/Pretexts for Battle at Hastings in 1066

Pretexts for Battle at Hastings in 1066

The Norman invasion of England followed an intricate chain of historic facts. When Edward the Confessor was dying, he bestowed the throne to Harold, his brother-in-law. Before that, he had promised it to Duke William of Normandy. Harold, in turn, took an oath to sustain the promise given to William. In fact, childless Edward was a weak sovereign who promised the crown inheritance to several persons.

The news about Harold’s coronation quickly reached Normandy, since the English land was full of Norman spies. William immediately blamed Harold for usurping power in England, calling him a traitor. The Duke of Normandy secured the upcoming Norman invasion of England with the Pope’s endorsement.

Getting Ready for the Conquest

Immediately afterwards, William gathered blacksmiths and woodworkers, and procured construction materials. A huge fleet of warships and boats was ready over summer. While the workers were toiling, warriors were vigorously training. Once, all of them saw a weird object present in the sky for 14 days. Nowadays we know it was Comet Halley. People living then believed it was a presage of imminent mishaps.

Delayed Departure

In late summer, William deployed his troops at the estuary of the Dives River. It was the Norman troops’ point of departure to invade England. But winds did not favor the fleet’s journey which was postponed to September. In September, a violent storm hindered the Norman squadrons’ sailing through the English Channel.

The delay was tremendously expensive for William. His warriors’ morale and eagerness were fading away. On the other hand, the forced timeout finally favored William’s raid on England. In early September, the southern and eastern shores of England remained with no protection owing to Harold’s inability to hold the peasant army there.

Tail-on Wind

Consequently, William’s troops set sail with a favorable wind on September 27. The English southeastern coastline was set as target. After landing, the towns of Hastings and Pevensey got under the Normal control without firing a shot.

Battle Conditions

The conquered strip of the coastline was not enough to make up a bridgehead to invade entire Britain. At the same time, William received bad news that his allies Tostig and Harald had suffered a defeat and died near York, at Stamford Bridge. However, the hopeful truth for William was that Harold’s troops were too exhausted and prepared for defense rather than for offensive against the Norman invaders counting 4 to 7 thousand of cavalry and infantry altogether.

2018-12-24T12:50:31+00:00December 10th, 2018|The Vikings|