"has been in his family's possession since the Conquest"
Section of Bayeux Tapestry depicting the Battle of Hastings
Public DomainSection of Bayeux Tapestry depicting the Battle of Hastings - Credit: LadyofHats

The 'Conquest' referred to is the Norman conquest of England, which took place in 1066 when Duke William II of Normandy (known as 'William the Conqueror') defeated King Harold II of England at the Battle of Hastings.

The conquest inevitably had far-reaching consequences for the native Anglo-Saxons. William's followers received lands and titles, whilst English landowners were dispossessed, leading eventually to the demise of the Anglo-Saxon nobility. Not least of the changes brought about by the Norman conquest was that Anglo-Norman (a dialect of Old French) replaced Old English as the language of the ruling classes.