away and post filled by Stigand, Bishop of Winchester. Stigand excommunicated and Godwins out of favor with papacy. 1053-57 the King decided on his successor - Edward Atheling, son of Edmund Ironside, who had been in exile in Hungary since 1016. He returned to England but died soon after, before meeting the Confessor - there was a strong suspicion of Harold being responsible, although the Normans could possibly have had stronger motives.. Edith, widow of Gruffydd of Wales, sister of Edwin and Morcar Mercia and North.

In 1064, Harold was in Normandie (according to many stories). The Norman version was that he was sent there by Edward, and while there he vowed his allegiance to Guillaume with respect to the English succession. All versions seem to agree that, on his voyage from Bosham to Normandy, he was shipwrecked at the Mouth of the Somme, and seized by Guy of Ponthieu, the reigning count, and thrown in prison. Guy brought Harold to Eu where Duke received him, although some versions have that this action was onlu under duress - Guy wanted to ransom Harold in his own right.

Walter Count of Mantes

Harold accompanied Guillaume in his campaign against Brittany. At the time, a rebel called Riwallon of Dol was fighting against against King Conan. Guilllaume captured Dol and Dinan. After a month, the Normans withdrew and the internal war continued.

Autumn 1065, rebellion against Tostig, Earl of Northumberland since 1055. He was forced to leave county and replaced by Morcor of Mercia.

Edward died on 5. January 1066, and next day the Witanagemot declared Harold as King of England. He was crowned the same day by Stigand.

Pope Alexander II excommunicated Harold.

In May, Tostig, who early in the year had met with Guillaume in Normandie, and harried the Isle of Wight, attempted to land in East Anglia, but he was repulsed and sailed to Scotland, where he received the active help of King Malcolm.

Meanwhile, by mid-summer in Normandie , nine hundred ships were ready at Saint-Pierre-sur-Dives. 12.000 men. Guillaume's ship was the Mona, built in Barfleur. On 15 June, the last council of war had been held at Bonneville-sur-Touques. During the campaign, the duchy was to be left in the hands of Mathilde, assisted by Roger of Beaumont. On 18 June Guillaume consecrated the new church of Trinity in Caen.

On 8 September, English forces stationed on the South Coast were disbanded as Harold could no longer afford them. Tostig met up with the 300 ships of Harald Hardrada off the Tyne. Together they landed in Cleveland and captured York on 20 September 1066. The Battle of Stamford Bridge took place on 25 September - both Tostig and Harold Hardrada were killed in the battle. Tostig landed at Riccall on the Ouse. Way barred by Edwin and Morcar 20/9 Fulford. Stamford Bridge on Derwent 25/9. Guillaume did not know the result of Stamford Bridge before embarking for England.

The Normans had been waiting for a favorable wind. They had to wait until 10 September, but two days after setting sail, the weather turned for the worse and they put into Saint-Valery-sur-Somme. On 28 September, at nightfall, they finally set sail. The weather was not bad, but the tides of the equinox made things a bit hazardous. Nevertheless, they didn't see any point in waiting any longer. Guillaume set foot in England at 3 o'clock the next afternoon, at Pevensey.

On 14 October, his troops set off off at 6 o'clock in the morning for a 3 hour march to the site of the Battle of Hastings. His half-brother Eudes took part : "although he was not allowed, as a priest, to spill blood, he was equipped with enough arms to fell a bull".

After the battle, he did not travel directly to London. He took and destroyed Romney and then Dover (without a fight). He took Canterbury (again without a fight) where he suffered a bout of dysentry for a month, during which time, a group of Englishmen decided to declare Edgar Atheling, a grandson of Ethelred, as king.

On recovery, he advanced towards London, via a circuitous route, burning and pillaging everything in his way. To the South of the River Thames, he sacked Southwark. London eventually yielded to him.

He was crowned at Christmas 1066, in Westminster Abbey. Christmas was a special time for the Normans, signifying the beginning of the year, whereas for the English, the year began at Easter. He was crowned by Ealdred, Archbishop of York, not Stigand. Apparently, the noise inside the Abbey was of such a volume, that the guards outside thought some sort of rebellion was taking place, and therefore decided to set the town alight. Seeing the fires, the assembled crowd inside the abbey rushed outside, leaving Guillaume by himself.

By 1066, there were 5 great monasteries within 40km. of Rouen: St. Ouen, Holy Trinity, Jumieges, St. Wandrille, St George de Boscherville, all of which could trace their origins to before the Norman Conquest.

William FitzOsbern, Lord of Isle of Wight, Norwich, Earl of Hereford Chepstow Castle. march 1067 monmouth castle prince off deheubarth and Morgannwg. Odo became Earl of Kent, taking over the domains of Leofwine, Harold's brother.

1067 Edric the Welsh Prince.

In Spring 1067, Guillaume returned to Normandie, while England was left in the care of his half-brother Eudes and Guillaume FitzOsbern. Eric Wild revolt in Hereford, assisted by Bleddyn Riwallon (princes). Retired with booty to Wales.

He returned to England on 6. December 1067. Resistance was continuing in the South West where Gytha, Harold's mother, was living. He campaigned and subdued the region. Gytha was transported from Exeter to the island of Flatholm in the Severn Estuary.

On 11 May 1068 (during Pentecost), Mathilde was crowned Queen of England with all due ceremony.

In Summer 1068, Guillaume moved out of the South and traveled as far as York, meeting some resistance on the way. He returned to Normandie for Christmas 1068.

The North East rebelled in 1069. On 28 January, the party of Robert Comin, who had been sent North by Guillaume as the new Earl of Northumberland, was surprised in Durham and massacred. A clash occured soon after in York. The rebels were soon led by people who had previously fled to Scotland, including Edgar Atheling who marched on York. King Malcolm of Scotland had married Margaret, the sister of Edgar Atheling. King Sweyn Estrithson of Denmark, a nephew of Canute, responded to rebel calls for help and had 240 ships anchored off the Humber waiting for signal for revolt in Yorkshire. By beginning of September, the English and danish forces joined up and the rebelllion snowballed. York was taken, its inhabitants slaughtered (and Minster burnt down). Rebellions started breaking out elsewhere. William FitzOsbern and Brian of Brittany were sent to quell revolt in the South-West. Guillaume met a welsh/English army which had reached Stafford and routed them. However just prior to Christmas 1069, he was stuck at Pontefract unable to travel further North. However, he bribed a brother of King Swein who withdrew his fleet to the mouth of the Humber. By Christmas, Guillaume was in York. His troops laid waste to large areas of Yorkshire, resulting in widespread famine.

1069 supported Welsh rebellion.

1070 King Sweyn himself had arrived but became disillusioned by the state of affairs. He withdrew, not before giving some aid to rebels in the fens. The center of resistance in Ely produced Hereward, but no further major problems occured for the Normans after 1070.

1069 Le Mans revolted.

In 1070, Stigand was deposed and Lanfranc made Archbishop of Canterbury.

In 1073, he prepared to atack Maine and Le Mans, but Gregory VII Hildebrand declared a crusade to be led by Guillaume. This was eventually abandoned, but had the effect of halting any conflicts in Maine.

IN 1075, Philippe had invited Edgar aetheling to take over the castle of Montreuil, in order to harry Normandy.

In 1076, he was surprised and driven off by Philippe while attempting to besiege Dol in Brittany.

He started to experience resistance from his son Robert, and his sons started to recieve aid from Philippe, the King. In January 1079, he was forced to besiege Robert at Gerberboy, where he had been established by Philippe, but this turned to disaster when the French came to Robert's assistance. Guillaume was forced to submit to peace conditions, the details of whch are however unknown.

1082 Odo arrested in England and sentenced to prison in the Tower of Rouen.

1083 Mathilde fell ill and died. Her conciliatory effect betwen Guillaume and Robert was lost.

At the end of 1086, he left England for Normandie, and never returned.

In July 1087, he started campaigning in the Vexin, an area becoming bitterly contested between Normandie and France yet again. While attacking (and destroying) the town of Mantes, he was thrown from his horse. He was taken to Rouen, to the Priory of Saint Gervais, but never recovered. He died six weeks later,on 9 September 1087, aged 59.


Guillaume's will was that Normandie be assigned to his eldest son, Robert; England was to be given to his next-eldest son, William; while his youngest son, Henri, received no land, but did receive 5.000 pounds.

No soon had this scheme had been put in place, then Robert started scheming to invade England. During Whit 1088, a vanguard left Normandie and met up with Eudes at Dover, before entering Pevensey, Canterbury and Rochester.

The Norman Treasury had been depleted by the money given to Henri. Robert requested Henri to give 3.000 pounds for the campaign, secured on a mortgage of the Cotentin. Henri agreed, though not immediately. By the time Robert got the money, it was too late. William had consolidated his position in England. Eudes, the Earl of Kent, had been a leader of Robert's party in England - was able to escape back to Bayeux.

After the fighting subsidided, Henri went to England to try and claim his mother's lands which had allegedly been promised to him in Guillaume's will. It seems Rufus was willing to grant this request - however when Henri arrived back in Normandie, he was arrested and imprisoned in Rouen for six months, allegedly due to the insigation of his uncle, Eudes. On release, he went to England but Rufus gave his mother's lands to someone else.

In November 1090, Henri heard of a plot to have Rouen declare for William. He put down the conspiracy bllodily and had the leader thrown from the battlements of the ducal castle into the Seine.

William now went on the offensive and landed in Normandie in 1091 (in Eu), where he had cultivated several influential supporters, particularly in the East. Fecamp was surrended to him by William of Mortain, son of the Robert who was the Conqueror's staunch companion. Duke Robert felt obliged to ask for aid from the King of France, Philippe 1.

Nevertheless, a treaty was made before any major military engagements took place. Peace left England with a few footholds in Normandy - the abbey of Fecamp, the counties of Eu and Aumale, Cherbourg and the territory of Gournay. Differences were formally declared settled at the Council of Caen in August 1091.

As a result of this dispute, or perhaps more because of the peace (the two older brothers knew how Henri could benefit from their quarrel), Henri had been trapped in Mont St. Michael, with inadequate water supplies. He eventually capitulated to Rufus, was dispossessed of the Cotentin and Avranches and sent into exile in France. However, in 1092, he was occupying the castle at Domfront.

1093 at Christmas Rufus learnt that Robert had renounced their agreement. In February 1094, Rufus crossed to Normandy, met Robert in Rouen. Since this meeting was unsuccessful, Rufus seized the castle of Bures. Robert and Philippe did march on Eu, but Philippe returned to Paris before any attack took place. Rufus recalled Henri, who was sheltering in Domfront, made him his lieutenant in Normandy and recognized his claims to the Cotentin.

Robert left for the Crusades in 1096, Normandie being left in Rufus's hands for five years as a mortgage for the large sum of money that Rufus contributed. where he turned down the offer of the Crown of Jerusalem.Robert left Jerusalem in 1099, but prepared to stay in Sicily for a while, because he had to wait until William's five-year 'control' of Normandie was up. Here he married Sibylle.

During his 'reign', William engaged in military incursions into the Vexin and Maine. In Maine, he eventually gained contro; of Le Mans, although in general he had more problems in Maine than in the Vexin, where the aging Philiipe could only put up minimal resistance. During this period, there was a reconciliation between Rufus and Henri.

However, while Robert was in Sicily, William 2 died due to an 'accident' while hunting, hit by arrow from Guillaume Tirel. Henri, who was present at the 'accident' took the opportuntity to seize the throne of England.

Some months later, Robert returned, landing at Treport. Apparently after some persuasion, Robert decided to sail to England with a view to seizing the crown himself. He sailed from treport with 200 ships, landing at Portsmouth, and marching from there to Winchester.

He finally met Henri at Alton, but there was a peaceful reconciliation - the status quo prevailed, with Robert all claims to the English crown. Henri, however, still held on to Domfront.

As various internecine disputes broke out in Normandie, Henri decided to invade. In Spring 1105, he landed at Barfleur and took Carentan on Easter Day.

Bayeux was sacked and fired. Henri took Caen and Robert fled to Falaise.

Just as things seemed to be going his way, Henri was embroiled in a quarrel with Anselm, the Archbishop of Canterbury over some religious matters. At one time, excommunication seemed possible, but it didn't come to that.

At the end of 1105, Henri installed himself at Caen, and proceeded to act as though he was fully in charge. However, Robert was only at St.Pierre-sur-Dives, trying to lure Henri into a trap.

On 29 September 1106, the final battle took place, at Tinchebray. The unity was made, but in a sense reversed. Henri made Robert a prisoner - he was sent to Cardiff, spending the last 28 years of his life there, as a prisoner. On 27 July 1128, he heard of the death of his son, Guillaume (who had received help from French king, Louis VI, and invested with the French Vexin. Louis on Flemings) He died on 10 February 1134.

Henri 1

Henri had married Maud, the daughter of Malcolm of Scotland.

Pendant 1119 il y avait une campagne entre Henri et Louis VI, qui s'a terminé par la défaite de Louis VI à Brémule.

On 25 November 1120 occured the tragedy of the Blanche-Nef (usually known as The White Ship in English). Henri set sail from Barfleur in a separate ship, but assigned 300 young people, sons and daughters of the Norman nobility to the Blanche Nef. The latter ship hit some rocks and there was only one survivor, Berold, a butcher from Rouen. It appears that a lot of drinking had taken place - although the two ships left at the same time, when Henri's ship sailed away in the distance, the young nobles encouraged the crew to take short cuts to try and catch up. The ship hit the rock of Quillebeuf,

Henri's only legal surviving heir was Mathilde, the widow of Emperor Henry 5 of Germany. She pledged to the barons that she would not re-marry without consulting them, but broke her word and married Geoffroi Plantagenet, Count of Anjou, without telling them. June 28 1128 in Le Mans Cathedral. Geoffroi was 15 years younger than Mathilde.

Henri died on 1. December 1135.

The 'Anarchy'

At Henri's death, the barons chose to prefer Etienne de Blois, one of Henri's nephews and grandson of Guillaume thru his mother Adele, as his successor. Mathilde had lied to them - she had re-married without telling them, and apparently this was taken very badly by the barons. Imediately war broke out between Etienne and Mathide / Geoffroi.

Etienne was crowned King of England by the Archbishop of Canterbury on 22 December 1135. He spent most of the next 20 years in England.

1141 Mathilde a gagné le bataille de Lincoln. Elle a été proclamé dame.

Geoffroi seized Normandie, he entered Rouen and had himself crowned as Duke on 19. january 1144. To try and gain an ally in France, he handed over the stronghold of Gisors, in the Vexin.

Henri 2

In 1150, Geoffroi handed over the reins of power of his Norman possessions to his son, Henri. A year later, he died - Henri was 18 years old.

During a visit to King Louis 7. of France, he met the King's wife, Alienor of Aquitaine. Very shortly after this, she was divorced from Louis and, three weeks later, married Henri. She was 30, he was 18. Henri gained Aquitaine and Poitou via this marriage.

In 1153, Eustache, the only son of Etienne, died. Henri was called to England and declared the heir to the throne by Etienne. In 1154, Etienne died, and Henri became the undisputed King of England, at 21 years old. According the history books (most of them) he was the most powerful monarch in Christendom. His estate stretched from Scotland to the Pyrenees. Normandie became the geographical center of this immense kingdom.

Thomas Beckett's father was called, originally, Becquet - a Norman word meaning something like 'little stream'. He left Mondeville, near Caen, and moved to England, changing the spelling of his name in the process.

Thomas entered the service of Theobald, Archbishop of Canterbury, by whom he was introduced to Henry. In 1155, Henry made him Chancellor.

In 1162, when Theobald died, Henry made Beckett the new Archbishop of Canterbury. As is well known, things did not turn out how Henry intended. In 1164, Beckett fled to France - he was allowed by the king to stay ay the Abbaye de Pontigny, where he resided for six years. At Freteval, the pair met up again - Henri allowed Beckett to return to England, on the understanding that he accepted the Clarendon Constitutions, that had caused the rift in 1164. Soon, Beckett had arranged for the excommunication of may of Henry's clerical followers, e.g the Archbishops of York, London, Salisbury...

The news of these excommunications reached Henry during Christmas 1170, while he was staying at Lisieux. He was overheard criticising Beckett violently, and four knights set out immediately with the aim of dealing with the Archbishop of Canterbury - they were Hugues de Morville, Richard le Breton, Renaud Dursus and Guillaume Tracy. On 29 December 1170, they burst into Canterbury Cathedral, and being unable to get Beckett to back down on any of this actions, they slaughtered him on the spot, before the Great Altar.

In the Abbey of Flavigny, Henry appeared before a meeting of clergymen to work out how he would repent for this crime. On 22 May 1172, in front of the Cathedral of Avranches, he had to publicly express regret for the event. He repealed the Clarendon Constitutions and carried out various other measures to appease the Church.

Towards the end of his reign, he fell out with all of his family. He had taken a mistress, Rosemonde Clifford, by whom he had two sons, one becoming the Earl of Salisbury, the other the Bishop of York. Alienor arranged to have her poisoned, and incited her sons to rise up against their father.

In order to improve the administration of the Empite, Henry split up his territories between his sons. The theoretical distribution of territories was supposed to be : England - Henry (his eldest son); Aquitaine - Richard; Bretage - Geoffroi. John received no lands, thus becoming John Lackland (Jean Sans Terre). This plan never seemed to work in practise, apparently because Henry 2 seemed to still want to keep too much control for himself..

Alienor separated from Henry, living in Aquitaine, along with Richard.

In order to counter the resistance building up against him, he made a peace with his most avowed enemy, the King of France Louis 7, at Ivry in 1177. The two decided to go on a crusade together, but Louis died in 1180 before this could be put into action. Louis was succeeded by Philippe 2 Auguste.

In 1183, Henri, the eldest son of Henry 2, died. Since he had been bethrothed to Marguerite, sister of King Philippe, Philippe decided to reclaim her dowry, which was the Norman territory of Vexin. To help him in his struggle against Henri, Philippe allied himself with Richard.

Henri and Phillipe met at Azay-le-Rideau on 4 July 1189, where he saw that both Richard and john had sided with the King of France.. On 6. july, Henry died - he was buried in Fontevrault Abbey.

Richard 1

On 20. July 1189, Richard was crowned Duke at Rouen, and 3 September 1189, he was crowned King of England. He only received his name of Couer de Lion ten years after his death

He started off his reign by invading Vexin and Gisors. Hs former ally, King Philippe, never forgave him.

He was requested by Gregory VII to fight a crusade against Saladin in Palestine. He required that Philippe accompany him, leaving Alienor as de facto ruler in his absence assisted by Guillaume de Longchamp.

He left for the Crusades in 1190, spending 6 months in Sicily, during which time he married Berangere de Navarre.

Philipe left Palestine at the end of 1191, Richard followed him one year later.

He was captured by Leopold of Austria who handed him over to Emperor Henry VI, who put him up for ransom at a price of 100.000 pounds. Somehow the money was raised (against the wishes of Philippe and John - John had actually made himself de facto Regent of England), and Richard was released after 15 months of imprisonment.

Richard landed back in England on 20 May 1194. John fled to France and even massacred a group of his owm supporters in Evreux, in order to try and redeem himself in Richard's eyes.

Returning to Barfleur, Richard recorded victories against Philippe until a peace was made at the beginning of 1196. Under this peace, france kept Gisors and and castles along the Normandy border. In order to counter this threat, Richard started to build Chateau Gailliard, dominating the valley of the Seine near to Les Andelys.

In Summer 1196, hostilities re-started, which went badly for France. By the Treaty of Vernon 1199, the Vexin (apart from Gisons) was ceded to England.

While besieging Chalus, in Limousin, he was hit by an archer, and died soon after on the 6 April 1199.

Both England and Normandie passed to John, while his other possessions passed to Arthur of Brittany, Richard's nephew (the son of his brother Geoffroi). Philippe Auguste had cultivated a friendship with Arthur, he saw a chance to 'divide and rule'.


John was crowned Duke at Rouen on 25 April 1199 and King of England on 27 May.

Trouble broke out when John married Isabelle, daughter of the Count of Angouleme, who was already engaged to someone else - Hugues de Lusignan. The injured parties appealed to the King of France, who responded by, among other things, provoking revolts in John's territories.

During John's reaction to these events, he actually captured Arthur, who was imprisoned for 18 months at Rouen, before he was killed in December 1203 (rumour says by John himself, who threw his body into the Seine). Philippe decide to retaliate, and capture Normandy in its entirety.

Normandie becomes French

Since the autumn of 1203, the Chateau Gaillard had been under the charge of Roger de Lasci. Eventually on 6 March 1204, a group of French soldiers manage to penetrate the castle, via the drains. Of the 80 defenders of the castle, all were massacred by the French.

Conquest proceeded - Falaise, Caen (21 may 1204), Avranches, Pontorson.

Rouen did resisted, but capitulated on 24 June 1204. John refused to help apparently, despite Rouen sending him a delegation.

Dieppe held out alone until 1207.

The only part of Normandy left to the English was the Channel islands

John did make an attempt to win back his lost teritories, at the battle of Bouvines in 1214 allied with the German emperor, among others. His defeat triggered off disaffection in England, leading to measures such as the Magna Carta.

The First French Annexation

One reference I have seen, compares the situation in Normandy directly after the annexation with the carpetbaggers after the American Civil War. The French from the Ile de France sought to replace the Norman nobility and clergy etc..

In Rouen, their rights over the Seine were withdrawn and curtailed in favor of Paris. However, Rouen came to be a center of the wool industry, as can be seen by the arms of the city.

While Louis 9 was only 16 years old, Henry 3 of England landed at St. Malo in 1230 and proceeded towards Aquitaine. After the French regained control, the castle of a Norman supporter of the English, Foulques Pesnel, was destroyed.

Louis 9 favored Harfleur as a rival to Rouen, an idea which Philippe 4 put into practise. Further Philippe 4 introduced a new tax on Rouen's commerce which produced a rebellion. As retribution Philippe removed the bell from the belfry and demolished the bridge which had also served as a toll gate, and removed various privileges which Rouen had enjoyed.

Since 1294, the French started to construct a shipyard in Rouen, the Clos des Galees.

Edward III of England attacked Cherbourg.

In 1304 famine gripped Rouen. It regained some of its toll privileges, but lost them again to Paris under Louis 10.

1315 Le charte

In 1328, Philippe 6 brushed aside his rival Edward 3 of England, the grandson of Philip IV, to become King of France. Edward must pay hommage to Philippe for his French dominions.

The Hundred Years War - Part 1

In 1333, Philippe 6 restored the Duchy of Normandy, with his own son, Jean, as the Duke, and had him crowned as such in Rouen Cathedral.

In 1339, he prepared an expedition to invade England, to be under the command of duc Jean de Normandie. Without waiting for this attack, Edward 3 of England took the offensive and on 24 june 1340, he destroyed the French fleet of about 200 ships at l'Ecluse. Only about 30 French ships survived - losses to the French were 20.000 men.

Godefroy le Boiteux, a member of the Harcourt family, fell out with the French king over a local dispute. In the spring of 1343, he led a revolt in Cotentin. Philippe 6 acted quickly, executing several accomplices at St Lô. Godefroy escaped to Brabant, where he mixed with other exiles. He moved across to England, becoming an advisor to Edward 3, urging him strongly to invade France and promising him assistance from among the inhabitants and his allies elsewhere.

The English had been harassing French shipping off the Cotentin, destroying about 100 ships and giving them a supremacy at sea.

On 12 July 1346 Edward III disembarked at Saint-Vaast-la-Hougue, with 20.000 men carried on 250 ships. Accompanied by the Black Prince and Godefroy, they proceeded to capture Valognes, Carentan, Saint-Lô, Caen (less than a week after landing), Lisieux, Elbeuf.

At the time, Caen was larger than any English city apart from London. A document was purported to have been found there showing Philippe's plans for the invasion of England, dating from seven years beforehand.

The French waited for them at Crecy, in the Ponthieu. On 28 August 1346, the weather was appalling. Godefroy saw his brother Jean die while fighting for the French.

The English installed themselves at Calais. The Plantagenets had recovered their ancestral domain. Godefroy de Harcourt returned to his lands, tolerated by Jean 2.

The new king, Jean 2, invested his son Charles with the title of Duke of Normandie (just as he himself was made Duke by his father).

On April 5 1356, the investiture was celebrated in the castle at Rouen. During the feat, the king himself burst in and arrested four young Norman nobles - Jean d'Harcourt, seigneurs de Graville, Maubue de Mesmenard and Colinet de Bleville, and had them summarily executed. Although intended to put down disturbances, this act actually incited rebellion, lead by Godefroy le Boiteux (and aided by the English).

Battle was joined at Saint Clement, near to the bay des Veys, in November 1356. The numerical superiority of the French won the day and Godefroy was killed.

However, things were not going well for the French. A few weeks earlier, on 18 September 1356, Jean II was captured by the Black Prince at the Battle of Poitiers.

In their turn, things started to turn sour for the English. They were chased out of Rouen by Jacques le Lieur, at the head of the local militia. By the Treaty of Bretigny of 1360, the King of England renounced Normandie.


In 1364, Charles 5 became king. He appointed a Breton, Bertrand du Gueslin, to regain Normandie, which was held largely by Charles of Navarre, a pretender to the French throne hinself. On 16 May 1364, he recorded a victory near to Cocheral, but his troops then proceeded to ravage Normandie.

There was a let-up when an agreement was made between the King and Charles of Navarre. A bit later, from 1378, all Navarre domains in Normandie began to be confiscated by the King.

In 1380, Charles 6 became king, at the age of 12. His regents decided to introduce new taxes, which incurred protests in Normandie. In 1382, protests were held in Rouen against these new taxes. A 'roi de Rouen' Jean le Gras is elected at the head of this protest movement, which became known as the Harelle. Uprisings ensued elsewhere in France. The king decided to act against Rouen. Jean le Gras flees when King arrives, a small number of rebels are executed. Rouvel confiscation of clock, belfry razed, privileges of corporation abolished. This repression was carried further by the regent, the Duke of Burgundy.

The Hundred Years War - Part 2

Taking advantage of a dispute in France between the Burgundians and the Armagnacs, in 1413 Henry 5, the new King of England decided to contest for the French crown. 1400 boats left Southampton and reached the mouth of the Seine on 12 August 1415, and besieged Harfleur, the principal maritime port of the river. After a month, Harfleur capitulated.

On 25 October 1415, the Battle of Azincourt took place in Picardie. 7000 French were killed. Henri 5 is recognised as heir to the French throne.

After Azincourt, Henry V decides to invade Normandie, the operation starting in August 1417. An English army lands at the mouth of the Touques, where Trouville stands today.

Caen opened its gates (although half its 40.000 inhabitants were expelled) and he established his headquarters here. Falaise and Vire caused problems, but Bayeux, Argentan, Alençon were taken easily.

In the Autumn 1418, the Cotentin and Cherbourg were conquered.

On 29 July 1418, Rouen was besieged. The resistance was headed by Alain Blanchart, but it appears he received no help from the French authorities. The city capitulated on 19 january 1419, only the head of the resistance was executed.

A few days later, the English took Dieppe, then Eu.

1419 9 dec Château Gaillard was taken by a ruse.

All of Normandie, apart from Mont-St-Michael, was under English rule, the English having been aided by the Burgundian party.

On 21 May 1420, the Treaty of Troyes was signed, under which Henri would marry Catherine de France, and it confirmed that Henry would succeed Charles 6 as King of France. Henry enters Paris.

Henry 5, of England

Caen became an english colony. In Normandie as a whole, some entire populations were chased away and replaced by colonies from the other side of the Channel (La Manche) (some references make a comparison with Hiroshima). Mont Saint-Michael, however, remains faithful to France.

Henry 5 died in 1422, two months before Charles 6. Since the new King, Henry 6, was only 10 months old, a regency was established under John of Lancaster, Duke of Bedford, who established his capital at Rouen.

The University of Caen was founded by the English in 1432. This is the first university in France to offer study in law.

In 1422, Charles 7 came to the French throne. In 1424, the last French troops in mainland Normandie were defeated at Verneuil-the whole province came under English rule.

Resistance grew against the English, or the Godons as they were apparently known. A starting point appears to have been taxation demands by the English. An early protester was the Archbishop of Rouen, Louis d'Harcourt, who left his seat in protest. Protest was strong in the Cotentin, then la Perche et in le Bocage. Oliver Basselon and his friends in the Vire writ wrote satirical songs against the occupants, the Vaux-de-Vire (from which the word 'Vaudeville', so they say)

1429 Rouen middle of April 8 may english left.

The English repression in Normandie is terrible, but the exploits of Jeanne D'Arc, from mid 1429 onwards, re-kindle hope for the Normans. Siege of Orleans is first serious defeat for English.

1430 Mont St Michael Jean Jolivet Louis d'Estouteville with 110 cavalry. Philippot le Cat, a musician, attempted to deliver the castle at Cherbourg to the French, but the plot was discovered and he was executed.

In 1430, Jeanne is made prisoner at Compiègne by the Burgundians and Jean of Luxembourg, Jeanne was delivered into the hands of the English 10.000 écus of gold. In December 1430, she was transferred to Rouen.

Ranged against Jeanne were the Burgundians and the Universities of Caen and Paris, although they were not seeking the death penalty, only a recantation.

The process began on 9 January 1431, under Pierre Cauchon, bishop of Beauvais. After 3 months, she was accused of heresy and blasphemy, among other things. Jeanne abjured on 24 may in the cemetery of saint Ouen. She is condemned to prison for life, a decision which enraged the occupiers (but apparently satisfied everyone else). She re-tried and was sentenced to death on 28 May. Jeanne, deceived by the lowest strategems, considered as relapsed, was burnt alive on 30 May 1431.

1431 Henry 6 is crowned King in Paris.

In 1431, Ambroise de Loré tried and failed to take Caen.

In 1432, de Ricarville nmanaged to take the castle of Rouen, but it was re-taken and all 104 members of his militia were decapitated on the Vieux Marche.

In 1434, several thousand peasants attempted to capture Caen under Marville and Cantepie but fell into an ambush and were massacred.

Le Caruyer took most of the strongholds in western Normandie, but he was killed before Caudebec.

On 14 September 1435, Bedford dies. A week later, the King of France and the Duke of Burgundy are reconciled. Jean de Grouchy captures Harfleur.

The French entered Normandie in force, unleashing fierce fighting and atrocities, etc. The fighting is brought to a stop by the Treaty of Tours in 1444. It was broken in 1449 by Charles VII.

Charles 7, of France The population of Rouen rise up and capture castle, allowing the King to take control of the city.

On 15 April 1450, Thomas Kyriel left Cherbourg on a seemingly last-gasp mission. Near to Bayeux, they met the French army at Formingy. A blood bath ensued with 4000 English lost in battle and 500 murdered afterwards. Vire, Bayeux and Caen capitulated. Cherbourg itself fell on 12 August 1450.

In 1455 in the the Great Hall of the archbishop's palace of Rouen, Jeanne was rehabilitated. Her conviction was declared as null and void and without authority.

By the end, Normandie had lost two-thirds of its population, dow from one and a half million to half a million.

1453 onwards

1458 Charte de Normand

1469 province under direct control

In 1539, the Parlement of Normandie refused to make the language of Paris the standard language of adminstration. In 1540, the Parlament had to seek refuge in Bayeux, which was besiged by Francois 1 until 7 January 1541.

The Wars of Religion

1561 may the war begins unofficially

1561 Sep 20, Queen Elizabeth of England signed a treaty at Hamptan Court with French Huguenot leader Louis de Bourbon, the Prince of Conde. The English would occupy Le Havre in return for aiding Bourbon against the Catholics of France.

janvier 1562 Edict of St. Germain

1562 March 1, the Guises massacre 1200 Hugenots at Vassy. War commences officially. In Normandie, Gabriel de Lorges, Comte de Montgomery, is pitted against the king, Henri 2.

On the 6th October 1562 3,000 English troops occupied Le Havre.

Rouen is held by Montgomery. The French siege is attended by Catherine de Medici herself, supporting her son, the 12 year old King Charles 9. On 26 October 1562, the French take Rouen.

1563 march 19 peace is made by the Treaty of Ambroise. Protestant and Catholic forces joined together to eject the English from Le Havre.

On 24 August 1572, St. Bartholomew's Day Massacre. In Normandie, action was less murderous, for the time being - many protestants in Rouen were imprisoned. A year later, 500 were massacred.

In March 1574 the ptotestants struck back. Montgomery, who had been seeking refuge in England, landed on the Cotentin peninsula, and made progress before being captured by Magnon, at Domfront. In the Catholic backlash, St Lo, particularly, put up strong protestant resistance. On 25 June 1574, Montgomery was beheaded, on the Place de Greve in Paris.

The Catholics formed the Sainte Ligue, lead by Henri de Balafré, duke of Guise. This brought about an unusual alignment of forces. The king himself, Henri III, aligned himself with Henri of Navarre, a protestant, against the Ligue. In Normandy, there were two Parlaments - a royalist one in Caen (dominated by Hugenots), and one in Rouen which supported the Ligue.

During the Wars of Religion, an estimated 150,000 people died in Normandie.

Henri 4

In 1588, Guise was assassinated, and in 1589, so was Henri III. Henry of Navarre became king.

In August 1589, the protestant Henri of Navarre became the first Bourbon king of France, as Henri 4. As a protestant, he attracted the strong opposition of the Catholics, including Spain, who were the rulers of the Netherlands, from where they had planned to invade England in 1588 (with the aid of the Spanish Armada).

Normandy became a major area of struggle, beacuse the Hugenots hoped to receive aid from England. Henri won a couple of battles and hoped to take Paris, but he was repulsed by a troop of spaniards. He fell back to Fecamp, which was guarded by the fort of Notre-Dame du Bourg-Baudouin, perched above a sheer cliff of over 100 meters. The Ligueurs, under Bois-Rosé took advantage of a high tide to land 50 soldiers below the cliff, unseen. A couple of sympathizers within the fort dropped a knotted rope. There was a moment of crisis when the man at the head froze, but Bois Rosé climbed up and 'encouraged' with a knife. The fort was taken.

The protestants of Caen were no longer to practice their religion, and so decided to move to the village of Allemagne. While service was taking place on 26 January 1591, a group of ligueurs from Honfleur, under Crillon, massacred them.

On 11 November 1591, Henri 4 decided to besiege Rouen.

The chief of the planned Spanish invasion of England, Alexander Farnese, Duke of Parma, now invaded Normandie twice. He aided the siege of Rouen in 1592 (which was lifted on 20 april 1592). In the same year he was injured while attacking Caudebec and he died in December 1592.

In July 1593, Henri decided to renounce the Protestant religion. Peace didn't fully return until the Edit of Nantes of 1598. Jacques de Montgomery had refused to submit, while on the other side, Mont St. Michael never recognized Henri as king. The fort of montagne Saint Catherine at Rouen was demolished by Henri.

Louis 13

The duc of Longueville, governor of Normandie, supported Maris de Medici against the king, her son Louis 13. In 1620, Louis, aged 19, besieged Caen - the castle was commanded by the grand prieur de Vendome, who was an illegitimate son of Henri 4, i.e. Louis's half-brother.

The plague returned in 1619 at Bayeux and Caen, spreading to other areas. The epidemic lasts for 20 years.

In 1635, France enters the Thirty Years War and Normandie becomes a frontier province.

In 1639, rebellions begin in the West. Officially called the Armee de Souffrance, but the rebels are soon called Nu-pieds.

On 4 August 1639, a separate rebellion started in Rouen, led by cloth manufacturers. A tax inspector is killed and a watchmaker, Gorin, assumes leadership of a rebellion which lasts for three weeks.

While calm was established in Rouen on 24 August, Caen flared up on the 26 August.

Louis 13 gave command of 1200 men to Jean de Gassion for the purposes of putting down the rebellions. He attacks the Nu-pieds in Avranches and sacks the town. Executions of important leaders take place in Caen and Rouen. Gorin is quartered on the Vieux Marche.

Louis 14

Attacks on the protestant religion. Churches destroyed or handed over to the catholics.. In 1679, 22 protestant churches are demolished. By 1685, the strong protestant region of the Caux had only three protestant churches left - Dieppe, Sanvic, Criquetot. Since 1685, the parlement of Normandie suppressed the protestant churches in Caen and Rouen.

It was difficult to emigrate - if caught, they risked being sent to the galleys for life.

18 October 1685, Louis revoked the Edict of Nantes. A month after, 5000 refugess had reached Rotterdam. They received help from England and Holland, but had to run the risk of the French coast guards and the barbary pirates who were specially attracted to this new opportunity.

I have seen written of how two descendants of Norman protestant families re-appeared in Normandy in the 1940s - Montgomery and Rommel.


1739, initial works on a harbor at Cherbourg.

Cotton production is introduced. For example, John Holker, a Jacobite refugee, introduced cotton machines at Saint-Sever. It replaced wool in Rouen.

In 1758, the English attack Nacqueville.

In 1763, Rouen had 70.000 inhabitants.

From 1784, work begain in earnest to make Cherbourg a major military harbor, protected by a sea wall built from caissons towed out and sunk into place.

In 1786, a trade agreement is concluded between France and Britain, lowering certain custom duties. Since Britain had a more efficient textile industry, the effect was to ruin large sections of the industry in Normandie.

The Revolution


On the night of 11. July, the home of the procureur general of Parlement, Godard de Belbeuf, was sacked.

15 july : mutineers capture the tower of François-1er at le Havre. The governor of Caen, Henri de Belzunce, was massacred.

17 july : The fortress of Rouen was demolished.

A new bourgeois council is set up in Rouen under the marquis de Herbouville. However popular uprisings threatened this class and on 4. August, a request was made to the Governor of Normandie, the duc D'Harcourt, for help in restoring order. He supress these new uprisings and executed two of its leaders.

In November, Normandie was divided into five departements, by the new Constituent Assembly.

Jean Baptiste Delauney, a representaive of Bayeux, had proposed the name Calvados. Calvados is a group of reefs, upon which, according to legend, the Salvador of the Spanish Armada came to grief (a story which is not accepted today). 1791

On 5 November, 84 Caennais are arested for counter-revolutionary activity. 'Coalition Normand'. 1792

20 April, the war 'against all the tyrants'. The population of Normandy starts to suffer from famine/ Food stocks are ambushed.

The University of Caen is shut indefinitely.


1/9 July Girondin resistance to Convention. 13 July Federalists disperse before the parisian army, at Brecourt, near Vernon. On the same day, Charlotte Corday, latterly of Caen, knifed Marat to death in his bath. She was executed on the 17 July.

Towards the end of the year, about 20 prominent Girondins fin Normandie are sentenced to death.

Caen becomes center of federalists opposed to centralization of the Convention

On 14 November, a group of Vendée rebels come to grief before the walls of Granville.

1802 The Peace of Amiens, normality started to return. Fishing started again, cotton arrived from America. 1803

War returned. The threat of a British invasion worked against Normandie's economic progress and industrialization, to the advantage of other areas.

1815 onwards

Before the revolution, Honfleur was host to 300 boats a year. By 1815, it had 30.

After Waterloo, it was occupied by foreign troops - the British on the right bank of the Seine and the Prussians on the left. When the occupiers leave, a 'White Terror' comes over the land. Mont St. Michel is turned into a prison. One of its prisoners is Le Carpentier, who had led the defense of Granville against the rebels during the Vendée.

From 1824, Dieppe starts to develop as a bathing resort. This sets the scene for a growth in this activity during the century. The duc de Morny founds Deauville as the trend grew.

In 1838, work started on the Paris-Rouen railway line. It took two years to complete this 128 kilometer stretch. It was necessary to employ 10.000 workers from Britain, who worked under the direction of the British engineer, Locke. It was officially opened on 3 May 1843. Le Havre was reached on 22 March 1847.

La Compagnie de l'Ouest was built to Dieppe. La Compagnie du Nord was built to Le Treport.

The Alabama

The Battle of the Kearsarge and the Alabama, 1864, Édouard Manet

On 19. June 1864, the confederate ship Alabama sank off Cherbourg, after a battle with the US ship Kearsarge. It arrived in Cherbourg on 11 june for repairs. It was necessary that it set free the American prisoners it was carrying (France was a neutral country and this is the condition it set, before allowing the ship into the port). The Alabama would have been able to escape but decided to do battle, obviously outside of territorial waters. Apparently, there were about 15.000 spectators watching from Cherbourg. After about an hour, the Alabama sank; Alabama 
in South Africa, August 1863.
Captain Raphael Semmes leaning against gun. Executive officer, First
 Lieutenant John M. Kell standing by
 wheel Eduoard Manet was present and painted the events (see adjacent picture)

Third Republic

In December 1870, Prussians capture Rouen, and launch towards Dieppe and Orbec. The French hold the left bank.

Second World War

On Sunday 9 June 1940, at 9:30 the Germans begin to enter Rouen. A major fire starts which last four days.

The center of Yvetot is set on fire.

Le Havre is occupied on 13. June.

At one stage, Rommel managed to progress 250 kilometres without firing a shot.

10 June 1940, Cherbourg falls.

On 10 July, 21 (out of 32) Norman deputies vote to give full powers to Petain.

In order to stop any attempt at the Germans embarking from the port, the British bomb Le Havre 23 times between May and December 1940 and 27 times in 1941.

On 27 February 1942, a succesful commando raid was made on the radar station at Bruneval, North-East of Le Havre.

On 19. August 1942, a disastrous raid was made on Dieppe. About 5.000 Canadians and 1.000 British troops were put ashore at 0530. By midday the operation was called off, with 1200 dead and 2.000 prisoners.

In November 1942, the first Norman maquis is set up by Robert Leblanc. A painter from Caen, Duchez, managed to get into a German office and steal the plans of the entire Atlantic Wall.

In the night of 18/19 April 1944, the Allies bomb Rouen and Sotteville, killing 900 civilians. in the first week of june - 'red week'- Rouen was constantly bombed, with 250 killed and 10.000 houses destroyed.

On 6 June 1944, the Allies land on the beaches of Calvados and La Manche in Lower Normandy. The beaches are split into 5 areas as follows

Utah Sainte-Marie-de-Mont
Omaha Colleville-en-Bessin
Gold Ver-sur-Mer
Juno Courseulles
Sword Hermanville

American paracutists jump over Sainte-Mere-Eglise and the Carentan.

On 9 July 1944, Caen had been bombarded, the streets were clogged with debris, rendering it difficult to manoeuver tanks etc. Caen is nominally taken, but fighting continues into August.

Cherbourg is taken on 26 June.St LO is taken on the 19 July, not the 12 June as originally planned. After coming to a bit of a halt, the Americans break out on 25 July.

Rouen was liberated on 30 August. On September 1st, the Germans abandobed Dieppe to the Canadians without a fight. Two thousand Germans remained in Le Havre,, which was besieged from 2 September.It was taken on 10 September , after the British had unleashed 11.000 tonnes of bombs.

The only towns spared damage are Bayeux, Honfleur and Bernay. St Lo is 92% destroyed, Caen, 73%, Le Havre 60%, although its center is almost wiped out.7


Brian Daugherty