Introduction The Battle of Hastings is one of the few truly decisive battles in history. On a single day Duke William of Normandy conquered a kingdom that had resisted Viking invasions for years on end, ending a line of Anglo-Saxon kings that claim decent from Alfred the Great. This conquest altered the whole outlook of England, taking a nation that had looked towards Scandinavia, especially under three Danish kings, and locking her into a partnership and a struggle with France that was to last for centuries. Anglo-Saxon England was one of the strongest and wealthiest kingdoms in eleventh century Europe, and in many ways one of the most advanced, and yet it was to be conquered by a motley army raised by a duke whose rule of his own duchy had for many years been at risk.
William At the start ofEngland was lead by King Edward who was respected and loved by his people. Such was his saint-like lifestyle, that he was known as Edward the Confessor. Edward was a very religious man and he ordered the building of the first Westminster Abbey.
However, when he died in Januaryhe left no heir to the throne. His nearest surviving blood relative was Edgar — but he was only a child and no-one would respect him. This was a time when powerful men who were victorious in battle were respected; so a child like Edgar had little chance to impress those who held power in England.
The most powerful nobleman was Harold Godwinson and he was Earl of Wessex. William claimed that he was the rightful heir to the throne of England despite the fact that he was not English. He visited England in and claimed that Edward promised the throne to him when he died.
There is no proof of this promise being made. Also inHarold was shipwrecked off of the coast of Normandy and held captive by Count Guy de Ponthieu.
By any standards, Harold was a prize catch for William.
Harold was faced with two choices: The Bayeaux Tapestry clearly shows Harold swearing a sacred oath on the bones of a saint. For this reason, William was confident that Harold would keep his promise on the death of Edward. However, despite the Bayeaux Tapestrythere is no proof that Harold actually did make this promise.
A man called William of Poitiers, claimed that he witnessed the promise being made.
Nothing about a promise is mentioned in this. When William heard of what Harold had done, it is said that he flew into a terrible rage of anger. Harold defended what he had done by claiming that William had forced him to make the promise and therefore it was done by blackmail and was not valid.
William promised to take what he believed was his — the throne of England — by force. The matter was further complicated by Harold Hardrada who was king of Norway and Denmark. He believed that he was the rightful heir to the English throne because the Danes had conquered England in the past.
Of the three who claimed to be the rightful heir to Edward, only one was English. Who had the best claim? Harold was a powerful English nobleman who was experienced in government and in leading an army.
William was from north France but had known Edward in their younger days. His claim lay in his belief that Edward had promised him the throne in and that he had received the support of Harold for this in With no blood ties to the English throne, William placed his claim firmly on promises made which he felt gave him the legal right to be the next king of England.
Harold Hadrada was related to Cnut who had been king of England from to and therefore he believed that this weak link entitled him to the crown.
Regardless of who claimed what, William decided that he would have to fight for what he regarded as his — the throne of England. He ordered his knights to gather at Saint Valery on the Norman coast in preparation for a sea crossing.
Throughout July and August, Harold had expected William to attempt an invasion and Harold put his troops near to the Isle of Wight — where he felt William would land.The Battle of Hastings, , M.K. Lawson, Tempus, A comprehensive study of the battle and the buildup, with a good section on the surviving sources.
The account of the battle itself gives a good summary of the different interpretations of the battle that have appeared over the years. Apr 12, · Civics & History (1,,): Guns & the Justice System • Government Policy • History & News So dive into the hundreds of writing prompts below — and let us know in the comments how you.
But my favourite moment in is from China, where Sima Guang began writing his monumental history of China, known as the "comprehensive mirror to aid in government". Oct 20, · Re - great title for a newspaper please!?
As part of my daughter's history homework she has to do a front page of a newspaper as if writing about the Battle of Hastings from either perspective - Harold's side or William's side and I just wondered if anyone had any great ideas for the title of the paper?Status: Resolved.
The Redhill Academy Redhill Road Arnold Nottingham, NG5 8GX England, UK. It is one of the most important dates in the history of the Western world: , the year William the Conqueror defeated the English at the Battle of Hastings and changed England and the English forever.4/5(17).