To keep all his Norman nobles happy and to thank
them for their help, he took all the land away from the Saxon church
officials and nobles, and gave it all to his Norman vassals. Anyone who
had helped him became rich. What the Saxon people in England thought
about all this mattered not to the new king of England, William the
Great Council: William set up a council of Norman nobles and
bishops. He called it the Great Council. The council's job was to help
him rule effectively. But the Normans were very busy at first setting up
their new land and homes. Still, William knew he could call on the
nobles whenever he needed them.
The Great Council grew to become an important part
of government. By the 1200's, the Great Council was called Parliament.
It is still called Parliament today.
By the 1400's, Parliament had divided into two
chambers - the House of Lords and the House of Commons. Nobles and
clergy ran the House of Lords. Knights and burgesses (a class of
extremely wealthy merchants) ran the House of Commons.
William had another great idea. He knew his nobles and bishops were
going to need tax money to run their fiefs. William needed tax money to
run the kingdom. He wanted local officials, under his control, in all
the towns anyway. He created a new office called a sheriff. A sheriff's
job was to collect taxes. Since the sheriff was a local official, a
representative of the king, local sheriffs had a great deal of power.
Domesday Book: A census, the first since Roman times,
that told us a great deal about daily life.
Normans for Kids
& Castles Interactive
Presentations in PowerPoint format
Online Games for the Middle Ages
Middle Ages Clipart for Kids & Teachers
Ages for Teachers
to The Middle Ages for Kids