After the battle of Hastings was won, William of Normandy expected the English lords to pay tribute to him. However, this did not happen. So he decided to rest his army for some time before proceeding to London.
The Battle of Hastings which took place on October 14, 1066 is considered to the decisive battle resulting in the Norman conquest of England. The battle took place at Senlac Hill, about ten kms from Hastings.
The Norman strategy for the battle relied on the archers attacking the enemy with arrows, the infantry which would engage the enemy in combat and a final charge by the cavalry. However, the English army formed a shield wall to protect themselves, so the arrows had little effect on them. The Norman infantry then charged up the hill, but were faced by a barrage of stones, javelins and other weapons. The cavalry charge also was ineffective, as the horses shied away from the axes, swords and other weapons.
After an hour of battle, the Norman army suffered heavy casualties. Seeing this, the undisciplined English army were tempted to pursue the enemy. They broke their formations and dispersed. As they were no longer protected by the shield wall, the Norman invaders led by William, could easily attack and kill the Englishmen. By the time, the English army realised that it was counter-attacked, it was too late.
The archers in the Norman army launched an attack over the shield wall, targetting the fighters at the rear of the army. One of the arrows hit King Harold in the eye and he was killed. With their leader and many nobles killed, the fyrd or part time soldiers scattered and many fled the battlefield, resulting in a victory for the Norman army.
The army of Duke William of Normandy had a large number of trained warriors or mercernaries who fought with him for a share of the spoils of war.
It had a strength of 8,400 soldiers consisting of 2,200 cavalry, 1,700 archers and 4,500 infantry (men-at-arms). The archers would first attack the enemy, and would be followed by the infantry and a cavalry charge.
The strength of the English army was 7,500 and consisted entirely of infantry. Of these , about 2,000 were Housecarls, full time professional soldiers who were dedicated to the King of England and would fight to the last man. The rest of the army were 5,500 fyrd, who were part time soldiers drawn from small landholding nobility.
Normandy was a region in the northern part of France, just across the English channel. In 911, the Viking, Rollo settled in this region after an agreement with the king of France. He was expected to protect the region from further Viking attacks.Normandy was a feudal state, where the vassals held land in return for military service.
In 1066, the Duchy of Normandy was ruled by Duke William who also though he had a right to the throne of England . He had been assembling an army to invade England, which also included contingents from other parts of France like Britanny and Flanders.
Soon after the battle of Stamford Bridge got over, Duke William and his army crossed the English channel and landed in England on September 28, 1066 A.D.
On hearing the news of the Norman army landing on the English coast, Harold Godwinson marched south with his army to battle the Norman invaders. He halted briefly at London, to gather more people. This was a strategic mistake as his army was tired and could not match the Norman invaders at the battle of Hastings.
King Harald of Norway (commonly known as Harald Hardrada) was one of the many claimants to the throne of England. He believed he had a right to the throne of England based on a treaty between the King of Norway and one of earlier Kings of England.
In early September 1066, Harald invaded northern England with a fleet of 300 ships and about 15000 men. He was assisted by the estranged and exiled brother of Harold Godwinson, Tostig Godwinson. Initially the Norwegian invaders were successful and were able to capture the city of York.
The army of Harold Godwinson was rushed to the north of the country to battle the invaders. A fierce battle took place at Stamford Bridge on 16th September 1066, and the Norwegian invaders suffered a crushing defeat. King Harald of Norway was killed in the battle. Out of the 300 ships that had reached England, only 24 could return with the injured warriors.
Though the English army was victorious in the battle of Stamford Bridge, it also suffered losses. It was in a battered and weakened state which adversely affected its capacity to repel the Norman invasion of England.
The Norman conquest of England took place in 1066. At the beginner of 1066, the Anglo Saxon ruler of England, Edward the Confessor was on his deathbed. Since he had no children, there was no direct heir to the throne and he had not publicly designated any heir to succeed him.
After Edward the Confessor died on January 5th,1066, he was succeeded by Harold Godwinson, whose sister was married to Edward the Confessor. He claimed that Edward the Confessor had annoited him the successor on his deathbed in the presence of the queen. Since Harold Godwinson was a powerful lord in the country, he soon received the approval of the Witan, the decision making body who could decide who would be king.
This was resented by William of Normandy (a region in Northern France today). He was distantly related to Edward the Confessor and claimed that Edward the Confessor had promised him the throne of England on his death.
The conquest of England by William of Normandy is one of the milestones in the history of country.