Tuesday, 11 October 2016

1066, the Year of the Normans: Spotlight on Normans in Furness

This year, 2016, marks the 950th anniversary of the Battle of Hastings where Duke William II of Normandy defeated King Harold of England to become the new ruler of the country. A battle which saw the face of England change forever and the new Norman way of life take hold!

This blog post will shine a spotlight on the Normans in Furness and highlight posts from the blogs past about them, so, lets take a look:

A Motte Without a Bailey and a Manor Without a Town, Aldingham

The first Norman lord to come to Furness was Michael Le Fleming who was given the lands which later became Muchland, the main base for his rule though was at Aldingham. Here he built a large motte and bailey castle to impose his presence and his power on the area.

In this past blog post we explore the site of his castle and the lost town which it ruled over.

Furness Abbey, the Second Richest Cistercian Abbey in Britain

It was in 1127 that Furness Abbey was first founded by Savigniac Monks coming over from France. They no doubt set up here to bring more Norman rule to the land and introduce more of the Norman way of life. It was later taken over by the Cistercian order who built it to become one of the richest Cistercian monasteries in England!

This post took a look into the abbey and also showed some hidden features to discover around the site, now run by English Heritage.

Fading Faces in a Medieval Quarries - the Amphitheatre Next to Furness Abbey

The amphitheatre next to Furness Abbey holds many gems related to the great abbey. There is the precinct wall stretching the top of the natural formation, most likely constructed in the Norman period, and two large quarries where the stone for the abbey was carved out of the ground, again most likely first used in the Norman period.

Take a look at this post to find out more about these features as well as other, later features.

A Majestic Medieval Priory, Cartmel

Cartmel Pirory, just a short distance from Furness in the Cartmel Peninsula, was founded in 1189 by the Norman lord William Marshal. The Augustinian order worshipped in and ran the priory. Never growing to become an Abbey the site managed to survive until present day and is a beautiful and unique Norman building to behold!

In this post we took a deeper look into the priory and its history and showcased some wonderful pictures! Keep an eye out for the typical Norman features like the rounded Norman arches.

Urswick Church is predominantly of Norman construction, the chancel being constructed in the Norman era, and is a lovely little church to look at and wander around. There are also many interesting features dotted around the church from an earlier Anglo Saxon runic slab to pieces of stained glass from Furness Abbey.

This post looks at all these features as well as the history of the church itself.

The Tale of a Man Called Wimund

Wimund was a monk, turned bishop, turned warlord who lived and was at his height in the Norman period. He started as a monk at the newly founded Furness Abbey before being sent to the Isle of Man to set up a new daughter house, Rushen Abbey. He soon was accented to Bishop but turned power hungry and went on a rampage through Scotland.

Explore the tale of this interesting and vicious character in this fascinating blog post.

As you can see there is a great deal of Norman heritage dotted across the Furness peninsula, all well worth a look. Of course there are many other sites with Norman origins which we have yet to cover in this blog and there are no doubt many long lost Norman sites still waiting to be discovered. Maybe one day we can return to shine another spotlight on the Normans in Furness! Until then we have lots of other unique heritage sites still to explore...

Return here on October 25th for another new blog post about a fortification which may well have a Norman origin!

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