On Christmas Day 1066, less than three months after landing at Pevensey, William was crowned king of England. At the coronation, William of Poitiers writes that the English "all shouted their joyful assent, with no hesitation, as if heaven had granted them one mind and one voice." The Normans added their own voices as well, and the guards outside the Abbey, "hearing the loud clamour in an unknown tongue, thought some treachery was afoot and rashly set fire to houses near to the city." The fire spread from house to house, says Orderic, as those in the congregation frantically rushed outside, some to fight the fames, others to loot.
Only the bishops and a few clergy remained to complete the consecration of the new king, who was seen to be "trembling from head to foot."
So began William's reign: with fires burning all around him. And so would England burn for five more years until it finally was subjugated. The plundering of the country's wealth would begin immediately.