Anglo Saxon History

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Map Position

This map shows the position of locations containing '' centered on Pembury in Kent.

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 20 - After the Battle

Consequenses of the battle, the burial of Harold, the destruction of New Romney and the surrender of Dover and London.

 

Phase 20 - After the Battle
Consequenses of the battle, the burial of Harold, the destruction of New Romney and the surrender of Dover and London.
This page shows the documentary evidence from translated original documents


Anglo Saxon Chronicles

Archbishop Aldred and the corporation of London were then desirous of having child Edgar to king, as he was quite natural to them; and Edwin and Morkar promised them that they would fight with them. But the more prompt the business should ever be, so was it from day to day the later and worse; as in the end it all fared.

This battle was fought on the day of Pope Calixtus: and Earl William returned to Hastings, and waited there to know whether the people would submit to him. But when he found that they would not come to him, he went up with all his force that was left and that came since to him from over sea, and ravaged all the country that he overran, until he came to Berkhampstead; where Archbishop Aldred came to meet him, with child Edgar, and Earls Edwin and Morkar, and all the best men from London; who submitted then for need, when the most harm was done.

It was very ill-advised that they did not so before, seeing that God would not better things for our sins. And they gave him hostages and took oaths: and he promised them that he would be a faithful lord to them; though in the midst of this they plundered wherever they went. Then on midwinter's day Archbishop Aldred hallowed him to king at Westminster, and gave him possession with the books of Christ, and also swore him, ere that he would set the crown on his head, that he would so well govern this nation as any before him best did, if they would be faithful to him. Nevertheless he laid very heavy tribute on men, and in Lent went over sea to Normandy, taking with him Archbishop Stigand, and Abbot Aylnoth of Glastonbury, and the child Edgar, and the Earls Edwin, Morkar, and Waltheof, and many other good men of England. Bishop Odo and Earl William lived here afterwards, and wrought castles widely through this country, and harassed the miserable people; and ever since has evil increased very much.

Battle Abbey Chronicles

There lay between the hostile armies a certain dreadful precipice, caused either by a natural chasm of the earth, or by some convulsion of the elements. It was of considerable extent, and being overgrown with bushes or brambles was not very easily seen, and great numbers of men — principally Normans in pursuit of the English — were suffocated in it. Eor, ignorant of the danger, as they were running in a dis-orderly manner, they fell into the chasm and were fearfully dashed to pieces and slain. And the pit from this deplorable accident is still called Malfosse.

Amid these miseries there was exhibited a fearful spectacle :the fields were covered with dead bodies, and on every hand nothing was to be seen but the red hue of blood. The dales all around sent forth a gory stream which increased at a distance to the size of a river. How great, think you, must have been the slaughter of the conquered, when that of the conquerors is reported upon the lowest computation to have exceeded ten thousand ? Oh ! how vast a flood of human gore was poured out in that place where these unfortunates fell and were slain ! What dashing to pieces of arms ;what clashing of strokes ; what shrieks of dying men - what grief ; what sighs, were heard ! How many groans ; how many bitter notes of direst calamity then sounded forth who can rightly calculate ! What a wretched exhibition of human misery was there to call forth astonishment ! In the very contemplation of it our pen fails us. Yet it is proper to add that, the battle being at length concluded, upon that triumph England submitted to the Normans.

The place being marked where the standard of this rash and hostile invasion fell, the duke went forward with all haste to extend his authority. Having at length reached London, the chief city of the realm, he offered the citizens a treaty of peace, which they unwillingly accepted, though in the end they joyfully received him as the heir and lord. And some portion of the kingdom being now prudently pacified ; by the consent of the magnates and nobles of the state, he was dignified with the throne and crown of the English monarchy, and invested with his well-deserved diadem, at the Nativity of Our Lord, as the one thousand and sixty-seventh year since his incarnation was coming in.

William Coche, Robert of Bolonia, and Robert Blancard. These personages having viewed the scene of the battle, judged it an unsuitable site for so noble a building, but thought a lower place on the western side of the hill more eligible ; and there, not to seem remiss in their undertaking, they built some little dwellings. The place is to this day called Herst, and a certain thorn-tree growing there is a memorial of this circumstance.

The king on making careful enquiries as to the progress of , the work, was told by the monks that the place where the monks dislike where he had determined to build the abbey was situated upon a hill with a parched soil, dry, and destitute of water ; and they entreated him that a more convenient spot in the immediate vicinity might be chosen for so important a work. Upon this the king grew angry, and commanded them with all haste to lay the foundations of the temple on the very place where he had achieved the victory over refuses to his enemy. Not daring to resist him, they complained of the scarcity of water ; to which the king is reported to have replied in these memorable words ' If God spare my life, I will so amply provide for this place, that wine shall be more abundant here than water is in any other great abbey !

'They next complained of the unfitness of the place, because, the ground being woody for some distance round, proper stone for the edifice could not be obtained ; but the king, undertaking to defray all expenses out of his own treasury, sent ships to the town of Caen to when, in compliance with the royal order, they had imported some part of the stone from Normandy, in the meantime, as is said, it was revealed to a certain religious matron, that upon digging in the place indicated to her in a vision, they would find plenty of stone for this purpose.

They commenced a search accordingly, and, at no great distance from the boundary which had been marked out for the Abbey, materials found such an ample supply, that it plainly appeared, that a concealed treasure of it had been espot 'divinely laid in that very place from eternity, for the building there to be erected !

Bayeux_Tapestry

No reference to this subject in this document.

Carmen de Triumpho Normannico

The duke gathered the torn remnants of Harold’s body
And so carried with him, returned to his seaside camp
Swearing it better Harold was buried promptly on the coast of the port under a heap of stones

Therefore just as he had vowed high on a cliff
He ordered the body entombed on the ground at the summit.
That he may remain sentry over sea and strand

He remained at the camp at the port of Hastings five days
And turned from there to the Dover road
He had not finished half the journey when, fearing him
And bestowed the keys of the castle and open gates
In that place is a high rock, a narrow sea, a shaded shore
But Dover castle hangs on the heights of the cliffs

Florence of Worcester

Earl William led his army back to Hastings.

Harold reigned nine months and as many days. The earls Edwin and Morcar, who had withdrawn with their troops from the battle on hearing that he was dead, went to London, and sent off their sister, queen Elgitha, to Chester ; but Aldred, archbishop of York, and the earls just mentioned, with the citizens of London and the seamen, were desirous to proclaim Edgar the etheling king, he being nephew of king Edmund Ironside ; and promised that they would renew the war under his banner. But while many were preparing to go forth to battle, the earls withdrew their support, and returned home with their army.

Meanwhile, earl William was laying waste Sussex, Kent. Hampshire, Surrey, Middlesex, and Herefordshire, and ceased not from burning vills and slaughtering the inhabitants, until he came to a vill called Beorcham [Berkhampstead], where Aldred, the archbishop, Wulfstan, bishop of Worcester, Walter. bishop of Hereford, Edgar the etheling, the earls Edwin and Morcar, and some Londoners of the better sort, with many others, met him, and, giving hostages, made their submission, and swore fealty to him ; but, although he concluded a treaty with them, he still allowed his troops to burn and pillage the vills.

The feast of our Lord's Nativity approaching, he marched the whole army to London that he might be proclaimed king there ; and as Stigand, the primate of all England, lay under the censure of the apostolical pope for not having obtained the pall canonically, he was anointed by Aldred, archbishop of York, with great ceremony, at Westminster, on Christmas day, which that year fell on a Monday ; having first, as the archbishop required, sworn before the altar of St. Peter the apostle, in the presence of the clergy and people, to protect the holy churches of God and their governors, and to rule the whole nation subject to him with justice and kingly providence, to make and maintain just laws, and straitly to forbid every sort of rapine and all unrighteous judgments.

Henry of Huntingdon

After the defeat of the English army, and so great a victory, the Londoners submitted peaceably to William, and he was crowned at Westminster, by Aldred, archbishop of York. Thus the hand of the Lord brought to pass the change which a remarkable comet had foreshadowed in the beginning of the same year ; as it was said, 'In the year 1066, all England was alarmed by a flaming comet.'

The battle was fought in the month of October, on the feast of St. Calixtus [Oct. 14]. King William afterwards founded a noble abbey on the spot, which obtained the fitting name of Battle Abbey.

Master Wace

William fought well ; many an assault did he lead, many a blow did he give, and many receive, and many fell dead under his hand. Two horses were killed under him, and he took a third when necessary, so that he fell not to the ground, and lost not a drop of blood. But whatever any one did, and whoever lived or died, this is certain, that Wil liam conquered, and that many of the English fled from the field, and many died on the spot. Then he returned thanks to God, and in his pride order ed his gonfanon to be brought and set up on high, where the English standard had stood ; and that was the signal of his having conquered, and beaten down the standard. And he ordered his tent to be raised on the spot among the dead, and had his meat brought thither, and his supper prepared there.

But behold, up galloped Galtier Giffart ; ' Sire,' said he, ' what are you about ? you are surely not fitly placed here among the dead. Many an Eng lishman lies bloody and mingled with the dead, but yet sound, or only wounded and besmeared with gore ; tarrying of his own accord, and meaning to rise at night, and escape in the darkness. They would delight to take their revenge, and would sell their lives dearly ; no one of them caring who killed him afterwards, if he but slew a Norman first; for they say we have done them much wrong. You should lodge elsewhere, and let yourself be guard ed by one or two thousand armed men, whom you can best trust. Let a careful watch be set this night, for we know not what snares may be laid for us. You have made a noble day of it, but I like to see the end of the work.' ' Giffart,' said the duke, ' I thank God, we have done well hitherto ; and, if such be God's will, we will go on, and do well henceforward. Let us trust God for all !'

Then he turned from Giffart, and took off his ar mour; and the barons and knights, pages and squires came, when he had unstrung his shield ; and they took the helmet from his head, and the hauberk from his back, and saw the heavy blows upon his shield, and how his helmet was dinted in. And all greatly wondered, and said, ' Such a baron (ber) never be strode warhorse, nor dealt such blows, nor did such feats of arms; neither has there been on earth such a knight since Rollant and Oliver.'

Thus they lauded and extolled him greatly, and rejoiced in what they saw; but grieving also for their friends who were slain in the battle. And the duke stood meanwhile among them, of noble stature and mien; and rendered thanks to the king of glory, through whom he had the victory; and thanked the knights around him, mourning also frequently for the dead. And he ate and drank among the dead, and made his bed that night upon the field.

The morrow was Sunday; and those who had slept upon the field of battle, keeping watch around, and suffering great fatigue, bestirred themselves at break of day, and sought out and buried such of the bodies of their dead friends as they might find. The noble ladies of the land also came, some to seek their husbands, and others their fathers, sons, or bro thers. They bore the bodies to their villages, and interred them at the churches ; and the clerks and priests of the country were ready, and, at the re quest of their friends, took the bodies that were found, and prepared graves and lay them therein. King Harold was carried and buried at Varham; but I know not who it was that bore him thither, neither do I know who buried him. Many remained on the field, and many had fled in the night.

THE duke placed a guard in Hastings, from the best of his knights, so as to garrison the castle well, and went thence to Romenel, to destroy it utterly, because some of his people had arrived there, I know not by what accident, and the false and traitorous had killed them by felony. On that account he was very wroth against them, and grievously punished them for it.

Proceeding thence, he rested no where till he reached Dover, at the strong fort he had ordered to be made at the foot of the hill. The castle on the hill

William of Jumièges/Orderic Vitalis(Gesta)

The victory being secured, the duke returned to the field of battle, where he viewed the dreadful carnage, which could not be seen without commiseration. There the flower of the youth and nobility of England covered the ground far and near stained with blood. Harold could not be discovered by his features, but was recognized by other tokens, and his corpse, being borne to the duke's camp, was, by order of the conqueror, delivered to William Mallet for interment near the seashore, which had long been guarded by his arms.

Inconstant fortune frequently causes adverse and unex- pected changes in human affairs ; some persons being lifted from the dust to the height of great power, while others, suddenly falling from their high estate, groan in extreme distress. Thus Edith, Earl Godwin's relict, who once enjoyed wealth and influence, was now overwhelmed with grief and a prey to the deepest misfortunes. She had borne seven sons to her husband : Sweyn, Tostig, Harold, Gurth, Alfgar, and Wulnoth. They were all earls, and distinguished for their handsome persons, as well as what the world calls excellence; but each of them underwent a different and disastrous fate. Alfgar and Wulnoth, indeed, feared God and lived according to his laws, and both died in the odour of sanctity confessing the true faith, the one a pilgrim and monk at Eheims, the other at Salisbury.

Eor the other five, following the career of arms, they met their death in a variety of ways, and on different occasions. The sorrowing mother now offered to Duke William, for the body of Harold, its weight in gold ; but the great conqueror refused such a barter, thinking it was not right that a mother should pay the last honours to one by whose insatiable ambition, vast numbers lay unburied. He issued orders that the bodies of his own soldiers should be buried with the greatest care ; and also gave all the English who applied for leave free liberty to bury those of their friends.

After providing for the decent interment of the dead the duke marched to Romney, and taking it by assault, revenged the slaughter of a party of his troops, who, having landed there by mistake, were fiercely attacked by the in- habitants and cruelly butchered, after great loss on both sides.

The duke then continued his march to Dover, where there was a large body of people collected, because they thought the position impregnable, the castle standing on the summit of a steep rock, overhanging the sea. The garrison, however, struck with panic at the duke's approach, were preparing to surrender, when some Norman squires, greedy for spoil, set the place on fire, and the devouring flames spreading around, many parts were ruined and burnt. The duke, compassionating those who were willing to render him their submission, ordered them to be paid the cost of rebuilding their houses, and their other losses. The castle being taken, eight days were spent in strengthening the fortifications. While he lay there a great number of soldiers, who devoured flesh-meat half raw and drank too much water, died of dysentery, and many more felt the effects to the end of their days. The duke, leaving a garrison in the castle, with those who were suffering from dysentery, marched onward to complete the subjugation of those he had vanquished. The Kentish men, of their own accord, met him not far from Dover and swore fealty to him, delivering hostages for their allegiance.

William of Malmesbury

The effect of war in this affair was trifling ; it. was brought about by the secret and wonderful counsel of God : since the Angles never again, in any general battle, made a struggle for liberty, as if the whole strength of England had fallen with Harold, who certainly might and ought to pay the penalty of his perfidy, even though it were at the hands of the most unwarlike people. Nor in saying this, do I at all derogate from the valour of the Normans, to whom I am strongly bound, both by my descent, and for the privileges I enjoy. Still those persons appear to me to err, who augment the numbers of the English, and underrate their courage ; who, while they design to extol the Normans, load them with ignominy. A mighty commendation indeed ! that a very warlike nation should conquer a set of people who were obstructed by their multitude, and fearful through cowardice !

Quedam Exceptiones de Historia Normannorum et Anglorum

No reference to this subject in this document.



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
Find British Archaelogical Sites
Wealden Iron Research Group

 

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Author: Simon M - Last Updated: 08/04/2019 14:01
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