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BRYAN FIDLER WALTER ROCHE

INSIDE THIS ISSUE: Edward the Confessor

2

William the Conqueror

2

Tostig Godwinson

3

Harold Godwinson II

3

The Conoration

4

The Comet

4

Chaos and Confusion

4

Vikings v. Saxons

5

The Battle of Hastings

5

Works Cited

6

The Year in Review V O L U ME

1,

I S S UE

12

D ECE M BE R

31,

The One to Remember

106 6


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Edward the Confessor (1003 - 1066) Edward was one of the last

ity during his reign, and

rift with the Saxon nobles. How-

Anglo Saxon kings to rule Eng- was canonized as a saint ever, the Godwin house had

much popular support and upon

land. He was a very pious

by Pope Alexander III in

man and one of his greatest

1161. Under Edward’s reign

achievements was the con-

there was a decline in the

the right hand of King Edward.

struction of Westminster Ab-

power of the monarchy due to

On his deathbed in Janu-

bey consecrated in December

a rise in the power of several earls, the most formidable

Godwin’s death in 1053, his son, Harold Godwinson, II, became

ary 1066, Edward supposedly

1065, where almost all English being Harold Godwin of Wes- named Harold as his successor, kings from then on would be sex. Edward had spent time in instead of the legitimate heir, his crowned. Edward promoted the advancement of Christian-

“He was mild to good men who loved God, and stark beyond all bounds to those who withsaid his will.” Ango-Saxon Chronicle

Normandy, and had sur-

grandson, Edgar the Aetheling.

rounded himself with his Nor- Further controversy surrounded man favorites which created a this appointment, as Duke Wil-

William the Conqueror (1027 - 1087) William became the

was more cultured

at Pevensey two days

Duke of Normandy

than England. He was

after Harold had just

when he was only

said to have promised

fought off an attack at

seven years old, rising William of Normandy

Stamford Bridge. He

to be the most pow-

the English throne

strengthened his posi-

erful vassal of the

upon his death. How-

tion, and awaited Har-

French kingdom. He ever, it was Harold

old and his army. Wil-

soon took an interest Godwinson who was

liam was a skilled com-

in ruling England, go- crowned King by the

mander and through

ing so far as to marry ruling council after Ed- use of a feigned retreat

THE

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the daughter of an

ward’s death, not Wil-

tactic, was able to

English earl in 1053.

liam, leaving the Duke

break Harold’s battle

King Edward, who

of Normandy enraged

formation. William

had been raised in

and ready to invade

was victorious on Oc-

Normandy by Duke

England to claim what

tober 14, 1066 and

Richard II, felt Nor-

he felt was rightfully

Harold and his broth-

mandy had higher

his. By a stroke of good ers died in the battle.

religious ideals and

timing, William landed Any resistance from

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Tostig Godwinson (1025 – 1066)

Tostig was the younger brother Harold Godwinson, II. In 1055, when Earl Siward died, King Edward named Tostig the Earl of Northumbria. Tostig was able to rid the area of outlaws

that had plagued that area of

against his own brother, con-

the country, but had a reputa-

firmed Morcar as Earl of North-

tion of being brutal and vio-

umbria. Tostig was declared an

lent. In 1065, nobles under

outlaw and fled the country. For

him declared they would no

the next year, Tostig plotted re-

longer serve him and chose

venge on his brother and finally

the Earl of Morcar as their

convinced King Harald Hardrada

leader.When King Edward

of Norway to join him in making

learned of the uprising, he

a bid for the English Crown.

sent Harold Godwinson to

They both lost that bid, and their

deal with the situation. Harold

lives, in the Battle of Stamford

met with the leaders of the

Bridge on September 25, 1066.

rebellion, and, deciding

Harold Godwinson, II (1022 – 1066) Harold had a reputation as a

the safety and protection of his

a surprise attack at Stamford

very capable military leader

people. He married Morcar,

Bridge that was successful in

and emissary under King Ed-

the earl of Northumbria, and

stopping the invasion and kill-

ward. Edward sent Harold to

Edwin, the earl of Mercia’s

ing both of his opponents.

Normandy to visit the Duke

sister in order to allay their

Unfortunately, King Harold

William, and is said to have

fears of Harold bringing his

was not as successful in defeat-

sworn to support William as

brother Tostig, back to power.

ing William at the Battle of

the next King of England relin-

Harold called upon the English

Hastings two weeks later

quishing any claim to the

Army in May 1066, and they

where he died on the battle-

throne. However, Harold was

waited for five months for Wil-

field, cut down by members of

the nationally popular choice

liam to attack, until Harold

William’s army. Harold was

for succession, and allowed

finally released them to tend

the last reigning Anglo Saxon

himself to be appointed King

to their harvests and to gather

King of England, and the last

by the reigning nobility who

supplies in September. At this

English monarch to be de-

wished to keep an Anglo-

same time, King Harald

feated by a foreign invader.

Saxon in power. He was coro-

Hardrada of Norway, with To-

nated shortly after Edward

stig through a joint attack,

died in January 1066. Harold

defeated Edwin and Morcar

set about changing laws, pa-

with Hardrada taking over

tronizing churches to gain

York. Harold immediately

their support, and working for

gathered troops and launched

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January 6th- King Harold’s Coronation Harold Godwinson is approved by the witan, the ruling council of nobles and earls, as the next King of England following Edward’s death. Harold receives the ecclesiastical blessing on his claim to the crown and is coronated at the newly completed

Westminster Abbey. At the news of Harold’s appointment, both William of Normandy and Harald Hardrada of Norway begin to raise resources and make plans to invade England.

March 23rd - Halley’s Comet This day marked the 18th recorded perihelion passage of Halley’s Comet. Halley’s comet has returned every 74 to 79 years

starting in 240 B.C. The comet was seen as an ill omen by the English, and is shown on the Bayeux Tapestry as a fiery star. Halley’s

Comet came within 0.10 AU of the Earth at that time.

May 1066 – Chaos and Confusion Tostig Godwinson makes an attempt to invade England landing at the Isle of Wight and moving on to raid Sandwich and then Lindsey, where he was defeated by Earls Morcar and Edwin. Tostig fled north and waited to join King Hardrada of Norway. King Harold raises a huge English THE

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Army and goes to the South coast to await William’s invasion. Five months later when William has not yet arrived, Harold is forced to disband the army as the men need to return to their harvests and Harold needs to gather more supplies.


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September - Vikings v. Saxons the 20th – The Battle at Fulford King Harald of Norway sails up the Ouse with more than 200 ships. Tostig, King Harold’s brother, joins the Norwegian fleet. They meet the earls Morcar and Edwin at Fulford. The earls inflict heavy casualties but are driven from the area, and Harald temporarily takes over York. the 25th – The Battle of Stamford -King Harold responds to Harald and Tostig’s invasion

by immediately gathering an army and heading north to York from the South coast where he had been awaiting William. In four days, Harold travels 180 miles and surprises the Norwegian forces. Harald had decided on Stamford Bridge as a meeting place for an exchange of hostages. The Norsemen were relaxing in the meadows without their battle gear on, when they were shocked to see the Saxon army

approaching. The Norsemen and the Saxons battled in hand to hand combat for hours day before Harald Hardrada was killed in the melee. Tostig could not rally the Vikings and he was also killed, with the English being the victors at the end of the day. The Battle at Stamford Bridge was a remarkable military conquest for King Harold, and was of further significance as it ended the long time invasions of the Vikings in England.

October 14 - The Battle of Hastings William of Normandy landed at Pevensey on September 28th, and began building fortresses there and at Hastings. As soon as Harold heard the news he quickly headed back to the South of England. Harold arrived in the area on October 13th and hoped to surprise William by marching overnight and attacking early. Harold ordered his army to form a shield wall at the top of Seniac Hill. William’s troops made successive attacks, but were unable to penetrate the wall. Harold stays on the defensive until it appears that William’s troops on the left flank begin to retreat. At this

point, Harold’s men break ranks and pursued them down the hill, which proved to be an error. William’s men attacked the now broken shield wall with a vengeance. The battle lasted the entire day with control of the battle going back and forth until Harold was mortally wounded and the English admitted defeat and began to flee. A state of war continued until Christmas of 1066, when William made a deal with the earls and archbishops, guaranteeing them positions in return for their support, and he was crowned King of England.

“calling on God for assistance, the battle commenced on both sides, and was fought with great ardor, neither side giving ground during the greater part of the day.”

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WORKS CITED "Harold II, Godwinson." Britannia: British History and Travel. Britannia.com, 2007. Web. 17 Apr 2010. (http://www.britannia.com/history/monarchs/ mon21.html). "Key Events of the Conquest." BBC History in Depth. BBC, 5 November 2009. Web. 18 Apr 2010. (http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/british/normans/ key_events_01.shtml). "Medieval Sourcebook: William of Malmesbury, d. 1143?: The Battle of Hastings, 1066� FORDHAM.EDU. Web. 16 Apr. 2010. (http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/ source/1066malmesbury.html). "Medieval Sourcebook: The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle: Assessment of William I" FORDHAM.EDU. Web. 16 Apr. 2010. (http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/source/1186ASChronWilliam1.html). "Narrative History of England" Britannia: British History and Travel. Britannia.com, 2007. Web. 17 Apr 2010. ( http://www.britannia.com/history/ narmedhist.html). Rickard, J. "Battle of Hastings, 14 Oct. 1066." History of War.org. N.p., 1 November 2004. Web. 16 Apr 2010. (http://www.historyofwar.org/articles/ battles_hastings.html). Ross, David. "The Battle of Stamford Bridge." Britain Express. N.p., 2004. Web. 17 Apr 2010. (http://www.britainexpress.com/History/battles/stamford bridge.htm). Thurston, Herbert. "William the Conqueror." The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol.15. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1912. 17 Apr. 2010 (http://www.newadvent.org/ cathen/15642c.htm). "William I, the Conqueror" Britannia: British History and Travel . Britannia.com, 2007. Web. 17 Apr 2010. ( http://www.britannia.com/history/ monarchs/mon22.html). Yeomans, Donald K. "Comet." World Book Online Reference Center. 2005. World Book, Inc. (http://www.worldbookonline.com/wb/Article?id=ar125580). All Photos courtesy of: Wikimedia Commons.org - http://commons.wikimedia.org/ wiki/Main_Page A BF-WR Publication


1066, The Year in Review