Harold Marches South
|William of Malmsbury's text for the Battle of Hastings 1066
which was completed around 1125AD called the 'Gesta Regum Anglorum'
for the full text
William of Malmesbury (c.?1095AD – c.?1143AD) was the foremost English
historian of the 12th century. He has been ranked among the most talented English historians since Bede.
William was born about 1095 or 1096 in Wiltshire. His father was Norman and his mother English,
and spent his whole life in England and his adult life as a monk at Malmesbury Abbey in Wiltshire, England.
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
English are Routed
For with the exception of his stipendiary and mercenary soldiers, he had very few of the people with him ;
on which account, circumvented by a stratagem of William's, he was routed, with the army he headed, after
possessing the kingdom nine months and some days.
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 !