Most people know that in 1066, William of Normandy invaded England. The old Saxon nobility were killed and replaced by Normans. William Fitz-Osbern, Earl of Hereford controlled most of the west of England. Roger de Pitres was appointed Sheriff of Gloucestershire and Constable of Gloucester Castle. This family dominated Gloucester during the next few decades.
The new Lords probably did not make a huge difference to most ordinary people of the time apart from the new buildings being erected. The Castle was the most important as it controlled the town and surrounding countryside. The castle was a mottle and bailey, an earth mound with a wooden tower on top and a defended enclosure. The constable collected the revenue for the city.
A gaming board and a set of counters was found in a rubbish tip of the castle. This was an early version of backgammon.
The Roman East Gate was demolished and rebuilt as was the North Gate.Serlo was appointed Abbot of Gloucester Abbey in 1072, ensuring that this was also well under Norman control.He increased the number of monks from 2 to 100 by 1100AD and had begun the great new Abbey Church which is now Gloucester Cathedral. The original Saxon Church had been burnt down in 1088.
The Abbey ( Cathedral ) is without doubt, the most magnificent structure that the Normans bequeathed to Gloucester. A substantial amount survives to this day, although much is hidden under later perpendicular architecture.
The Anglo Saxon tradition of the Royal crown wearing in the 3 centres of Winchester, Westminster and Gloucester was adopted by William the Conqueror. Edward the confessor spent Easter at Winchester, Whitsun at Westminster and Christmas at Gloucester.This tradition was maintained at the early years of Williams reign.
At Gloucester in 1085, the King had ” much thought and very deep discussion about this country- how it was occupied or with what sort of people…..and had a record made ….what or how much everybody had who was occupying land in England how much money it was worth ” .The decision was then made to compile the Domesday Book. Many people ask which building was used to make this decision. The most likely is the Royal Palace of King Edward the confessor.