Edwin and Morcar's Rebellion, 1068

What was Edwin and Morcar's rebellion?
In 1067, William returned to Normandy, taking with him Edwin, Morcar, Edgar Aetheling and other Anglo-Saxon lords, as well as English treasure. On their return in 1068, Edwin and Morcar fled north and led a rebellion against William.
When was the rebellion of Edwin and Morcar?
Edwin and Morcar rebelled in the year 1068.
What was the importance of Edwin and Morcar's rebellion?
This was the first major rebellion against William. It encouraged the next phase of rebellions, which led to William using more brutal methods to crush subsequent revolts.
What were the causes of Edwin and Morcar's rebellion?
There were five main reasons why the lords rebelled.
  • Edwin and Morcar were unhappy about the land that they had lost under William.
  • The English lords who went with William to Normandy were resentful when they returned - perhaps because they realised that English wealth would be used to benefit Normandy.
  • They resented William's heavy geld tax.
  • They resented the castles that the Normans had built across England.
  • They were alarmed by the brutality of Norman rule.
Why did Edwin lead the rebellion against the Normans with Morcar?
Edwin, Earl of Mercia, had 2 main complaints against William.
  • His earldom in Mercia had been made smaller and less important than it previously had been.
  • William had gone back on his promise that Edwin could marry his daughter.
Why did Morcar lead a rebellion against William I with Edwin?
Morcar had three main reasons for rebelling:
  • Morcar resented the reduction of his landholding in Northumbria, and with it, his money and power.
  • Parts of Northumbria had been given to one of Tostig's thegns, Copsig, who had submitted to William's rule.
  • Control over parts of Yorkshire had been granted to Maerleswein.
How did land loss cause Edwin and Morcar's rebellion?
The Normans who had come to England with William took land from the Anglo-Saxons, which William allowed.
How did Norman brutality cause Edwin and Morcar's rebellion?
Odo and William FitzOsbern had unlawfully seized lands, and their soldiers had been allowed to behave brutally, even raping Anglo-Saxon women.
Why did resentment over castles lead to Edwin and Morcar's rebellion in 1069?
Norman castles were resented for several reasons:
  • They represented Norman power and control.
  • They often involved the destruction of Anglo-Saxon homes.
  • The Normans commandeered resources from the surrounding areas to build the castles.
Why did Norman taxes lead to Edwin and Morcar's rebellion in 1069?
The heavy geld tax that William introduced in late 1066 was resented.
Who was involved in Edwin and Morcar's rebellion?
The 1068 rebellion in the north involved a number of Anglo-Saxon lords.
How did William respond to Edwin and Morcar's rebellion in 1068 - 1069?
William responded to the rebellion swiftly, with a show of great force.
  • He went north with his army, building castles as they marched.
  • They went to Warwick, a key town in Mercia, and built a castle there.
  • They also built a castle in Nottingham.
How did the rebels react after Edwin and Morcar's rebellion?
The rebellion disintegrated quickly when William took action.
  • Edwin and Morcar surrendered after William took control of Warwick. William pardoned them, but kept them at his court where he could keep an eye on them. They escaped again in 1071.
  • York sent hostages to William after he took Nottingham, as did the Northumbrian rebels.
  • Edgar and other rebel leaders fled to Malcolm III in Scotland.
Why did Edwin and Morcar's rebellion fail?
There are a number of possible reasons why Edwin and Morcar's rebellion failed.
  • It may have been a test to see how William responded. The rebels could have been waiting for a better opportunity.
  • It is possible that the rebels were not clear or united about what they wanted. Edwin and Morcar may have just wanted their land back.
  • The escape of rebel leaders, including Edgar Aetheling, to Scotland, created a new rebel base which was important in 1069.
  • Ultimately, William's show of force and efficient castle-building was an effective way of regaining control.
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