The Battle of Hastings 1066
14 October 1066
The Battle of Hastings was fought because William of Normandy thought he should be the King of England.
William of Normandy (also known as William the Conqueror) and his army of 15,000 soldiers.
King Harold (The King of England) and his army of 5,000 men.
Most of the men in the English army were farmers and not soldiers.
The Normans were from Normandy, which is a place famous for being taken over by the Vikings towards the end of the 8th Century.
A hill in Hastings! Do you know where Hastings is? It is on the south coast of England, in Sussex.
The Normans got to Hastings by sailing around 700 ships across the English Channel.
Because they were outnumbered 3-1 the English Army had to fight defensively. They started the battle at the top of the hill and the Normans started at the bottom. This meant that the Normans had to run all the way up to the top of the hill before they could attack.
HOW DID THEY FIGHT?
The Normans charged up the hill towards the English with great force, so all the English men built a Shield Wall to protect themselves from the arrows and this kept them safe for a little while!
Do you know what a Shield Wall is? The men would stand in a long line and put their shields in front of them. The shields would overlap to make sure that every man was completely safe.
During the fight, William of Normandy was knocked off his horse and all the Normans thought he was dead!
HOW DID THE FIGHT END?
The English lost the battle because their Shield Wall broke. This meant that the Normans were able to attack and the English could not do anything to stop them.
King Harold was killed by the Norman soldiers and after his death many of the English ran away.
After the Battle, William of Normandy was crowned King of England on Christmas day, 1066.
The entire Battle of Hastings was put onto a tapestry, called the Bayeux Tapestry. This beautiful piece of art now hangs in a special museum in Normandy. It is a very important historical document because it has a lot of information on it. The drawings and Latin writing were done by Anglo Saxons.
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