Following his great win at the Battle of Hastings, William I introduced England’s governmental system to what was called Feudalism; and Feudalism in England continued as a way of life for many years to come. You may know him as William the Conqueror, but William I really wanted to the King of England. Yet still he knew that in order to do this he would have to gain control over England as a whole. Just keep in mind that he was not from England, and he was not popular with the people of the country. In fact, he had to use a great deal of force just to maintain his control.
Yet, this was not the only issue that William was dealing with. At the same time he wanted to gain control over England, he still held the title of Duke of Normandy; so to maintain his control in France he would need to leave England for weeks at a time. Regardless, controlling all of England at once was very difficult because 11th century travel was not too efficient.
Hence, he needed to determine the best way to keep the people of England loyal to him. After all, he loved London – he even built a castle called the “Tower of London” in the city. Building this castle that dominated the city was part of the groundwork for the Feudal system he created to govern the residents of England.
What he did next was he divided the country into large territories of land, and gave each of them to a brave nobleman who helped him win in battle. William did not give the land to each of these men free and clear though. He made each of them collect taxes in their area, and could call for soldiers from any territory as he needed them. These men were sworn into their positions and could have been viewed as dukes of their own area. If they thought he wouldn’t notice them not paying him the full amount – they were wrong. In what is called William’s Domesday Book, was the survey maps that he had created. He had the entire country surveyed just so he would always know what he was owed!
Hence, Feudalism in...