ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

1066: A Year to Conquer England (Part 3)

Updated on July 19, 2017

William's Voyage

William had been waiting for the right winds all Summer and now, in early October, they were finally right. William had built a fleet of around 700 ships to cross the channel and they were all specially built to have flat bottoms to transport horses.

They set off around the 5th of October, during the voyage William lost sight of his fleet. This could have been a terrible omen however, with the Pope's support and the Papal banner he soon found the rest of his ships.

Upon landing on English shores, at Pevensey Bay, William stumbled and fell. Another potentially terrible omen. However William took 2 handfuls of the stones on the beach and, standing yelled "you see, I already hold England in my hands!"

William's men then set up a wooden fort near Hastings and set about burning and pillaging nearby towns in Harold's earldom to try to coax him into a battle.

You see? I already hold England in my hands!

— William of Normandy

Harold's actions

Harold, who was still in the north after defeating Hardrada, heard of William's arrival some days after his landing and rushed south again to London where he sought the council of his brother Gyrth. His brother urged him not to attack rashly and to allow him to attack first with a smaller force to weaken William before Harold attacked in full force and finished him off. Harold refused, reportedly stating something along the lines of "My people are dying, what sort of King cannot protect his own people?"

Upon approaching William's army to talk, William sent a messenger to challenge Harold in a 1 on 1 duel and prevent the need for mass bloodshed as God would decide the worthy ruler. Harold refused.

Harold began to move his armies towards William's position, attempting a similar feat to that of Stamford Bridge however Harold had forgotten one thing. William had cavalry and was using them for reconnaissance, making a surprise attack near impossible. Harold camped a few miles from William on the night of the 13th of October and allegedly the battle weary Saxons partied all night and drank themselves drunk whereas the Normans sat awake ready for battle out of fear for a night attack.

My people are dying!

— Harold Godwinson
A graphic of the tactics in play at Hastings
A graphic of the tactics in play at Hastings

Army composition

Normans

3 types of troops made the French army: archers, infantry and, most importantly, cavalry. The Saxons, who'd been fighting off the vikings for the last few centuries, hadn't really encountered European fighting cavalry before so this was a big advantage.

Anglo-Saxons

Harold's army consisted of only 2 types of troop: ranged fighters and infantry. Since they'd been fighting the Vikings consistently over the last few centuries they'd become very good with the Scandinavian shield wall tactics. The Normans, used to European style battles, hadn't had to face a shield wall before so this was the Saxon advantage.

The Battle Of Hastings- October 14th 1066

On the morning of October 14th 1066 Harold Godwinson marched his 10,000 strong army to the top of Senlac Hill while the Normans stood in the valley below. This move meant that the Normans had to attack uphill making it harder to attack effectively using cavalry and men.

Around 9 am the battle began, William ordered is archers to fire high onto the Saxons who were lined up in the shield wall formation to little effect. William and his brother Bishops Odo sent infantry up to engage the shield wall but still it held fast. It was said that the shield wall was packed so tightly the dead had no where to fall. Then William sent his cavalry up the hill, again rebuffed.

Wave after wave were sent up the hill to no avail. A rumour began to spread that William had died, but he hadn't, he rode along the front of his men and removed his helmet allegedly shouting "Do you recognize me?" and rallying his troops.


Do You recognize me?

— William of Normandy
And so Duke William of Normandy became William I of England (Otherwise known as William the Conqueror
And so Duke William of Normandy became William I of England (Otherwise known as William the Conqueror

He then continued to send more and more waves at the English until one flank of his men turned and fled. The Saxons, thinking the battle was won, broke their shield wall and charged from the high ground after them. There is debate over whether the feigned retreat was a deliberate Norman tactic or an accident but either way it had the same effect. William had successfully managed to break the English defence and now all he had to do was finish the remaining men.

William's cavalry were deployed to finish off any survivors and King Harold himself was killed, either by being shot in the eye or falling victim to William's death squad, both are depicted with equal possibility on the Bayeux Tapestry.

Of course, not all the English would submit to Norman rule but that is another article all together...

Was the Feigned retreat deliberate?

See results

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)