The Battle of Hastings is an event that is firmly etched into the history of the British Isles, and the year of 1066 is arguably the best known in English history.
This massively significant battle was to result in the death of King Harold. The war period itself is known as the Norman Conquest.
Here are a few interesting facts about the Battle of Hastings, which took place on the morning of the 14th October, 1066.
1) The English army was led by King Harold, on Senlac hill, where the Abbey and town of Battle now stand.
2) William’s Norman army were already on the march north from Hastings. It is said that he engaged before Harold’s troops were fully deployed.
3) William attacked with cavalry as well as infantry, something the English rarely if ever did.
4) In contrast, Harold’s well trained troops all fought on foot in the traditional English manner. Formed up behind a shield wall in such a good defensive location, they proved formidable opponents for the Normans. The claim is that the fighting continued for most of the day.
5) In the region of 5000-7000 English soldiers lost their lives.
Eventually William breached the shield wall. The collapse of the English defence may have been as a direct result of Harold himself being killed. Many medieval armies so often lost their resolve once their leader was dead.
Of course, this victory at Hastings gave William one of the greatest prizes in Europe. This saw the English people subjugated by an oppressive foreign aristocracy. It was the last time in the history of England that a foreign power was to conquer England.
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