|Battle of Hastings AD1066 - Phase 10 - Harold returns|
Harold marches back with his Huscarls to London and gathers his forces.
|This page shows the documentary evidence from translated original documents|
Anglo Saxon Chronicles
William, however, came against him unawares, ere his army was collected; but the king, nevertheless,
very hardly encountered him with the men that would support him: and there was a great slaughter made on either side.
Battle Abbey Chronicles
Harold, the usurper of the kingdom, hearing of his arrival, quickly collected his army, resolved upon
driving out the duke,
or rather upon utterly destroying him and his, and marched forward, with great boldness and expedition,
to the place which
is now called Battel, where the duke, surrounded by his battalions of cavalry, met him courageously.
No reference to this subject in this document.
Carmen de Triumpho Normannico
The king returned from war laden with rich spoils
The messenger, coming up with him, spread this before the ranks
The Duke of Normandy with Gauls and Bretons
He is laying waste and putting to the torch
He summond the dukes, counts and nobles of the land
Through you we conquered the enemy who Norway sent
Of like importance , we have laid low
Him who suckled milk at my mothers own teat
You my elite guard and militia
Hear that the Normans invade our Kingdom
Presently a battle cry arose that struck the stars
We spoil for war rather than place our necks under the yoke
Florence of Worcester
Thereupon the king led his army towards London by forced marches ; and, although he was very sensible that some of the
bravest men in England had fallen in the two [recent] battles, and that one half of his troops was not yet assembled,
he did not hesitate to meet the enemy in Sussex, without loss of time ; and on Saturday, the eleventh of the calends
of November [22nd October], before a third of his army was in fighting order, he gave them battle at a place nine miles
from Hastings, where they had built a fort.
Henry of Huntingdon
Harold, king of England, returned to York the same day, with great triumph. But while he was at dinner, a
messenger arrived with the news that William, duke of Normandy, had landed on the south coast and had
built a fort at Hastings.
Harold came full speed to London, ordering that from every part of England all should come forthwith,
fully equipped, by a time appointed them, without allowing any excuse except sickness. He
would have challenged the duke, and at once fixed a day for the battle, but he waited till his great baronage
should come together : and they came in haste on receiving the summons.
The duke soon heard that Harold was assembling a great host, and that he was come to London from
the north, where he had killed his brother Tosti.
William of Jumièges/Orderic Vitalis(Gesta)
For his intrepidity was dauntless, and his conduct of affairs admirable, while his personal strength was great,
his presence commanding, and he had the arts of a persuasive eloquence, and of a courtesy which endeared him
to his supporters. Still his mother Githa, who was much afflicted by the death of her son Tostig, and his other
faithful friends, dissuaded him from engaging in battle with the Normans; his brother, Earl Gurth, thus addressing
him: 'It is best, dearest brother and lord, that your courage should be tempered by discretion. You are worn by the
conflict with the Norwegians from which you are only just come, and you are in eager haste to give battle to the
Normans. Allow yourself, I pray you, some time for rest. Reflect also, in your wisdom, on the oath you have taken
to the duke of Normandy. Beware of incurring the guilt of perjury, lest by so great a crime you draw ruin on
yourself and the forces of this nation, and stain for ever the honour of our own race. For myself, I am bound by
no oaths, I am under no obligations to Count William. I am therefore in a position to fight with him undauntedly
in defence of our native soil. But do you, my brother, rest awhile in peace, and wait the issue of the contest,
that so the liberty which is the glory of England, may not be ruined by your fall.'
Harold was very indignant at this speech. Holding in contempt the wholesome advice of his friends, he loaded his brother
with reproaches for his faithful counsel, and even forgot himself so far as to kick his mother when she hung about him in
her too great anxiety to detain him with her. For six days Harold sent forth the summons to call the people to arms from
all quarters, and, having assembled vast numbers of the English, he led them by forced marches against the enemy.
William of Malmesbury
Harold, elated by his successful enterprise, vouchsafed no part of the spoil to his soldiers. Wherefore
many, as they found opportunity, stealing away, deserted the king, as he was proceeding to the battle of
Quedam Exceptiones de Historia Normannorum et Anglorum
And while he was returning from this slaughter he met a messenger on the way who revealed the fleet of the Normans had landed at Hastingas. And when he had heard, just as he was, still drenched in his brotherís blood, so under the same arms with a countless multitude of English and Danes he was impatient to meet up with the army of the Normans.
Hastening to take them by surprise, riding through the night, he appeared impatient at the battlefield at dawn.