There were three major battles that year, and all had been bloody tests for the English forces: first, the northern earls (at Fulford Gate) and for King Harold (at Stamford Bridge and Hastings) . This is from a review of this same book by Carla Neyland, and sets the stage for the rebellion to come after William of Normandy came to power in London:
"'The English Resistance' begins with a survey of the three battles of 1066. Gate Fulford was fought just south of York on 20 September, when Tostig Godwinsson and Harald Hardrada defeated Earl Edwin of Mercia and Earl Morcar of Northumbria.
"Stamford Bridge was fought east of York five days later, when Harold Godwinsson defeated and killed Tostig and Haradrada after a forced march from the south of England. Hastings was fought on 14 October on the south coast, when William of Normandy defeated and killed Harold Godwinsson (after Harold and his army had marched all the way back from Stamford Bridge)."
Harold's ships and levies of soldiers were all too taxed from a bloody battle against the Vikings in the north of the kingdom to get back to Hastings with any measure of rest and preperation. The Norman Duke knew all about Harold's troubles with the Norwegians and William was poised to strike across the Channel when he found the time just right.
Harold and his men could only march hundreds of miles-- again--- and still had reinforcements coming up when the Battle of Hastings was all over.
It was the end of the story, at least as far as popular history goes. One assumed after the victory at Hastings, William the Conquerer (or the Bastard) moved on quickly to quell most of Britain and that was that.
Peter Rex's book shows that was not all that.
For the next five to six years, and sporadically for decades after, the English (with Welsh, Scottish and Danish support) refused to accept the Normanization of their islands and their lands. While rebellion around London and the southern regions of the kingdom ended around 1067, the remaining Earls of the Saxon dynasty and the various groups of 'silvatici' (forest dwellers) was just getting started.
There were vast parts of England (Cornwall, Northumbria, many parts between thee Humber River and the Wash, et al) that hadn't seen any Normans yet and hadn't got "the memo" it seems that the fight was over and their lands were forfeit to William's fighting chums. In Wales, for example, Eadric "the Wild" gathered forces to give the Normans a warm welcome when they moved westward.
Norman progress in the north toward Yorkshire was not all that smooth---newly-minted nobles were set upon and killed by the locals. York itself was attacked as soon as the Normans got their castle up in 1068 and the combined English-Danish forces drove the surviving invaders and their quislings back down to safer turf. William himself, dealing with problems in his own territory back at Normandy, had to rush back to lay siege to towns like Chester.
Only William's own leadership saved the day for the Normans in this new realm, filled with angry "outlaws" who hoped for a new Saxon king in the shape of Edgar the Atheling ( a young man gathering what forces he could in Scotland as a guest of King Malcom) or even in the hopes of a restored "Danelaw" king who could drive the Normans back to the Channel and restore the less onerous burden of Norse foreign rule.
A video on early Norman attempts to isolate and destroy resistance:
Rex's book focuses a great deal on one man in particular, Hereward the Exile or Hereward the Outlaw. He was one of the leaders of those forest dwellers and a military strategist who ranked up with William the Bastard or Harald Hardara of Norway, only without the loyal forces these monarchs enjoyed. Hereward (also called "The Wake" by a later generations) made inroads up and down the northern coast of England and at the then island of Ely near the deep marshes of the Fens. Needing to keep his restless Danish allies sated, Hereward sacked treasure from the abbeys that the Normans solely needed to finance their campaigns against rebels on both sides of the Channel. William responded in more than kind. It was, in Rex's phrase, William the Bastards' "government by punitive expedition."
It was all of course a bloody and brutal affair, but there is little evidence William expected anything else. To combat the forces of the resistance, The Bastard lead men up and down the north in a "harrying" operation that left farms burning and innocents slaughtered. The major battled at Stafford took on tactics that would be, in Rex's view from the surviving documents, precursors of German occupation atrocities 900 years later in places like occupied France.
Eventually, lacking loyal support from the Danes, who may never seriously considered taking on the Normans in a major battle, and after the Norman invasion of Scotland in 1072 sent Edgar Atheling to Flanders and safety and made Malcom a more passive neighbor, the English resistance dwindled. But Peter Rex and other historians he cites make a strong case that it took almost a decade for William to consolidate his 'total victory' at Hastings.
The last part of the book recounts the blending of English and Norman Noble families over the next few decades into a group with a increasingly independent identity from Normandy. As for Hereward the Outlaw, he apparently escaped from his last big stand at Ely as the Normans built a causeway and forced their way across. Hereward also escaped from any reliable historical account as to how he spent his last years. That he was the prototypical horse-mounted knight--likely trained at Flanders while in a previous exile imposed by the Confessor--is very likely. That he might have also served as a precursor to the legends of Robin Hood have also been proposed. Its his whereabouts with his bands after escaping Ely that makes for the intriguing speculations and where history and legend cross over into the great theme of resistance to foreign powers that characterizes English history just after 1066 and for centuries to come.
And now a word on 11th Century Norman taxation schemes, read by actor Chris Bailey . It looks a lot like what a Public Service Announcement from Bill The Bastard's New Order would "encourage" the public to prepare for :