William's Changes to the Government

Topics: Feudalism, England, Normans Pages: 4 (1328 words) Published: March 8, 2014
‘William I changed little in the government and administration of England’. How far do you agree?

When William, duke of Normandy, conquered England he had a new problem of how to control his new, and very different country. No drastic changes are evident, as it would appear that William was able to use the basis of the pre-existing Anglo-Saxon government. S. B Chrimes opinion of William's changes to government agrees with this, saying that the early Norman government was an "elaboration rather than innovation". William was able to employ many different forms of the existing Anglo-Saxon English government and use them differently to his advantage. William was able to utilize the predominantly Norman royal household (remaining from Edward the Confessor’s reign), which was already the centre of government and develop this further by rewarding any Normans who had advised or helped during his conquest of England, therefore increasing the number of people from Norman origin in his court. By doing this William was able to surround himself with trusted advisors. This itself was not a complete turnaround as there had already been a strong influence of Norman culture in the royal household of Edward the confessor, who himself had been born in Normandy.  The royal household at this time contained the entire king's government, the central governing body of which was called the Curia Regis. The Curia Regis was not a new concept in England; its roots can be found in the Anglo-Saxon Witenagemot. It would appear that William's Curia Regis emerged from the foundation concepts of the Witenagemot and showed no real administrative difference, and like the household generally, the people in government and high positions were deposed to be replaced by more Normans as William once again rewarded those who had helped him, placing people he knew within the major roles around him. William also adapted the Anglo-Saxon earldoms which, after the rebellions in 1067-70 proved to be too...
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