1066 - the end of saxon england

On the 5th January 1066, King Edward "The Confessor," died. He had ruled England for 19 years and had no heir. Harold Godswin claimed that when the King was dying he said: "Into Harold's hands I commit my kingdom." The council of royal advisors quickly voted Harold as the new King of England. 

Meanwhile, in France, William Duke of Normandy (a distant cousin of King Edward) was furious. William claimed that King Edward had sworn that if he died, William would be his successor. Determined to be crowned King of England, William landed his invasion forces in the south of England at Pevensey on 28 September 1066. 

the battle of hastings

Standing shoulder to shoulder on the brow of a hill with their shields entwined, the English stood defiant. 

The Normans charged. First the archers, then the infantry and then the mounted knights. A hard fought battle commenced with neither side making any significant progress. A rumour started to spread that the Norman leader, William I, had been killed. 

The Norman men on the left flank panicked and ran down the hill. The English above broke ranks and followed. But William had not been killed, he pushed back his helmet to reveal his face and defiantly stated, “I live! And with God’s help we will conquer yet.” 

the normans are victorious

The Normans turn on the English. A single arrow strikes the eye of the English King and the battle is won. 

William The Conqueror was crowned King on Christmas Day 1066 and Saxon England was defeated.

The Normans began to take control of more and more of the kingdom. It would not be long before they had advanced inland as far as Leicester.