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Orderic's reaction

Whole families starved to death.  Thousands of peasants died of cold and hunger during the winter of 1069-70.  Even sources that support William describe how vicious he was.

Orderic Vitalis was a monk who had an Saxon mother and a Norman father.  He usually praised King William, but wrote this about the Harrying of the North:

"The King stopped at nothing to hunt his enemies.  He cut down many people and destroyed homes and land.  Nowhere else had he shown such cruelty.

To his shame he made no effort to control his fury and he punished the innocent with the guilty.  He ordered that crops and herds, tools and food should be burned to ashes.  More than 100,000 people perished of hunger.

I have often praised William in this book, but I can say nothing good about this brutal slaughter.  God will punish him."


After the Harrying

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Last updated Wednesday, 02 July 2003