Anglo Saxon History

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Map Position

This map shows the position of locations containing '' centered on Telham in Sussex.

Map Logic

This map shows the area around Battle and Hastings in 1066.

Roman roads are shown as black lines, red lines show old Roman Ridge trackways and purple lines show theoretical Roman roads implied by village and road names.

The thickness of the road implies the width of the Roman metalled surface.

The sea level is shown raised by 5 metres to accomodate the high tide level changes since 1066 see our Sea Level page.

The green shaded area shows what we believe is the area of the impassible Forest of Andredsweald.


 

Phase 15 - Preparations for the Battle

Preparations for the Battle, the camps and other details.

 

Phase 15 - Preparations for the Battle
Preparations for the Battle, the camps and other details.
This page shows the documentary evidence from translated original documents


Anglo Saxon Chronicles

No reference to this subject in this document.

Battle Abbey Chronicles

Having arrived at a hill called Hechelande, situated in the direction of Hastings, while they were helping one another on with their armour, there was brought forth a coat of mail for the duke to put on, and by accident it was handed to him the wrong side foremost. Those who stood by and saw this, cursed it as an unfortunate omen, but the duke's ewer again bade them be of good cheer, and declared that this also was a token of good fortune, namely, that those things which had before kept their ground were about fully to submit themselves to him.

The duke, perfectly unmoved, put on the mail with a placid countenance, and uttered these memorable words :'I know, my dearest friends, that if I had any confidence in omens, I ought on no account to go to battle to-day ; but, committing myself trustfully to my Creator in every matter, I have given no heed to omens ; neither have I ever loved sorcerers. Wherefore, now, secure of His aid, and in order to strengthen the hands and courage of you, who for my sake are about to engage in this conflict, I make a Vow, that upon this place of battle I will found a suitable free Monastery, for the salvation of you all, and especially of those who fall ; and this I will do in honour of God and his saints, to the end that the servants of God may be succoured ; that even as I shall be enabled to acquire for myself a propitious asylum, so it may be freely offered to all my followers.

'Among those who heard this vow, was a monk of Marmoutier, one William, suraamed Faber, who formerly, while in the service of the duke, had obtained the name of Faber (or ' the smith') from this circumstance As he was one day a-hunting with his companions, they happened to be short of arrows, and thereupon had recourse for more to a neighbouring smith, who proved to be unacquainted with such sort of work. William therefore seized his tools, and presently, with great ingenuity, fabricated an arrow. This man, afterwards changing his profession, betook himself to a religious life at Marmoutier, the fame of which for sanctity was then very great. And when the descent of the duke upon England was everywhere extolled, he, in order to advance the interests of his Church, attached himself to the army. Immediately on hearing the duke's vow, which was exactly suited to his wishes, he proposed that the monastery should be dedicated to the blessed bishop St. artin. The pious duke favoured his suit, and benignly promised that it should be so.

Bayeux_Tapestry

William is ready to mount his horse and his cavalry move off.
hic milites exierunt de hestenga et venerunt ad prelium contra haroldum rege
  (Here the knights have left Hastings and have come to the battle against King Harold)


William tries to find out where Harold is.
hic willelm dux interrogat vital si vidisset haroldi exercitu
  (Here Duke William asks Vital if he has seen Harold's army)


Harold's spies tell him about William.
iste nuntiat haroldum rege de exercitu willelmi ducis
  (This man tells King Harold about Duke William's army)

hic willelm dux alloquitur suis militibus
  (Here Duke William speaks to his knights)


Continued from previous.
ut preparen se viriliter et sapienter ad prelium contra anglorum exercitu
  (to prepare themselves manfully and wisely for the battle against the army of the English)



Carmen de Triumpho Normannico

No reference to this subject in this document.

Florence of Worcester

No reference to this subject in this document.

Henry of Huntingdon

The king hastened southwards to oppose him, and drew up his army on level ground in that neighbourhood.

Master Wace

Before the day of the battle, which was now become certain, the duke of his great courage told his ba rons, that he would himself speak with Harold; and summon him with his own mouth to render up what he had defrauded him of, and see what he would answer ; that he would appeal him of perjury, and summon him on his pledged faith ; and if he would not submit, and make reparation forthwith, he would straightway defy, and fight him on the morrow ; but that if he yielded, he would, with the consent of his council, give up to him all beyond the Humber towards Scotland.

The barons approved this, and some said to him, ' Fair sir, one thing we wish to say to you ; if we must fight, let us fight promptly, and let there be no delay. Delay may be to our injury, for we have nothing to wait for, but Harold's people increase daily; they come strengthening his army con stantly with fresh forces.' The duke said this was true, and he promised them that there should be no more delay.

Then he made a score of knights mount upon their war-horses. All had their swords girt, and their other arms were borne by the squires who went with them. A hundred other knights mounted next, and went riding after them, but at a little distance; and then a thousand knights also mounted and followed the hundred, but only so near as to see what the hundred and the twenty did.

The duke then sent to Harold, whether by monk or abbot I know not, and desired him to come into the field, and speak with him, and to fear nothing, but bring with him whom he would, that they might talk of an arrangement. But Gurth did not wait for Harold's answer, and neither let him speak, nor go to talk with the duke ; for he instantly sprang up on his feet, and said to the messenger, ' Harold will not go ! tell your lord to send his message to us hither, and let us know what he will take, and what he will leave, or what other arrangement he is willing: to make.

Whilst the messenger returned to carry this answer, Harold called together his friends and his earls, all by their names, to hear what message the duke would send back. And he sent word to Harold, that if he would abide by his covenant, he would give him all Northumberland, and whatever belonged to the kingdom beyond Humber ; and would also give to his brother Gurth the lands of Godwin their fa ther. And if he refused this, he challenged him for perjury in not delivering up the kingdom, and not taking his daughter to wife, as he ought : in all this he had lied and broken faith ; and unless he made reparation he defied him. And he desired the English should know and take notice, that all who came with Harold, or supported him in this affair, were excommunicated by the apostle and the clergy. At this excommunication the English were much troubled; they feared it greatly, and the battle still more. And much murmuring was to be heard on all hands, and consulting one with the other ; none was so brave, but that he wished the battle might be prevented.

' Seignors,' said Gurth, ' I know and see that you are in great alarm ; that you fear the event of the battle, and desire an arrangement : and so do I as much, and in truth more, I believe ; but I have also great fear of duke William, who is very full of treachery. You have heard what he says, and how low he rates us, and how he will only give us what he likes of a land which is not his yet. If we take what he offers, and go beyond the H umber, he will not long leave us even that, but will push us yet further. He will always keep his eye upon us, and bring us to ruin in the end. When he has got the uppermost, and has the best of the land, he will leave little for us, and will soon try to take it all. He wants to cheat us into taking instead of a rich country, a poor portion of one, and presently he will have even that. I have another fear, which is more on your than on my own account, for I think I could easily secure myself. He has given away all your lands to knights of other countries. There is neither earl nor baron to whom he has not made some rich present : there is no earldom, barony, nor chatelainie, which he has not given away : and I tell you for a truth, that he has already taken homage from many, for your inheritances which he has given them. They will chase you from your lands, and still worse, will kill you. They will pillage your vassals, and ruin your sons and daughters: they do not come merely for your goods, but utterly to ruin you and your heirs. Defend yourselves then and your children, and all that belong to you, while you may. My brother hath never given away, nor agreed to give away the great fiefs, the honors, or lands of your ancestors ; but earls have remained earls, and barons enjoyed their rights ; the sons have had their lands and fiefs after their fathers' deaths : and you know this to be true which I tell you, that peace was never disturbed. We may let things remain thus if we will, and it is best for us so to determine. But if you lose your houses, your manors, demesnes, arid other possessions, where you have been nourished all your lives, what will you become, and what will you do? Into what country will you flee, and what will become of your kindred, your wives and children ? In what land will they go begging, and where shall they seek an abode ? When they thus lose their own honour, how shall they seek it of others?'

By these words of Gurth, and by others which were said at his instance, and by pledges from Ha rold to add to the fiefs of the barons, and by his promises of things which were then out of his power to give, the English were aroused, and swore by God, and cried out, that the Normans had come on an evil day, and had embarked on a foolish matter. Those who had lately desired peace, and feared the battle, now carried themselves boldly, and were eager to fight ; and Gurth had so excited the council, that no man who had talked of peace would have been listened to, but would have been reproved by the most powerful there.

THE duke and his men tried no further negotiation, but returned to their tents, sure of fighting on the morrow. Then men were to be seen on every side straightening lances, fitting hauberks and helmets ; making ready the saddles and stirrups; filling the quivers, stringing the bows, and making all ready for the battle.


William of Jumièges/Orderic Vitalis(Gesta)

No reference to this subject in this document.

William of Malmesbury

No reference to this subject in this document.

Quedam Exceptiones de Historia Normannorum et Anglorum

Hastening to take them by surprise, riding through the night, he appeared impatient at the battlefield at dawn.



External References in no particular order :-
Original Manuscripts of the Anglo Saxon Chronicles
Online Anglo Saxon dictionary
Online Etymology dictionary
Open Domesday Book - The first free online copy of the Domesday Book
The Ermine Street Guard Roman re-enactment and research Society
The "Kent A" cadastre - page 5 - Peterson 2002
Archaeologia Cantiana Online
Romney Marsh Research Trust
Romney Marsh the Fifth Continent
VillageNet the reference guide to villages in Kent & Sussex
Global warming Flood Maps
The Anglo Saxon Chronicles
Google Maps - the core of the system
GeoPlaner - Useful site for plotting map data
Julius Caesar's Gallic Wars 55BC(Books 4 & 5)
Wikipedia - Caesar's invasions of Britain
Wikipedia - Portus Istus
The Geography of Claudius Ptolemy (Bill Thayers)
Roman Britain.org
Runetree Beowulf
Bayeux Tapestry Online
The Secrets of the Norman Invasion
Chronicles of John of Worcester
Battle Historic Society
Binsted village website(Mearcredesburnan Steðe)
The Spears of Andred

 

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Author: Simon M - Last Updated: 11/03/2019 12:03
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