Synopses & Reviews
The years from 1066-the Norman conquest of England-to 1284-the English conquest of Wales-were momentous ones in the history of Britain. In this comprehensive synthesis canvassing the peoples, economies, religion, languages, and political leadership of medieval Britain, David Carpenter weaves together the histories of England, Scotland, and Wales. Arguing that English domination of the kingdom was by no means a foregone conclusion, Carpenter analyzes the multiple struggles for mastery of Great Britain. He explains why English monarchs focused on continental landholdings more than the island of Great Britain and narrates the loss of Normandy, Anjou, and Acquitaine. He recounts how the Welsh kings strove to recover areas lost to the Normans and to assert dominion over one another, and how the kings of Scotland expanded their realm to create a united Scotland. Based on readings of primary and secondary sources, Carpenter sheds light on major highlights of the period including the Battle of Hastings, the murder of Becket, and the signing of the Magna Carta, as well as intermarriage, the feudal system, and the characters of key figures. This new interpretation is a definitive introduction to the period for general readers.
"This is a fine, up-to-date synthesis of a grand subject, now suitably enlarged." T.N. Bisson, Henry Charles Lea Professor of Medieval History, Harvard University
Britain 1066-1284. A major addition to the Penguin History of Britain.
In this comprehensive synthesis canvassing the peoples, economies, religion, languages, and political leadership of medieval Britain, Carpenter weaves together the histories of England, Scotland, and Wales.
Drawing upon vast amounts of fresh research, David Carpenter’s remarkable new book brings to life medieval Britain in the tumultuous period between the Norman conquest of England and the English conquest of Wales under Edward I. This epoch saw a profound reshaping of Britain, as Norman and Anglo-Saxon peoples were molded together into a new identity, and the development of a powerful parliamentary tax-based state enabled England to dominate the rest of Britain at the end of the thirteenth century. Yet as Carpenter’s wide-ranging narrative makes clear, during this time England was also linked in an entirely new way to continental Europe, leaving plenty of space for the ambitions of Britain’s other rulers, namely the princes of Wales and the king of Scots, to emerge.
About the Author
David Carpenter is a professor of medieval history at Kings College, London.
David Cannadine is the director of the Institute of Historical Research, University of London. His books include History in Our Time and Aspects of Aristocracy, both available from Penguin.
Table of Contents
The Struggle for Mastery List of Maps and Genealogical Tables
Money, Technical Terms, and Names of People and Places
1. The Peoples of Britain
2. The Economies of Britain
3. The Norman Conquest of England, 1066-87
4. Wales, Scotland and the Normans, 1058-94
5. Britain and the Anglo-Norman Realm, 1087-1135
6. Britain Remodelled: King Stephen, 1135-54, King David, 1124-53, and the Welsh Rulers
7. King Henry II, Britain and Ireland, 1154-89
8. Richard the Lionheart, 1189-99, and William the Lion, 1165-1214
9. The Reign of King John, 1199-1216
10. The Minority of Henry III and its Sequel, 1216-34, Llywelyn the Great, 1194-1240, and Alexander II, 1214-49
11. Britain During the Personal Rule of King Henry III, 1234-58
12. The Tribulations of Henry III, the Triumphs of Alexander III and Llywelyn, Prince of Wales, 1255-72
13. Structures of Society
14. Church, Religion, Literacy and Learning
15. King Edward I: The Parliamentary State
16. Wales and Scotland: Conquest and Coexistence