Today roads across Cotentin’s marshes are finely mapped and sturdy, when William Duke of Normandy (future Conqueror of England) was 19, it was a very different story. If he had not known the marshes so well, how different all our histories would be.
The child Duke, protected at all costs
It is surprising
This view is from the old castle, now just a hill, at Moulins-la-Marche in the Perche. Looking out through gently swaying trees across the Perche countryside or back into the town it’s hard to believe these were once the badlands of medieval Normandy.
Marche in this instance is from ‘marka’ an
In 1066 Matilda, wife of William, Duke of Normandy, commissioned a ship for a king. Her husband was still a Duke but she knew he would conquer that muddy country to the north. The ship was built in Barfleur and named Mora.
Ship building for the invasion had started in the
In the charming town of Falaise we saw this dramatic monument to that battle hungry medieval warrior, William the Conqueror.
Rightly represented as a triumphant king, William's statue is surrounded by earlier Dukes of Normandy: Robert the Magnificent, Richard the Good (very good at propaganda, also known as the Irascible), Richard
When building in Normandy calls itself ‘the old castle of William the Conqueror’ it is best to believe it. Although we thought this one was probably a bit of an old folk tale. One of the Conqueror’s castles a private house? Surely a rare bit of Norman whimsy.
No whimsy at