Legacy Scripts Jan 2007 1(a) How far do you agree that the Godwin family presented the most serious problem to Edward the Confessor?



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Legacy Scripts
Jan 2007
1(a) How far do you agree that the Godwin family presented the most serious problem to Edward the Confessor?
Earl Godwin of Wessex headed a powerful family. His area of influence in the south of England was extensive. His daughter, Edith, was married to Edward. The earls were important in any monarchy but especially that of Edward the Confessor. Earl

Godwin was able to raise an army to threaten the King in 1051-52. Although he died in 1053, Harold, his successor, was equally influential and problematic to Edward. He played a vital part in the succession issue. However, in assessing ‘How far..?’ candidates might well consider the weak position in which Edward found himself. After spending so much time abroad, especially in Normandy, he was ill-acquainted with English affairs. His personality lacked the vigour that could impose order unquestioningly. The lack of a direct heir was a problem. There was unrest over

foreign influences, especially the eminence of the Normans. Edward was dependent on other earls such as Mercia and Northumbria, controlling regions over which the King had limited control.
(b) Assess the claim that the strengths of the English Church outweighed its

weaknesses during the reign of Edward the Confessor.
Although the strength of the tenth-century monastic reform movement had faded, most of the monasteries and their monks, as well as most of the secular

clergy, carried out their duties diligently. The Church maintained a high level of cultural activity. Whilst church buildings were small (in comparison with Norman churches), it is difficult to see why this was a weakness as such before the Conquest. Some candidates might argue that the poor reputation of the Church on the eve of the Conquest was undeserved because it was largely created by hostile chroniclers who believed that the Norman Conquest restored order, purity and discipline to the Church. This is a valid point but candidates should be wary of spending too much time describing the reforms that were introduced by Lanfranc; the focus

should be on the period before 1066. Certainly, the circumstances of Stigand’s appointment as Archbishop of Canterbury and his pluralism (he remained Bishop of Winchester) pointed to problems. England’s relations with the papacy were poor during the reign of Edward the Confessor, one reason for papal support for William of Normandy’s invasion.

The Norman Conquest of England 1064-1072

2(a) Assess the reasons for William of Normandy’s victory in 1066.
Some candidates might consider short-term reasons, focusing on the events of the Battle of Hastings. Others might give most attention to long-term factors. One would expect answers in Band I to consider and assess both but the balance will depend on the argument that candidates offer. Examiners are reminded not to undervalue answers that are organised chronologically. The unfolding events benefited William and disadvantaged Harold. Among short-term factors was the combination in William’s army of different types of soldiers, including cavalry. The indiscipline of

the Anglo-Saxons was important, as was Harold’s death. Until these developments, the Anglo- Saxon fyrd held firm. Candidates can evaluate William’s leadership (the feigned retreat?) and Harold’s shortcomings on the battlefield. Longer term factors might include William’s’ organisational ability in gathering a powerful invasion force. He was also wisely cautious after landing in England. Candidates can come to different conclusions about the effects of the support that he received from the Papacy. Harold was distracted by his decision to confront Harold Hardrada in the north and he then decided to march quickly against William. He did not

reinforce his army after the major encounter at Stamford Bridge.
(b) How serious were the problems that faced William I in establishing his rule over England after his victory at Hastings? Explain your answer with reference to the period to 1072.
Candidates should note the end date in the question. However, some candidates might discuss the evidence in Domesday Book; this was compiled late in the reign but it included descriptions of the effects of Norman government in earlier years and should not therefore be dismissed as irrelevant. The death of Harold at Hastings removed William’s most dangerous challenger. His surviving enemies, such as Edwin, Morcar and Waltheof, proved less daunting. Others, such as Hereward, were troublesome but less dangerous. Resistance at Exeter and in the Midlands was put down quite easily. Some might point out that William had not completely secured the north by 1072. It was still prone to attack by Danes and from Scotland.
3(a) Assess the reasons why castles were important during the period from

1066 to 1100.
As in other questions that ask candidates to assess something, the answers at the top of Band I will offer some priorities in the factors that they consider. Castles had important military functions in defending Norman power and suppressing potential rebellion. One of William’s first actions after landing in England was to build a fortification. The (White) Tower was important in London. Butthey were more extension than simple military structures to control rebels, invaders or potential

troublemakers; they were also homes and administrative centres. In many cases, this gave rise to urban centres as supplies and tradesmen were needed. High credit should be given to sections of answers that include some specific examples.




(b) Assess the reasons why William I could not prevent rivalry over the succession to his throne.
The question is based on the third Key Issue and associated Content in the Study Topic, ‘What problems were raised by the linking of England with Normandy? The problems of ruling both England and Normandy, the effects of William I’s absences from England, William I’s division of his territories, rivalry among the sons of William I’. Examiners will note that candidates are expected to have only enough understanding and knowledge of Normandy to make sense of the English history. William I had three sons: Robert, William (Rufus) and Henry. In spite of the

strength of William I, the rules of succession were not clear. Normandy and England were governed as separate states. Robert was in rebellion against his father before William I’s death and William could see that he was incapable of ruling both states. William’s choice was to pass England to William Rufus, with Normandy going to Robert. However, the succession needed the consent, open or tacit of nobles. Kings were not yet paramount in this respect. William I’s preference did not ensure a peaceful succession because Robert challenged William II’s right to the English throne. Some nobles, including his powerful uncle Odo of Bayeux, supported him.

However, William II was active and determined and prevailed in the struggle.

June 2007
1(a) How effective a king was Edward the Confessor? Explain your answer. [45]

Focus: Assessment of the success of a king.


The personality of Edward the Confessor, the powers of the Anglo-Saxon monarchy, government, taxation, law and military organisation’. He did not have the strength of character to seek to do great things. However, he sought to reign in an orderly manner and to maintain stability. The reign saw a number of crises, for example the

threat from the Godwin family in 1051-52 which saw the King in a weak situation. The



succession issue can be discussed and candidates assess how far the outcome reflected on Edward’s achievements. It might be argued that the crisis was not of Edward’s making. However, for the most part, the King carried on affairs effectively. Taxes were collected; laws were generally enforced. Some might refer to Edward’s interest in the re-building of Westminster Abbey. He had to deal with powerful nobles, especially the Godwins. Candidates can assess the significance of the quarrel between Edward and Godwin and its outcome.
Comment
The Question was based on the first Key Issue, ‘How effective a king was Edward the Confessor?’ There were many sound assessments of Edward the Confessor that considered the aspects that were mentioned in the Specification: ‘The personality of Edward the Confessor, the powers of the Anglo-Saxon monarchy, government, taxation, law and military organisation’. Many answers deserved high credit because they considered the problematic periods and issues in the reign and came to a considered conclusion. As indicated in the general comments above, candidates’ conclusions were in themselves less important than their success in arguing and sustaining a case, but most were very sympathetic to Edward.
1(b) Assess the reasons why the Godwin family was powerful during the reign of Edward the Confessor. [45]
Candidates can put the Godwins into the wider context of the political situation. Kings had limited power in late Anglo-Saxon England. They were expected to consult the Witan and needed the co-operation of their earls. Edward himself had few contacts in England before his accession; his power base was therefore relatively limited in England. Earl Godwin of Wessex might well have played an important role in securing the succession for Edward. He had extensive lands and became the leading critic of Norman influence at court and in the Church. Edith, his daughter, was married to the King. Although he was forced into exile, he was able to return to England and a position of importance. After Godwin’s death, Harold became a leading figure in the succession question.
Comment
(b) The Question was based on the second Key Issue, ‘What part did the Godwin family play in the reign?’ The Question was based on the reasons why the Godwin family was powerful and examiners read a good number of answers that contained the necessary analysis and explanation. A few concentrated narrowly on the events at the end of Edward’s reign but many deserved marks in the middle and high bands because of their ability to take a wider view. Whilst the answers in the middle bands tended to describe events, the most successful were able to explain their significance.


2(a) Assess the reasons why there was a dispute over the succession to the English crown at the end of Edward the Confessor‘s reign. [45]
Edward did not leave a direct heir. There is debate about his preference but even that was not sufficient to guarantee the succession. In addition, credit should be given when candidates point out that Anglo-Saxon kingship did not automatically pass to the nearest blood relative. There was still an element of election. Harold exercised a powerful position as the pre-eminent Anglo-Saxon earl, second to the King, but his position was not paramount during the reign of Edward. He was strong enough to make a bid for the crown on the death of Edward but candidates might

consider the circumstances, whether or not he had already promised allegiance to William of Normandy, recognising his claim to the throne. However, Harold did not have sufficient time to establish full control over England. As King, he was scarcely more than a powerful war lord. There were other claimants. William of Normandy proved to the most successful but, at the time, Harold Hardrada was a serious threat. Examiners should be careful not to undervalue answers that are organised chronologically as mere ‘narrative’. The situation changed and the changes can well be addressed in a chronological framework.


Comment
The Question was based on the first Key Issue, ‘Who had the most convincing claim to the English throne in 1066?’ It was encouraging that most candidates went beyond a description of the rivalry between Harold and William in 1066. These were indeed the two most prominent figures in the succession dispute but many candidates deserved high credit because they were able to explain why they were involved in the dispute. They went further to consider other claimants such as Harold Hardrada. They also linked the succession dispute to Edward the Confessor himself.


2(b) Assess William I’s success in defending his English frontiers to 1072. [45]
The northern frontier was particularly dangerous for William because of its

remoteness and because it was an open door for intervention by Danes. Candidates might link William I’s problems in the north with Harold’s. There was

a revolt in 1069-70 when the Danes joined Edwin, Morcar and Waltheof. William used more violent means of suppression than he employed in central and southern England. The situation was still uneasy in 1072. Castles were built throughout England to maintain Norman power but they were particularly important in the north and on the borders with Wales.

Comment
The Question was based on the fourth Key Issue, ‘How did William … defend his English frontiers?’ The Content in the Specification indicates the factors that candidates could use to answer this Question: ‘his military success, the Harrying of the North, castle building, the

defence of the frontiers.’ The general standard was good although some candidates were awarded a lower mark because their answers tended to be general, dealing with William’s overall effectiveness as king instead of concentrating on the particular problems of the frontiers.



3(a) How far did William I control the English Church. Explain your answer. [45]
William I and his Normans had a real interest in the Church. This was partly because of political reasons; the Church was a powerful institution that could be either an ally or a hindrance to his rule. But there were also more religious reasons. He favoured the reforms that would bring England closer to continental practices. However, he was unwilling to give the papacy too much influence. His choice of Lanfranc as Archbishop of Canterbury and his relations with the churchman show the King’s interest and determination to exert a strong influence but not a wish fully to control the Church. Lanfranc was not a ‘puppet’ archbishop but William supported most of

his policies, such as the wish to give Canterbury the primacy over York. Except for Wulfstan of Worcester, all of the higher clergy were appointed after the Conquest. The King’s rights of patronage and appointment were not extraordinary.


Comment
The Question was based on the fourth Key Issue, ‘What issues affected relations between the crown and the church?’ It was very relevant to spend much time examining the relationship between William I and Lanfranc. The discussion of the King’s relationship with Lanfranc was often highly creditable. However, a good number of candidates went further by explaining William’s wider attitude to the English Church. Some candidates deserved credit by considering both political and religious issues and they showed an awareness of the reasons why the Church was important to the King.

Jan 2008
How extensive were the powers of Edward the Confessor as monarch? Explain your answer. [45]

Focus: assessment of the powers of the late Anglo-Saxon monarchy

No set answer is looked for but candidates will need to address the question.

By the reign of Edward the Confessor, England was ruled as a single and united kingdom. There was an effective administrative system with shires, hundreds and burghs. The fiscal and coinage systems worked efficiently and writs helped government to run smoothly. All of these helped to support the power of the king but were also dependent on the exertion of authority by a strong king. Candidates will judge how extensively Edward the Confessor exerted his powers but he was not a cipher. Candidates can also discuss the importance of a king’s election to power. This choice was not free. Birth and tradition were important but it represented a limitation on the power of a monarch. The role of earls and the witan can be assessed because they are very relevant. In practice, the powers of a king varied in extent. As in all questions, examiners should be open to valid alternative explanations. However, some candidates might turn this into an assessment of Edward the Confessor’s success in purely practical terms. As the guidance above indicates, this will be acceptable but probably not enough to merit Band I. This Band will normally need something on the nature of monarchy in the middle of the eleventh century.

Alternative explanations are possible and examiners must be open to alternative approaches. If in doubt, consult your Team Leader.
Assess the claim that Edward the Confessor gave too much influence to Normans. [45]

Focus: assessment of a claim about a medieval king.

No set answer is looked for but candidates will need to address the question.

It might be thought that the importance that Edward the Confessor gave to Normans was the reason why he faced problems with Earl Godwin, who raised an army against him. This explanation might be discounted by others who see Godwin’s personal ambition as more important, with the Normans being a particular rather than a major reason for his actions. Edward’s affinity with Normans can be explained by his upbringing on the Continent. He did not handle the Anglo-Saxon earls easily. The King welcomed Normans to his court and as leaders of the Church in England. Reference might be made to Robert of Jumièges and Archbishop of Canterbury. Eustace of Boulogne was also influential. Harold, who succeeded Godwin to the earldom, persuaded the King to dismiss some Normans at the end of his reign but Normans were still influential. Candidates can discuss the succession issue and Edward’s attitude to a successor. He might well have favoured William of Normandy. Did this help to promote the succession crisis? Harold’s claim to the throne was more than an anti-Norman protest but candidates can also assess the possibility that Harold accepted William‘s claim when he crossed the Channel.


How far do you agree that Harold Godwinson lost the Battle of Hastings mainly because he had also faced a Scandinavian invasion of England? [45]

Focus: assessment of a claim about the fall of a king.

No set answer is looked for but candidates will need to address the question.

Candidates can offer contradictory explanations, for example that the major reason for Harold’s defeat was the personal leadership of William of Normandy. However, to reach Band I, answers will need to include a sound paragraph on the stated factor. Harold Hardrada represented a major challenge to Harold Godwinson. Scandinavia had long been the source of problems for Anglo-Saxon kings. The north of England was difficult for English kings to control. Harold acted decisively; it is easy to be persuaded by hindsight that William was to mount the more serious challenge but Harold had to exert his authority. Victory at Stamford Bridge justified Harold’s march north in the short term but it weakened him because of the simultaneous landing of William. Candidates might assess Harold’s actions after Stamford Bridge and before Hastings. For his part, William of Normandy realised the importance of detailed preparation. The Bayeux Tapestry might be seen as evidence of the naval and military preparations that William put in place for the invasion of England. He welded a diverse group of men into an effective army that faced Harold at Hastings. He was also an excellent battle commander. Examiners should not underestimate the value of answers that are organised chronologically. Excellent answers that appreciate the sequence of events and their significance should not be dismissed as low-level narrative. For example, the sequence of invasions, Harold’s reactions and Hastings is very relevant. So are the events of Hastings that reveal the respective strengths and weaknesses of Harold, William and their armies.



Assess the reasons for the opposition in England to William I after his victory at Hastings to 1072. Explain your answer. [45]

Focus: assessment of the opposition to a king in a specific period.

No set answer is looked for but candidates will need to address the question.

Although the death of Harold deprived the Anglo-Saxons of their major leader, there was suspicion of William who, to the Anglo-Saxons, had seized power by force. The forced settlement of the country, seizure of land and the building of castles, justified to William and his followers, appeared to be oppressive to the native population. William could defend his policies because he was not completely safe on the throne. There were rebellions in England and challenges from the Danes. The frontiers with Scotland and Wales were not secure. In 1067-68 there were risings against Odo of Bayeux in Kent. Exeter rebelled. This was followed by trouble in the north where the Danes maintained their influence and ambitions. Edgar (Aetheling) had a claim to the throne and joined forces with the Danes. His claim to the throne was supported by the archbishops of Canterbury and York, some English earls and London. William’s ‘Harrying of the North’ (1069-70) was successful in suppressing the rebels but did nothing to reconcile the English. Some English earls who were not reconciled to William had joined the rebellion (Gospatrick and Waltheof) and, although they were initially pardoned, they resumed their opposition to William, joined by Edwin and Morcar. The actions of Edgar and the earls might be seen as nationalistic, resistance to a foreign conqueror, but they also had personal motives.


How far did the Norman Conquest change the military organisation of England by 1100? Explain your answer. [45]

Focus: assessment of the extent of change in military organisation.

No set answer is looked for - the assessments of the extent of change will vary - but candidates will need to address the question.

The Specification refers to ‘barons and knights, the importance of castles, the survival of the fyrd.’ The army was important to William I’s control of England and he was determined to keep close control over military aspects, especially because many of his barons and knights were men of independent tendencies. Norman barons and knights - and those who came from elsewhere on the Continent - became more important military leaders under William and William II than Anglo-Saxon earls. Castles played a vital part in Norman control over England. They provided military strong points, as well as being important in wider administration. Candidates should be rewarded when they include some examples in their answers. However, the fyrd continued to be useful to William I. He recognised it to be an effective fighting force, especially when he was faced by rebellion and invasion. ’Feudalism’ might be seen as an ingredient of military organisation because it involved knight service.


June 2008
How successfully did Edward the Confessor handle the Godwin family? Explain your answer. [45]

Focus : Assessment of the relationship between a late Anglo-Saxon king and an important noble family.

No set answer is looked for but candidates will need to address the question. Candidates might differ in their assessments of Edward the Confessor’s success in dealing with the Godwin family but answers in Band I are likely to consider both successes and failures. However, examiners will not look for equally balanced answers. The balance will depend on the argument and an extremely one-sided answer can merit a very high mark. Candidates might judge that the King was a success because he forced Earl Godwin to back down in a major crisis when Godwin had a grievance about influences around Edward. It might also be judged that Edward succeeded in his preference for Duke William as his successor. Against this, the Godwin family retained their importance. Edith, Godwin’s daughter, was Queen. Godwin recovered from his setback and recovered his place at court. Edward was persuaded to dismiss some of his French associates. At the death of Edward, Harold Godwinson was the leading Anglo-Saxon earl and it might be argued that Edward mishandled the succession issue.



Assess the claim that the English Church had more strengths than weaknesses on the eve of the Norman Conquest. [45]

Focus : Assessment of a claim about the condition of the Church in a specific period.

No set answer is looked for but candidates will need to address the question. The focus should be on the period before the Conquest but candidates might well use post-Conquest developments to provide a comparison or contrast and this will be valid if links are made. The Normans introduced changes. Their larger churches differed from the simpler Anglo-Saxon buildings. Lanfranc introduced reforms. Pro-Norman writers saw weaknesses in the Anglo-Saxon Church. However, a strong counter-argument can be made. Whilst small, Anglo-Saxon churches were numerous and this may be proof of popular piety. Relations with the papacy were good. Some Normans and others filled high office in the Church. William I did not see the need for immediate change. Stigand was condemned later but had earlier been on good terms with popes and was retained at the Conquest. Some candidates might refer to the Church’s links with a lively artistic culture.


Assess the reasons why William of Normandy was more successful than Harold in winning the English throne in 1066. [45]

Focus : Assessment of the problems of a claimant to the throne.

No set answer is looked for but candidates will need to address the question. The beginning of the Question is open. Candidates might focus narrowly on the Battle of Hastings. Others might take a longer view to consider the strengths of William of Normandy in the events leading to the battle and before the invasion. Both approaches will be valid although the second will still need a clear view of the decisive battle. It might be argued that Harold’s powerful and effective army was weakened by the earlier engagement at Stamford Bridge. The Norman army, with its archers, foot soldiers and knights, was a more varied and adaptable force than the Anglo-Saxons. William’s leadership might be seen as decisive. There might be different views of the reality of the ‘feigned retreat’. William of Normandy made meticulous preparations for the invasion and had time to prepare his ground carefully. He was an experienced commander of hard campaigns although Harold’s military ability should not be underestimated. Some might refer to the fact that William enjoyed papal approval although others might question the importance of this in his victory. On the other hand, Harold’s force was limited not only by fatigue but also because he did not enjoy universal support. Yet his army stayed intact for most of the day. Some might base their arguments on luck: the good fortune that William enjoyed when Harold was distracted by a northern invasion and the good fortune that Harold was killed.


Assess the view that William I relied mainly on force to control England from his victory at Hastings to 1072. [45]

Focus : Assessment of a claim about the methods of a king in a specific period.

No set answer is looked for but candidates will need to address the question. Candidates should note that the Question is about the period immediately after the Conquest. It might be argued that force and repression can be seen in the way in which he marched on London, devastating the countryside to ensure obedience. Castles were built quickly in important places. Rebels were put down forcefully and widespread punishments were common. The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle complained of the oppression of the people. On the other hand, it might be argued that this approach was necessary to establish William’s rule and that it was moderated by his willingness to accept the service of Anglo-Saxon earls who would cooperate. He did not immediately overturn Anglo-Saxon laws and methods of administration. Nevertheless, foreign overlords soon took control. The most radical changes came after 1072 - outside the scope of the Question.



Did William I do more to change or continue Anglo-Saxon methods of government and administration? Explain your answer. [45]

Focus: Assessment of change and continuity in a king’s methods of government.

No set answer is looked for but candidates will need to address the question. Historiography is not a required element of AS Level assessment. Candidates will be rewarded when they consider the extent of change and continuity in Norman government and administration but, although accurate historiographical references should be rewarded, they will not be expected for any mark. William I claimed to be the legal king and promised continuity. Anglo-Saxon England was governed effectively so that there was no immediate need for radical change to bring order to government. Continuity might be seen in the continued use of writs, an efficient means of conveying royal demands. Counties and hundreds, with their local officials, were still used. Earls and sheriffs continued, if under different nomenclatures, but they became more important as royal rather than local officials. The system of taxation was largely unchanged. Candidates might point to the Domesday Book as evidence of William’s willingness to build on Anglo-Saxon models. On the other hand, William virtually replaced the Anglo-Saxon nobility, ruling through foreigners. His personal authority was greater and his methods of government generally reflected a greater emphasis on authoritarianism. It will be relevant to discuss feudalism as a method of government. Some might dismiss the concept as out-dated but most will accept the idea of feudalism as a means by which the King could exert greater control over England. However, others might argue that there were elements of ‘feudalism’ in England before the Conquest.


Assess the reasons why Anselm faced more problems as Archbishop of Canterbury than Lanfranc. [45]

Focus: assessment of the reasons for the relative problems of two important churchmen.

No set answer is looked for but candidates will need to address the question. Examiners will look for a reasonable balance between Anselm and Lanfranc but not necessarily an even balance. Because the Question is based on a comparison, answers that only discuss one and show no knowledge and understanding of the other will find it difficult to get beyond Band V. Answers that deal with Anselm and Lanfranc sequentially but which make valid points of comparison en route should not be undervalued. There were similarities in the backgrounds of Anselm and Lanfranc. Both were scholars and monks, abbots of Bec. Both apparently accepted their appointment as Archbishop of Canterbury with some reluctance. However, they differed in their views of the relationship between their offices as archbishop of Canterbury and the role of the Church on the one hand and secular power on the other. Anselm made clear that his first loyalty was to the Pope. He publicly denigrated the basis of kingly authority. Lanfranc enjoyed a largely harmonious relationship with William I. The King approved of his attempts to reform the Church, which included changes to the seats of bishoprics and supremacy over York. His promotion of foreigners to high office in the Church in England was also in line with William’s attitude to secular appointments. Lanfranc had a different view of papal primacy. Candidates can compare their respective kings and their attitudes to Church matters to explain the clerics’ problems.




Jan 09
1 The Reign of Edward the Confessor 1042-1066

(a) Assess the extent of Norman influence upon England during the reign of Edward the Confessor. [45]

Focus: Analysis of a significant aspect of late Anglo-Saxon England.

No set answer is looked for but candidates will need to address the question. Candidates should evaluate a range of factors before reaching a balanced conclusion. The succession issue is relevant but the question does ask ‘during the reign’ and the essay should examine the links between the King and Normandy. Candidates should be aware of a variety of influences in both the state and the church and answers in the top bands will need to assess these influences. Candidates may consider the impact of Edward’s time in Normandy, which encouraged his willingness to see Norman influence in England. He admired Norman and other continental practices and customs. The appointment of Robert of Jumieges as Bishop of London saw growing Norman influence in the Church. Some answers might explore the issue of the introduction of castles and feudal tendencies, both of which are matters of historical debate.



1(b) To what extent was the English Church in need of reform during the reign of Edward the Confessor? [45]

Focus: Analysis of the condition of a major institution.

No set answer is looked for but candidates will need to address the question. Candidates should evaluate a range of factors before reaching a balanced conclusion. Answers at the higher levels will consider ‘How far’. Candidates should consider the strengths and weaknesses of the church during the period. It is not expected that candidates will spend equal time on each characteristic and may spend longer on whichever is seen as stronger. Historiography is not an assessment criterion at AS but credit can be given to those candidates who make accurate reference to the debate on post conquest propaganda. Much of the dubious reputation of the Anglo-Saxon Church derives from Norman chroniclers who had an interest in criticising it. Candidates may consider issues such as Stigand’s reputation and the physical size of the churches, which were smaller and less ambitious than the buildings that were constructed or reconstructed after the Conquest. The issue of the Church’s isolation has been exaggerated, but it was out of touch with some of the developments on the continent. The monasteries were reasonably healthy. There was a lack of organisation, but on the other hand the Church could claim the loyalty and embodied the beliefs of the large majority of the population


The most important reason Harold Godwinson was unable to maintain his hold on the English throne was weakness of his claim.’ How far do you agree? [45]
Focus: Analysis of the reasons for Harold’s failure to claim the English throne.

No set answer is looked for but candidates will need to address the question. Candidates should evaluate a range of factors before reaching a balanced conclusion. The focus of the question is the claim of Harold to the throne and this should be weighed up against other factors. Harold had become head of the Godwin family in 1053 but the period to 1066 showed his problems in maintaining his primacy among the nobility. His position in England was never completely secure. Answers may compare the claim of Harold with that of William and the importance of his recognition by the Pope. There were other claimants such as Harald Hardrada and Tostig, the claim of Edgar Aethling was not a serious problem. The near simultaneous challenges from William, Harald and Tostig prevented Harold from securing his position on the throne. As the topic begins in 1064 there may be some reference to Harold’s visit to Normandy involving major issues about his claim to the throne. It might also be noted that Harold had difficulties from the beginning when his claim was contested by Tostig. The late nomination by Edward the Confessor did little to strengthen his position. Candidates may consider other factors such as the leadership of William, his well disciplined army and this can be contrasted against Harold’s failure to win the full support of the Anglo Saxon earls, his preoccupations with problems in the north and his possible over-hasty march to meet the Norman invasion. It is possible that some may argue that Harold was unlucky or unwise in the final campaign, but his claim reflected deeper problems. Answers should avoid unnecessary narrative of the battle, but it must be remembered that the claim to the English throne was settled on the battlefield.



How serious was the opposition to William in England after the Battle of Hastings? Explain your answer. [45]

Focus: Assessment of a problem faced by William I.

No set answer is looked for but candidates will need to address the question. Candidates should evaluate a range of factors before reaching a balanced conclusion. The question specifies that candidates should consider the period after the Battle of Hastings. Candidates might refer to opposition to William immediately after Hastings, but it hardly amounted to a rebellion. William had the advantage that his main rivals were dead and that other important Anglo Saxon nobles from Mercia and Northumberland promised allegiance. Some answers may simply describe the rebellions that William faced with little assessment of their danger or threat and they will not reach the higher levels. Candidates may consider the resistance in Northumbria, Mercia and Wessex, particularly from Waltheof, Edwin and Morcar, there might also be reference to Hereward the Wake. Candidates may argue that given the resources available to William and his determined methods that the resistance could be easily repressed. The rebels had limited support and resources and their resistance was uncoordinated. Many of the risings were localised and arose from local grievances rather than dissatisfaction with William’s rule. Candidates might refer to the problem of Exeter, which was more serious, but order was restored after a siege. In 1069 there was trouble for William in the north with intervention from Scotland and Scandinavia. Although this was more dangerous, William enjoyed a clear military advantage and used ruthless devastation to put down the rebellion. The challenge of Hereward the Wake was brief and not too serious a problem.


How far did the Norman Conquest affect land tenure and military organisation in England? [45]

Focus: Analysis of the impact of the Norman Conquest on the organisation of English society.

No set answer is looked for but candidates will need to address the question. Candidates should evaluate a range of factors before reaching a balanced conclusion. The topic begins in 1066 and candidates are not expected to demonstrate how feudal England was in late Anglo Saxon England beyond an awareness of the general situation. Candidates may consider how far the Conquest affected social relationships, obedience and protection, the role of the nobility and peasantry in this process and the issue of knight service. The question involves a complex topic and examiners should note the requirements of an AS answer. Feudal tenure will play an important role in most answers as it was based on land and military service. The King held most of the land with tenants-in-chief, secular barons and great churchmen, holding their land directly in return for the provision of knights. The pattern was replicated among the lower orders of society.


3(b) How serious were the problems created by William I’s absences from England? Explain your answer. [45]

Focus: Assessment of a major problem of government after the Conquest.

No set answer is looked for but candidates will need to address the question. Candidates should evaluate a range of factors before reaching a balanced conclusion. The question arises from a Key Issue in the specification and links to the content about William absences from England that required arrangement for firm government and also justified methods to crush dissent, the divisions of his territory and rivalry among his sons, Robert and William Rufus. Candidates may discuss the opportunity that his absences gave for rebellion, for example in the north. An important issue that might be considered was the need to establish an efficient administration that could work in his absence. His absences also encourage his increased reliance on the Normans. There is no need for candidates to provide much detail about the absences except that they reflected the King’s different priorities, but brief references to Normandy or to the wars with Anjou and Maine can be given credit. Some might make a connection between the key issue and the development of the succession quarrel.



June 2009
The Reign of Edward the Confessor 1042-1066

(a) How effective was the government of England during the reign of Edward the Confessor?

Focus: Assessment of the condition of the Anglo-Saxon state

No set answer is looked for but candidates will need to address the question. Candidates should evaluate a range of factors before reaching a balanced conclusion. It is not expected that candidates will show knowledge or understanding of the period before 1042 or of developments after 1066. The effectiveness of government did depend very much on the personality of the king, but even the limitations of Edward the Confessor did little to undermine government. However, it might be argued that the monarchy had more potential power than Edward realised. Kings ruled the state with recognised powers by divine right and custom. The Witan was consulted but the king held the balance of power. Anglo Saxon England had a variety of institutions and a strength in the legal system that made it well organised and efficient. Edward’s role in the succession issue could be used to show how effective the monarchy was. Some answers might also point to his ability to force the Godwins into temporary exile as evidence of effectiveness. The comparatively efficient working of administration and the fiscal system suggest an effective government. However, some answers may suggest that Edward was not effective over his marriage as he failed to provide a direct heir. Some answers may consider whether England was a feudal state and whether that made it more efficient.


(b) How far did the Godwin family cause instability in the reign of Edward the Confessor?
Focus: Assessment of an important historical situation

No set answer is looked for but candidates will need to address the question. Candidates should evaluate a range of factors before reaching a balanced conclusion. Godwin was already a powerful earl when Edward ascended the throne and might even have helped him in his accession. The Godwin family exercised considerable power and widespread influence, for example in Wessex, Northumbria, East Anglia and the London region. Candidates are not expected to have knowledge and understanding of a previous period but may point out that the family was well established by the time of Edward’s accession, to which it probably contributed. Godwin’s daughter, Edith, was the wife of Edward. Godwin resisted the Norman influences on Edward. Godwin was able briefly to exercise power over Edward, but died in 1053. Harold then continued the importance of the family and had a major claim to be Edward’s heir, showing the status of the family.


The Norman Conquest of England 1064-1072

(a) ‘William of Normandy’s effective invasion preparations were the most important reason for his victory at the Battle of Hastings.’ How far do you agree?

Focus: Analysis of the reasons for William I successful claim to the English throne

No set answer is looked for but candidates will need to address the question. Candidates should evaluate a range of factors before reaching a balanced conclusion. At the lower end answers are likely to focus on a narrative of the battle. Candidates may consider issues such as the basis of the claims of William and Harold, William’s recognition by the Pope. The invasion was well organised, as was the military campaign and his army was well disciplined, although some may suggest that there was a danger of panic. There may be mention of William’s leadership skills. Answers should also consider the failings of

Harold. Harold was preoccupied with events in the north and this was followed by an over-hasty march to meet the Norman invasion. He failed to gain the full support of the Anglo Saxon earls and he probably mismanaged his resistance to William’s invasion.

(b) How important were castles in explaining why William I was able to secure his power during this period?

Focus: Assessment of a judgement

No set answer is looked for but candidates will need to address the question. Candidates should evaluate a range of factors before reaching a balanced conclusion. Castles were useful as both a military and administrative centre and were a symbol of Norman rule. William began to build castles as soon as he had gained power. They were often built after a rebellion had been put down, but they also provided a local presence and may have stopped rebellion breaking out. The presence of soldiers meant that they could be moved to areas of unrest quickly and the large number of castles along the borders and south coast may also have been helpful. This factor should be weighed up against other reasons such as his military force, the division and weakness of his opponents. The rebels often lacked leadership and their causes were local, which limited their support and appeal. William’s treatment of areas after a rebellion may also have been important in discouraging further unrest.



3 Norman England 1066-1100
(a) To what extent had Anglo-Saxon methods of government been replaced by 1100?

Focus: Assessment of change in a period

No set answer is looked for but candidates will need to address the question. Candidates should evaluate a range of factors before reaching a balanced conclusion. Historiography is not an AS level assessment criterion. Candidates will be given credit for accurate references to the views of particular historians but they are not required for any band. The topic begins in 1066 and candidates are expected to have only a general knowledge and understanding of Anglo Saxon government and administration. William I inherited a reasonably efficient system and was willing to accept much of it, adapted as required. The writ was useful and he continued its use, and more frequently, although in Latin rather than English. Sheriffs and shire courts continued. Counties and hundreds continued as administrative units. There was continuity in taxation. On the other hand, William quickly introduced Normans to govern and administer England and his personal methods were more determined or harsher, than Edward. The redistribution of land involved changes in government and administration. The question does not include religious or social change unless these are linked to government and administration.


b) Assess the issues that affected the relationship between the crown and church during the period from 1066 to 1100.
Focus: Assessment of the factors affecting the relationship between key institutions

No set answer is looked for but candidates will need to address the question. Candidates should evaluate a range of factors before reaching a balanced conclusion. There are a variety of reasons that candidates might consider. They might point to the importance of the personality of the monarch, William I was not very religious, but retained papal support and they might point to his blessing of the invasion. This might be contrasted with William II, although they might point out that many of the chroniclers were churchmen. They might consider the use made by the Norman regime of the church to uphold their rule. Candidates might consider the relationships between the King and their archbishops, particularly William I and Lanfranc and William II and Anselm. Disputes over the recognition of the rightful pope might be mentioned. William’s II use of the church to raise revenues through keeping lucrative church offices might be considered.


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