10 Interesting Facts about the Battle of Hastings

One of these following facts about the Battle of Hastings should probably give you much information about this battle fought years ago. The Battle of Hastings was fought on October 14th, 1066 between the Norman-French army of Duke William II of Normandy and an English army under the Anglo-Saxon King Harold II, during the Norman conquest of England. It took place approximately 7 miles (11 kilometers) north-west of Hastings, close to the present-day town of Battle East, East Sussex, and was a decisive Norman victory. For further information, to get you to know more about this battle, here are some other facts about the Battle of Hastings you might be interested in.

Facts about the Battle of Hastings 1: Background

The background to the battle was the death of the childless King Edward the Confessor in January 1066, which set up a succession struggle between several claimants to his throne. Harold was crowned king shortly after Edward’s death, but faced invasions by William, his own brother Tostig and the Norwegian King Harold Hardrada (Harold III of Norway).

Facts about the Battle of Hastings 2: Estimate Forces

The exact numbers present at the battle are unknown; estimates are around 10,000 for William and about 7,000 for Harold. The composition of the forces is clearer; the English army was composed almost entirely of infantry and had few archers, whereas only about half of the invading force was infantry, the rest split equally between cavalry and archers.

Facts about the Battle of Hastings - Battle of Hastings

Facts about the Battle of Hastings – Battle of Hastings

Facts about the Battle of Hastings 3: Casualty Figures

Casualty figures are hard to come by, but some historians estimate that 2,000 invaders died along with about twice that number of Englishmen. William founded a monastery at the site of the battle, the high altar of the abbey church supposedly placed at the spot where Harold died.

Facts about the Battle of Hastings 4: Bulk of Harold’s Forces

Harold had spent mid-1066 on the south coast with a large army and fleet waiting for William to invade. The bulk of his forces were militia who needed to harvest their crops, so on 8 September Harold dismissed the militia and the fleet.Learning of the Norwegian invasion he rushed north, gathering forces as he went, and took the Norwegians by surprise, defeating them at the Battle of Stamford Bridge on 25 September.

Facts about the Battle of Hastings - Battlefield of Hastings

Facts about the Battle of Hastings – Battlefield of Hastings

Facts about the Battle of Hastings 5: William’s Preparation

William assembled a large invasion fleet and an army gathered from Normandy and the rest of France, including large contingents from Brittany and Flanders. He spent almost nine months on his preparations, as he had to construct a fleet from nothing. According to some Norman chronicles, he also secured diplomatic support, although the accuracy of the reports has been a matter of historical debate.

Facts about the Battle of Hastings 6: Cavalry

The army consisted of cavalry, infantry, and archers or crossbowmen, with about equal numbers of cavalry and archers and the foot soldiers equal in number to the other two types combined. Later lists of companions of William the Conqueror are extant, but most are padded with extra names; only about 35 named individuals can be reliably identified as having been with William at Hastings. To get you to know more of another battles, check out for facts about the Battle of Gettysburg.

Facts about the Battle of Hastings - Battlefield of North Side

Facts about the Battle of Hastings – Battlefield of North Side

Facts about the Battle of Hastings 7: Background and Location

Because many of the primary accounts contradict each other at times, it is impossible to provide a description of the battle that is beyond dispute. The only undisputed facts are that the fighting began at 9 am on Saturday 14 October 1066 and that the battle lasted until dusk.

Facts about the Battle of Hastings 8: Harold’s Defeat

Harold’s defeat was probably due to several circumstances. One was the need to defend against two almost simultaneous invasions. The fact that Harold had dismissed his forces in southern England on 8 September also contributed to the defeat. Many historians fault Harold for hurrying south and not gathering more forces before confronting William at Hastings, although it is not clear that the English forces were insufficient to deal with William’s forces.

Facts about the Battle of Hastings - Interior ruins, Pevensey Castle

Facts about the Battle of Hastings – Interior ruins, Pevensey Castle

Facts about the Battle of Hastings 9: Aftermath

The day after the battle, Harold’s body was identified, either by his armour or marks on his body. His personal standard was presented to William,and later sent to the papacy.The bodies of the English dead, including some of Harold’s brothers and his housecarls, were left on the battlefield,although some were removed by relatives later.The Norman dead were buried in a large communal grave, which has not been found.

Facts about the Battle of Hastings 10: Harold’s Body

y One story relates that Gytha, Harold’s mother, offered the victorious duke the weight of her son’s body in gold for its custody, but was refused. William ordered that Harold’s body be thrown into the sea, but whether that took place is unclear.

Facts about the Battle of Hastings - Location of battlefield in Stamford Bridge

Facts about the Battle of Hastings – Location of battlefield in Stamford Bridge

Hope you would find those Battle of Hastings facts really interesting, useful and helpful for your additional reading.

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