The Norman Conquest of England was not a single event. It involved a chain of resurrections outbreaking here and there, cruel suppression of them and newly conceived plots to revolt again. The Northern counties were most recalcitrant. William wanted to integrate the North definitively and finally, so he resorted to ruthless steps.
The year 1069 was a culmination of violence. Northumbrian rebels made an alliance with Danish navy commanders in order to drive all Normans out of England. William used a payoff approach to the Danish invaders by tempting them with gold and silver. For the Northumbrians, an atrocious campaign designated as “Harrying of the North” was to come.
Spark for the Harrying of the North and the following violent course
The spark igniting the following offensive was the assassination of Robert de Comines, William’s proxy, at Durham in 1069. Robert de Comines had departed to Northumbria with a Norman squadron to suppress a revolt. He and his knights ended up in an ambush, slaughtered.
The Harrying atrocities got underway after Christmas in 1069 and lasted until late winter in 1070. In Yorkshire and its vicinities, villages got ruined, with people either killed or starved to death. Starvation was a result of the scorched-earth tactics. Norman knights were slaughtering the livestock and removed all food reserves. William coveted not only to eliminate rebels themselves, but also to deprive any
future insurgents of means and resources to bring their aspirations to life.
Such merciless policy proved to be effective. The Norman troops conquered more than one hundred miles of the area to reach the Tyne River northwards. On the other hand, historians assert that the number of victims of the Harrying of the North reached 100,000, mostly in starvation. For the population of 2 million people, the figure was shocking. Afterwards, it was no earlier than in a decade that human life and land cultivation resumed in the Northern rural areas.
Norman Rule Cemented Entirely and Permanently
The Hastings triumph had to be fixed with the Harrying ferocities. In less than one cold season, the Normans demonstratively showed their fierceness in response to any upheaval. Any aspirations that the invaders would leave England faded to fear and apprehension. The slapping crisis that had been shaking William’s rule never repeated again to reach the previous scale during William’s life.