The Battle of Hastings

  • Wars And Conflict
  • 3 mins

By Crusader1307


The Battle of Hastings was fought on October 14, 1066. It was the decisive battle in The Norman Conquest of England (and arguably one of the most famous battle sin World history). The Victory of William I (The Conqueror), brought about an “end” to Anglo-Saxon Rule in England. With the death of King Edward The Confessor (who left no Heirs) - January 1066, the “stage was set” for a “showdown”. Claimed “Successors” began to appear almost immediately. Among those were Anglo-Saxon Earl, Harold II Godwinson and William, Duke of Normandy. Edward had “named” Harold as his Heir (on his deathbed). Crowned shortly thereafter, William denounced the choice. After all, he and Edward were Cousins! (How could he?)


Some historians note that Edward may have already made William his Heir MANY years prior (and forgotten). The Pope in Rome (did NOT approve of Harold) – he naturally gave his full support to William. That support was in the form of turning his back on Williams plan – to invade England and take the Throne! It took months to recruit, train, built the ships needed and centralize supplies. Next came the daunting task of “moving” his “invasion” Force across the English Channel. In the meanwhile, King Harold's was not sitting idly by. He had ordered the construction of a series of fortifications along England's Coast (and waited).His wait was interrupted. Not by William, but by The Norsemen. Vikings had been raiding England for centuries. Why should they stop because of a pending Norman invasion?

This was a crucial mistake for Harold. He had to pull Forces away from the defense of The Coast to deal with The Viking threat. Undermanned (and in many places, completely gone altogether) – William and his Forces landed unopposed in England. William and his Army marched towards Hastings and encamped. Harold too – had an “unopposed” encounter with The Vikings. He won (pushing them back North). Turning around to return to their position, he was informed of William's “arrival”. Harold forced marched his Army to Hastings (arriving on October 13th). In the early morning hours of October 14th, Harold's 7,000 men clashed with William's “Normans” (around 6,500 total). Shield crashed, Battle Axes split bodies “in 'twain”, Arrows found their “mark”.

The Normans (using mostly Cavalry), had the advantage over The Saxon Infantry. Tired (barely resting 2-hours from a 250-mile forced march), Harold badly pushed his Army to a state of exhaustion. Still, The Saxon's dug in. Using their Shields in interlocking “walls”, they held off wave after wave of charging Norman Cavalry (and Lances!). William did not wish to trade “man for man”. He needed a decisive victory. Ordering his Archers into position, long lines arrayed themselves to the rear of the Cavalry. As the Norman steeds charged (and withdrew), Norman Archers poured “cloud after cloud” of Arrows into The Saxon positions. During this continued “melee”, it was said William engaged King Harold, running him through near Battle Abbey.

Regardless if it was in fact William, Harold fell (as dd all his Brothers) – at Hastings. Weakened and demoralized, as well as hearing of the death of Harold – Saxon defense simply surrendered (or fled the field). Advancing onto London, William of Normandy would be enthroned at Westminster Abbey on Christmas Day, 1066 – as King William I of England. The History of England had changed – forever.