The loss of Normandy and the invention of Terre Normannorum, 1204
Moore, A. K. (2010) The loss of Normandy and the invention of Terre Normannorum, 1204. English Historical Review, 125 (516). pp. 1071-1109. ISSN 0013-8266
To link to this article DOI: 10.1093/ehr/ceq273
The conquest of Normandy by Philip Augustus of France effectively ended the ‘Anglo-Norman’ realm created in 1066, forcing cross-Channel landholders to choose between their English and their Norman estates. The best source for the resulting tenurial upheaval in England is the Rotulus de valore terrarum Normannorum, a list of seized properties and their former holders, and this article seeks to expand our understanding of the impact of the loss of Normandy through a detailed analysis of this document. First, it demonstrates that the compilation of the roll can be divided into two distinct stages, the first containing valuations taken before royal justices in June 1204 and enrolled before the end of July, and the second consisting of returns to orders for the valuation of particular properties issued during the summer and autumn, as part of the process by which these estates were committed to new holders. Second, study of the roll and other documentary sources permits a better understanding of the order for the seizure of the lands of those who had remained in Normandy, the text of which does not survive. This establishes that this royal order was issued in late May 1204 and, further, that it enjoined the temporary seizure rather than the permanent confiscation of these lands. Moreover, the seizure was not retrospective and covers a specific window of time in 1204. On the one hand, this means that the roll is far from a comprehensive record of terre Normannorum. On the other hand, it is possible to correlate the identities of those Anglo-Norman landholders whose English estates were seized with the military progress of the French king through the duchy in May and June and thus shed new light on the campaign of 1204. Third, the article considers the initial management of the seized estates and highlights the fact that, when making arrangements for the these lands, John was primarily concerned to maintain his freedom of manoeuvre, since he was not prepared to accept that Normandy had been lost for good.