The role of the Norman kings in the framing of the British Constitution
By Brother Joseph of Alexandria
Master’s Thesis, University of Ottawa, 1942
Abstract: The following pages picture to the best of my ability the part played by William the Conqueror and his sons in England. Since the Catholic Church played a prominent role, I have stressed the relations of the Crown with that influential body. The struggles with the English earls and later the Norman barony have been underlined.
The results of the Conquest are detailed. I attempted to show how William respected the Anglo-Saxon constitution in its main principles. The Conquest, together with the influence of the system of government then prevaling on the Continent brought about some changes, others originated in the victor ‘s fancy – the transfer of the land to the Normans, the introducing of Norman bishops, abbeys and sheriffs. Among the innovations are the New Forest, the Curfew, trial by battle, knighthood, the Domesday Survey and the Salisbury Oath.
The Red King’s duplicity is underlined together with his quarrel with the Church. The charter of Henry is enclosed. It is said how the settlement of the quarrel over the investiture was brought about.
His system of taxation is dealth with; his reform of justice is underlined. Henry I perfected William I’s ideal of a state and with him ends the peace of the Norman rule.