1066 A Year in Perspective
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King Harold II by Matt Henderson Harold Godwinson also known as Harold II was a famous man in the 1000’s. He was the last Anglo-Saxon king of England before the Norman Conquest, and was popular due to his fight in the Battle of Hastings even though it was the last thing he ever did. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harold_G odwinson)
est province in England of that time; it covered a whole third of the country. This made Harold the number two to the king, Edward the confessor. In 1058, Harold became the Earl of Hereford in addition to Earl of Wessex. He was a strong oppose of the growing Norman influence on England. ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harold_G Godwinson was the son of Godwin, the odwinson) Earl of Essex and Gytha Thorkelsdóttir. It has been said that his uncle was Harold married Edith Swannesha and the son-in-law of Sweyn I and the fa- had six children. The clergy considered ther of Sweyn II of Denmark. Harold her Harold’s mistress, but she was rechave several brothers and sisters, most ognized as his wife by the people. important were: Sweyn, Tostig, Gyrth Their children were not treated as illegitimate, even though the clergy was and Leofwine. One sister, Edith of superior. Wessex, became Queen of England with Edward the Confessor. Because of (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harold_G odwinson) this, Harold became Earl of East Anglia in 11045. In 1051, though, Harold and his father went into exile, but only On January 6, 1066 Harold’s coronafor one year when Harold helped him tion was held in Westminster Abbey (the first coronation there) and he was regain his position. (http://historymedren.about.com/librar officially crowned King of England, succeeding Edward the Confessor who y/who/blwwharold2.htm) In 1053, Godwin died, and Harold took over as died the previous day. His reign did not Earl of Wessex. Wessex was the larg- last long though as in October of the
same year other forces drew in to take the crown. William of Normandy was planning an invasion of England. The Viking king Harald Hadrada in alliance with Godwinson’s brother Tostig were already on the move, though. They took on England in the Battle of Stamford Bridge. The English won and returned their attention on the impending battle with William, Duke of Normandy. On October 14 1066, the Battle of Hastings took place between the Normans and the English. It was a very close and evenly-matched battle, but in the end William killed Harold and took over as King William I of England. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harold_G odwinson) King Harold did not have a long reign over England, but it was for good and meant something. Even though he died in battle he is still seen as a fighter for the determination displayed in the daylong battle at Senlac Hill only days after his defeat against the fierce Vikings and his own brother.
Duke William Of Normandy By Matt Henderson William the Conqueror was a star of his time. He was a duke, a king, and dominant on the battlefield. He is fairly popular, but you may know of him from one of his other nicknames or titles. He was Duke William of Normandy, King William I of England, and also known as the aforementioned “William the Conqueror” for his advanced fighting skills; and also “William the Bastard” for exactly what one would presume that means. He came from a family filled with royalty and was born into the world of kings,
queens, and dukes. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Will iam_Of_Normandy) William was born as the widelyknown and emphasized illegitimate and only son of Herleva and the Duke of Normandy, Robert I. Thus, William was named as the heir to Normandy. It is believed that William was born in the fall of 1028. His great-aunt was Emma of Normandy, the Queen of England. As a child his life was always in peril as many of his
older more distant family members would try to eliminate him to take his place at the throne. They thought they had more of a right to rule, mostly because of the fact that gave him the nickname, “William the Bastard”. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Will iam_Of_Normandy) In 1035 at the age of only seven years old, William assumed the position as Duke of Normandy after his father’s death. At this time, people were still trying to
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Duke William of Normandy (Continued) of a right to rule, mostly because of the fact that gave him the nickname, “William the Bastard”. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ William_Of_Normandy) In 1035 at the age of only seven years old, William assumed the position as Duke of Normandy after his father’s death. At this time, people were still trying to kill him for their chance as Duke. He was knighted at age 15 by King Henry I of France. Despite many people’s predictions, William proved to be quite good at handling the situations as a leader in only a few years. He was helped often, though, by King Henry. In 1047, when he defeated rebel Normans in the Battle of Valès-Dunes he acquired the Truce of God, backed by the Roman Catholic Church. In 1053, he married Matilda Flanders against Caption describing picture or the graphic. wishes of Pope Leo IX. He was only 24 years old, she was 22. It has been said he was faithful and loving throughout their marriage
and their ten children. Each spouse donated a church as penitence for their marriage being consanguine (meaning they were distant cousins). (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ William_Of_Normandy) He was known as a good person and a very smart one too. He was more powerful and honorable than his ancestors. (http://www.fordham.edu/hals all/source/1186ASChronWilliam1.html) When the English king, Edward the Confessor died leaving no heir to the throne, the rightful heir was fought over. William; Harold Godwinson, the Earl of Wessex; and the Viking King Harald III of Norway, known as Harald Hadrada. Everyone though that the others had promised them the throne at some point in time and a fierce dispute ensued. In early 1066, Harold Godwinson was crowned King by the order of the King’s last will and the vote of the Witenagemot. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ William_Of_Normandy) William still needed to become King and with the support of the Pope headed towards England to fight Godwinson for the crown. This became the Battle of Hastings. It lasted for one whole day and though the numbers were equal, William
had cavalry and archers in addition to his infantry while Godwinson only had infanCaption describing picture or try. The graphic. battle would have most likely been won by Harold if he had not been killed a bit before sunset. At that time, the battles ended at sundown, and as Godwinson could have been reinforced with fresh troops, he would have had an advantage when the fight resumed. Surprisingly, the English did not accept William as their new King, but designated Edgar Etheling. So, William marched on to London, where Edgar personally gave the crown over to William. On Christmas day in 1066, William I was crowned the official king of England in Westminster Abbey by Archbishop Aldred. Though the commencement was not peaceful, it happened. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ William_Of_Normandy) William I died at age 59 in the chief city of Normandy, Rouen on September 9, 1087. He was buried in the Abbayeaux-Hommes in Caen, Normandy.
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Battle of Stanford Bridge By Bryan Doherty The Battle of Stanford Bridge was the second meeting between Viking invaders led by Harald Hadrada and English defenders led by the Anglo Saxon King Harold II. The two forces met outside the village of Stanford and prepared for battle on opposite sides of the bridge.
the Vikings eventually pushing the Viking back across the bridge. Viking reinforcements arrived but were also ill equipped. They counterattacked the English but it had little effect. The English soon pushed those Vikings back too. After hours of fierce
surprise. As the book of Norwegian history states “King Harold of England had at that time gone to Normandy; but when he heard of the arrival of enemies, he made speedy return to England, assembled a huge army and took the invaders unawares. When Harold drew near, most of the Norwegian forces, laden with booty, made for their ships. The remainder, though few, with steadfast courage prepared for battle. 'But what can a few brave men do against so many thousands.” (The Theodoricus Monachus
When King Harold II learned of the Norwegian’s position he marched his men from the southern coast of England, where he was waiting for Duke William of Normandy Depiction of the battle by Peter Nicolai Arbo the 180 on http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Stamford_by_Peter_Nicolai_Arbo.jpg foot in four days. The http://www.deremilitari.org/resourc fighting the Viking line was speed of his march and his es/sources/theodoricus.htm ) finally broken and the Vitime of arrival at the bridge kings defeated. caught the Norwegian ViA few Prisoners were taken (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle kings by surprise. The Viby the English but were rekings were not even aware of _of_Stamford_Bridge ) leased after they promised their presence until the Engnever to return to england . lish moved into their view. Most of the Vikings were Three Weeks later, King HarThe Vikings therefore scramkilled including Harald Hadold II was back in southern bled into positions to defend rada and King Harold II’s England fighting William the against the coming English brother, who was fighting on Conquerer at the Battle of attack. Most of the Vikings the Vikings side at the time. Hastings, a battle that would did not have the majority of In years later many Vikings decide England’s fate forever. their equipment, such as arexplained that the only reason (http://www.britainexpress.com/His mor with them. The English for the defeat was the lack of tory/battles/stamford-bridge.htm ) took advantage of the situaequipment and the fact that tion and relentlessly attacked the English had taken them by
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Battle of Hastings By Bryan Doherty The battle of Hastings was a turning point in British history. At this battle that decided the fate of the future of Britain, Duke William of Normandy and the Anglo Saxon King Harold met on the battlefield. Both sides fought bravely and gloriously for hours, trying to out do and out fight the other. The English fiercely defended their territory but Duke William and his armies overcame the English troops and conquered all of England. William had the upper hand from the beginning. His men were rested and fresh compared to the English forces which had fought two other battles in three weeks and marched hundreds of miles in just days. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ Battle_of_Hastings ).
The English formed a defensive shield wall on a ridge overlooking the rest of the battlefield early in the day. William didn’t delay and almost immediately he ordered his archers to fire on the English lines and then attacked with infantry. The tired English soldiers held the line and fought hand to hand with William’s men. The Norman Calvary joined in but soon William’s left flank broke and the
men retreated. Some Englishmen followed which allowed for William to organize a counterattack the English. William then took advantage of the exposed flanks and eventually broke the strong shield wall that the English had been depending on. The Englishmen that survived retreated except a small group of the Kings body guard that kept fighting to the death. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ Battle_of_Hastings )
English line. (William of Malmesbury). After the last English soldiers were either killed, captured or had retreated William marched on London and peacefully took all of England. William “the Conquerer”, as he became known, united England and reformed the church and government as he saw fit. (http:// en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ Norman_conquest_of_England )
- Bryan Doherty
Both Duke William and King Harold were in the thick of the fighting, reassuring and raising the morale of their men. King Harold was not even on a horse, but instead joined his foot soldiers along the shield wall. Harold was killed with an arrow, shot through the eye as many people believe. William also had a fair share of close calls. He had three different horses he was riding killed during the battle but still managed to lead the counterattack on the
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