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Battle of Hasting


 

The date is October 14, 1066.
On Telham Hill, knights
on horseback carry lances,
javelins and brightly coloured
banners. Wooden castles
on small hills are built
called mottes.  These castles are
built by digging out a
ditch and piling up the
dirt.  If attacked, the people can
retreat to them for safety.
One knight stands
out among the rest,
William, Duke of Normandy.
Although William is French,
 he leads the Norman army into battle,
claiming he is the rightful King of England.
 By landing in Sussex , he is prepared
to fight the Saxon army,
led by Harold, King of England.

The Norman army has skilled
archers with bows and
arrows  leading the way. These
archers can kill a man by firing an arrow
from a distance of 100 meters or more.

Behind the archers
are foot soldiers with spears and axes.

The knights on
horseback follow the foot
soldiers. These knights are
called the calvary and can move much
faster than foot soldiers.
They are heavily armed
and wear coats of mail,
split at the bottom
to allow for ease of
movement while riding a horse.
The horses are not protected
by armour, so a knight
can be brought down
by killing his horse.
The knights also wear
cone-shaped helmets
to protect their faces.

King Harold has about
the same number of men
as William, but most of his
men are exhausted by the time
they set up camp near the
village of Battle near Sussex.
There are two main
types of Saxon soldiers.
The house-carls are a group
of about 3000 foot soldiers
that make up the king's
bodyguard.  They fight with
with long, heavy axes that
can split a man in two
with one blow.  The house-carls
wear hauberks for
protection.  Hauberks are
coats of mail made
by sewing wire rings together
 and are extremely heavy.  These
soldiers also carry kite shaped
shields to protect them from
arrows, stones, swords,
and other objects hurled
at them.  The house-carls
are said to be the finest
soldiers in Europe.

The Saxon soldiers begin
to tense up as they see
this enormous army heading
towards them.  No matter
how afraid, they stand ready to
fight the Normans and defend
King Harold and England.
The Battle of Hastings has begun.

William makes the first attack and
is met with strong
resistance.  As the fierce hand
to hand combat weakens
the English, William makes his
final attack in the evening.
In less than ten hours, the battle
is over.  The fields are covered
with bodies of dead and wounded
soldiers and horses.  King Harold
and his brothers have been killed.
William Duke of Normandy
rides as if he is already the new
King of England.  The English
Saxons have lost and the
French Normans have won.

The course of history over the
next 300 years is changed.
Not only is England a closer part
of Europe, but the nobles of
England speak French, not English
and spend time on their
French estates.  It also changes
the way the country is
ruled.  Under Saxon rule,
the earl is often as
important as the king, but
under Norman rule, the king
is the only one in control
and his rule is law.

Today the village where
the battle of Hastings
took place is called Battle.
 The town of Hastings
is approximately six miles to the
south east of the battlefield.
The battle is later called Senlac,
meaning a river of blood.