1066-Norman Conquest

William the Conqueror


William the Conqueror, Duke of Normandy became William I 1066-1087

  • End of Anglo-Saxon rule
  • Introduction of Feudal System
  • Domesday Book
  • Separation of clerical and lay courts

The Plantagenet Dinasty

Henry II (1154-1189)

  • He was the first king to combine the French and the English Crowns
  • Reduced Barons’ power
  • Royal Justice
  • Developed the Anglo-Saxons’ Common Law
  • Replaced trial by ordeal with Trial by Justice
  • Reduced Church’s power with the Clarendon Constitutions
  • Thomas Becket and his martyrdom

Richard I Lionheart (1189-1199) – Crusades

John the Lackland (1199-1216), in 1215 he signed the Magna Charta which was implemented in 1225

Henry III (1216-1272) – was only nine years old when he succeeded his father, king John, on the throne and a Great Council of noblemen ruled in his place, the meetings of which where called ‘parliaments’

Edward I (1272-1307) called the “Model Parliament” to collect taxes for his wars, this was the seed planted for the future two Houses of Parliament (the House of Lords and the House of Commons)

Edward III (1327-1377) claimed the crown of France because his mother was the French king’s sister and in 1337 the Hundred’s Year War broke out and lasted till 1453, when England lost all its French possessions except for Calais. England defended the Flanders during this conflict.

The 14th Century and Society

  • 1348 The Black Death
  • End of Feudalism
  • Wages and freedom for peasants
  • Rise of urban and rural middle class, the ‘guilds’
  • Lollardy and the Church
  • 1381 Peasants Revolt

Literary Context

  • Allegory: the visual minds of medieval people, the reality they saw
  • Religious and secular lyrics, lives of saints and Prose Romances
  • Medieval Drama (Miracle Plays, Morality Plays, the Interlude)
  • Medieval Narrative Poem

The Author

Geoffrey Chaucer (ca. 1340-1400)

Geoffrey Chaucer


  • Father of English Literature, first secular poet, laid basis of Modern English
  • His works can be divided in three periods: The French  – The Italian – The English
  • The Canterbury Tales, his masterpiece

All images taken from Google Search


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