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The Battle of Hastings or nrf, Batâle dé Hastings was fought on 14 October 1066 between the Norman-French army of
William, the Duke of Normandy
William, the Duke of Normandy
, and an English army under the
Anglo-Saxon The Anglo-Saxons were a cultural group Culture () is an umbrella term which encompasses the social behavior Social behavior is behavior Behavior (American English) or behaviour (British English; American and British English spelling ...
King
Harold Godwinson Harold Godwinson ( – 14 October 1066), also called Harold II, was the last crowned Anglo-Saxon The Anglo-Saxons were a cultural group who inhabited England England is a Countries of the United Kingdom, country that is part o ...
, beginning the
Norman conquest of England The Norman Conquest (or the Conquest) was the 11th-century invasion and occupation of England England is a Countries of the United Kingdom, country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Wales to its west and ...
. It took place approximately northwest of
Hastings Hastings () is a seaside town and Borough status in the United Kingdom, borough in East Sussex on the south coast of England, east to the county town of Lewes and south east of London. The town gives its name to the Battle of Hastings, which t ...

Hastings
, close to the present-day town of
Battle, East Sussex Battle is a small town and civil parishes in England, civil parish in the local government district of Rother District, Rother in East Sussex, England. It lies south-east of London, east of Brighton and east of Lewes. Hastings is to the south ...
, and was a decisive
Norman Norman or Normans may refer to: Ethnic and cultural identity * The Normans The Normans (Norman language, Norman: ''Normaunds''; french: Normands; la, Nortmanni/Normanni) were inhabitants of the early medieval Duchy of Normandy, descended from ...

Norman
victory. The background to the battle was the death of the childless King
Edward the Confessor Edward the Confessor ( ang, Ēadƿeard Andettere ; la, Eduardus Confessor , ; 1003 – 5 January 1066) was one of the last Anglo-Saxon The Anglo-Saxons were a cultural group Culture () is an umbrella term which encompasses the so ...

Edward the Confessor
in January 1066, which set up a succession struggle between several claimants to his throne. Harold was crowned king shortly after Edward's death, but faced invasions by William, his own brother
Tostig Tostig Godwinson ( 1023/102825 September 1066) was an Anglo-Saxon The Anglo-Saxons were a cultural group Culture () is an umbrella term which encompasses the social behavior Social behavior is behavior Behavior (American English ...
, and the Norwegian King
Harald Hardrada Harald Sigurdsson, also known as Harald of Norway (; – 25 September 1066) and given the epithet ''Hardrada'' (; modern no, Hardråde, roughly translated as "stern counsel" or "hard ruler") in the saga Sagas are prose stories and historie ...
(Harold III of Norway). Hardrada and Tostig defeated a hastily gathered army of Englishmen at the
Battle of Fulford The Battle of Fulford was fought on the outskirts of the village of Fulford near York York is a cathedral city and unitary authority, unitary authority area, at the confluence of the rivers River Ouse, Yorkshire, Ouse and River Foss, Foss, i ...

Battle of Fulford
on 20 September 1066, and were in turn defeated by Harold at the
Battle of Stamford Bridge The Battle of Stamford Bridge ( ang, Gefeoht æt Stanfordbrycge) took place at the village of Stamford Bridge, East Riding of Yorkshire Stamford Bridge is a village and civil parishes in England, civil parish on the River Derwent, Yorkshire, ...
five days later. The deaths of Tostig and Hardrada at Stamford Bridge left William as Harold's only serious opponent. While Harold and his forces were recovering, William landed his invasion forces in the south of England at
Pevensey Pevensey ( ) is a village and civil parish in the Wealden district of East Sussex East Sussex is a county A county is a geographical region of a country used for administrative or other purposesChambers Dictionary, L. Brookes (ed.), 20 ...
on 28 September 1066 and established a beachhead for his conquest of the kingdom. Harold was forced to march south swiftly, gathering forces as he went. The exact numbers present at the battle are unknown as even modern estimates vary considerably. The composition of the forces is clearer; the English army was composed almost entirely of
infantry at the Battle of the Somme The Battle of the Somme, also known as the Somme offensive, was a battle of the First World War fought by the armies of the British Empire and French Third Republic against the German Empire. It took place bet ...

infantry
and had few
archers Archery is the art, sport, practice, or skill of using a bow to shoot arrows.Paterson ''Encyclopaedia of Archery'' p. 17 The word comes from the Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic ...

archers
, whereas only about half of the invading force was infantry, the rest split equally between
cavalry Cavalry (from the French word ''cavalerie'', itself derived from "cheval" meaning "horse") are soldiers or warriors who Horses in warfare, fight mounted on horseback. Cavalry were historically the most mobile of the combat arms, operating as li ...

cavalry
and archers. Harold appears to have tried to surprise William, but scouts found his army and reported its arrival to William, who marched from Hastings to the battlefield to confront Harold. The battle lasted from about 9 am to dusk. Early efforts of the invaders to break the English battle lines had little effect; therefore, the Normans adopted the tactic of pretending to flee in panic and then turning on their pursuers. Harold's death, probably near the end of the battle, led to the retreat and defeat of most of his army. After further marching and some skirmishes, William was crowned as king on Christmas Day 1066. There continued to be rebellions and resistance to William's rule, but Hastings effectively marked the culmination of William's conquest of England. Casualty figures are hard to come by, but some historians estimate that 2,000 invaders died along with about twice that number of Englishmen. William founded
a monastery
a monastery
at the site of the battle, the high altar of the abbey church supposedly placed at the spot where Harold died.


Background

In 911, the
Carolingian The Carolingian dynasty (known variously as the Carlovingians, Carolingus, Carolings, Karolinger or Karlings) was a Frankish Frankish may refer to: * Franks The Franks ( la, Franci or ) were a group of Germanic peoples The historica ...
ruler
Charles the Simple Charles III (17 September 879 – 7 October 929), called the Simple or the Straightforward (from the Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was or ...

Charles the Simple
allowed a group of Vikings to settle in
Normandy Normandy (; french: link=no, Normandie ; nrf, Normaundie; from Old French Old French (, , ; Modern French French ( or ) is a Romance language of the Indo-European family. It descended from the Vulgar Latin of the Roman Empire, ...

Normandy
under their leader
Rollo Rollo ( nrf, Rou; non, Hrólfr; french: Rollon;  – ) was a Viking Vikings—"pirate", non, víkingr were the seafaring Norse people from southern Scandinavia (present-day Denmark, Norway and Sweden) * * * * * * * * * * ...

Rollo
.Bates ''Normandy Before 1066'' pp. 8–10 Their settlement proved successful, and they quickly adapted to the indigenous culture, renouncing
paganism Paganism (from classical Latin Classical Latin is the form of Latin, Latin language recognized as a Literary language, literary standard language, standard by writers of the late Roman Republic and early Roman Empire. It was used from 75 BC ...
, converting to
Christianity Christianity is an , based on the and of . It is the , with about 2.5 billion followers. Its adherents, known as , make up a majority of the population in , and believe that is the , whose coming as the was in the (called the in Christ ...

Christianity
,Bates ''Normandy Before 1066'' p. 12 and intermarrying with the local population.Bates ''Normandy Before 1066'' pp. 20–21 Over time, the frontiers of the duchy expanded to the west.Hallam and Everard ''Capetian France'' p. 53 In 1002, King
Æthelred II Æthelred (; ang, Æþelræd ) or Ethelred () is an Old English personal name (a compound of ''wiktionary:æþele, æþele'' and ''wiktionary:ræd, ræd'', meaning "noble counsel" or "well-advised") and may refer to: Anglo-Saxon England * Æthelr ...
married
Emma Emma may refer to: * Emma (given name) Film * Emma (1932 film), ''Emma'' (1932 film), a comedy-drama film by Clarence Brown * Emma (1996 theatrical film), ''Emma'' (1996 theatrical film), a film starring Gwyneth Paltrow * Emma (1996 TV film), ''E ...
, the sister of
Richard II, Duke of Normandy Richard II (23 August 963 – 28 August 1026), called the Good (French: ''Le Bon''), was the duke of Normandy In the Middle Ages, the Duke of Normandy was the ruler of the Duchy of Normandy in north-western Kingdom of France, France. The duchy aro ...
.Williams ''Æthelred the Unready'' p. 54 Their son
Edward the Confessor Edward the Confessor ( ang, Ēadƿeard Andettere ; la, Eduardus Confessor , ; 1003 – 5 January 1066) was one of the last Anglo-Saxon The Anglo-Saxons were a cultural group Culture () is an umbrella term which encompasses the so ...

Edward the Confessor
spent many years in exile in Normandy, and succeeded to the English throne in 1042.Huscroft ''Ruling England'' p. 3 This led to the establishment of a powerful Norman interest in English politics, as Edward drew heavily on his former hosts for support, bringing in Norman courtiers, soldiers, and clerics and appointing them to positions of power, particularly in the Church. Edward was childless and embroiled in conflict with the formidable
Godwin, Earl of Wessex Godwin of Wessex ( ang, Godwine; died 15 April 1053) became one of the most powerful earl Earl () is a rank of the nobility in Britain. The title originates in the Old English word ''eorl'', meaning "a man of noble birth or rank". The word is ...
, and his sons, and he may also have encouraged Duke William of Normandy's ambitions for the English throne.Stafford ''Unification and Conquest'' pp. 86–99


Succession crisis in England

King Edward's death on 5 January 1066Fryde, et al. ''Handbook of British Chronology'' p. 29 left no clear heir, and several contenders laid claim to the throne of England.Higham ''Death of Anglo-Saxon England'' pp. 167–181 Edward's immediate successor was the
Earl of Wessex Earl of Wessex is a title that has been created three times in British history, once in the pre-Norman conquest of England, Conquest Anglo-Saxon nobility of England, once in the post-conquest Peerage of England, and once in the Peerage of the United ...
, Harold Godwinson, the richest and most powerful of the English aristocrats and son of Godwin, Edward's earlier opponent. Harold was elected king by the
Witenagemot 300px, Anglo-Saxon king with his witan. Biblical scene in the Illustrated Old English Hexateuch (11th century), portraying Pharaoh in court session, after passing judgment on his chief baker and chief cupbearer. The Witenaġemot (; ang, witena ...
of England and crowned by Ealdred, the
Archbishop of York The Archbishop of York is a senior bishop in the Church of England, second only to the archbishop of Canterbury. The archbishop is the diocesan bishop of the Diocese of York and the metropolitan bishop of the Province of York, which covers the ...
, although Norman propaganda claimed that the ceremony was performed by
Stigand Stigand (died 1072) was an Anglo-Saxon The Anglo-Saxons were a cultural group Culture () is an umbrella term which encompasses the social behavior Social behavior is behavior Behavior (American English) or behaviour (British ...

Stigand
, the uncanonically elected
Archbishop of Canterbury The Archbishop of Canterbury is the senior bishop and principal leader of the Church of England, the symbolic head of the worldwide Anglican Communion and the diocesan bishop of the Diocese of Canterbury. The current archbishop is Justin Welby ...
.Walker ''Harold'' pp. 136–138 Harold was at once challenged by two powerful neighbouring rulers. Duke William claimed that he had been promised the throne by King Edward and that Harold had sworn agreement to this.Bates ''William the Conqueror'' pp. 73–77
Harald Hardrada Harald Sigurdsson, also known as Harald of Norway (; – 25 September 1066) and given the epithet ''Hardrada'' (; modern no, Hardråde, roughly translated as "stern counsel" or "hard ruler") in the saga Sagas are prose stories and historie ...
of
Norway Norway, officially the Kingdom of Norway,Names in the official and recognised languages: : ''Norge'' ; : '; Official names in minority languages: : ''Norga''; ''Vuodna''; : ''Nöörje''; fkv, Norja is a in , the territory of which compr ...

Norway
also contested the succession. His claim to the throne was based on an agreement between his predecessor
Magnus the Good Magnus Olafsson (Old Norse: ''Magnús Óláfsson''; Norwegian language, Norwegian and Danish language, Danish: ''Magnus Olavsson''; – 25 October 1047), better known as Magnus the Good (Old Norse: ''Magnús góði'', Norwegian and Danish: ''Mag ...
and the earlier King of England
Harthacnut Harthacnut ( da, Hardeknud; "Tough-knot";  – 8 June 1042), sometimes referred to as Canute III, was King of Denmark The Monarchy of Denmark is a constitutional political system, institution and a historic office of the Kingdom of ...
, whereby, if either died without heir, the other would inherit both England and Norway.Higham ''Death of Anglo-Saxon England'' pp. 188–190 William and Harald Hardrada immediately set about assembling troops and ships for separate invasions.Huscroft ''Ruling England'' pp. 12–14


Tostig and Hardrada's invasions

In early 1066, Harold's exiled brother
Tostig Godwinson Tostig Godwinson ( 1023/102825 September 1066) was an Anglo-Saxon The Anglo-Saxons were a cultural group who inhabited England England is a Countries of the United Kingdom, country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land b ...
raided southeastern England with a fleet he had recruited in
Flanders Flanders (, ; Dutch Dutch commonly refers to: * Something of, from, or related to the Netherlands * Dutch people () * Dutch language () *Dutch language , spoken in Belgium (also referred as ''flemish'') Dutch may also refer to:" Castle * ...

Flanders
, later joined by other ships from
Orkney Orkney (; sco, Orkney; on, Orkneyjar; nrn, Orknøjar), also known as the Orkney Islands, is an archipelago in the Northern Isles of Scotland, situated off the north coast of the island of Great Britain. Orkney is 10 miles (16 km) north ...

Orkney
. Threatened by Harold's fleet, Tostig moved north and raided in
East Anglia East Anglia is a geographical area in the East of England The East of England is one of the nine official regions of England. This region was created in 1994 and was adopted for statistics purposes from 1999. It includes the ceremonial c ...
and
Lincolnshire Lincolnshire (abbreviated Lincs.) is a in the of , with a long coastline on the to the east. It borders to the south-east, to the south, to the south-west, and to the west, to the north-west, and the to the north. It also borders ...

Lincolnshire
. He was driven back to his ships by the brothers
Edwin, Earl of Mercia Edwin (Old English: ''Ēadwine'') (died 1071) was the elder brother of Morcar, Earl of Northumbria, son of Ælfgār, Earl of Mercia and grandson of Leofric, Earl of Mercia. He succeeded to his father's title and responsibilities on Ælfgār's death ...
and
Morcar, Earl of Northumbria Morcar (or Morkere) ( ang, Mōrcǣr) (died after 1087) was the son of Ælfgar, Earl of Mercia, Ælfgār (earl of Mercia) and brother of Edwin, Earl of Mercia, Ēadwine. He was the earl of Northumbria from 1065 to 1066, when he was replaced by Will ...
. Deserted by most of his followers, he withdrew to Scotland, where he spent the middle of the year recruiting fresh forces.Walker ''Harold'' pp. 144–145 Hardrada invaded northern England in early September, leading a fleet of more than 300 ships carrying perhaps 15,000 men. Hardrada's army was further augmented by the forces of Tostig, who supported the Norwegian king's bid for the throne. Advancing on York, the Norwegians occupied the city after defeating a northern English army under Edwin and Morcar on 20 September at the
Battle of Fulford The Battle of Fulford was fought on the outskirts of the village of Fulford near York York is a cathedral city and unitary authority, unitary authority area, at the confluence of the rivers River Ouse, Yorkshire, Ouse and River Foss, Foss, i ...

Battle of Fulford
.Walker ''Harold'' pp. 154–158


English army and Harold's preparations

The
English army The E ...
was organised along regional lines, with the ''
fyrd A fyrd () was a type of early Anglo-Saxon The Anglo-Saxons were a who inhabited . They traced their origins to the 5th century settlement of incomers to Britain, who migrated to the island from the coastlands of . However, the of the Angl ...
'', or local levy, serving under a local magnate – whether an
earl Earl () is a rank of the nobility in Britain. The title originates in the Old English word ''eorl'', meaning "a man of noble birth or rank". The word is cognate with the Scandinavia Scandinavia, Sami languages, Sami: ''Skadesi-suolu''/''S ...

earl
, bishop, or
sheriff A sheriff is a government official, with varying duties, existing in some countries with historical ties to England where the office originated. There is an analogous although independently developed office in Iceland that is commonly translated ...

sheriff
. The ''fyrd'' was composed of men who owned their own land, and were equipped by their community to fulfil the king's demands for military forces. For every five hides, or units of land nominally capable of supporting one household,Coredon ''Dictionary of Medieval Terms and Phrases'' p. 154 one man was supposed to serve.Marren ''1066'' pp. 55–57 It appears that the
hundred 100 or one hundred (Roman numerals, Roman numeral: C) is the natural number following 99 (number), 99 and preceding 101 (number), 101. In medieval contexts, it may be described as the short hundred or five 20 (number), score in order to differenti ...
was the main organising unit for the ''fyrd''. As a whole, England could furnish about 14,000 men for the ''fyrd'', when it was called out. The ''fyrd'' usually served for two months, except in emergencies. It was rare for the whole national ''fyrd'' to be called out; between 1046 and 1065 it was only done three times, in 1051, 1052, and 1065. The king also had a group of personal armsmen, known as
housecarl A housecarl ( on, húskarl, oe, huscarl) was a non- servile manservant or household bodyguard in medieval Northern Europe Northern Europe is a loosely defined Geography, geographical and cultural region in Europe. Narrower definitions may des ...
s, who formed the backbone of the royal forces. Some earls also had their own forces of housecarls.
ThegnThe term ''thegn'', also thane, or thayn in Shakespearean English Early Modern English or Early New English (sometimes abbreviated EModE, EMnE, or EME) is the stage of the English language from the beginning of the Tudor period to the English Int ...
s, the local landowning elites, either fought with the royal housecarls or attached themselves to the forces of an earl or other magnate.Nicolle ''Medieval Warfare Sourcebook'' pp. 69–71 The ''fyrd'' and the housecarls both fought on foot, with the major difference between them being the housecarls' superior armour. The English army does not appear to have had a significant number of archers.Gravett ''Hastings'' pp. 28–34 Harold had spent mid-1066 on the south coast with a large army and fleet waiting for William to invade. The bulk of his forces were militia who needed to harvest their crops, so on 8 September Harold dismissed the militia and the fleet.Walker ''Harold'' pp. 144–150 Learning of the Norwegian invasion he rushed north, gathering forces as he went, and took the Norwegians by surprise, defeating them at the
Battle of Stamford Bridge The Battle of Stamford Bridge ( ang, Gefeoht æt Stanfordbrycge) took place at the village of Stamford Bridge, East Riding of Yorkshire Stamford Bridge is a village and civil parishes in England, civil parish on the River Derwent, Yorkshire, ...
on 25 September. Harald Hardrada and Tostig were killed, and the Norwegians suffered such great losses that only 24 of the original 300 ships were required to carry away the survivors. The English victory came at great cost, as Harold's army was left in a battered and weakened state, and far from the south.Walker ''Harold'' pp. 158–165


William's preparations and landing

William assembled a large invasion fleet and an army gathered from Normandy and the rest of France, including large contingents from
Brittany Brittany (; french: link=no, Bretagne ; br, Breizh, or ; Gallo language, Gallo: ''Bertaèyn'' ) is a peninsula and cultural region in the west of France, covering the western part of what was known as Armorica during the period of Roman occup ...
and Flanders. He spent almost nine months on his preparations, as he had to construct a fleet from nothing. According to some Norman chronicles, he also secured diplomatic support, although the accuracy of the reports has been a matter of historical debate. The most famous claim is that Pope gave a papal banner as a token of support, which only appears in
William of Poitiers William of Poitiers ( 10201090) (LA: Guillelmus Pictaviensis; FR: Guillaume de Poitiers) was a Frankish Frankish may refer to: * Franks The Franks ( la, Franci or ) were a group of Germanic peoples The historical Germanic peoples (fro ...
's account, and not in more contemporary narratives.Huscroft ''Norman Conquest'' pp. 120–122 In April 1066
Halley's Comet Halley's Comet or Comet Halley, officially designated 1P/Halley, is a List of periodic comets, short-period comet visible from Earth every 75–76 years. Halley is the only known short-period comet that is regularly visible to the naked eye fro ...

Halley's Comet
appeared in the sky, and was widely reported throughout Europe. Contemporary accounts connected the comet's appearance with the succession crisis in England.Douglas ''William the Conqueror'' p. 181 and footnote 1 William mustered his forces at
Saint-Valery-sur-Somme Saint-Valery-sur-Somme (, literally ''Saint-Valery on Somme''), commune A commune is an intentional community of people sharing living spaces, interests, values, beliefs, and often property Property (''latin: Res Privata'') in the Abs ...

Saint-Valery-sur-Somme
, and was ready to cross the English Channel by about 12 August.Douglas ''William the Conqueror'' p. 192 But the crossing was delayed, either because of unfavourable weather or to avoid being intercepted by the powerful English fleet. The Normans crossed to England a few days after Harold's victory over the Norwegians, following the dispersal of Harold's naval force, and landed at
Pevensey Pevensey ( ) is a village and civil parish in the Wealden district of East Sussex East Sussex is a county A county is a geographical region of a country used for administrative or other purposesChambers Dictionary, L. Brookes (ed.), 20 ...
in Sussex on 28 September. A few ships were blown off course and landed at Romney, where the Normans fought the local ''fyrd''. After landing, William's forces built a wooden castle at Hastings, from which they raided the surrounding area.Bates ''William the Conqueror'' pp. 79–89 More fortifications were erected at Pevensey.Lawson ''Battle of Hastings'' p. 179


Norman forces at Hastings

The exact numbers and composition of William's force are unknown.Gravett ''Hastings'' pp. 20–21 A contemporary document claims that William had 776 ships, but this may be an inflated figure.Bennett ''Campaigns of the Norman Conquest'' p. 25 Figures given by contemporary writers for the size of the army are highly exaggerated, varying from 14,000 to 150,000.Lawson ''Hastings'' pp. 163–164 Modern historians have offered a range of estimates for the size of William's forces: 7,000–8,000 men, 1,000–2,000 of them cavalry;Bennett ''Campaigns of the Norman Conquest'' p. 26 10,000–12,000 men; 10,000 men, 3,000 of them cavalry;Marren ''1066'' pp. 89–90 or 7,500 men. The army consisted of cavalry, infantry, and archers or crossbowmen, with about equal numbers of cavalry and archers and the foot soldiers equal in number to the other two types combined.Gravett ''Hastings'' p. 27 Later lists of
companions of William the Conqueror William the Conqueror William I (c. 1028Bates ''William the Conqueror'' p. 33 – 9 September 1087), usually known as William the Conqueror and sometimes William the Bastard, was the first House of Normandy, Norman List of English mon ...
are extant, but most are padded with extra names; only about 35 named individuals can be reliably identified as having been with William at Hastings.Marren ''1066'' pp. 108–109 The main armour used was
chainmail Chain mail (often just mail or sometimes chainmail) is a type of armour Armour (British English British English (BrE) is the standard dialect of the English language English is a West Germanic languages, West Germanic language ...
hauberks, usually knee-length, with slits to allow riding, some with sleeves to the elbows. Some
hauberk A hauberk or byrnie is a shirt Charvet shirt from the 1930s, Norsk Folkemuseum, Oslo, Norway A shirt is a cloth garment for the upper body (from the neck to the waist). Originally an undergarment worn exclusively by men, it has become, in Ame ...
s may have been made of scales attached to a tunic, with the scales made of metal, horn or hardened leather. Headgear was usually a conical metal helmet with a band of metal extending down to protect the nose.Gravett ''Hastings'' pp. 15–19 Horsemen and infantry carried shields. The infantryman's shield was usually round and made of wood, with reinforcement of metal. Horsemen had changed to a kite-shaped shield and were usually armed with a lance. The couched lance, carried tucked against the body under the right arm, was a relatively new refinement and was probably not used at Hastings; the terrain was unfavourable for long cavalry charges. Both the infantry and cavalry usually fought with a straight sword, long and double-edged. The infantry could also use javelins and long spears.Gravett ''Hastings'' p. 22 Some of the cavalry may have used a mace instead of a sword. Archers would have used a
self bow The self is an individual person as the object of its own reflective consciousness. Since the ''self'' is a reference by a subject to the same subject, this reference is necessarily subjective. The sense of having a self—or self-hood—should, ...
or a crossbow, and most would not have had armour.Gravett ''Hastings'' pp. 24–25


Harold moves south

After defeating his brother Tostig and Harald Hardrada in the north, Harold left much of his forces in the north, including Morcar and Edwin, and marched the rest of his army south to deal with the threatened Norman invasion.Carpenter ''Struggle for Mastery'' p. 72 It is unclear when Harold learned of William's landing, but it was probably while he was travelling south. Harold stopped in London, and was there for about a week before Hastings, so it is likely that he spent about a week on his march south, averaging about per day,Marren ''1066'' p. 93 for the approximately .Huscroft ''Norman Conquest'' p. 124 Harold camped at Caldbec Hill on the night of 13 October, near what was described as a "hoar-apple tree". This location was about from William's castle at Hastings.Marren ''1066'' pp. 94–95 Some of the early contemporary French accounts mention an emissary or emissaries sent by Harold to William, which is likely. Nothing came of these efforts. Although Harold attempted to surprise the Normans, William's scouts reported the English arrival to the duke. The exact events preceding the battle are obscure, with contradictory accounts in the sources, but all agree that William led his army from his castle and advanced towards the enemy.Lawson ''Battle of Hastings'' pp. 180–182 Harold had taken a defensive position at the top of
Senlac Hill Senlac Hill (or Senlac Ridge) is the generally accepted location in which Harold Godwinson deployed his army for the Battle of Hastings on 14 October 1066. It is located near what is now the town of Battle, East Sussex. The name ''Senlac'' was p ...
(present-day Battle, East Sussex), about from William's castle at Hastings.Marren ''1066'' pp. 99–100


English forces at Hastings

The exact number of soldiers in Harold's army is unknown. The contemporary records do not give reliable figures; some Norman sources give 400,000 to 1,200,000 men on Harold's side. The English sources generally give very low figures for Harold's army, perhaps to make the English defeat seem less devastating.Lawson ''Battle of Hastings'' p. 128 and footnote 32 Recent historians have suggested figures of between 5,000 and 13,000 for Harold's army at Hastings,Lawson ''Battle of Hastings'' pp. 130–133 and most modern historians argue for a figure of 7,000–8,000 English troops.Marren ''1066'' p. 105 These men would have been a mix of the ''fyrd'' and housecarls. Few individual Englishmen are known to have been at Hastings; about 20 named individuals can reasonably be assumed to have fought with Harold at Hastings, including Harold's brothers Gyrth and Leofwine and two other relatives. The English army consisted entirely of infantry. It is possible that some of the higher class members of the army rode to battle, but when battle was joined they dismounted to fight on foot. The core of the army was made up of housecarls, full-time professional soldiers. Their armour consisted of a conical helmet, a
mail The mail or post is a system for physically transporting postcard A postcard or post card is a piece of thick paper or thin Card stock, cardboard, typically rectangular, intended for writing and mailing without an envelope. Non-rectangular s ...
hauberk A hauberk or byrnie is a shirt Charvet shirt from the 1930s, Norsk Folkemuseum, Oslo, Norway A shirt is a cloth garment for the upper body (from the neck to the waist). Originally an undergarment worn exclusively by men, it has become, in Ame ...
, and a shield, which might be either kite-shaped or round.Gravett ''Hastings'' pp. 29–31 Most housecarls fought with the two-handed Danish battleaxe, but they could also carry a sword.Marren ''1066'' p. 52 The rest of the army was made up of levies from the ''fyrd'', also infantry but more lightly armoured and not professionals. Most of the infantry would have formed part of the
shield wall The formation of a shield wall ( or in Old English Old English (, ), or Anglo-Saxon, is the earliest recorded form of the English language English is a West Germanic languages, West Germanic language first spoken in History of Anglo- ...
, in which all the men in the front ranks locked their shields together. Behind them would have been axemen and men with javelins as well as archers.Bennett, ''et al''. ''Fighting Techniques'' pp. 21–22


Battle


Background and location

Because many of the primary accounts contradict each other at times, it is impossible to provide a description of the battle that is beyond dispute.Lawson ''Battle of Hastings'' pp. 183–184 The only undisputed facts are that the fighting began at 9 am on Saturday 14 October 1066 and that the battle lasted until dusk.Marren ''1066'' p. 114 Sunset on the day of the battle was at 4:54 pm, with the battlefield mostly dark by 5:54 pm and in full darkness by 6:24 pm. Moonrise that night was not until 11:12 pm, so once the sun set, there was little light on the battlefield.Lawson ''Battle of Hastings'' pp. 212–213
William of Jumièges William of Jumièges (b. ca. 1000 - d. after 1070) (french: Guillaume de Jumièges) was a contemporary of the events of 1066, and one of the earliest writers on the subject of the Norman conquest of England The Norman Conquest (or the Conqu ...
reports that Duke William kept his army armed and ready against a surprise night attack for the entire night before. The battle took place north of Hastings at the present-day town of
Battle A battle is an occurrence of combat in warfare between opposing military units of any number or size. A war usually consists of multiple battles. In general, a battle is a military engagement that is well defined in duration, area, and force ...
,Gravett ''Hastings'' p. 91 between two hills – Caldbec Hill to the north and Telham Hill to the south. The area was heavily wooded, with a marsh nearby.Marren ''1066'' p. 101 The name traditionally given to the battle is unusual – there were several settlements much closer to the battlefield than Hastings. The ''
Anglo-Saxon Chronicle The ''Anglo-Saxon Chronicle'' is a collection of annals Annals ( la, annāles, from , "year") are a concise historical History (from Ancient Greek, Greek , ''historia'', meaning "inquiry; knowledge acquired by investigation") is the stud ...
'' called it the battle "at the hoary apple tree". Within 40 years, the battle was described by the Anglo-Norman chronicler
Orderic Vitalis Orderic Vitalis ( la, Ordericus Vitalis; 16 February 1075 – ) was an English chronicler and Benedictine The Benedictines, officially the Order of Saint Benedict ( la, Ordo Sancti Benedicti, abbreviated as OSB), are a monastic reli ...
as "Senlac", a Norman-French adaptation of the Old English word "Sandlacu", which means "sandy water". This may have been the name of the stream that crosses the battlefield. The battle was already being referred to as "bellum Hasestingas" or "Battle of Hastings" by 1086, in the
Domesday Book Domesday Book () – the Middle English Middle English (abbreviated to ME) was a form of the English language spoken after the Norman conquest of England, Norman conquest (1066) until the late 15th century. The English language underwent ...
.Marren ''1066'' p. 157 Sunrise was at 6:48 am that morning, and reports of the day record that it was unusually bright.Gravett ''Hastings'' p. 59 The weather conditions are not recorded. The route that the English army took south to the battlefield is not known precisely. Several roads are possible: one, an old Roman road that ran from Rochester to Hastings has long been favoured because of a large coin hoard found nearby in 1876. Another possibility is the Roman road between London and Lewes and then over local tracks to the battlefield. Some accounts of the battle indicate that the Normans advanced from Hastings to the battlefield, but the contemporary account of William of Jumièges places the Normans at the site of the battle the night before.Lawson ''Battle of Hastings'' pp. 186–187 Most historians incline towards the former view,Huscroft ''Norman Conquest'' pp. 125–126Bennett ''Campaigns of the Norman Conquest'' p. 40 but M. K. Lawson argues that William of Jumièges's account is correct.


Dispositions of forces and tactics

Harold's forces deployed in a small, dense formation at the top of steep slope, with their flanks protected by woods and marshy ground in front of them. The line may have extended far enough to be anchored on a nearby stream.Lawson ''Battle of Hastings'' pp. 190–191 The English formed a shield wall, with the front ranks holding their shields close together or even overlapping to provide protection from attack. Sources differ on the exact site that the English fought on: some sources state the site of the abbey,Hare ''Battle Abbey'' p. 11English Heritage ''Research on Battle Abbey and Battlefield''Battlefields Trust ''Battle of Hastings'' but some newer sources suggest it was Caldbec Hill. More is known about the Norman deployment.Lawson ''Battle of Hastings'' p. 192 Duke William appears to have arranged his forces in three groups, or "battles", which roughly corresponded to their origins. The left units were the
Bretons The Bretons ( br, Bretoned, ) are a Celtic The words Celt and Celtic (also Keltic) may refer to: Ethno-linguistics *Celts The Celts (, see pronunciation of ''Celt'' for different usages) are. "CELTS location: Greater Europe time period ...
, along with those from
Anjou Anjou (, ; ; la, Andegavia) was a French province straddling the lower Loire River The Loire (, also ; ; oc, Léger; la, Liger) is the longest river in France and the 171st longest in the world. With a length of , it drains , more than ...

Anjou
,
Poitou Poitou (, , ; Poitevin dialect, Poitevin: ''Poetou'') was a Provinces of France, province of west-central France whose capital city was Poitiers. Geography The main historical cities are Poitiers (historical capital city), Châtellerault (Fran ...

Poitou
and
Maine Maine () is a U.S. state, state in the New England region of the United States, bordered by New Hampshire to the west; the Gulf of Maine to the southeast; and the Provinces and territories of Canada, Canadian provinces of New Brunswick and Qu ...
. This division was led by , a relative of the Breton count.Gravett ''Hastings'' p. 64 The centre was held by the Normans, under the direct command of the duke and with many of his relatives and kinsmen grouped around the ducal party. The final division, on the right, consisted of the Frenchmen, along with some men from
Picardy Picardy (; Picard and french: Picardie, , ) is a historical territory and a former administrative region Administration may refer to: Management of organizations * Management Management (or managing) is the administration of an organiz ...

Picardy
,
Boulogne Boulogne-sur-Mer (; pcd, Boulonne-su-Mér; nl, Bonen; la, Gesoriacum or ''Bononia''), often called just Boulogne (, ), is a coastal city in Hauts-de-France, Northern France. It is a Subprefectures in France, sub-prefecture of the Departments ...

Boulogne
, and
Flanders Flanders (, ; Dutch Dutch commonly refers to: * Something of, from, or related to the Netherlands * Dutch people () * Dutch language () *Dutch language , spoken in Belgium (also referred as ''flemish'') Dutch may also refer to:" Castle * ...
. The right was commanded by
William fitzOsbern William FitzOsbern ( 1020 – 22 February 1071), Lord of Breteuil, Eure, Breteuil, in Normandy, was a relative and close counsellor of William the Conqueror and one of the great magnates of early Normans, Norman England. FitzOsbern was created Ea ...
and Count
Eustace II of Boulogne Eustace II, (), also known as Eustace aux Gernons ("Eustace with moustaches"),Heather J. Tanner, 'Eustace (II) , count of Boulogne (d. c.1087)', Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004. was Count of Boulogne from 104 ...
. The front lines were made up of archers, with a line of foot soldiers armed with spears behind. There were probably a few crossbowmen and slingers in with the archers. The cavalry was held in reserve,Bennett ''Campaigns of the Norman Conquest'' p. 41 and a small group of clergymen and servants situated at the base of Telham Hill was not expected to take part in the fighting. William's disposition of his forces implies that he planned to open the battle with archers in the front rank weakening the enemy with arrows, followed by infantry who would engage in close combat. The infantry would create openings in the English lines that could be exploited by a cavalry charge to break through the English forces and pursue the fleeing soldiers.


Beginning of the battle

The battle opened with the Norman archers shooting uphill at the English shield wall, to little effect. The uphill angle meant that the arrows either bounced off the shields of the English or overshot their targets and flew over the top of the hill. The lack of English archers hampered the Norman archers, as there were few English arrows to be gathered up and reused.Gravett ''Hastings'' pp. 65–67 After the attack from the archers, William sent the spearmen forward to attack the English. They were met with a barrage of missiles, not arrows but spears, axes and stones. The infantry was unable to force openings in the shield wall, and the cavalry advanced in support. The cavalry also failed to make headway, and a general retreat began, blamed on the Breton division on William's left.Bennett ''Campaigns of the Norman Conquest'' p. 42 A rumour started that the duke had been killed, which added to the confusion. The English forces began to pursue the fleeing invaders, but William rode through his forces, showing his face and yelling that he was still alive.Gravett ''Hastings'' p. 68 The duke then led a counter-attack against the pursuing English forces; some of the English rallied on a hillock before being overwhelmed. It is not known whether the English pursuit was ordered by Harold or if it was spontaneous.
Wace Wace presents his ''Roman de Rou'' to Henry II in this illustration from 1824 Wace ( 1110 – after 1174), sometimes referred to as Robert Wace, was a Medieval In the history of Europe The history of Europe concerns itself with the di ...
relates that Harold ordered his men to stay in their formations but no other account gives this detail. The Bayeux Tapestry depicts the death of Harold's brothers Gyrth and Leofwine occurring just before the fight around the hillock. This may mean that the two brothers led the pursuit.Gravett ''Hastings'' pp. 72–73 The ''
Carmen de Hastingae Proelio The ''Carmen de Hastingae Proelio'' (''Song of the Battle of Hastings'') is a 20th century name for the ''Carmen Widonis'', the earliest history of the Norman invasion The Norman Conquest (or the Conquest) was the 11th-century invasion and o ...
'' relates a different story for the death of Gyrth, stating that the duke slew Harold's brother in combat, perhaps thinking that Gyrth was Harold. William of Poitiers states that the bodies of Gyrth and Leofwine were found near Harold's, implying that they died late in the battle. It is possible that if the two brothers died early in the fighting their bodies were taken to Harold, thus accounting for their being found near his body after the battle. The military historian Peter Marren speculates that if Gyrth and Leofwine died early in the battle, that may have influenced Harold to stand and fight to the end.Marren ''1066'' pp. 127–128


Feigned flights

A lull probably occurred early in the afternoon, and a break for rest and food would probably have been needed. William may have also needed time to implement a new strategy, which may have been inspired by the English pursuit and subsequent rout by the Normans. If the Normans could send their cavalry against the shield wall and then draw the English into more pursuits, breaks in the English line might form.Bennett ''Campaigns of the Norman Conquest'' p. 43 William of Poitiers says the tactic was used twice. Although arguments have been made that the chroniclers' accounts of this tactic were meant to excuse the flight of the Norman troops from battle, this is unlikely as the earlier flight was not glossed over. It was a tactic used by other Norman armies during the period. Some historians have argued that the story of the use of feigned flight as a deliberate tactic was invented after the battle; however most historians agree that it was used by the Normans at Hastings.Marren ''1066'' p. 130 Although the feigned flights did not break the lines, they probably thinned out the housecarls in the English shield wall. The housecarls were replaced with members of the ''fyrd'', and the shield wall held. Archers appear to have been used again before and during an assault by the cavalry and infantry led by the duke. Although 12th-century sources state that the archers were ordered to shoot at a high angle to shoot over the front of the shield wall, there is no trace of such an action in the more contemporary accounts.Gravett ''Hastings'' pp. 76–78 It is not known how many assaults were launched against the English lines, but some sources record various actions by both Normans and Englishmen that took place during the afternoon's fighting.Marren ''1066'' pp. 131–133 The ''Carmen'' claims that Duke William had two horses killed under him during the fighting, but William of Poitiers's account states that it was three.Marren ''1066'' p. 135


Death of Harold

Harold appears to have died late in the battle, although accounts in the various sources are contradictory. William of Poitiers only mentions his death, without giving any details on how it occurred. The Tapestry is not helpful, as it shows a figure holding an arrow sticking out of his eye next to a falling fighter being hit with a sword. Over both figures is a statement "Here King Harold has been killed". It is not clear which figure is meant to be Harold, or if both are meant.Lawson ''Battle of Hastings'' pp. 207–210 The earliest written mention of the traditional account of Harold dying from an arrow to the eye dates to the 1080s from a history of the Normans written by an Italian monk,
Amatus of Montecassino Amatus of Montecassino ( la, Amatus Casinensis), (11th century) was a Benedictine The Benedictines, officially the Order of Saint Benedict ( la, Ordo Sancti Benedicti, abbreviated as OSB), are a Christian monasticism, monastic Religious order ...
.Marren ''1066'' p. 138 William of Malmesbury stated that Harold died from an arrow to the eye that went into the brain, and that a knight wounded Harold at the same time. Wace repeats the arrow-to-the-eye account. The ''Carmen'' states that Duke William killed Harold, but this is unlikely, as such a feat would have been recorded elsewhere. The account of William of Jumièges is even more unlikely, as it has Harold dying in the morning, during the first fighting. The ''Chronicle of Battle Abbey'' states that no one knew who killed Harold, as it happened in the press of battle.Marren ''1066'' p. 137 A modern biographer of Harold, Ian Walker, states that Harold probably died from an arrow in the eye, although he also says it is possible that Harold was struck down by a Norman knight while mortally wounded in the eye.Walker ''Harold'' pp. 179–180 Another biographer of Harold, Peter Rex, after discussing the various accounts, concludes that it is not possible to declare how Harold died.Rex ''Harold II'' pp. 256–263 Harold's death left the English forces leaderless, and they began to collapse. Many of them fled, but the soldiers of the royal household gathered around Harold's body and fought to the end. The Normans began to pursue the fleeing troops, and except for a rearguard action at a site known as the "Malfosse", the battle was over. Exactly what happened at the Malfosse, or "Evil Ditch", and where it took place, is unclear. It occurred at a small fortification or set of trenches where some Englishmen rallied and seriously wounded Eustace of Boulogne before being defeated by the Normans.Gravett ''Hastings'' p. 80


Reasons for the outcome

Harold's defeat was probably due to several circumstances. One was the need to defend against two almost simultaneous invasions. The fact that Harold had dismissed his forces in southern England on 8 September also contributed to the defeat. Many historians fault Harold for hurrying south and not gathering more forces before confronting William at Hastings, although it is not clear that the English forces were insufficient to deal with William's forces. Against these arguments for an exhausted English army, the length of the battle, which lasted an entire day, shows that the English forces were not tired by their long march.Huscroft ''Norman Conquest'' p. 130 Tied in with the speed of Harold's advance to Hastings is the possibility Harold may not have trusted Earls Edwin of Mercia and Morcar of Northumbria once their enemy Tostig had been defeated, and declined to bring them and their forces south. Modern historians have pointed out that one reason for Harold's rush to battle was to contain William's depredations and keep him from breaking free of his beachhead.Marren ''1066'' p. 152 Most of the blame for the defeat probably lies in the events of the battle.Lawson ''Battle of Hastings'' pp. 217–218 William was the more experienced military leader, and in addition the lack of cavalry on the English side allowed Harold fewer tactical options. Some writers have criticised Harold for not exploiting the opportunity offered by the rumoured death of William early in the battle.Walker ''Harold'' pp. 180–181 The English appear to have erred in not staying strictly on the defensive, for when they pursued the retreating Normans they exposed their flanks to attack. Whether this was due to the inexperience of the English commanders or the indiscipline of the English soldiers is unclear.Lawson ''Battle of Hastings'' pp. 219–220 In the end, Harold's death appears to have been decisive, as it signalled the break-up of the English forces in disarray. The historian
David Nicolle David C. Nicolle (born 4 April 1944) is a British historian ( 484– 425 BC) was a Greek historian who lived in the 5th century BC and one of the earliest historians whose work survives. A historian is a person who studies and writes about the ...
said of the battle that William's army "demonstrated – not without difficulty – the superiority of Norman-French mixed cavalry and infantry tactics over the Germanic-Scandinavian infantry traditions of the Anglo-Saxons."Nicolle ''Normans'' p. 20


Aftermath

The day after the battle, Harold's body was identified, either by his armour or by marks on his body. His personal standard was presented to William,Rex ''Harold II'' p. 253 and later sent to the papacy. The bodies of the English dead, including some of Harold's brothers and housecarls, were left on the battlefield, although some were removed by relatives later.Gravett ''Hastings'' p. 81 The Norman dead were buried in a large communal grave, which has not been found. Exact casualty figures are unknown. Of the Englishmen known to be at the battle, the number of dead implies that the death rate was about 50 per cent of those engaged, although this may be too high. Of the named Normans who fought at Hastings, one in seven is stated to have died, but these were all noblemen, and it is probable that the death rate among the common soldiers was higher. Although Orderic Vitalis's figures are highly exaggerated, his ratio of one in four casualties may be accurate. Marren speculates that perhaps 2,000 Normans and 4,000 Englishmen were killed at Hastings.Marren ''1066'' pp. 147–149 Reports stated that some of the English dead were still being found on the hillside years later. Although scholars thought for a long time that remains would not be recoverable, due to the acidic soil, recent finds have changed this view.Livesay "Skeleton 180 Shock Dating Result" ''Sussex Past and Present'' p. 6 One skeleton that was found in a medieval cemetery, and originally was thought to be associated with the 13th century
Battle of Lewes The Battle of Lewes was one of two main battles of the conflict known as the Second Barons' War. It took place at Lewes in Sussex, on 14 May 1264. It marked the high point of the career of Simon de Montfort, 6th Earl of Leicester, and made him ...
, now is thought to be associated with Hastings instead.Barber "Medieval Hospital of St Nicholas" ''Sussex Archaeological Collections'' pp. 79–109 One story relates that Gytha, Harold's mother, offered the victorious duke the weight of her son's body in gold for its custody, but was refused. William ordered that Harold's body be thrown into the sea, but whether that took place is unclear. Another story relates that Harold was buried at the top of a cliff.Marren ''1066'' p. 146
Waltham Abbey Waltham Abbey is a market town A market town is a European settlement that obtained by custom or royal charter, in the Middle Ages In the history of Europe, the Middle Ages or medieval period lasted approximately from the 5th t ...
, which had been founded by Harold, later claimed that his body had been secretly buried there.Huscroft ''Norman Conquest'' p. 131 Other legends claimed that Harold did not die at Hastings, but escaped and became a hermit at Chester. William expected to receive the submission of the surviving English leaders after his victory, but instead
Edgar the Ætheling Edgar is a commonly used English given name English names are names used in, or originating in, England England is a that is part of the . It shares land borders with to its west and to its north. The lies northwest of England an ...

Edgar the Ætheling
was proclaimed king by the Witenagemot, with the support of Earls Edwin and Morcar, Stigand, the Archbishop of Canterbury, and Ealdred, the Archbishop of York.Douglas ''William the Conqueror'' pp. 204–205 William therefore advanced on London, marching around the coast of
Kent Kent is a county A county is a geographical region of a country used for administrative or other purposesChambers Dictionary The ''Chambers Dictionary'' (''TCD'') was first published by William Chambers (publisher), William and Robert ...

Kent
. He defeated an English force that attacked him at
Southwark Southwark ( ) is a district of Central London situated on the south bank of the River Thames, forming the north-western part of the wider modern London Borough of Southwark. The district, which is the oldest part of South London, developed ...

Southwark
but was unable to storm
London Bridge Several bridges named London Bridge have spanned the River Thames The River Thames ( ), known alternatively in parts as the River Isis, is a river that flows through southern England Southern England, or the South of England, als ...

London Bridge
, forcing him to reach the capital by a more circuitous route.Douglas ''William the Conqueror'' pp. 205–206 William moved up the
Thames The River Thames ( ), known alternatively in parts as the River Isis, is a river that flows through southern England Southern England, or the South of England, also known as the South, is an area of England consisting of its southernm ...

Thames
valley to cross the river at
WallingfordWallingford may refer to: Places * Wallingford, Oxfordshire, England, United Kingdom **Wallingford Castle the castle * Wallingford, Connecticut, United States * Wallingford, Iowa, United States * Wallingford, Kentucky, United States * Wallingford, ...
, where he received the submission of Stigand. He then travelled north-east along the Chilterns, before advancing towards London from the north-west, fighting further engagements against forces from the city. The English leaders surrendered to William at
Berkhamsted Berkhamsted ( ) is a historic market town in Hertfordshire Hertfordshire (; often abbreviated Herts) is one of the home counties in southern England. It is bordered by Bedfordshire and Cambridgeshire to the north, Essex to the east, Greater ...
, Hertfordshire. William was acclaimed King of England and crowned by Ealdred on 25 December 1066, in
Westminster Abbey Westminster Abbey, formally titled the Collegiate Church of Saint Peter at Westminster, is a large, mainly Gothic Gothic or Gothics may refer to: People and languages *Goths or Gothic people, the ethnonym of a group of East Germanic tribes ...

Westminster Abbey
. Despite the submission of the English nobles, resistance continued for several years.Douglas ''William the Conqueror'' p. 212 There were rebellions in Exeter in late 1067, an invasion by Harold's sons in mid-1068, and an uprising in Northumbria in 1068.Bennett ''Campaigns of the Norman Conquest'' pp. 49–50 In 1069 William faced more troubles from Northumbrian rebels, an invading Danish fleet, and rebellions in the south and west of England. He ruthlessly put down the various risings, culminating in the
Harrying of the North The Harrying of the North refers to a series of campaigns waged by William the Conqueror William I (c. 1028Bates ''William the Conqueror'' p. 33 – 9 September 1087), usually known as William the Conqueror and sometimes William ...
in late 1069 and early 1070 that devastated parts of northern England.Bennett, ''Campaigns of the Norman Conquest'', pp. 51–53 A further rebellion in 1070 by
Hereward the Wake Hereward the Wake (Traditional pronunciation /ˈhɛ.rɛ.ward/, modern pronunciation /ˈhɛ.rɪ.wəd/) (1035 – 1072) (also known as Hereward the Outlaw or Hereward the Exile) was an Anglo-Saxon The Anglo-Saxons were a cultural g ...
was also defeated by the king, at Ely.Bennett ''Campaigns of the Norman Conquest'' pp. 57–60
Battle Abbey Battle Abbey is a partially ruined Benedictine The Benedictines, officially the Order of Saint Benedict ( la, Ordo Sancti Benedicti, abbreviated as OSB), are a monastic religious order of the Catholic Church following the Rule of Saint B ...

Battle Abbey
was founded by William at the site of the battle. According to 12th-century sources, William made a vow to found the abbey, and the high altar of the church was placed at the site where Harold had died. More likely, the foundation was imposed on William by
papal legate 300px, A woodcut showing Henry II of England greeting the pope's legate. A papal legate or apostolic legate (from the ancient Roman In historiography Historiography is the study of the methods of historian ( 484– 425 BC) was a Gr ...
s in 1070.Coad ''Battle Abbey and Battlefield'' p. 32 The topography of the battlefield has been altered by subsequent construction work for the abbey, and the slope defended by the English is now much less steep than it was at the time of the battle; the top of the ridge has also been built up and levelled. After the
Dissolution of the Monasteries#REDIRECT Dissolution of the monasteries {{Redirect category shell, 1= {{R from other capitalisation ...
, the abbey's lands passed to secular landowners, who used it as a residence or country house.Coad ''Battle Abbey and Battlefield'' pp. 42–46 In 1976 the estate was put up for sale and purchased by the government with the aid of some American donors who wished to honour the 200th anniversary of American independence.Coad ''Battle Abbey and Battlefield'' p. 48 The battlefield and abbey grounds are currently owned and administered by
English Heritage English Heritage (officially the English Heritage Trust) is a charity that manages over 400 historic monuments, buildings and places. These include prehistoric sites, medieval castles, Roman forts and country houses. The charity states that ...
and are open to the public.Marren ''1066'' p. 165 The
Bayeux Tapestry The Bayeux Tapestry (, ; french: Tapisserie de Bayeux or ; la, Tapete Baiocense) is an cloth nearly long and tall that depicts the events leading up to the concerning , and , and culminating in the . It is thought to date to the 11th centur ...
is an embroidered narrative of the events leading up to Hastings probably commissioned by Odo of Bayeux soon after the battle, perhaps to hang at the bishop's palace at Bayeux.Coad ''Battle Abbey and Battlefield'' p. 31 In modern times annual of the Battle of Hastings have drawn thousands of participants and spectators to the site of the original battle.


Notes


Citations


References

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External links


Official English Heritage site

Origins of the conflict, the battle itself and its aftermath
''
BBC History ''BBC History Magazine'' is a British publication devoted to history articles on both British and world history and are aimed at all levels of knowledge and interest. The publication releases thirteen editions a year, one per month and a Christ ...
'' website {{DEFAULTSORT:Hastings 1066 1066 in England Battles involving England Battles involving the Anglo-Saxons Battles involving the Normans, Hastings Conflicts in 1066 Hastings History of East Sussex History of Sussex Military history of Hastings Military history of Sussex Norman conquest of England Registered historic battlefields in England William the Conqueror