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The Harrying of the North - 1069

King William's army moved north, burning villages and crops, destroying houses and murdering locals.  This became known as the 'Harrying of the North'.  William was determined to show he would not accept any resistance.

As the sources tell us, William totally devastated the land as he moved north.

William ordered his soldiers to burn the land.  This meant nothing could be grown and people would starve.

Nothing could survive on the bare land that was left.

The harrying was " severe [that] there was no village inhabited between York and Durham."
Simeon of Durham
J. Stevenson, Church Historians of England (1853-8) p.551

What made William so mad?

Orderic Vitalis' reaction


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Last updated Wednesday, 02 July 2003