10 Interesting Facts about the Battle of Stamford Bridge

One of these following facts about the Battle of Stamford Bridge will expand your knowledge about what kind of battle this is. The Battle of Stamford Bridge took place at the village of Stamford Bridge, East Riding of Yorkshire in England on 25 September 1066, between an English army under King Harold Godwinson and an invading Norwegian force led by King Harold Hardrada and the English king’s brother Tostig Godwinson. After a bloody and horrific battle, both Hardrada and Tostig along with most of the Norwegians were killed. For further information, here are some facts about the Battle of Stamford Bridge you might consider interesting.

Facts about the Battle of Stamford Bridge 1: Symbol of the End of the Viking Age

The battle has traditionally been presented as symbolising the end of the Viking Age, although major Scandinavian campaigns in Britain and Ireland occurred in the following decades, such as those of King Sweyn Estrithson of Denmark in 1069–70 and King Magnus Barefoot of Norway in 1098 and 1102–03.

Facts about the Battle of Stamford Bridge 2: Background

The death of King Edward the Confessor of England in January 1066 had triggered a succession struggle in which a variety of contenders from across north-western Europe fought for the English throne. These claimants included the King of Norway, Harald Sigurdsson.

Facts about the Battle of Stamford Bridge - Battle of Stamford Bridge

Facts about the Battle of Stamford Bridge – Battle of Stamford Bridge

Facts about the Battle of Stamford Bridge 3: Hostages and Supplies

Having learned that Northumbrians had been ordered to send the additional hostages and supplies to the Norwegians at Stamford Bridge, Harold hurried on through York to attack them at this rendezvous on 25 September.Until the English army came into view the invaders remained unaware of the presence of a hostile army anywhere in the vicinity.

Facts about the Battle of Stamford Bridge 4: Location

There is some controversy as to whether or not a village and bridge existed at the time of the battle. One theory holds that there was no village at Stamford Bridge in 1066 and not even in 1086 when the Domesday Book was compiled. According to this theory, the name is locative and descriptive of crossing points over the River Derwent being derived from a combination of the words stone, ford and bridge i.e. stoneford and bridge. At the location of the present village, within the river bed, there is an outcrop of stone over which the river once flowed as a mini-waterfall.

Facts about the Battle of Stamford Bridge - Anglo-Norman manuscript

Facts about the Battle of Stamford Bridge – Anglo-Norman manuscript

Facts about the Battle of Stamford Bridge 5: Bridge Crossing Point

Topographically, on the east bank of the river from the bridge crossing point, the land rises sharply up to 100 feet at High Catton. This is the only high ground around and a good defensive position for Hardrada’s army caught out by Godwinson’s sudden appearance on the skyline, as he rounded the ridge at Gate Helmsley to drop downhill swiftly onto Hardrada’s unsuspecting army.

Facts about the Battle of Stamford Bridge 6: The Battle

The exact location of the Stamford Bridge battlefield is not known. Local tradition places the battlefield location east of the River Derwent and just southeast of the town in an area known as Battle Flats. The location of the Norwegian army at the start of the battle is crucial to understanding the subsequent actions both of Harald Sigurdsson and Harold Godwinson. If you want to know more about this battle, you might want to check out Facts about the Battle of Hastings.

Facts about the Battle of Stamford Bridge - Battlefield memorial

Facts about the Battle of Stamford Bridge – Battlefield memorial

Facts about the Battle of Stamford Bridge 7: Norwegians’ Defensive Circle

The sudden appearance of the English army caught the Norwegians by surprise.Their response was to rapidly deploy in a defensive circle.If the Norwegians were located at Battle Flats, there is no good explanation as to why they deployed into this formation.

Facts about the Battle of Stamford Bridge 8: Last Stage of the Battle

In the later stages of the battle, the Norwegians were reinforced by troops who had been left behind to guard the ships at Riccall, led by Øystein Orre, Hardrada’s daughter’s fiancé. Some of his men were said to have collapsed and died of exhaustion upon reaching the battlefield. These men, unlike their comrades, were fully armed for battle.

Facts about the Battle of Stamford Bridge - Illustration of Stamford Bridge battle

Facts about the Battle of Stamford Bridge – Illustration of Stamford Bridge battle

Facts about the Battle of Stamford Bridge 9: Aftermath

The losses the Norwegians had suffered were so horrific that only 24 ships from the fleet of over 300 were needed to carry the survivors away.They withdrew to Orkney, where they spent the winter, and in the spring Olaf returned to Norway. The kingdom was then divided and shared between him and his brother Magnus, whom Harald had left behind to govern in his absence.

Facts about the Battle of Stamford Bridge 10: After the Battle

Three days after the battle, on 28 September, the Normans under William II landed on the south coast of England. King Harold had to rush his battered, weary army south to meet the new invasion. Less than three weeks after Stamford Bridge, on 14 October, Harold was defeated and killed at the Battle of Hastings, beginning the Norman Conquest of England, and ending the Anglo-Saxon era.

Facts about the Battle of Stamford Bridge - Monument

Facts about the Battle of Stamford Bridge – Monument

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

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