October 14, 1066: William the Conqueror defeats Harold Godwinson at the Battle of Hastings.

The relatively short Norman conquest of England began in September of 1066, was (more or less) decided at Hastings, and ended in December of that same year, when William I, Duke of Normandy and descendant of Viking vassals to the king of France, was crowned king of England. The previous king of England (and last Anglo-Saxon king) Edward the Confessor was childless and heir-less upon his death; according to William, Edward had promised him the throne, but Edward’s brother-in-law Harold, son of the powerful earl Godwin of Wessex (hence “Godwinson”), took the throne instead, which he claimed had been promised to him by Edward on his deathbed. 

The decisive Battle of Hastings was fought around 10 km from Hastings, atop Senlac Hill. Harold’s force, though claiming the higher ground, was made up mostly of infantry versus the Norman cavalry, archers, and crossbowmen. With the advantage of elevation, the English shield wall tactic proved fairly successful… at first; however, when the Normans fled and the English gave chase, the tides of battle began to turn. Seeing that the shield wall was broken, William had his archers fire again, and, according to the Bayeux Tapestry (pictured above), an arrow struck the Anglo-Saxon king through the eye. Harold was the first of three English kings to die in battle. The Battle of Hastings ended soon after - a decisive Norman victory, and essentially the beginning of Norman England. 

With Harold dead, a new king was hastily proclaimed - Edgar the Ætheling, a Hungarian-born grandson of Edmund Ironside. Edgar was only fifteen and, having no significant military or leadership experience, was forced to submit to William’s forces as they advanced on London. 

  1. odinshand reblogged this from finsterforst
  2. finsterforst reblogged this from unhistorical
  3. richard-anne reblogged this from octoberinflorence
  4. grand-duchessa reblogged this from octoberinflorence
  5. octoberinflorence reblogged this from unhistorical
  6. frizzings reblogged this from unhistorical
  7. megakirsty reblogged this from unhistorical
  8. monalisajackson reblogged this from unhistorical and added:
    i know this better than my history teacher
  9. massimo58 reblogged this from unhistorical
  10. dan-andrews reblogged this from unhistorical
  11. taylorshayeee reblogged this from unhistorical
  12. the-radical-electric reblogged this from unhistorical
  13. brickprotege reblogged this from bunny-hearted
  14. a-singular-canadian reblogged this from williambarrettravis
  15. mygooold reblogged this from rhaenysdayne
  16. rhaenysdayne reblogged this from deliveringtheworld
  17. faerytalemalice reblogged this from deliveringtheworld
  18. gingerstgeorge reblogged this from bunny-hearted
  19. theheadlessqueen reblogged this from deliveringtheworld
  20. deliveringtheworld reblogged this from bunny-hearted
  21. brideofwinter reblogged this from williambarrettravis
  22. williambarrettravis reblogged this from bunny-hearted
  23. bunny-hearted reblogged this from unhistorical
  24. narvaezes reblogged this from unhistorical
  25. itsadadworld reblogged this from sadsmallcat and added:
    almost nailed it
  26. queen-and-khaleesi reblogged this from walwen
  27. walwen reblogged this from unhistorical
  28. empsychosnomos reblogged this from unhistorical
  29. gra-cex reblogged this from unhistorical
  30. palaiologoi reblogged this from unhistorical
  31. theadventureofsarah reblogged this from pieces-of-rees