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Thursday 25 July 2002, 9.02 am - 9.30 am.
Melvyn Bragg follows his long historical exploration of the Routes of English with Voices of the Powerless, in which he explores the lives of the ordinary working men and women of Britain at six critical moments across the last 1,000 years.

Click here to listen to introduction
Click here to listen to analysis of Clifford's Tower
Click here to listen to Norman impact on York
Click here to listen to Norman buildings of power
Click here to listen to serfs, slaves and villeins
Click here to listen to 'Harrying of the North'
Click here to listen to conclusion
In the decade following the conquest, the north of England was one of the main focuses of rebellion. As a result, northeners suffered the retribution which William's men inflicted - the so-called harrying of the north., which began in 1069.
Click here if you would like to read the original sources used in the programme.

Bayeaux Tapestry illustrating Normans burning English property
Some of the chronicle accounts talk of the massacre of hundreds of thousands of villagers and townspeople, the wanton destruction of crops and settlements and resulting famine. Some historians do question the severity of these accounts and do not believe that - as some have claimed - the 'harrying of the north' should be described as mass murder or even genocide.

While all agree that something dramatic did occur, homes were destroyed, people were killed and families were impoverished, the extent and degree of destruction are not clear. For example, the events recorded in the chronicles do not always tally with the Domesday or archaeological evidence. It is worth noting that historians consider the subjugation of England wasn't completed until 1075.

Clifford's Tower in York
We study Clifford's Tower's impact on York. It is a 13th century stone keep built on the mound of the earliest Norman motte and bailey castle in York. This castle was built immediately after the conquest. Following the rebellion in York in 1069, a second castle was built on the other side of the River Ouse- no ruins remain but the mound - Baile Hill - can still be seen. Clifford's Tower is the oldest part of the York castle complex, now a museum, and is managed by English Heritage.


Dr George Garnett, Anglo- Norman expert at Oxford University.

Dr Richard Hall is the Deputy Director of the York Archaelogical Trust. He was one of the archaeologists who led the Coppergate dig that meticulously excavated four properties from their origins in the late ninth century until, and beyond, the period of the conquest

Professor David Palliser has been Professor of Medieval History at the University of Leeds since 1994. He's written a great deal about York itself and about the Domesday book.

Dr Sarah Rees Jones is a senior lecturer in Medieval History at the University of York. She works on medieval urban history, with special interests in the history of citizenship and townplanning.

David Fraser, regional director of English Heritage, which is responsible for Clifford's Tower.
Listen Live
Audio Help
l - Castles and Cruelty - extracts on programme page.
2 - The Peasants' Revolt - extracts on programme page.
-3 - The Reformation - extracts on programme page
4 - The Plantation of Ulster - extracts on programme page
5 - The English Civil War and the Siege of Chester - - extracts on programme page
Listen to Melvyn Bragg talk about Voices of the Powerless
Listen to Simon Elmes, executive producer, give an unigue insight into the programme.
Listen to the signature music
Go to - Homepage.
Go to Prog l - Castles and Cruelty
Go to Prog 1 - Biography of Orderic Vitalis
Go to Prog 2 - The Peasants' Revolt
Go to Prog 3 - The Reformation
Go to Prog 3 - The Reformation - Key Events
Go to Prog 4 - The Plantation of Ireland in the Counties of Armagh and Tyrone.
Go to Prog 5 - The English Civil War and the Siege of Chester
Read The Sources
Go to Prog 1 - Castles and Cruelty
Go to Prog 2 - The Peasants' Revolt
Go to Prog 3 - the Reformation
Go to Prog 4 - the Plantation of Ulster
Go to Prog 5 - The English Civil War and the Siege of Chester

In Our Time
Thursday 9.00-9.45am, rpt 9.30-10.00pm. Melvyn Bragg explores the history of ideas. Listen again online or download the latest programme as an mp3 file.
This Sceptred Isle
This Sceptred Isle - the Norman Conquest
BBC History - Norman Conquest
Melvyn Bragg
Melvyn Bragg presents In Our Time for BBC Radio 4, a series where he and his guests discuss the "Big Ideas" of cultural or scientific significance.

He also presented The Routes of English, his millennial series celebrating 1,000 years of the English language.

Melvyn Bragg was born in 1939 in Wigton, Cumbria - where many of his books are set. He won a scholarship to Oxford to read history, and in 1961 he gained a coveted traineeship with the BBC.

He has presented a number of television series including: Read All about It, Two Thousand Years, and Who's Afraid of the Ten Commandments? and createdThe South Bank Show.

Melvyn presented Start the Week between 1988 and 1998. In his 1998 series On Giant's Shoulders he interviewed scientists about their eminent predecessors.

As well as presenting for Radio 4, he is Controller of Arts for London Weekend Television. In 1998 he was made a life peer. He's written 17 novels, the latest of which, The Soldier's Return, won the WH Smith Literary Award.

Melvyn Bragg was made a Life Peer in 1998 and he took the title of Baron Bragg of Wigton in the County of Cumbria.

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