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Our Norman Masters

The trouble for our quite and remote area and for that matter, the whole of England, came to a head suddenly at the Battle of Senlac Hill.  This was the ridge or hill where Harold Godwinson was defeated by William Duke of Normandy.

We know it better, as the Battle of Hastings, which took place on the 14th of October 1066.

William moved fast and by Christmas that year, England had a new King, William 1st, and life quickly changed for every one.

The Normans in the following months took over the possessions of everything worth taking. As far as land was concerned  they took as much as they could find, that they felt had any value, and were particularly hard on anyone who opposed them.

Of course the existing, and by this time Anglo- Danish inhabitants, had also come from a similar war like stock and were keen to continue the resistance.  From their point of view they were not going to return to being serfs when at one time they owned the land.

Revolts  broke out in many places and were put down severely.   Twice William had to march his forces the long distance into Yorkshire to quell insurrections.   Then reinforcements arrived  –  but not for the Normans.

The King of Denmark sailed up the Humber with a mighty fleet, probably cheered on by the residents of Oole and Itterby, with the idea or restoring England to Danish rule.  The Danes killed approximately 3000 of Williams men at York. William swore dire vengeance.

The Normans came back to the north area above the Humber, and ravaged and burnt all crops, houses, mills, forests and left village after village a charred mess. So began the period called the ‘Harrowing of the North’. Animals were slaughted and the people who survived were left owning nothing but the clothes they wore.

At the same time it was important to William that the Humber area should be swept bare, so as to afford no sheltered landing place for a hostile fleet,  Any building on the coastline at this time was burnt to the ground which no doubt effected our area considerably.

Into most areas he quickly appointed some of his more trusted men.

The situation by 1075 was that the hamlet of Oole was still there, being low thatched poor muddy houses hidden from view. A little beyond that was Itterby, which now boasted a  Manor (a poor and recent building) where one ‘ Ilbert ‘ attended to the interests of the local Bishop.This again was a poor and a very small hamlet

The ‘Manor house’ would be a small hut, with no glass in the windows, though perhaps with wooden shutters.  It would have a hole in the roof to let the smoke out , rushes on the bare floor and perhaps a rough bed.

Further away was the Manor of Weelsby owned now by Drogo de Beurere, and looked after by his man, Robert,which would have been in a similar fashion.  Again this would have been a very small,  poor hamlet, half hidden by trees and on the verge of a forest.

There would have been Thrunscoe which was yet another Manor farmed by a ‘Wimund’ on behalf of the owner Ivo Tallibois.

Finally, there was the main village and manor of Clee which one ‘Ilbert’ farms.  This was the area that had most residents and had suffered the most with fire.  There were at that date stii many destroyed houses and chared trees well in evidence.

In between these villages there were no roads but  a series of many paths. Two obvious ones over our area would have been the one from Oole and Itterby to Grimsby and another in a direct line fom Oole to the village of Clee.