Anglo-Norman IV/3: 1072AD-1181AD

DBA list:
1x 3Kn//4Bd (General): Walter d'Espec, the Sheriff of York
3x 3Kn//4Bd
4x 4Sp
3x 2Ps or 3Bw
1x WWg or 3Cv or 3Sp


The Anglo-Normans were the descendants of the Normans who ruled England following the conquest by William of Normandy in 1066. The Norman preserved most of the Anglo-Saxon laws and customs, but preferred their own trial by battle, as more worthy of warriors and freemen, to the fiery ordeals of the English. They separated the spiritual from the secular courts; and the old distinction of classes, ealdormen, thanes, ceorls, and theowas were preserved under the names of count or earl, baron, knight, esquire, free-tenant, villein or villain , and neif . William arranged for the defeated Saxon infantry to be trained by the Norman cavalry in anti-cavalry tactics. This led quickly to the establishment of an Anglo-Norman army made up of Norman horsemen of noble blood, Saxon infantrymen often of equally noble blood, assimilated English freemen as rank-and-file, and foreign mercenaries and adventurers from other parts of the Continent. The younger Norman aristocracy showed a tendency towards Anglicization, adopting such Saxon styles as long hair and moustaches. Rulers covered in this period are: William I (the Conqueror), William II (Rufus), Henry I, Stephen, Matilda (Maude), and Henry II

Before the death of King Henry I of England in 1135, the majority of the barons of England swore to support Henry's daughter (Empress Matilda, granddaughter of William the Conqueror), and her claim to the throne. However, Stephen (b. circa 1097, d. 1154) (also a grandchild of The Conqueror through his mother and who had been raised at Henry's court) laid claim to the throne. He also claimed his uncle, King Henry, had changed his mind on his deathbed, and named Stephen as his heir. Once Stephen was crowned, he gained the support of the majority of the barons as well as Pope Innocent II. The first few years of his reign were peaceful, but by 1139 he was seen as weak and indecisive, setting the country up for a civil war, commonly called The Anarchy. When Henry I of England died, a power struggle ensued between Henry's daughter Matilda (Maud) and her cousin Stephen, Count of Boulogne, who both claimed the throne. The Scots, under King David, supported Matilda, but it was Stephen who gained the crown.David invaded northern England twice in 1138, and both times he was turned back by Stephen, at the head of a sizeable royal army. In the summer of 1138, however, Stephen was occupied suppressing baronial revolts in the south, so when David invaded a third time, he was able to march deep into English territory, aided by a few disaffected English barons.

The Battle of the Standard (Aug. 22, 1138 AD): The current Archbishop of York, Thurstan, gathered local barons, such as Count William of Aumale, Walter d'Espec, Roger de Mowbray, and Richard de Courcy, augmented by a small force sent by Stephen. In addition, the city militias of York, Beverly, and Ripon joined the contingent. These militia marched under religious banners, or standards, bearing the symbols of the patron saints of their cities: St. Peter, St. John, and St. Wilfred, respectively. It is these standards that eventually gave their name to the conflict that followed. See this site for Mike Stelzer's reconstructions of the banners. The Scottish forces were defeated and turned back. The Scots then besieged Wark and moved south into Yorkshire. Later, David withdrew and negotiated peace.

When Eustace (Stephen's son and designated heir) died in August 1153, under the Treaty of Wallingford, Stephen agreed that Henry (Matilda's son) should be his successor. After a reign of nineteen years, in October 1154, Stephen died at Canterbury, and was buried at Faversham by the side of his wife and son, in a convent of his own foundation. Henry then ascended the throne as King Henry II.


Click here to see the army pictures.