England in Europe 1066-1453

Nigel Saul takes a look at the significance of the Norman conquest.

As he brought his Ecclesiastical History to a close in the year 1141, Orderic Vitalis looked back over his life. He had been born, he recalled, at Atcham on the mighty Severn, and had been sent to school at Shrewsbury" where Siward the priest had instructed him in psalms and hymns. At the age of ten he was given by his father into the keeping of a monk by the name of Reginald who took him across the Channel and placed him as an oblate in the monastic community of St Evroult, To the Normans, he says, his English name – Orderic – sounded harsh, so he was rechristened 'Vitalis', after one of the companions of St Maurice. In the community of St Evroult he was to remain until the end of his days half-a-century later.

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