William the Conqueror David Bates

The English Monarchs Series
Publication date:
01 Nov 2016
Yale University Press
616 pages: 235 x 156mm
16 b-w illus.


Fifteen years in the making, a landmark reinterpretation of the life of a pivotal figure in British and European history

In this magisterial addition to the Yale English Monarchs series, David Bates combines biography and a multidisciplinary approach to examine the life of a major figure in British and European history. Using a framework derived from studies of early medieval kingship, he assesses each phase of William’s life to establish why so many trusted William to invade England in 1066 and the consequences of this on the history of the so-called Norman Conquest after the Battle of Hastings and for generations to come.
A leading historian of the period, Bates is notable for having worked extensively in the archives of northern France and discovered many eleventh- and twelfth-century charters largely unnoticed by English-language scholars. Taking an innovative approach, he argues for a move away from old perceptions and controversies associated with William’s life and the Norman Conquest. This deeply researched volume is the scholarly biography for our generation.

David Bates is professorial fellow, University of East Anglia, and has held positions at several universities in Britain and France. His books include Normandy Before 1066 and The Normans and Empire. He lives in Cambridge, UK.

“This is serious, definitive history, essential for undergraduates and academics… Bates gets as close to the subject as any medieval biographer could wish.”—Dan Jones, Sunday Times

“Bates has devoted a lifetime of learning to William the Conqueror and his age. In this definitive biography of the man who forever changed England with hisinvasion of 1066, Bates contends that a full understanding of William’s place in history requires locating him in a longer period.”—Tony Barber, “Best books of 2016”, Financial Times

“Leading expert David Bates gives one of British History’s headline figures the in-depth treatment… From his personality to the consequences of his military actions, this book will heartily extend your knowledge of 1066 and all that.”—History Revealed

“David Bates has given us a magnificent new biography of William the Conqueror to add to his superb edition of William’s royal charters. Reflecting many years of research, it is deeply learned, full of important new insights and… makes a major contribution to our knowledge and understanding, not only of the Conqueror but also of the world in which he lived. No scholar working in the field can afford to ignore this; all readers with an interest in the period will benefit from it.”—Paul Dalton, TLS