William the First and the Sussex Rapes

Classic Pamphlet

By J. F. A. Mason, published 24th October 2011

The reallocation of land

During his reign, and in particular in the five years after the battle of Hastings, William I carried out the most thorough reallocation of land in England ever to take place in so short a period of time; the results were summarized in Domesday Book in 1086.

That great record shows us how scattered the possessions of many of his barons were; but it also shows that in frontier and coastal districts the Conqueror did, on numerous occasions, grant a compact block of territory to a single individual - an individual the rest of whose lands might (as in Normandy) be very scattered indeed. The best known cases are, no doubt, the Welsh and Scottish border counties and the Sussex Rapes.

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