many of the Saxons, these matters of state and royal succession were
not important, to them a much greater event was due to take place.
This was the year of 1,000 AD, known as 'The Millennium', or the time
of the second coming of Christ. Some sign was looked for so that this
new era could be recognised. In April 1066 a sign appeared. A fiery
comet could be seen every night in the sky for a week, so clearly,
that it was embroidered into the background of the Bayeaux Tapestry.
This we now know to have been the arrival of Halley's comet, which
appears every seventy five years, and was due in 1066. Little did
they realise that an even greater change in their way of life was due
to come in the form of the Norman Invasion.
the time William, Duke of Normany had heard of the death of Edward
the Confessor, King of England, Harold Godwin, the Earl of Wessex,
had been declared king in his place. William was furious, as Harold
had been forced to swear a sacred oath to support him to be the next
king of England, so he ordered his troops to prepare for war. By
August 1066, William was ready and in September he landed on the
South Coast at Pevensey, Kent, and marched to make camp at Hastings,
hurried from London to halt at Battle, Kent, which was nine miles
away. William moved inland on the next day, October 14th and quickly
attacked the English. For some time the outcome was uncertain, until
the Normans broke through the English lines. Harold was killed in the
battle, having reigned for only 40 weeks, leaving the throne vacant.
On Christmas Day 1066, William was crowned as William l of England at
Westminster Abbey, which was set on fire during the ceremony.
first action was to reward the Norman and French who had helped him
to victory, and he gave them lands which he had taken from English
nobles who had either died in battle or fled the country. By 1086,
the 629 manors of Suffolk had been shared out between 19 landowners,
who in turn granted some of the lands between 71 tenants-in-chief.
Count Alan of Brittany took over Earl Ralph's possessions, while
William Malet received 221 holdings, including most of the lands of
Edric of Laxfield and his residence at the Castle at Eye. Roger Bigod
received 117 manors in Suffolk, and he and his heirs became Earls of
Norfolk and administered their estate from their four castles at
Ipswich, Bungay, Walton and Framlingham.