David Bates explores modern-day research into the complexities behind the politics and conflict of 1066, providing us with some new interpretations and perspectives.
The many activities that took place around the time of the 950th anniversary of the battle of Hastings have shown that the year 1066 continues to have a significant place in English and British national life. Quite what that place should be must, however, be a subject for discussion. Newevidence in the form of new, or scarcely known, charters must be inserted into the narrative. New ways of thinking about the primary sources, the Bayeux Tapestry, Domesday Book, and many major buildings, have been developed, and major prosopographicalprojects have been completed and are in progress. While all the traditional controversies about political, social, and cultural changes remain active, the debates around the referendum on membership of the EU have arguably given a new topicality to issues of English and British national identity and to subjects such as diversity, multiculturalism, and migration. This subject is also relevant to how we shoulduse the terms ‘Norman’ and ‘English’. A further modern dimension to the subject
is the legitimacy, or otherwise, of the use of violence in what its proponents claim is a justified cause...