Battle of Hastings

 

What happened at the Battle of Hastings?

Introduction

The Battle of the Hastings is an important historical battle between the Normans and England in the struggle for the rightful owner of the English throne. This battle involved the two major powers of the Norman army of Duke William of Normandy, verses the English (Saxons) army led by King Harold II. It took place on the 14th of October 1066 at a place now known as the ‘Battle’, but historically named Senlac Hill, approximately 10km north-west of the Hastings.


Who?

King Harold II (the Saxons) vs. William, Duke of Normandy (the Normans)

Why?

The Battle of Hastings occured due to the fight for the rightful owner of the English crown between Harold II and Willaim the Conqueror. This was the result of Edward the Confessor's leaving no legitimate heir to the throne. William the conqueror believed that he was the rightful owner of the English crown as it is said that Edward had promised him the crown. Harold on the other hand, was the second most powerful man to the king. On Edward's death bed, it is said that Edward gave him the crown. Along with this, he was chosen as the next King as the people of England displaying why he was the rightful heir to the throne. When Harold II was crowned King, William became extremly angry. This was due to the fact that William and Harold were once friends and it was said that Harold II made an oath to help Willaim gain the crown.

Where?

The Battle of Hastings occurred on Senlac Hill, approximately 10km north-west of the Hasting.

When?

On the 1st of October, Harold II received news about the Normand's plan of invasion.
The Battle of Hastings officially began on the 14th of October 1066. The battle began at 9am and ended in 3am. William was able to win the crown in less than a day.

What Happened?

On the 1st of October, King Harold defeated the Vikings, but had another battle to prepare for when he received the news that William, Duke of Normandy arrived in South England. This meant that Harold and his army must march south to encounter William. Harold arrived in South England on the 6th of October.

Before the battle began on the 14th of October, negotiations were made between each party.  William demanded that Harold either give up the throne in favour of William, refers it to the arbitration of the Pope, or settle it with single hand combat. Harold did not agree the any these suggestions.

The battle occurred on the morning of the 14th of October beginning at 9am to 3pm. Harold  was positioned well on a high ridge known as Senlac Hill.  He has a little over 5,000 foot men against William's Norman army with 15000 infantry, archers and calvary, as said by Dr. Mike Ibeji.

Orderic Vitalis (a primary source) recounts the events:

'The ferocious resolution of the English struck terror into the foot-soldiers and knights of the Bretons and other auxiliaries on the left wing; they turned to flee and almost the whole of the Duke's battle line fell back, for the rumour spread that he had been killed. But the Duke, seeing a great part of the opposing army springing forwards to pursue his men, met them as they fled, threatening and striking them with his spear. 'Baring his head and lifting his helmet he cried: "Look at me, I'm alive and with the aid of God I will gain the victory!" No sooner had the Duke spoken these brave words than their failing courage was restored, and surrounding several thousand of their pursuers, they mowed them down almost at once.'

The Normans had various tactics which helped them win the battle. This included their use of a shower of arrows and pretending to retreat. It was said that King Henry had dies due to an arrow through his eye by an anonymous archer.

Victory is to William