After the Norman Conquest in 1066, William had to experience the reverse side of such decisive victory. The population of conquered England was approximately 2 million people. Norman invaders trying to subdue them hardly comprised 20 thousand. Their English adventure spilled into enormous confrontation, controversies and violence.
Coronation with Fire
On Christmas in 1066, William was crowned at Westminster Abbey to become King William I. The crowd of English locals outside the Abbey was exclaiming loudly. The guards from Normandy took the cheerful exclamations as menacing tumult and panicked. As a result, fire broke out to hit the surrounding houses. Smoke emerged, and horrified guests of the coronation fled. Only the new king himself remained inside with the clergy.
Rebellious Anti-Norman Resistance
Actually, many mighty nobles had lost their lives in the Battle of Hastings. Harold, his brothers Gyrth and Leofwine also fell in the combat. At first, England lacked leaders to orchestrate resistance against invaders.
But a real anti-Norman rebellion outbroke before long in Herefordshire . It was summer, the year 1067, when William was on his trip to Normandy. King Bleddyn of Gwynedd joined with King Rhiwallon of Powys to fight Normans. In the same year, count Eustace sailed from Boulogne across the English Channel to assault Dover
Harold’s family unsubdued
The next rebellion center was the town of Exeter in 1069. Gytha, the mother of Harold with other locals urged other south-western settlements to revolt. William besieged the town, and it surrendered in less than a month. Essentially, the year 1069 brought a climax of revolts against Normans. The sons of Godwine and Edmund gathered a naval squadron of 52 warships to set a foothold in Somerset, Devon and Cornwal. Defeated, they had to retreat and sailed to Ireland.
External plus internal threats in 1069
The year 1069 indicated that William’s control of England was not firm. He subdued many lands, but they reached no farther than York. However, he created many fortified strongholds, and the castles of Nottingham, Warwick, Huntingdon, Cambridge and York are the brightest examples of how he cemented his rule in the Midlands.
But the external enemies of Normans merged with the internal English foes to drive William out of England. In August 1069, The Danish fleet commanders made up an alliance with the Northumbrian nobles to reinforce their invasion. The Danish navy consisting of up to 3 hundred ships raided on Humber from where they marched to York together with the Northumbrians.
The second frontline emerged in Devon and Cornwall with simultaneous riots there. The third focus flared on the Welsh frontier where the Welsh kings made a coalition with Eadric the Wild and Chester rebels.
William prioritized the threats and left his proxies to combat the enemies in south-western Cornwall and Devon. He headed to Stafford to defeat Eadric and his Welsh accomplices in the Battle at Stafford. Then he tackled the northern Danish and Northumbrian ambush frontline. But the ambushers suddenly retreated to the hills before William could reach their siege. The Danish embarked on their ships in Humber and sailed away after William had promised them bulks of silver and gold.
Altogether, the unrests and threats culminating in 1069 made the turning point in the Norman invasion. William resorted to an overall campaign called the Harrying of the North to finally conquer the English land and stay there.