Portrait of Augustin Thierry

Augustin Thierry relates the heroic tale of the Kentishmen who defeat William the Conqueror and so are able to keep their ancient laws and liberties (1856)

Found in: History of the Conquest of England by the Normans vol. 1

Augustin Thierry (1795-1856) was an important classical liberal historian who developed a class theory of history based upon the conflict between those who used force (as in conquest and taxation) and those who were the victims of that force (peasants and tax payers). In an Appendix to his History of the Conquest of England by the Normans (1856) Thierry includes a poem about William’s failure to subdue the "Kentishmen" who refused to bow to his authority and forced William to allow them to keep their traditional laws. In return, the Kentishmen acknowledged William as King of England

Literature & Music

They set themselves in armour bright, These mischiefs to prevent; With all the yeomen brave and bold That were in fruitful Kent.

At Canterbury did they meet, Upon a certain day, With sword and spear, with bill and bow, And stopt the conqueror’s way.

“Let us not yield, like bond-men poor, To Frenchmen in their pride, But keep our ancient liberty, What chance so e’er betide:

“And rather die in bloody field, With manly courage prest, Than to endure the servile voke, Which we so much detest.”