New College of the Humanities

Lackland: The Loss of Normandy in 1204

Nick Barratt argues that Normandy’s loss in the reign of King John has had a far-reaching impact on Britain.

Philip II of France at the Battle of BouvinesBritons are drawn to events when their independence and freedom have been under threat, yet overwhelming odds have been defied. The Second World War brought the evacuation of the Dunkirk beaches, the Battle of Britain and D-Day. Victories at Trafalgar and Waterloo safeguarded Britain from Napoleon. The defeat of the Spanish Armada cemented the reputation of Queen Elizabeth. The dates we remember most are usually linked with triumph, or at least the aversion of disaster. In contrast one of the most important dates in English history – one which represents one of the greatest catastrophes ever to befall an English monarch – has been airbrushed from national consciousness.

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