Norman Conquest

Medieval Warfare
Topic 1: Norman Conquest

Medieval warfare covers the period of the Norman conquest through to the massed use of gunpowder weapons.

The beginning of medieval warfare occurs in the mid-11th century, and roughly corresponds with the Norman invasion of England.


Medieval warfare was very much based on the power of the armoured cavalryman, or knight.

This became cemented in society as part of the feudal system, where the ranking of nobles was based heavily on the number of knights they could raise.

An image of a Norman Knight from the Bayeux Tapestry. (Detail from Scene 51b, Bibliotheca Augustana)


The physical impact of the Norman invasion was felt in Lincolnshire through the construction of castles and fortified manors.

Detail from the fourteenth century Gough map of Britain, showing the principle towns of Lincolnshire (Image: Wikipedia Commons). Note that North is to the left.

Detail from the sixteenth century Angliae Figura map of Britain, showing the principle towns, and some castles, of Lincolnshire (Image: British Library).

Norman Castle at Castle Bytham. (Photo: Richard Carter)

Streets and Churches

There were also changes to the arrangement of village streets and increased construction of churches.

The importance of balancing military and ecclesiastical power is clearly shown in Lincoln where the castle and cathedral stand opposite each other.

The castle and cathedral of Lincoln, each keeping watch on the other. (Photo: Heritage Trust of Lincolnshire Collection)