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On this day: Battle of Hastings

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On this day, in 1066, Duke William of Normandy defeated King Harold of England at the Battle of Hastings.

Click here for a video about "the most decisive, and certainly the most famous, battle ever fought on English soil. William's triumph, and his subsequent coronation as King William I (1066-87), marked the end of Anglo-Saxon England, the creation of new ties with Western Europe, and the imposition of a new and more cohesive ruling class."

Click here for a video about the Bayeux Tapestry.

Click here for an animated Bayeux Tapestry, by David Newton.

The Bayeux Tapestry is not really a tapestry. It is embroidery, wool on linen, worked probably in Winchester or Canterbury, probably by Saxon nuns, commissioned by Bishop Odo of Bayeux, William's half-brother. Only two embroidery stitches were used: the stem stitch and couching.

Click here for answers to questions about the Bayeux Tapestry.

David Howarth's 1066: The Year of the Conquest, Viking Press, 1978, contains a great deal of information about the various elements of the invasion illustrated in the Bayeux Tapestry, including the ships. "In the hundred and fifty years since their Viking ancestors landed, the Normans had lost the habit of using the sea. . . .The barons, ordered to build a fleet in six months, must desperately have rounded up every woodman and carpenter in the country". Pages 118-120. Search term: Bayeux.

For Howarth's set piece about life in Anglo-Saxon England just before the Norman invasion, see the first chapter, "England: New Year's Day," page 11. "It was not a bad life to be English when the year began; it was the kind of life that many modern people vainly envy." See pages 23-25 for information about what the people of Horstede did for fun.

Click here for a wargamer's web site about the Battle of Hastings.

Click here for Wikipedia.

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July 4-17, 2014

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