Dukes of Normandy

According to Johnstone’s “Celto-Scandinavian Antiquities,” Turner’s “Anglo-Saxons,” and other sources, Rolf or Rollo, a Norwegian Iarl, sprung from the ancient kings of Norway, was expelled from Norway by Harold Harfager. Rollo retired with his ships to Denmark, and afterwards to the Orkneys and Hebrides, and was joined by many Danish and Norwegian warriors. They attacked England in the beginning of the tenth century, A.D. 911; but unable to make any settlement there after several attempts, being opposed by King Alfred, they set sail for France, overran a great part of the country, and finally, Rollo, at the head of thirty thousand Danish and Norwegian warriors, compelled Charles the Simple, King of France, to cede to them the principality of Neustria, which from these Nordmen, Northmen, Normands, or Normans, got the name of Normandy.

Rollo received his principality, and obtained in marriage Gisella, daughter of King Charles the Simple, on condition that he and his followers should adopt the Christian Faith; with which terms the Norwegian Chief complied: he and his people became Christians. Rolf or Rollo and his descendants, as Dukes of Normandy, ruled over that province from the tenth to the thirteenth century; and, in the eleventh century, William, Duke of Normandy, claiming the crown of England, landed with an immense army at Pavensey in Sussex, on the 28th September, 1066, and, on Saturday, the 14th of October of that year, fought the great battle near Hastings, in which the Anglo-Saxons, under Harold, their king, were totally vanquished. The victory of Hastings thus, in one battle and in a single day, transferred the Anglo-Saxon Sceptre to the Normans of France; whose Duke became King of England, under the title of “William the Conqueror.”

The Norman Nobles of England and France produced many of the most valiant champions amongst the Knights Templars, the Knights of St. John of Jerusalem, of Malta, and of Rhodes, famous in those ages in the East for their defence of the Holy Land and other parts of Christendom, against the Turks and Saracens.