The Battle of Hastings 1066

Topics: Harold Godwinson, Battle of Hastings, Norman conquest of England / Pages: 38 (9362 words) / Published: Aug 13th, 2013
KEY EVENTS PRIOR TO 1066
In 1016, Cnut of Denmark invaded England. He eradicated all opposition in a pogrom in Winter 1017, and ruled thereafter with a combination of Danes and newly promoted English Earls who profited from the Danish Conquest. Edward (the Confessor) fled to his father-in-law in Normandy. He finally regained the throne in 1042.
William 's later chroniclers claim (after the fact) that Edward the Confessor offered William the crown and sent Harold to pledge it to him in the Winter of 1064/5. In fact, reading between the lines we can see that Harold was shipwrecked in Normandy whilst trying to visit France, and took advantage of the situation by trying to secure the release of his brother & nephew who were held as hostages in the Norman court.
The events of 1066
...but certainly William sees this as his chance to invade. * January 1066: Edward the Confessor dies. Harold gambles and makes a bid for the Crown, supported by all the magnates of England. William does nothing, despite the so-called oath. * Early 1066: Tostig comes to Flanders looking for aid in his projected bid against Harold. Whether he makes a deal with William is a moot point, but certainly William sees this as his chance to invade. He starts to gather his forces. These were made up of 'feudal ' levies, in which the knight owed service to his lord in return for land. However, William manages to double the projected strength of his forces by promising English land to anyone who turns up. The final strength of his army is c. 8-10,000 of which c.2,000 are cavalry. He starts constructing a fleet at Dives to transport them all across. * May 1066: Tostig makes an abortive attempt to invade England. Harold calls out the English levy (the fyrd) to defend against an expected thrust from William, but it never comes. By 8th September, Harold has to disband the fyrd and let it go home to harvest its crops.
The eve of conquest * 20th September 1066: After sailing up the Ouse



References: Butler D. 1066: The Story of a Year , Anthony Blond Ltd., London, 1966.  Douglas D. C. William the Conqueror: The Norman Impact Upon England , Eyre & Spottiswoode, London, 1966.  Golding B. Conquest and Colonisation: The Normans in Britain, 1066-1100 , Macmillan, Houndmills, 1994.  Oman C.W.C. The Art of War in the Middle Ages AD 378-1515 (revised edition) , Great Serial Books, London, 1963.  Poyntz Wright P. Hastings , The Windrush Press, Gloucestershire, 1996.  Tetlow E. The Enigma of Hastings , Peter Owen Ltd., London, 1974.  Whitelock D. et.al. The Norman Conquest: Its Setting and Impact , Eyre & Spottiswoode, London, 1966.  http://www.militaryhistoryonline.com/hastings/

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