Battle of Hastings

Norman Conquest Thanks to My Bride’s Family

Nine hundred and fifty years since the Norman Conquest and it may be all the fault of my bride’s family!  She is a descendant of Norwegian King Harold Hardrada (Hard Ruler), a true swashbuckler whose exploits ranged from Constantinople to the Arctic Circle.  He lived as a Viking although after he became King he was sympathetic to Christianity.  The golden age of Hollywood missed a great movie on his life with Errol Flynn in the starring role.  The Norman victory at Hastings may not have been possible but for his invasion of England in alliance with Tostig, the brother of English King Harold Godwinson.  Harold Hardrada was defeated by Harold Godwinson at Stamford Bridge in Yorkshire, losing the battle and his life.  The battle was fought on September 25, 1066.   Harold Godwinson left much of his forces in the north to guard against any further Norwegian raids.   By the time of the Battle of Hastings on October 14, 1066, Harold’s force was weary from fighting and forced marching and much smaller than it would have been but for Harold Hardrada’s intervention.  If Harold had won, who knows, perhaps my bride would now be part of British royalty!  However, in that reality she almost certainly would never have married me.  I selfishly prefer this reality!

945th Anniversary of the Battle of Hastings

Today, October 14 Anno Domini 2011, the Battle of Hastings occurred between the Anglo-Saxon King Harold and Duke William of Normandy.

The following is an animated version of the Bayeux Tapestry [1].

King Harold had a depleted force of 5,000 foot soldiers from a decisive victory of the combined Viking forces of Tostig and Harald Hadrada in the north of England the previous month.  Whilst Duke William had a force of 15,000 infantry, cavalry, and archers.  Facing superior numbers King Harold took up a defensive position that nearly won the day if it wasn’t for Duke William’s resilient command of a deteriorating situation.

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