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Elisabeth van Houts

Introduction By 1066 Normandy had established itself as one of the most stable and successful principalities in France. Rollo’s dynasty had eliminated all rivals and taking advantage of rivalries between neighbouring powers had achieved a measure of independence from the French kings. In order to maintain their relative independence the dukes channelled their financial and

in The Normans in Europe
Two case studies
Florence Carré
Aminte Thomann
, and
Yves-Marie Adrian

In Normandy, near Rouen, in Tournedos-sur-Seine and Val-de-Reuil, two adult skeletons thrown into wells during the Middle Ages have been studied. The wells are located at two separate sites just 3 km apart. Both sites consist of clustered settlements inhabited from the seventh to the tenth century and arranged around a cemetery. The backfill of the well shafts contains animal remains, but also partially or completely articulated human bodies. In Val-de-Reuil, the incomplete skeleton of a man, probably representing a secondary deposition, had traces of a violent blow on the skull, certainly with a blunt weapon. In Tournedos-sur-Seine, a woman thrown in headfirst had several impact points and bone fractures on the skull that could have been caused by perimortem mistreatment or a violent death. After a detailed description of the two finds and a contextualisation in the light of similar published cases, we will discuss the possible scenarios for the death and deposition of the individuals as well as their place in their communities.

Human Remains and Violence: An Interdisciplinary Journal
Laura L. Gathagan

The abbey of Holy Trinity, Caen, was founded by Mathilda of Flanders, Duchess of Normandy and Queen of England, in June 1066. The abbesses of Holy Trinity are the focus of this study, especially their judicial role and their power to imprison. These rarely discussed aspects of women’s authority are revealed in Manchester, John Rylands Library, GB 133 BMC/66. Produced in 1292 at the meeting of the Exchequer at Rouen, the modest parchment reveals the existence of a prison in Ouistreham, France, under the authority of the abbesses of Holy Trinity. This article engages heretofore unexamined elements of female abbatial authority, jurisdiction and the mechanisms of justice. The preservation of BMC/66 also reflects the documentary imperatives of the women who governed Holy Trinity and fits into a broader context of memory and documentary culture.

Bulletin of the John Rylands Library

This book presents histories and chronicles written by the Normans themselves, or written by those whom they conquered, or written by contemporaries elsewhere in Europe who observed their actions from afar. It covers the process of assimilation and amalgamation between Scandinavians and Franks and the emergence of Normandy. The swift association of the Scandinavian counts of Rouen with their Frankish noble neighbours is indicative of their wish to settle and root in western France. The book illustrates the internal organisation of the principality with a variety of source material from chronicles, miracle stories and charters. It then presents material from the main chronicle sources for the history of the Norman invasion and settlement of England, supplemented with some poetry. It includes the Normans' involvement in the Mediterranean, in Italy, and to a lesser extent in Byzantium, Spain and the Holy Land. From Normandy they set out later to conquer southern Italy and the greater part of Britain and some established themselves elsewhere in Europe. The book concerns the debate about to what extent the Norman expansion into the Mediterranean was part of an exclusively Norman experience.


This is a study of noblewomen in twelfth-century England and Normandy, and of the ways in which they exercised power. It draws on a mix of evidence to offer a reconceptualization of women's role in aristocratic society, and in doing so suggests new ways of looking at lordship and the ruling elite in the high Middle Ages. The book considers a wide range of literary sources—such as chronicles, charters, seals and governmental records—to draw out a detailed picture of noblewomen in the twelfth-century Anglo-Norman realm. It asserts the importance of the life-cycle in determining the power of these aristocratic women, thereby demonstrating that the influence of gender on lordship was profound, complex and varied.

Affective piety in the eleventh-century monastery of John of Fécamp
Series: Artes Liberales

Scholars of the Middle Ages have long taught that highly emotional Christian devotion, often called ‘affective piety’, originated in Europe after the twelfth century, and was primarily practised by late medieval communities of mendicants, lay people, and women. As the first study of affective piety in an eleventh-century monastic context, this book revises our understanding of affective spirituality’s origins, characteristics, and uses in medieval Christianity.

Emotional monasticism: Affective piety at the eleventh-century monastery of John of Fécamp traces the early monastic history of affective devotion through the life and works of the earliest-known writer of emotional prayers, John of Fécamp, abbot of the Norman monastery of Fécamp from 1028 to 1078. The book examines John’s major work, the Confessio theologica; John’s early influences and educational background in Ravenna and Dijon; the emotion-filled devotional programme of Fécamp’s liturgical, manuscript, and intellectual culture, and its relation to the monastery’s efforts at reform; the cultivation of affective principles in the monastery’s work beyond the monastery’s walls; and John’s later medieval legacy at Fécamp, throughout Normandy, and beyond. Emotional monasticism will appeal to scholars of monasticism, of the history of emotion, and of medieval Christianity. The book exposes the early medieval monastic roots of later medieval affective piety, re-examines the importance of John of Fécamp’s prayers for the first time since his work was discovered, casts a new light on the devotional life of monks in medieval Europe before the twelfth century, and redefines how we should understand the history of Christianity.

The Norman Conquest
Elisabeth van Houts

Introduction The story of the relations between Normandy and England which culminated in the Norman Conquest of 1066 begins with the pact negotiated between Duke Richard I and King Aethelred II of England (978–1016) in 991, whereby both parties bound themselves to friendship and non-aggression. Although the text does not refer explicitly to each ruler’s dealings with the

in The Normans in Europe
Abstract only
Elisabeth van Houts

The Normans were the people of Normandy, the north-western province of France that came into existence at the beginning of the tenth century. The frontiers of Normandy fluctuated, but the region in which Norman customs prevailed during the duchy’s lifetime (from c . 911 to 1204) stretched from north to south and from east to west as follows (see Map 2 on p. 000). From Eu

in The Normans in Europe
Elisabeth van Houts

Introduction The inhabitants of Neustria, the area of western France which stretched from the River Seine to the River Loire, were the Franks. 1 From the late tenth century, as we have seen, part of the region that was roughly equivalent to the archdiocese of Rouen became known as Normandy as a result of the settlement of Scandinavian people and the grant of authority by

in The Normans in Europe
Colin Veach

4 Factionalism: 1199–1206 T he accession of King John marks a turning point in the history of the Lacy family. In this period, Ireland was brought under the direct lordship of the king of England, and Normandy was lost. The balance of the king’s administration and attention (if not his ambition) was shifted westwards, and he sought to exploit his insular realms for resources to retrieve his continental inheritance. John’s brother and father had relied upon strong local magnates to drive the Irish royal administration in their absence, but, after fifteen years

in Lordship in four realms