Ancient province of France, originally called Neustria, bordered on the north and west by the English Channel, on the northeast by the Bresle River, which separates it from Picardy, and on the south by the region of the Vexin and the Epte River. After the French Revolution, Normandy was divided into the modern départements of Seine-Maritime, Eure, Orne, Calvados, and Manche.
Part of the Roman Empire after its conquest by Julius Caesar, Neustria (later called Normandy) was occupied by the franks in the late fifth century and became a part of the Merovingian kingdom. In the fourth century St. Mello and St. victricius of rouen had introduced Christianity, which spread throughout the region. By the sixth century Normandy was divided into seven dioceses: Rouen, bayeux, Coutances, Lisieux, Avranches, Evreux, and Sées. Early Norman abbeys included saint-ouen, Fontenelle, Jumièges, and Mont-Saint-Michel. After falling to the Carolingians in 751, the province remained under their rule until the ninth-century attacks of the Vikings (northmen). By the Treaty of St.-Claire-sur-Epte in 911, the Carolingian king Charles the Simple granted Rouen and its vicinity to the Norman leader Rollo, who was baptized a Christian and may have received Charles's daughter in marriage.
For a hundred years the Normans spread westward and southward from Rouen, incorporating the Bessin, the Evreçin, the Cotentin and the Avrançin in the time of Rollo's son William Longsword (930–942), who was assassinated during the expansion; and his son Richard I (942–996). Richard I married a newly-arrived Dane, Gunnor, whose descendents in the female line and their husbands came to constitute the new aristocracy of Normandy. While adopting Frankish customs and institutions, they spread their power through predatory kinship, and forged the most powerful duchy in northern France. Richard II (996–1026) married his sister Emma to King Ethelred Unraed of England, whose son edward the confessor bequeathed England to the future William the Conqueror.
During the eleventh century adventurous Normans established states in southern Italy and Sicily. In 1066 Duke William II the Bastard, later king william i the conqueror, defeated King harold at Hastings and acquired the Anglo-Scandinavian kingdom. Upon William's death in 1087, Normandy went to his eldest son Robert Curthose and England to his second son, william ii rufus. henry i, the Conqueror's third son, gained the English crown in 1100, and conquered Normandy from his brother Curthose in 1106.
lanfranc of Pavia arrived in Normandy about 1040, entered the abbey of bec and became its schoolmaster and prior. st. anselm arrived in the late 1050s, and when Lanfranc was appointed to the ducal abbey at Caen, Anselm became prior and later abbot of Bec. As its schoolmasters, Lanfranc and Anselm trained a whole generation of churchmen who spread throughout Northern Europe, but especially in Normandy and England. In 1070 the Conqueror brought Lanfranc to England as archbishop of Canterbury, and on Lanfranc's death Anselm succeeded him as archbishop. Together Lanfranc and Anselm populated the English church with Bec and Caen monks as abbots of English monasteries. A Bec monk, William Bona Anima, became Archbishop of Rouen. Bec monks, too, had come to rule most of the monastic houses of Normandy. Other important abbeys of Normandy included st. evroult, where the Norman historian Orderic Vitalis wrote his massive history; fÉcamp, St. Etienne, Caen, La Trinité, Caen, savigny, and saint-pierre-sur-dives. Except for a brief period after Henry's death (1135), in stephen's reign (1135–54), Normandy was ruled directly by English kings until its loss by King john in 1204 to the French King Philip II Augustus. The conquest of Normandy was a significant step in the formation of the French kingdom and enabled the French kings to model their institutions upon the more efficient ones that had developed in Normandy.
During the Hundred Years' War, France and England again fought over Normandy. Although conceded to England in 1359, it was returned to France in 1360 by the treaty of Brétigny. Until the invasion of Henry V in 1415, most of Normandy remained under French rule. But Henry's victories and internal French dissension led to the loss of Normandy, which was formalized by the Treaty of Troyes in 1420. Spurred by the victories and the martyrdom of joan of arc, the French mounted repeated campaigns in the years after 1431. By 1450 the English had been driven from Normandy, and it was again ruled by the French; it has remained so to the present. From the eleventh to the fifteenth century the Archdiocese of Rouen, which included all Normandy, held fourteen provincial synods. During the Wars of Religion, Normandy remained Catholic. John eudes led the reform of the clergy there in the seventeenth century. The revolt of the Chouans was one of the factors that prompted the concordat of 1801. Since then Normandy has included the Archdiocese of Rouen, with the Dioceses of Bayeux, Coutances, Evreux, and Sées.
Bibliography: d. c. douglas, William the Conqueror (Berkeley 1964). d. bates, Normandy Before 1066 (New York 1982). d. bates, William the Conqueror (London 1989). s. n. vaughn, Anselm of Bec and Robert of Meulan (Berkeley 1981). f. m. powicke, The Loss of Normandy, 1189–1204 (2nd ed.; Manchester, England 1961). É. perroy, The Hundred Years' War (New York 1951). e. hallam, Capetian France 987–1328 (London 1980). j. dunbabin, France in the Making 843–1180 (Oxford 1985).
[s. n. vaughn/