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England and Normandy, 1204-1259

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England and Normandy, 1204-1259
Wendy B. Stevenson


Department of History, University of Leeds, Leeds LS2 9JT, UNITED KINGDOM.


In 1204, Normandy submitted to King Phillip Augustus of France but the kings of England refused to acknowledge the loss of the duchy, or of the other Angevin possessions conquered by the French kings, until the Treaty of Paris of 1259- A part from King John's grandiose attempt of 1214 to recover all the conquered provinces, no serious attempt was made by an English king between 1204 and 1259 to recover the duchy. Consequently, most modern historians tend to speak of the "loss of Normandy" in 1204 and the "formal" surrender of all English claims thereto in 1259 as if the events of the former date had effectively severed England and Normandy forever. It is generally felt that on the whole the links with England were very soon forgotten and that after 1204 the duchy settled down quite happily under her new French masters who adopted a conciliatory policy towards her.

This thesis questions the current orthodoxy as summarized above. It examines Anglo-Norman relations between 1204 and 1259 and reveals that strong ecclesiastical, economic and tenurial links continued to exist between England and Normandy throughout the period. Consideration is also given to the relations of the various sectors of Norman society with their new Capetian rulers and it is suggested that these were not as harmonious as previously supposed. Finally, an attempt is made to assess the political significance of these two factors as far as Anglo French relations were concerned.