After his victory, William marched on London, and he was crowned King of England on Christmas day 1066. By the end of the day, thousands lay dead on the battlefield, and the victorious William was one step nearer to seizing the throne. There has been much debate about the size of the two armies. Previously the importance of the country had been meager. History KS3 / 4: 1066 - The Battle of Hastings (4/6) BBC Teach > Secondary Resources In late September 1066 the winds change direction and William of … William, the Duke of Normandy, was crowned as King William I of England 10 weeks later. They defeated two earls at Fulford but were defeated soundly by Harold at the Battle of Stamford Bridge. Directed by Robin Jacob. King Harold was struck in the eye by a chance Norman arrow and was killed, but the battle raged on until all of Harold’s loyal bodyguard were slain. The Battle of Hastings was fought on this day back in 1066. The English army, led by King Harold, took up their position on Senlac Hill near Hastings on the morning of the 14th October 1066. Even the hooves of the horses inflicted punishment on the dead as they galloped over their bodies. This medieval-themed coin was issued in 2016 to commemorate the 950th Anniversary of the Battle of Hastings in 1066.. You can find it for sale on eBay in circulated (pocket change), Brilliant Uncirculated (BU/BUNC), Silver Proof, Silver Proof Piedfort, and Gold Proof limited editions. Find out more about the Battle of Hastings 25 December 1066 A New King The site is now operated by English Heritage, and also includes a gatehouse exhibition as well as wooden sculptures of Norman and Saxon troops scattered across the landscape. The Battle of Hastings was fought for the crown of England between William, Duke of Normandy and the recently enthroned Harold Godwineson. The Normans now began a last fierce assault. It may not display all the features of this and other websites. Copyright © Historic UK Ltd. Company Registered in England No. In September 1066, King Harold II’s exiled brother, Tostig, landed in the north of England with his new ally, Harald Hardrada of Norway, and a Norwegian army. At least twice they pretended to flee in mid-battle, to encourage the English to break ranks and pursue them. Then came the decisive moment: during the final assault, Harold himself was killed. As a consequence, William commissioned an abbey to be built on the site of the battle, and the remains of Battle Abbey (as it would later be known) stands proudly to this day. The tapestry was probably made soon after the conquest for William’s half-brother Bishop Odo of Bayeux, who features prominently in it. This formation was considered almost impervious to cavalry, but left little room for manoeuvre. An event so significant, it completely changed the course of English history. William ranged his army to the south, at first on the far hillside above the marshy valley bottom. However, the battle took place about seven miles from Hastings – so in many respects it is misnamed. On a hilltop 7 miles from Hastings were the forces of Harold, who had been crowned king nine months earlier. At about 9am the battle opened to ‘the terrible sound of trumpets on both sides’. To speak of this battle without recourse to the events that came before, would be an injustice to the people of this island who have fought and died for her. 1066 - The Norman invasion resulted in William the Conqueror winning the Battle of Hastings but during a very turbulent year what events had led to this? Once their carefully organised formation was broken, the English were vulnerable to cavalry attack. As William of Poitiers recorded, ‘It was a strange kind of battle, one side attacking with all mobility, the other withstanding, as though rooted to the soil.’. Was Battle Abbey built ‘on the very spot’ where King Harold fell, or was the Battle of Hastings actually fought elsewhere? Battle of Hastings The Battle of Hastings was fought on 14 October 1066 less than three weeks after the Battle of Stamford Bridge but the tapestry does not provide this context. William attacked with cavalry as well as infantry; in the classic English manner, Harold’s well trained troops all fought on foot behind their mighty shield wall. Some of the English began to pursue them down the hill. With Olivia Hussey, Kate Maberly, Susan George, Katia Winter. William of Poitiers described the scene: the Normans, though strangers to the district, pursued them relentlessly, slashing their guilty backs and putting the last touches to the victory. England would henceforth be ruled by an oppressive foreign aristocracy, which in turn would influence the entire ecclesiastical and political institutions of Christendom. William’s army totalled 15,000 men: soldiers, archers and knights on horseback. In 1066, the Battle of Hastings changed the line of kings and queens in England completely. But all accounts of it rely on two main sources: the Bayeux Tapestry and the chronicler William of Poitiers. With the autumn daylight fading, the Normans made one final effort to take the ridge. In that year Edward the Confessor, King of England, died without heir, appointing by his will Harold Godwinsson, son of England’s most powerful nobleman, the Earl of Wessex, as his successor. Although he didn’t fight at Battle, he clearly knew those who had. According to an early tradition, its high altar was placed, on William’s orders, ‘on the very spot’ where Harold’s body had been found. To stop panic spreading and rally his troops, William rode out in front of them, raising his helmet to show his face and shouting: ‘Look at me! The Background of The Battle of Hastings William’s first cousin, King Edward of England, died in January 1066. A minstrel struck the first blow of the battle. Storyline In 1066, King Edward The Confessor of England dies leaving his crown to Anglo-Saxon Harold Godwinson. To improve security and online experience, please use a different browser or,, Find out more about the Battlefield’s Location, Find out more about the weapons used at Hastings. In the 1066 game you get to control the English, Viking or Norman armies. Soon after the Conquest a wave of castle building began across England, in order to secure the Normans’ hold on power.The end of the battle also marks the beginning of the history of Battle Abbey. The Normans used their crossbows with great success on the dense ranks of the English. The Battle of Hastings took place on 14 October 1066. Leaderless, and lacking hope, the English forces finally gave way and fled. The famous Battle of Hastings took place on 14 October 1066 and lasted all day long. 1066 October 14 The Battle of Hastings King Harold II of England is defeated by the Norman forces of William the Conqueror at the Battle of … The Battle of Hastings 50p is sold out at The Royal Mint.. Norman Conquest, the military conquest of England by William, duke of Normandy, primarily effected by his decisive victory at the Battle of Hastings (October 14, 1066) and resulting ultimately in profound political, administrative, and social changes in the British Isles. Read an in-depth history of the abbey founded by William the Conqueror after the Battle of Hastings, from its foundation to its suppression and after. This is an updated pdf edition of the second edition of my book on the battle of Hastings published in 2003 and now out of print. You are using an old version of Internet Explorer. Discover the latest thinking about the battlefield’s location. They were partly successful, but the English line still held. Soon after dawn on 14 October, Harold arranged his forces in a strong defensive position along the ridge now occupied by the buildings of Battle Abbey. The core of Harold’s army was his housecarls, perhaps the finest infantry in Europe, armed with their terrible two-handed battle-axes. When the news of William’s landing reached Harold, he rushed the nucleus of his battle-weary army back south, stopping only briefly in London to gather any extra forces he could. Then, as now, the landscape must have been open enough to allow the two armies to manoeuvre. By the evening of 13 October, the English and Norman armies were encamped within sight of each other at the place now known simply as Battle. Battle Abbey seen from across the 1066 battlefield. We can only imagine the grim scene: the hillside slippery with blood and littered with bodies, arrows, and discarded and broken weapons; the tiredness, hunger and fear of the surviving combatants; and the commanders shouting to rally their exhausted forces. Find out why this great abbey was founded. Above: A wooden sculpture of a Norman soldier, looking towards Battle Abbey, Belligerents: English Anglo-Saxons, Normans, Numbers: English Anglo-Saxons around 8,000, Normans between 5,000 – 12,000, Commanders: Harold Godwinson (England – pictured to the right), Duke William of Normandy (Normans). Duke William of Normandy had had plenty of time to prepare his forces since landing at Pevensey over two weeks earlier. The English line probably stretched for almost half a mile, and formed a ‘shield wall’ – literally a wall of shields held by soldiers standing close together – on the hilltop. The main difference was the Norman use of cavalry. As the day progressed, the defense was worn down and slowly outnumbered. The latest thinking is that both armies had between 5,000 and 7,000 men – large forces by the standards of the day. It is said that it was the sight of retreating Normans which finally lured the English away from their defensive positions as they broke ranks in pursuit of the enemy. From the simple and affordable club to fine steel-bladed swords, we take a closer look at  the weapons used by the Normans and Saxons at Hastings. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Tostig and Hardrada were both killed in battle. What Happened at the Battle of Hastings? William’s forces regrouped, but then some of them on the left flank, hearing a rumour that the duke had been killed, fled in panic. As darkness fell, the English scattered, … William of Poitiers, a Norman soldier, and later King William’s chaplain, compiled The Deeds of William, Duke of the Normans and King of England in about 1071. William is said to have had three horses killed beneath him. Even in the Domesday Book, this part of Sussex was … On a hilltop 7 miles from Hastings were the forces of Harold, who had been crowned king nine months earlier. The English fight on foot behind a shield wall, whilst the Normans are on horses. Battle of Hastings (1066) The Battle of Hastings was fought on 14 October 1066 between the Norman-French army of William, the Duke of Normandy, and an English army under the Anglo-Saxon King Harold Godwinson, beginning the Norman conquest of England. Account of the Battle of Hastings: William, Duke of Normandy, launched his bloody and decisive invasion of Saxon England in 1066. Facing them on the far side of the valley below were the troops of Duke William of Normandy, who believed he was the rightful king. Some sources state that Harold had assembled a large army, but others say that he hadn’t yet gathered his full force. King Edward commended his widow and the kingdom to Harold Godwinson’s “protection”. William’s army is said to have included not only Normans, but also men from Brittany, Aquitaine, France and Maine. This battle started the Norman conquest of England. William and his army landed near Hastings in southern England, and Harold and his troops met them on Senlac Hill, nearby. His Norman troops were in the centre, probably with Bretons to the west and French to the east. The Battle of Hastings began at dawn on October 14, 1066, when William’s army moved toward Harold’s army, which was occupying a ridge 10 miles (16 km) northwest of Hastings. By the early 12th century these two accounts had been conflated. The day-long battle ended in the death of the Anglo-Saxon king and a decisive victory for the Normans. As the Bayeux Tapestry shows, both had horses, helmets, mail armour, shields, swords and bows. It took place approximately 7 miles (11 kilometres) northwest of Hastings, close to the present-day town of Battle, East Sussex, and … William of Poitiers recorded that the Anglo-Saxons were so tightly packed together that ‘the dead could scarcely fall and the wounded could not remove themselves from the action’. The fighting continued for most of the day with the shield wall unbroken. At the Battle of Hastings, these different military cultures met head on. This battle changed the entire course of not just English, but European history. [1] These forces were in three ranks: the archers in front, then the infantry, and behind them the mounted knights. This tells the story of the events from 1064 to the end of the battle in a sequence of pictorial scenes. There are differing accounts of how he died. Why, then was the Battle of Hastings so-called? On October 14, 1066, at the Battle of Hastings in England, King Harold II (c.1022-66) of England was defeated by the Norman forces of William the Conqueror (c.1028-87). The Anglo-Saxons were totally outnumbered. There are an unusually large number of near-contemporary sources giving us detailed information about the battle. 5621230. This guide includes a tour of the battlefield and the imposing abbey buildings, as well as a history of the site, illustrated with reconstruction drawings, plans and historical images. To win, the English needed to stay behind their shield wall, allow the Normans to be decimated in repeated assaults, and then sweep forward to defeat the invaders. The Battle of Hastings was fought for the crown of England between William, Duke of Normandy and the recently enthroned Harold Godwineson. Harold’s exhausted and depleted Saxon troops had been forced to march southwards following the bitter, bloody battle to capture Stamford Bridge in Yorkshire only days earlier. In the early morning of 14 October 1066, two great armies prepared to fight for the throne of England. The battle took place on a steep hill with the Anglo-Saxons at the top and the Normans attacking from down below. The slopes were probably scrubby grazing land, with the ridge occupied by the English army backed by forests. The Battle of Hastings didn’t take place in Hastings – it took place about 7 miles northwest of Hastings in a town now named “Battle.” For the rest of the day, the Normans repeated their assaults on the English shield wall. Harold, by contrast, had just won a hard-fought battle at Stamford Bridge, near York, where he had defeated another claimant to the English throne, Harald Hardrada, King of Norway, on 25 September. In 1066, Battle was an important area. The Norman conquest was a major turning point in … The Dark Ages was a time of great change when Britain was host to many peoples; Anglo-Saxons, Anglo-Danes, Norse, Cymru, Viking raiders and even Norman mercenaries…, Residents of Hampstead might not be too pleased to learn that their exclusive London village once housed more pigs than people, but this is just one of the fascinating insights to be gained from reading the Domesday Book…, Battle in East Sussex is the site of the Battle of Hastings in 1066 and Battle Abbey built by William…. Use it to create engaging lessons with your students on this influential day in English history. Harold Godwinson was crowned King 6 January 1066 at Westminster Abbey. A generation later, the Normans had fundamentally transformed the country they had conquered – from how it was organised and governed to its language, laws and customs, and perhaps most visibly today, its architecture. Read on to find out what happened at the most famous battle in English history. The English army, led by King Harold, took up their position on Senlac Hill near Hastings on the morning of the 14th October 1066. Although both sources tell the story from the Norman viewpoint, justifying William’s claim to the English throne, they provide far more information than we have for any other medieval battle. I live, and with God’s help I shall conquer!’ In a successful counter-charge, his troops surrounded the pursuing English forces on a hillock and annihilated them. The battle is brought alive and given an immediacy unique among medieval conflicts by the Bayeux Tapestry. Find out much more about the events of 1066 and the impact of the Conquest, and discover spectacular Norman places to visit across England. It was the decisive Norman victory in the Norman Conquest of England, fought between the Norman army of Duke William II of Normandy and the English army of King Harold II. The immediate crisis had passed. Tostig and Hardrada ravaged the countryside and conquered York. Battle Abbey was a memorial to William’s great victory – but it was also an act of penance. Four years after the Battle of Hastings, Pope Alexander II ordered William the Conquerer to make penance for his invasion. One describes how an arrow struck him in the right eye, an event possibly depicted in the Bayeux Tapestry. In about 1071, the king himself founded the abbey on the site of the battle, to atone for the carnage of the Conquest. It is regarded, at least by some, as the definitive academic treatment of the battle. But one of the earliest sources describes Harold being hacked to death at the hands of four Norman knights, in graphic detail: The first, cleaving his breast through the shield with his point, drenched the earth with a gushing torrent of blood; the second smote off his head below the protection of the helmet and the third pierced the inwards of his belly with his lance; the fourth hewed off his thigh and bore away the severed limb.