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The Battle of Hastings

981 of 1188 nominations


The Battle of Hastings

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The Battle of Hastings

North of Hastings, on 14 October 1066, took place the most decisive battle in English history - the defeat of Harold Godwinson, last Anglo-Saxon king of England, by the invading Duke William of Normandy. It was a hard fought battle, lasting some eight hours. In the words of the chronicler, John of Worcester, Harold “fought so valiantly and stubbornly in his own defence that the enemy's forces could hardly make any headway. At last, after great slaughter on both sides, about twilight, the king, alas, fell."

The Norman victory transformed English society. The whole Anglo-Saxon ruling class was swept away, as lands owned by thousands of thanes (nobles) were redistributed to around 180 Norman and French barons. They were said to "hold" the land from the king, rather than own it themselves. To defend themselves from the English, who vastly outnumbered them, the Normans filled the land with castles.

One result of the conquest was that hundreds of French words entered English, including most of our terms to do with authority and law (power, advise, command, royalty, judge). English became a greatly richer language.

To read more about the Battle of Hastings, click here.


Your comments

Watershed event in English history, arguably the last successful military invasion of England, fueled our inherent belief in an impregnable island home

Geoffrey Norman

It was an important battle. England changed because of it.
M Anderson

Gracious Edward I'm glad you got that off your chest old chap. Must have a dickens of a thing to have all that inside.
Alan Fisk

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My nomination is the garden shed.