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September 25: The Battle of Stamford Bridge Everybody has probably heard of this important battle between the Saxons of England and the Vikings from Norway. The Vikings were led by Harold Hardrada and the king of England’s banished brother, Tostig. But what exactly happened on this important date? King Harold the II was the new king, and he was in southern England awaiting an attack from France. When King Harold II heard that the Vikings were raiding his country, he wanted to take immediate action. He quickly led his troops north to hold back the invaders. The Vikings had no idea that the Saxons were coming, and they were very unprepared when they were cut off by them in Yorkshire. They did not even have their shields and armor with them. The King of the Vikings decided to accept battle,

even though his men were not ready. Most of the Vikings were lined up on the south end of the bridge, while some were left to guard the north side. Though the Vikings fought well, the English pushed through their line of men and annihilated their army. Although Norwegian reinforcements did arrive, they were already exhausted from having to rush to the battle scene. Therefore, they were almost useless and were easily defeated. After the battle, the Viking army was almost completely destroyed, and the survivors made a truce with the English so that they were able to return to their country in peace. This can be looked


back on as the day that the Vikings’ threat to England was ended for good.

October 14: The Battle of Hastings Another memorable event from the year 1066 was the Battle of Hastings on October 14. The battle was between the English Saxons and the French Normans under William II, Duke of Normandy. William thought that he should be the rightful king of England, and so he organized his troops and invaded England with the intention of seizing the throne. Harold II heard about the Norman invasion only shortly after the Battle of Stamford Bridge. Because of this, his soldiers were already exhausted before this battle even started. Without delay, however, Harold set his men right into action and brought them to meet the Normans at Sussex. The French were expecting this to happen, and they were well-prepared for the battle. The fighting started when the Normans fired a volley of arrows at the Saxons. According to William of Malmesbury, who lived shortly after this time,

“In the battle both leaders distinguished themselves with bravery.” Both William II and Harold II fought right alongside their troops. For a while, it looked as if the English were going to win the battle. When the Norman infantry attacked the English lineup, they were unsuccessful because of the Englishmen’s shields. They fought nobly, but were forced to retreat, and at this point, it seemed as though the Saxons were going to win the battle. However, as the Normans retreated, some of the Saxons followed them, which broke up their formation. This happened several times throughout the battle, and eventually their lineup was broken and King Harold was killed. The Saxons were defeated, and the Normans were victorious. This was the day that William II of Normandy became William the Conqueror, King of England.


Harold Godwinson 1022—1066 Harold Godwinson, or Harold II, was very important to the year 1066. He was the king of England and was victorious in both the Battle of Fulford and the Battle of Stamford Bridge. Prior to this year, Harold had become the Earl of East Anglia and Wessex. He already had a considerable amount of power, and when the previous king, Edward the Confessor, died, he was named king of England. Harold’s brother, Tostig Godwinson was banished from England in 1065, and he sided with the Norwegian Vikings. In 1066, Harold was faced with a problem. He knew that he was going to be attacked by both William II and

the Normans and also the Vikings under control of Harold Hardrada and his own brother Tostig. Harold II put together an army and moved his men south in anticipation of an attack from the Normans. However, it was the Vikings who attacked fist so he had to lead his troops all the way north and block them off. He and his soldiers were able to defeat them at Stamford Bridge and permanently end Norway’s threat to England and the Viking age. Only very shortly after this, the Normans attacked, and Harold had to rush his men back to the south. Though they fought well against the Normans, his men were defeated, and Harold was killed on October 14, 1066. Harold II had a short reign, but he was very important to the year 1066.


William the Conqueror 1027—1087 When Harold II was killed in battle, William II, Duke of Normandy, took over as King of England and became William the Conqueror. Before Harold II had become king, the previous king, Edward the Confessor, had supposedly promised to give William the crown when he died. This is because he was in a war, and he wanted to gain Norman support. However, upon his death, it was Harold who received the crown, not William. He was obviously very upset by this, and he immediately planned to invade England and get the crown that he thought was rightfully his. He and his Norman soldiers landed in southern England in late September of 1066 and conquered the nearby villages. When word of this reached Harold, he rushed his men down to defend his position as king. The Normans and the Saxons fought on October 14, 1066. But because the Saxons were already tired from another battle, the Normans won. Since Harold II was killed, William was now the King of England.

William was very affective to the year 1066 because as the new king, William the Conqueror positively reformed English practices. According to the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, he had a very good and successful rule. He even “founded a noble monastery on the spot where God permitted him to conquer England.” William the Conqueror was a good leader, and he was probably the most important person from the year 1066.


By David Knaide and Brian Tenerowicz Works Cited "The Battle of Stamford Bridge." Britain Express UK. Web. 15 Apr. 2010. <http://www.britainexpress.com/History/battles/stamford-bridge.htm>. "The Battle of Stamford Bridge." The Geoff Boxell Home Page. Web. 15 Apr. 2010. <http://geoffboxell.tripod.com/stamford.htm>. "Battle of Stamford Bridge." Wikipedia. Web. 15 Apr. 2010. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Stamford_Bridge>. "Battle of Hastings: 1066." Then Again. . . Web. 15 Apr. 2010. <http://www.thenagain.info/webchron/westeurope/Hastings.html>. "The Battle of Hastings." Britain Express UK. Web. 15 Apr. 2010. <http://www.britainexpress.com/History/battles/hastings.htm>. "Medieval Sourcebook: William of Malmesbury: The Battle of Hastings, 1066." FORDHAM.EDU. Web. 15 Apr. 2010. <http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/source/1066malmesbury. "Battle of Hastings." Wikipedia. Web. 15 Apr. 2010. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Hastings>. "Harold II, Godwinson." Britannia: British History and Travel. Web. 15 Apr. 2010. <http://www.britannia.com/history/monarchs/mon21.html>. "Britannia: Monarchs of Britain." Britannia: British History and Travel. Web. 15 Apr. 2010. <http://www.britannia.com/history/monarchs/mon22.html>. "Anglo-Saxon Chronicle: Assessment of William I." FORDHAM.EDU. Web. 15 Apr. 2010. <http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/source/1186ASChron-William1.html>.

1066 Year In Review  

Important People and events from 1066

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