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Harald Godwinson, "Harald 2"

Male Abt 1022 - 1066  (~ 44 years)


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  • Name Harald Godwinson 
    Suffix "Harald 2" 
    Born Abt 1022 
    Gender Male 
    Occupation 06 Jan 1066  England Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Konge. 
    • Fra Snorre Sturlasson: Harald Hardrådes saga:

      75.
      Edvard Adalrådsson var konge i England etter Hordaknut, sin bror. Han ble kalt Edvard den gode (Edward Confessor, 1042-1066), og det var han også. Mor til kong Edvard var dronning Emma, datter til Rikard Rude-jarl (i Rouen). Hennes bror var Robert jarl, far til Viljalm Bastard (Wilhelm Erobreren), som da var hertug i Ruda i Normandi. Kong Edvard var gift med dronning Gyda, datter til jarlen Gudine (Godwin) Ulvnadsson. Brødrene til Gyda var Tostejarl - han var eldst -, den andre var Morukåre jarl, den tredje Valtjov jarl, den fjerde Svein jarl, den femte Harald - han var yngst. Han vokste opp i kong Edvards hird og var hans fostersønn; kongen elsket ham overmåte høyt og regnet ham som sin egen sønn, for kongen hadde ikke barn selv.

      Det var mange liebhabere til den engelske kronen. I sør satt hertug Vilhelm av Normandie og hevdet at han hadde Edvards tilsagn om å få overta hans rike, og paven støttet hans krav. Den som i første omgang gikk av med seieren, var likevel en innfødt jarl, Harald Gudinesson.

      Fra Snorre Sturlasson: Harald Hardrådes saga:

      77.
      Da våren kom, gjorde Harald (Gudinesson) ferdig skipet sitt og tok bort. Han og jarlen (Vilhelm Erobreren) skiltes i stor vennskap. Harald satte over til England til kong Edvard, men kom ikke til Valland siden for å holde bryllup. Kong Edvard styrte over England i 23 år; han døde sott-døden i London 5.januar (1066) og ble jordet i Pålkirken (St. Pauls cathedral), og engelskmennene regner ham for hellig.
      Sønnene til Gudine jarl var på den tid de mektigste menn i England. Toste var satt til høvding over hæren til den engelske kongen, og han var landvernsmann da kongen tok til å eldes. Han var satt over alle andre jarler. Harald, hans bror, var støtt den mann i hirden som sto kongen nærmest i all tjeneste, og han hadde tilsyn med alle skattkammerne til kongen. Det er fortalt at da det led mot døden med kongen, var Harald og noen få andre menn til stede. Da bøyde Harald seg over kongen og sa:
      Det tar jeg dere alle til vitne på at kongen nå ga meg kongedømmet og all makten i England.
      Kortetter ble kongen båret død ut av sin seng. Samme dag var det høvdingmøte, og det ble talt om kongevalget. Da lot Harald føre fram sine vitner på at kong Edvard ga ham riket på sin dødsdag. Møtet sluttet slik at Harald ble tatt til konge, og han fikk kongsvigsel trettendedagen (6. januar) i Pålskirken; da ga alle høvdinger og alt folket seg under ham.
      Da Toste jarl, hans bror, fikk greie på det, likte han det ille. Han syntes at han var likså nær til å være konge. Jeg vil, sa han, at landshøvdingene skal velge den til konge som de synes høver best til det - og om dette gikk det ordsendinger mellom brødrene. Kong Harald sa da at han ville ikke gi opp kongedømmet, for han var blitt satt på den trone som kongen hadde, og var siden salvet og hadde fått kongsvigsel. Hele folkemengden sluttet seg også til ham, og han hadde også alle kongens inntekter.

      Kong Edvard Confessoren overlot ham riket 5.januar 1066, da han var døende. Harald ble umiddelbart kronet i Westminster. Paven bannlyste nå Harald for brudd på ed.
      Haralds angelsaksiske navn var Godwinson, han var konge av England i 1066.

      Harald hadde en misunnelig bror, Tostig eller Toste, som syntes at han hadde like stor rett til kronen. Han søkte nå hjelp hos den norske kongen, og tilbød å støtte ham. Harald Hardråde hadde aldri glemt de arvekrav som også han kunne gjøre gjeldende på Englands trone. Og det var fristende å gripe sjansen. Danmark hadde han - iallfall tilsynelatende - oppgitt; han hadde fred med kong Svein, og ingen farer truet derfra. Men ble han herre over både England og Norge, ville ikke Svein Estridsson ha store mulighetene for å stå seg. Da ville kong Knuts gamle nordsjørike kunne gjenoppstå under norskekongens scepter. Og utsiktene til at en ekspedisjon til England skulle kunne føre fram, var slett ikke dårlige. Arvekravet ga toget et anstrøk av legitimitet, som nok kunne vinne endel tvilere for hans sak. Han kunne regne med en viss tilslutning i England, særlig i de nordøstlige områdene, der det nordiske islettet var sterkt.

      Riktignok viste Toste seg her som en upålitelig informatør, oppslutningen om Harald ble langt dårligere enn det han forespeilet. Men Harald Gudinnesson kunne ikke mobilisere fullt ut mot Harald, han måtte holde et våkent øye med hertugen av Normandie, som gjorde åpenlyse forberedelser til en landgang.
      Harald på sin side gjorde også omfattende forberedelser som viser at han regnet med et stort felttog. Han satte seg først fast på Orknøyene, noe som ble desto lettere fordi den mektige Torfinn jarl nylig var død. Her trakk han sammen folk, og her plasserte han sin dronning, den russiske Ellisiv, og hennes to døtre. Så gikk han i land på kysten av Northumbria og vant flere seire i mindre slag, byen York var i ferd med å åpne sine porter for ham, da han selvnådde fram.

      86.
      Toste jarl hadde kommet vest (sør) fra Flæmingland til kong Harald så snart han kom til England, og jarlen var med i alle disse slagene. Da gikk det som han hadde sagt til Harald da de møttes forrige gang, at en mengde menn drev til dem i England; det var frender og venner til Toste jarl, og det ble til stor folkehjelp for kongen.
      Etter det slaget som det nyss er fortalt om, gikk alt folket i de nærmeste bygdene under kong Harald, men noen rømte. Nå dro kong Harald av sted for å vinne byen og la hæren ved Stanford bro. Men fordi kongen hadde vunnet så stor seier mot store høvdinger og en veldig hær, var alle folk redde og mistvilte om å kunne gjøre motstand.
      Da tok bymennene den utvei at de sendte bud til kong Harald og bød seg til å overgi både seg selv og byen til ham. Det gikk budsending om dette slik at søndag (24. september) fór kong Harald med hele hæren til byen; kongen og hans menn satte ting utenfor byen, og bymennene kom til tinget. Her samtykte hele folket i å gå inn under kong Harald og ga stormannssønner til gisler etter den kjennstap som Toste jarl hadde til alle i denne byen. Om kvelden fór kongen til skipene med en seier som hadde gjort seg selv, og han var lystig og glad. Det ble fastsatt ting i byen til tidlig om mandagen; da skulle kong Harald sette styresmenn i byen og gi len og rettigheter. Samme kvelden etter solnedgang kom kong Harald Gudinesson sør fra til byen med en veldig hær. Han red inn i byen med alle bymennenes vilje og samtykke. Det ble satt mannskap ved alle byportene og på alle veier, så nordmennene ikke skulle få nyss om det. Denne hæren var i byen om natten.

      Harald Hardråde lot seg overraske med en mindre avdeling og falt på jordene et stykke utenfor byen, ved Stanford bro den 25.september 1066.

      Harald Gudinesson selv fulgte ham i døden et par uker senere. Straks etter Harald Hardrådes fall måtte han dra i ilmarsj med sine menn sørover for å ta imot normannerne på kanalkysten.
      Det kom til slag ved Hastings den 14. oktober. Harald ble rammet av en pil i øyet og nedhugget.

      Liket kjentes igjen av hans elskede Edgyth Svanehals. Han ble jordet der, men senere flyttet til Waltham kloster.

      Harald var den siste anglosaksiske konge av England. Normannerhertugen Vilhelm Erobreren ble hans arvtager.

      The Battle of Hastings:

      The news of the coronation of Harold a few months earlier must have infuriated William. After Harold's oath of 1064 and the promise made to him by Edward the Confessor, he must have considered all his options until he was left with only one. To this end, he prepared himself for invasion. Duke William would have discussed this plan with his half brothers Odo and Robert to see if it was viable. With their support he called a council of war. This would be made up of his immediate family, vassals and advisers. The council of war took place at Lillebonne and included eminent members such as William of Poitiers, Robert de Mortain, Richard Count of Evreux, Roger of Beaumont and various others.
      It was from these powerful men that owed fealty to their Lord, an army would be raised. Under the feudal system it would be expected that these men would supply the means to invade England. Not only would they be expected to supply the manpower but the ships required to traverse the English Channel and all other requirements that may be needed for Williams invasion plan. This was the penalty of their position.

      When Williams plan was put before the council, it was met with derision. Even though understood their commitment, their was no provision for fighting overseas. As hard as William tried to persuade them, the council eventually broke up in disarray. This made William very angry. William being William however, did not give up. He was determined and resolute enough to get his way. If he could not persuade them at the council, he would try on a one to one basis. He would remind them of their duty and what riches awaited those who accompanied him. Eventually he gained support from his vassals.

      William realised that he would have to turn this trip into a crusade. To do this he would need the blessing of the Pope. He managed this by persuading the Pope of Harold's promise and treachery. At first the Pope refused on political grounds because of the implications to the Church. Pope Alexander II was a pupil of Lanfranc who was now a trusted adviser to William. It was this fact that his blessing was eventually given. William now had the papal banner on his side. This made it much easier to rally his men to arms.

      By the middle of August 1066, William was ready to set sail. Unfortunately, due to adverse weather conditions and unfavourable winds, the invasion was delayed. William decided that he should move his fleet closer to the English coast to ensure a safer crossing. On the 12th September 1066, he moved the fleet to St Valery sur Somme, as its name suggests, a port in the estuary of the river Somme. Moving the fleet here made the eventual crossing much shorter.
      St Valery was under the control of Count Guy of Ponthieu who was sympathetic to William's cause. Now that William had moved his ships from the mouth of the Dives in Normandy to St Valery, it was important that the crossing was made as soon as possible.

      Again the weather turned against him. He now had the problem of keeping a large force of men fed and ready for battle. By the 11th October 1066, the weather had become favourable. During the previous two weeks the morale of his men began to decrease. Without William's motivation and determination to claim the English throne which he rightfully thought belonged to him, the invasion may have floundered here.
      By dusk, the ships were fully loaded and ready to depart. It was his plan to sail through the night and to land the following morning as day broke. William's ship the Mora would have given the command to set sail, possibly by the use of a light on the mast or by horn. William's flag ship became separated from the main fleet by day break. Un-perturbed he cast out his anchor and had breakfast and waited for the rest to catch up. Around 6:30 a.m. they were spotted. The fleet re grouped and continued towards the Englishcoast.

      On disembarking, William would have sent out scouts to survey the area for the English and for a route out of Pevensey Bay. It is likely the local population would have scattered by now, with the word of William's landing speeding on its way to Harold. The Norman scouts would also have reported that it would be very difficult to unload the ships there if they wished to move quickly inland. William must have heeded their advice because he made the decision to re-board his boats and sail along the coast to Hastings. He would have left a small force to make their way along the coastal route on foot.

      How much information William had received on the English position is unknown. He must have known that Harold had ordered the fleet back home. It is less certain that he knew of the Viking invasion of Harald Hardrada. Hastings was a good choice of base for William. The area along the South Downs between Hastings and Pevensey was difficult but had the advantage of security for William's troops. He knew he would not be invaded from the east coast side. William also knew that he was only a few tens of KM's from Dover where a Roman road stretches to London, his eventual goal. On arrival at Hastings, which probably by this time was virtually deserted, he unloaded his boats. He constructed a wooden fortress and waited for news of Harold. It would not be long.

      The exact time that Harold heard of the landing of William is not known but was possibly on 30th September at the earliest assuming a rider immediately headed north to York as soon as the invasion fleet was observed. It would have been only five days after the Battle of Stamford Bridge. He knew William was coming, he never thought it would be this soon. He was now in a dilemma. He was three hundred miles from Hastings with a depleted if not defeated force. How was he too defend the country now? Whatever went through his mind, he decided by the 2nd October to march south again. In a historic march he arrived in London on the 6th October 1066. Harold stayed in London only until the 11th October 1066 before marching towards Hastings with his men. On the 13th October 1066 he camped on Caldbec Hill, 10 km north of Hastings. Here the most famous English battle would be fought.

      Harold's men had been arriving all day in small groups on the 13th October 1066. These men had fought a battle on the 25th September, 260 miles to the north and were now expected to fight another only a few days later. Despite the hardship of it all, the troops morale must have been quite high. Having defeated Hardrada would have boosted their confidence, But not their numbers. Edwin and Morcar declined to help on this occasion, preferring to mind their business in the north. This lack of support severely reduced the numbers Harold would be able to use in the battle.

      How many veterans of Stamford Bridge were at Hastings is not known. It is clear that he recruited many of his force on the trip south. His soldiers came from as far a field as Somerset and Devon in the west and from Essex and Kent in the south east. Harold knew that a battle was inevitable as no form of dialogue to end the dilemma seems to have been made. Harold made the decision to fight William before he could consolidate any further.

      The location of the battle was chosen with careby Harold. Caldbec Hill was chosen for a number of reasons. Firstly it was well known in the area. It gave a natural advantage to anybody wishing to fight from there because of its natural all round visibility. It was easy to reach by road or track from London and was close (possibly too close) to William's position.

      By nightfall, at least 7.500 men should have arrived. Made up of housecarls and fyrd, preparations were laid to challenge William as soon as possible. This would be indicative of Harold's impetuous nature.
      Why Harold chose to fight William the next day has always been something of a mystery. If he had waited another day for his full force to arrive, the outcome may have been totally different. Many theories have been put forward for this. Harold always had a reputation for being impetuous and impatient. He may also have been informed of atrocities carried out by William on the population, so wanted to conclude this battle sooner rather than later. His hand may have been forced when William was informed of Harold's arrival and pre-empted his first move. If Harold was nothing else he was his fathers son, a patriot through and through. His father defied the king when be refused to punish the people of Dover when they were abused by Eustace of Boulogne, and paid the consequences. The Godwin family were for the people.

      William had now been in Hastings for almost two weeks. Food must have been in short supply, so he had soon to make a decision. Should he wait for Harold to come to him, or should he break out and go on the offensive? The decision was made for him. He was not prepared to be trapped or starved into submission. No mention seems to have been made about re-provision by Sea. There was plenty of time for his ships to return home for supplies, conditions permitting.

      A theory has been put forward that William may have had his ships burned to stop desertion. He left his men in no doubt that this was a do or die expedition. The morning of the 14th October 1066 would be the culmination of a battle between two men who had politically and mentally been at war for many years.

      Both sides knew the location of the other. Harold on Caldbec Hill and its rallying point of the Old Hoare Apple Tree and William in Hastings. At first light, William assembled his men and informed them of what was expected of them through his generals. He would have had to send out his scouts to recall the foraging parties.

      Many atrocities were committed in this area and we can assume that foraging and ransacking went hand in hand. Prayers would have been said throughout the night prior to setting out. Weapons would have been sharpened and wagons loaded with armour and provisions. William's men set off in a long column, due to the forest nature of the terrain at that time. William must have been relieved that the situation was coming to a conclusion as morale was possibly beginning to wane amongst the foot soldiers, who were less concerned about moral crusades and promises of wealth to the nobility, than staying alive.

      Today, we try to analyse the logic behind the battle tactics of Harold and William. We wonder why Harold chose Caldbec Hill. It was very close to William's position in Hastings, which left himself open to counter attack. William seeing his opportunity, pounced upon it immediately. He knew what happened to Harald Hardrada and Harold's surprise attack. He was not going to be caught the same way. Harold therefore could be accused of naivet?
      For the reason mentioned above, his choice was considered appropriate for the tactics he must have had in mind. Even today this area is still very forested. The decision of where to have the battle may have been academic. It may have been the only piece of open ground in the area at that time large enough for the battle. Comments were made by chroniclers after the battle about how cramped the area was to stage such a thing.
      William's troops advanced to this open area, known today as Senlac Ridge. Located due south of Caldbec Hill, the natural terrain slopes south from Caldbec Hill to William's position. With natural depressions on either side and marshy ground and banks outside this area. It has always been considered an advantage to have the high ground, so Harold, in theory, was in the preferred location.

      It would have taken William and his men about 1.5 to 2 hours to march the 10 km north to Senlac Ridge from Hastings. Harold would have known that William had departed, from information received from scouts he would have sent out. Harold prepared for battle. William's force consisted of three main forces. The Norman army, commanded by himself. The Bretons, commanded by Alan Fergant and the Flemish army commanded by Eustace of Boulogne and William fitzOsbern.

      Seeing William take the initiative must have come as a surprise to Harold. He totally miscalculated the invasion in the first place by dismissing his ships for the winter. Now he was being forced into battle before he was really ready. Before William could arrange his battle formation, he had to negotiate two streams and marshy ground that was between himself and the open battlefield.
      Once negotiated, his line was organized. Looking north, towards Caldbec Hill, the Bretons were on the left, the Flemish contingent were on the right and William's Normans were in the middle. Taking up normal battle ranks ofarchers in the front row. Depending on the length of the line, behind the archers would be six or seven rows of foot soldiers. Behind them, would be the cavalry. William would have set up his command post behind the cavalry.

      To meet this challenge, Harold moved his men down from Caldbec Hill to within two hundred metres of William's position. The Saxon way of fighting was different to that of the Normans. The housecarls were in the front rank and were responsible for forming the shield wall. This would be particularly effective against the initial onslaught. Behind the housecarls were the fyrd or militia. Again, depending on the length of the line, would have been about ten deep. Harold set up his command post behind and centrally positioned to give him an elevated view of proceedings. The time would now have been about 09:30.

      In many of the battles through history of this type, there seems to have been a level of protocol that was adhered to prior to proceedings. Similar to a lull before a storm, a short period of recollection seems to occur followed by taunting of the opposition. The Saxon war cry was Ut,ut (or out,out), Godemite (God Almighty) and Oli Crosse (Holy Cross). The Normans would have responded in kind. The battle was about to begin.

      If the chronicler, Wace is to be believed, the battle commenced with a heroic but foolhardy one man attack on the English line by a minstrel named Taillefer. He was quickly cut down by the Saxon housecarls. This was the signal for the battle to begin in earnest. As was traditional in Norman assaults, the front row which consisted of archers, began to let loose their arrows in a concentrated barrage. This resulted in a limited success, due to the Saxontactic of using the shield wall. This tactic had been developed by Alfred the Great and had been used ever since. It protected the front row of housecarlsand the fyrd behind. The English had never used bows and arrows in battle and therefore could not return fire. This became a problem to William because it required an exchange of arrows to keep the ammunition levels up. The Normans, soon ran out of arrows. This reduced his efficiency somewhat. His archers were not attired for hand to hand conflict, nor were they trained or expected to.
      Debate concerns whether crossbows were used by William in the front row. They did exist but none are shown in the Bayeux Tapestry. It is possible that they were used, but because they were sodeadly and accurate, they were frowned upon by the Church and were banned in battles against Christian enemies. If they were used here, it is notsurprising that they do not appear on the Tapestry as it was commissioned by Bishop Odo.

      The English being on the high ground had the advantage. The Saxon line was virtually untouched. The arrows had done little damage. William ordered his foot soldiers forward. The English now responded. Not only were traditional weapons used but anything that could be collected in the vicinity. This would include rocks and home made slingshots which were particularly effective on the higher ground which afforded extra range. The barrage was very effective and caused serious problems to William's men. Heavy casualties were inflicted on them and forced William to use his cavalry probably earlier than he wanted to. Ordering them to charge on the still intact shield wall, their tactics would have been to advance as close as possible and release their spears whilst turning back down the slope where a fresh spear could be collected.
      This was a difficult thing to achieve against a well drilled shield wall, especially on a slope as steep as this. Horses would have panicked or fallen under this onslaught by the Saxons who would have used their spears and axes to good advantage.

      The cavalry and infantry charges continued. The Saxons still held the upper hand. As hard as the Normans tried, they could not break down the shield wall. The use of the large Danish battle axe particularly came into its own on the cavalry. This weapon had the ability to bring down the rider and the horse with a single blow. The housecarls were particularly well trained in its use. By about 12:00, the Normans were feeling the effect of the Saxon tactics. The Bretons on the left were having a particularly difficult time. They began to retreat back down the hill. William saw this from his command post and realised that this left his rear vulnerable from a pincer movement. Panic was now beginning to trickle from left to right. William had to do something or the battle would soon be over and his claim to the English throne in tatters.

      Roumour started to spread along the ranks that William had been killed. If this was so the battle would have been over. The panic was now widespread amongst the Normans. The Bretons were now in full retreat back down the hill. The Saxons followed in hot pursuit inflicting carnage on them. The Bretons were slowed down on the lower slopes by the stream and marshy ground below them. This allowed the Saxons to inflict more casualties on them.

      William made a bold decision. He decided to expose his face to his men to prove that he was still alive. Removing or lifting his helmet, he rode along the ranks that still existed to dispel the rumour. He was alleged to have reminded his men that there was no way back and that they were fighting for their lives. This seems to have had some effect. Odo seeing what was happening on the left flank, gathered up a number of his confused cavalry and rode to the area where the Saxons had advanced to. Seeing the horses advancing, they broke off battle and tried to return to their lines. The uphill trek was too far and they were cut down by the cavalry before they reached there. It is almost certain that this advance on the Saxon right was not sanctioned by Harold as it goes against all military strategy. He must have seen what was happening on the right and seems not to have taken up the challenge of a full frontal assault which would surely have defeated the Norman army. Harold's brothers Gyrth and Leofwin were possibly killed at this time. This is included in the Bayeux Tapestry. It may be they who ordered this counter attack and therefore paid the consequences.

      That happened next is not completely clear. It would seem that there must have been a lull in the fighting. The Normans had begun to retreat and the advance Saxon force had been destroyed. There must have been some form of air gap between the forces. This would have given time for both sides and especially William to regroup, re-arm and to take some food and drink. The absurdity of the whole situation is highlighted by this episode. The time would have been around 14:00. Harold knew that he could win this battle if he just held on until darkness. William cold not stay in the area all night and would have to retreat. Harold knew that retreat meant defeat for William. William very well understood this also. Apart from his right flank, Harold and his men were in very good shape. William must have been at his lowest ebb at this time. He had to think of a new tactic to break down the Saxon defences.

      William was rather stuck for ideas mostly because of the terrain. He could not try a flanking movement because of the trees and forest on either side. He was finding it difficult if not impossible to break the Saxon shield wall tactic, especially on a slope as steep as this. What he planned to do was to entice the Saxons forward using a tactic that has been discussed ever since. It has been called the feigned retreat.
      Observing what had happened on his left flank with the Bretons. If he could simulate that, and draw the Saxons forward, he might have a chance.

      Many historians have debated whether such a thing can possibly be pre-arranged in the heat of battle. Usually those that have had any military experience say in can't. But the fact is that it was supposed to have been the deciding factor in this battle. The English lost, so something drastic must have gone dreadfully wrong with Harold's tactics. Whatever was the truth, this is the story that survived nearly a thousand years.

      William had to decide, if he was going to attempt the feigned retreat tactic. How could he draw the Saxons forward by giving the impression that it was a genuine retreat, and not what it actually was, a tactic?
      To this end he resumed battle. His infantry advanced but with limited success. He had briefed his cavalry, who would be responsible for putting his plan into operation. There was no way his infantry could all have been informed of this plan and were probably used as cannon fodder to the overall picture. The cavalry advanced up the hill and engaged the Saxons and gave the impression that they were turning and running. How the Saxons came to this conclusion is still unclear in the melee. It must have been pre planned that they all turned away at the same time to make it seem as though some order to retreat had been given. Whatever the Norman cavalry did, it forced the Saxon army to break ranks and follow them down the slope.
      Another question surrounds whether Harold gave the command to pursue them or not. If he did make this crucial decision, he could be accused of total stupidity. The true facts will never be known, only the result. The Saxon line broke and the Normans were followed down the hill. Many housecarls and fyrd were killed in their enthusiasm to finish the fight. Harold must have become very worried at this development.

      Up until this stage in the late afternoon, things had been going very well for Harold but now were about to change. It is written that William used the feigned attack at least twice. Harold still held a reasonably strong position at the high point of the ridge.
      It was at this point that William risked everything. It was getting late, and the battle had to be concluded one way or another. William decided to use another plan. His archers who had run out of arrows in the early stages, were brought up close to the battle lines where they could collect their arrows. Firing over the heads of their own men so that they would land on the rear English lines, caused a number of casualties.

      It was at this point in the battle it is thought that a stray arrow killed or injured Harold by inflicting a wound in the eye. There is scant evidence to show that this is how Harold died. It is mainly taken from scene in the Bayeux Tapestry. The death of Harold soon spread amongst his men, causing derision.
      William ordered his infantry to stage a full frontal attack on the Saxon line. Fighting to the point of impossibility, the Saxons retreated up the hill and into the forest on the other side, possibly in the direction of London taking any horses that had been withdrawn for safety. The battlefield was littered with the dead and injured of both sides and Norman horses. The Saxon line was now broken. All that was left was a mopping up operation and the Kings housecarls who were prepared to continue the fight. They valiantly surrounded their dead or dying king and with their battle-axes and swords, fought almost to the last man, as was their tradition.
      The Normans finally broke through where they saw the King lying. A knight run his sword through his thigh or decapitated his leg. This so infuriated William that he stripped him of his knighthood and threw him out of the army. The ridge was captured. William had won against all the odds.

      There remains one incident that occurred after the main battle had finished. It is known as the Malfosse incident.
      It was becoming late in the afternoon and it was beginning to darken, so around 17:30, when in pursuit of fleeing Saxons they encountered a number of Saxons who obviously had not been involved in the battle but had arrived later. It would appear that these men taunted the Normans into charging them. If they chose where to stand beforehand it was a good choice because it was behind an invisible ditch or pit, which later became known as the Malfosse or evil pit.
      Many of the horses and men tumbled into this pit where presumably they were finished off by the Saxons. This was a side issue that would have made no difference to the overall outcome of the battle. By 18:30 it would have been too dark to proceed with rounding up any more Saxons. The injured had to be tended and the dead buried. The Malfosse incident is strange because nobody has been able to locate its position or confirm that it ever really happened at all.
      Harold's Standards of the Fighting Man and the Red Dragon were captured and sent to the Pope in Rome.

      Kilder:
      Snorre Sturlasson: Olav den helliges saga, avsnitt 152.
      Snorre Sturlasson: Harald Hardrådes saga, avsnitt 75-78, 86, 90-92, 95-96.
      Cappelen's Norges Historie, Bind 2, side 283-287.
      Politiken's Danmarks Historie, Bind 2 (1963), side 245, 471-473.
      Mogens Bugge: Våre forfedre, nr. 557.
      Bent og Vidar Billing Hansen: Rosensverdslektens forfedre, side 89.
      http://www.battle1066.com/buildup.shtml
    Died 14 Oct 1066  Hastings, East Sussex, England Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Person ID I3602  My Genealogy
    Last Modified 29 Jul 2016 

    Father Godwin (Gudine) Wulfnothsen av Wessex,   b. Wessex, England Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. Abt 15 Apr 1053 
    Relationship Birth 
    Mother Gyda Torkilsdatter,   b. Danmark Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. Aft 1067, St.Omar, Flandern, Belgia Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Relationship Birth 
    Married Bef 1019 
    • Fra Snorre: Olav den helliges saga:

      ...Ulv jarl var den mektigste mann i Danmark nest etter kongen.
      Søster til Ulv jarl var Gyda som var gift med Gudine jarl Ulvnadsson, og deres sønner var Harald, Englands konge, Toste jarl, Valtjov jarl, Morukåre jarl, Svein jarl; Gyda var datter deres, hun som var gift med Edvard den gode, Englands konge... [1]
    Family ID F2059  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

    Family 1 Edgyth,   d. Aft 1066 
    Anecdote Bef 1066 
    Edgyth var Haralds konkubine. 
    Children 
    +1. Gyda Haraldsdatter,   b. England Find all individuals with events at this location  [Birth]
    Last Modified 18 Apr 2015 
    Family ID F2061  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

    Family 2 Ealdgyth 
    Married
    • Harald Godwinson ble ca. 1064 gift med Ealdgyth, datter til Elfgar og enke etter Griffits. Dette var et politisk ekteskap.
    Last Modified 18 Apr 2015 
    Family ID F5525  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

  • Sources 
    1. [S12] Snorre's kongesagaer, Snorre Sturlasson (Reliability: 1).


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