Acclaimed TV historian Dan Snow explores Britain through the eyes of the Norman conquerors. This historic perspective shines new light on landscapes and histories we have come to take for granted, and reveals a texture to the landscape of Britain that time has almost erased. As seen on BBC Television.
Dan Snow starts his exploration of Norman Britain from the towering viewpoint of Beachy Head. These great cliffs would have been the first sign of England viewed by William, Duke of Normandy, and his invasion force as they sailed across the Channel in the autumn of 1066. But did William and the Normans really land at Pevensey as the Bayeux Tapestry would have us believe? And did they erect the first of their great castles even before victory on the battlefield?
The Welsh Marches
This second Norman Walk explores a story of settlement and colonisation in one of the most unsettled corners of the new Norman kingdom. Why are the Welsh borders so littered with castles? This is the subject of Dan’s walk beside the Black Mountains and the Monnow Valley taking in Longtown Castle, White Castle, Skenfrith and Grosmont.
York was the focal point for William the Conqueror’s infamous Harrying of the North, a period of terror that devastated the country between York and Durham five years after the conquest. From here to Helmsley Castle and the site of the great Abbey of Rievaulx, we discover how the first Cistercian monks, with the support of Walter Espec, brought communications, wool and mining industries to the north.
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