This vivid and comprehensive account of the politics, religion, and culture of England in the century and a half after the Norman Conquest lays bare the patterns of everyday life, and increases our understanding of medieval society at a time when England was more closely tied to Europe than ever before.
This was a period in which the ruling dynasty and military aristocracy were deeply enmeshed with the politics and culture of France. The book describes their conflicts and their preoccupations: the sense of honour, the role of violence, and the glitter of tournament, heraldry, and Arthurian romance. The author explores the mechanics of their government, and analyzes the part played by the Church at a time of radical developments in religious life and organization. He investigates the role of ordinary men and women: the fundamental importance of the peasant economy in the growing urban and commercial arenas; and also their outlook on the world, including their views on the past; on gender and behavior; on animals; the undead, and the occult. The result is a fascinating and complex account of a period which begins with conquest and ends in assimilation.