Tag Archives: battle of Hastings

The Bayeaux Tapestry

The Bayeaux tapestry which is really embroidered linen, not tapestry, chronicles the events that led to the crowning of William of Normandy as king of England. It is probably commissioned by Bishop Odo, William’s half-brother, and made in England in the 1070s. It is 230 feet long with fifty scenes with Latin titles indicating the action depicted.

After the Conquest, Odo became Earl of Kent and, when William was absent in Normandy, regent of England. There are 626 human figures, 190 horses or mules, 35 hounds or dogs, 506 other various animals, 37 ships, 33 buildings and 37 trees or groups of trees. Eight strips of linen were used the strips would presumably be stitched together when completed. There are five main colors, terracotta red, blue-green, sage-green, buff and blue. Less frequently used are dark green, yellow, and dark blue (almost black).  The end of the tapestry in which King William was crowned is missing.  For many years the tapestry was kept in the Bayeaux Cathedral which was Bishop Odo’s church. It was abused during the French Revolution period when it was used to cover munitions. It was salvaged and stored in a home. It’s now housed its own museum. Pic: The Bayeaux Tapestry at the Bayeaux Museum

Tomorrow, Pic of the Weekend       Rita Bay

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The Aftermath of Hastings

After King Harold and his brothers died at the Battle of Hastings, the remaining defenders retired to the forest. The Normans who pursued were ambushed and destroyed in a deep ditch close to what is now called Oakwood Gill. William rested his army at Hastings for two weeks. When he was not approached by the English nobility, he advanced toward London with fresh troops. The old nobility scurried for safety. He took Dover, Canterbury and Winchester. He destroyed Southwark across from London. In return for the King Edgar’s abdication and recognition of William as King, London was spared. He was crowned king on Christmas Day, 1066 at Westminster Abbey. Pic: The Bayeaux Tapestry pictures William dressed in link mail lifting his helmet so his men realizes that he is still alive and fighting.

Tomorrow, The Bayeaux Tapestry   Rita Bay

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The Battle of Hastings

The battle of Hastings was fought on October 14, 1066. The battle ensured the Norman conquest of England. The battle actually occurred at Senlac Hill, near what is now Battle, East Sussex. Battle Abbey, which was founded by King William perhaps serves as a memorial to the fallen or as penance for the bloodshed, marks the site where it is believed that the battle was fought.

King Harold Godwinson had succeeded to the English throne with the death of King Edward the Confessor. Harold’s right to succeed to the throne was based on his assertion that King Edward the Confessor had passed the crown to him on his deathbed. The assembly of nobles, the Witenagemot, supported his claim.

Duke William of Normandy claimed that the crown was his. When Harold was crowned King, William took it as a declaration of war. He gathered his allies, knights, and troops with promises of land and titles. His forces crossed the English Channel and landed at Pevensey on September 28th. In the battle of Hastings the superiority of the combined arms attack over an army predominately composed of infantry was demonstrated.

The shield wall of the English infantry could not stand against the coordinated assault of William’s archers, cavalry and infantry. When the Norman army retreated Harold’s men led by his two brothers (Leofwyne and Gyrthe ) pursued them, they were attacked and destroyed. Harold was possibly shot in the eye with an arrow, then cut down with a sword. He was the last king of England to die on a battlefield until Richard III on Bosworth Field, possibly from an arrow in his eye The battle ended with a rout of the English army and the death of all the housecarls (professional soldiers) who were bound to Harold.


Tomorrow, Harold at Stamford Bridge    Rita Bay

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