HIGH HOUSE PRICES? INEQUALITY? I BLAME THE NORMANS
Originally posted by unknown author in World Freeman Society on Dec 25, 2012.
Nearly four years ago, I began writing a novel, set in the aftermath of the Norman conquest of 1066.
Before I began to write, I spent six months sitting in the Bodleian
library poring over books and journals to familiarise myself with the
period. I soon realised that, apart from the story of the Battle of
Hastings that everyone learns at school, I knew hardly anything about
the impact of the conquest. I began to understand, too, how much of that
impact is still with us.
By the end of the process, I had come to a slightly disquieting conclusion: we are still being governed by Normans.
Take house prices. According to the author Kevin Cahill,
the main driver behind the absurd expense of owning land and property
in Britain is that so much of the nation’s land is locked up by a tiny
elite. Just 0.3% of the population – 160,000 families – own two thirds
of the country. Less than 1% of the population owns 70% of the land,
running Britain a close second to Brazil for the title of the country
with the most unequal land distribution on Earth.
of this can be traced back to 1066. The first act of William the
Conqueror, in 1067, was to declare that every acre of land in England
now belonged to the monarch. This was unprecedented: Anglo-Saxon England
had been a mosaic of landowners. Now there was just one. William then
proceeded to parcel much of that land out to those who had fought with
him at Hastings. This was the beginning of feudalism; it was also the
beginning of the landowning culture that has plagued England – and
Britain – ever since.
dukes and earls who still own so much of the nation’s land, and who
feature every year on the breathless rich lists, are the beneficiaries
of this astonishing land grab. William’s 22nd great-granddaughter,
who today sits on the throne, is still the legal owner of the whole of
England. Even your house, if you’ve been able to afford one, is
technically hers. You’re a tenant, and the price of your tenancy is your
loyalty to the crown. When the current monarch dies, her son will
inherit the crown (another Norman innovation, incidentally, since Anglo-Saxon kings were elected).
As Duke of Cornwall, he is the inheritor of land that William gave to
Brian of Brittany in 1068, for helping to defeat the English at
land grab was not the only injustice perpetrated by the Normans that
has echoed down the centuries. William built a network of castles with
English slave labour from which he controlled the rebellious populace by
force. This method of colonisation and control was later exported to
Ireland, Scotland and Wales, as the descendants of the Norman kings
extended their empire from England to the Celtic nations. They taxed the
poor harshly (the Domesday book
is a tax collector’s manual), deepening rural poverty to enrich royal
coffers which were used to fight the continental wars that ravaged
medieval Europe. Not without justification has one historian referred to
Norman rule as a system of “medieval apartheid“.
days, I can’t stop myself wondering what kind of country this might be
now if William had lost at Hastings. Would we have been spared the
aristocratic estates and the hereditary monarchs? Could the industrial
revolution, even the empire, have happened in the same way without that
intense concentration of land and power? Would the English be a less
deferential people than they often still, frustratingly, are? http://worldfreemansociety.org/high-house-prices-inequality-i-blame-the-normans/ ETHICALDONATORS AND COMMUNITY MEMBERS REQUIRED, TO FILL THIS SPACE WITH YOUR POLITICAL SLOGANS, ADVERTISING OFFERS, WEBSITE DETAILS, CHARITY REQUESTS, LECTURE OPPORTUNITIES, EDUCATIONAL WORKSHOPS, SPIRITUAL AND/OR HEALTH ENLIGHTENMENT COURSES.AS AN IMPORTANT MEMBER OF THE GLOBALINDEPENDENT MEDIACOMMUNITY, MIKIVERSE POLITICS HONOURABLY REQUESTS YOUR HELP TO KEEP YOUR NEWS, DIVERSE,AND FREE OF CORPORATE, GOVERNMENT SPIN AND CONTROL. FOR MORE INFO ON HOW YOU MAY ASSIST, PLEASE CONTACT:firstname.lastname@example.org