Kerrith Davies, Winning the West : the creation of lower Normandy, c.889-c.1087

Kerrith Davies, Winning the West : the creation of lower Normandy, c.889-c.1087, Thèse de doctorat soutenue en 2016 (Université d’Oxford)

Résumé/abstract :

This thesis re-evaluates the chronology of Lower Normandyâs integration into the duchy growing around Rouen from the tenth century onwards. The introduction argues that modern accounts of Normandyâs development remain dependent on the works of Dudo of Saint-Quentin and Flodoard of Rheims. Difficulties with these authors and alternative approaches to Normandyâs early history are identified. It is argued that regional distinctions throughout the later duchy hindered efforts to bring about political cohesion. Chapters One and Two identify the ninth-century Breton occupation and early tenth-century Scandinavian settlement of Lower Normandy as the twin sources of ongoing regional divisions. The early dukes’ interest in and influence over the west are also called into question. Chapters Three and Four instead posit that ducal interest in Lower Normandy was a product of the late tenth century, with direct intervention following in the favourable circumstances of the early eleventh century. Ducal success in this period depended upon the co-operation of regional aristocrats and ecclesiastical institutions and continuing constraints on Rouenâs influence and authority are emphasised. Chapter Five argues that Robert the Magnificent was a more assertive ruler, who actively strengthened ducal authority in Lower Normandy in spite of renewed opposition. Chapter Six considers how rebellion against William the Conqueror in 1047 reveals growing local interest in the conduct of ducal government. Victory allowed William to consolidate ducal authority in Lower Normandy, encouraging further expansion beyond its borders. Local landholders, however, resultantly received little direct ducal patronage, including scant reward in the post-Conquest settlement of England. In conclusion, while Lower Normandy had been brought firmly under ducal control by 1087, it is argued that it was only under Williamâs son, Henry I, that the regionâs aristocrats acquired any major influence over ducal policy and secured an equal position within the wider Anglo-Norman nobility.

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