Picture: The Battle of Hastings.
A spear thrown by Gurth, the brother of King Harold at William the Conqueror narrowly missed him and killed his horse throwing William to the ground. His helmet was crushed over his face making it difficult to breath, a companion of the Conqueror called Truelove removed his helmet thereby saving his life and William said, "Thou shalt hereafter, from Truelove, be called Air or Eyre, because thou hast given me air to breathe." Another legend tells that a Knight named Eyre fought with Richard the Lion Heart during the Crusades and lost a leg while defending his king. It is recorded that William Eyr of Hope was Keeper of the King's Forest of High Peak during the reign of Henry III in 1216. They were Lords of the Manor of Hathersage.
THE HARROWING OF THE NORTH
Needless to say the Anglians didn't take the Norman invasion lying down and because of the understandable resistance of the Anglo-Saxons William the Conqueror in 1069-70 set about with grim determination to extinguish all human and animal life in the north of England. He destroyed or seized all of the cattle, crops, farming implements and the personal property of those who opposed him for a distance of one hundred miles along the east coast and sixty miles inland. The Conqueror pursued his favourite scorched earth policy and burnt everything to the ground, the houses were reduced to ash; the cattle were seized and driven away. Agricultural implements were destroyed, as were the crops. He paid special attention to anything that could be used against him so he destroyed the iron smelting works at Ecclesfield which were the preserve of the monks of Kirkstead Abbey as the steel produced there had made many of the wepons used at the Battle of Hastings, he destroyed Waltheof's manor house and the Domesday Book confirms that Whitby which was a place of importance and is near Robin Hood's Bay was virtually wiped out.
Picture: The Halifax Gibbet introduced by William the Conqueror.
It continued to be used right up until 1650AD.
DESTRUCTION OF THE NEW FOREST
The New Forest is a tragic example of how life changed for the average English/Saxon after the Norman Conquest and it illustrates the mentality of William the Conqueror who created the “New Forest” for his own pleasure of hunting. He laid waste fifty-two parishes, destroyed the villages and pulled down twenty-two churches so that he could roam freely over “his” forest. If anyone was caught poaching, which they had to do to live, they were punished very harshly for example by castration, amputation, or blinding in one eye and were branded “outlaws.”