Saxon Seaxe Anglo Saxon History
Map Position
This map shows the position of locations containing '1066, anderida' centered on Hooe in Sussex.
Map Logic
This map shows Roman roads shown in black plotted from Ivan D Margary 'Roman Roads in Britain' published in 1955.

The red roads are taken from Ivan D Margary 'Roman ways in the Weald' published in 1948.

Also shown is the border of the Forest of Anderida in green. The changes in the coastline shown in pale blue, and the 5 metre high tide mark on the rivers shown in dark blue.

The dark shaded areas along the coast show the cliff line in 1066, which would make landing at these points impossible. so the only logical place for the Normans to land 700 ships would be from the Hooe peninsular to the Coombe valley at Bulverhythe. Any ships overrunning would have to pass the cliffs at Hastings to land.
Icon Key:
Roman Major Fort
Norman Fort
Battle Site

Battle of Hastings - Warriors and Weapons


The Fyrd(Fyrð) were the Saxon militia and made up the majority of the army, and would come from wherever the King chose to request them from..
The fyrd(actually spelt fyrð and pronounced fyrth) was the local militia from a Saxon shire in which all freemen had to serve when requested.

Those who refused military service were subject to fines or loss of their land.

According to the laws of Ine of Wessex(King from 688 to 726):

If a nobleman who holds land neglects military service, he shall pay 120 shillings and forfeit his land; a nobleman who holds no land shall pay 60 shillings; a commoner shall pay a fine of 30 shillings for neglecting military service.(source
The Fyrð would have been armed with weapons provided by their local landowner, so depending on their wealth they may have Chainmail corselets or padded leather jerkins, iron or leather helmets and swords.

The poorer or those from a lower caste would be armed with hachets, bills, spears clubs and great picks, iron forks and stakes.

They all would have had a wooden shield, and most likely a seaxe as backup.

At the Battle of Hastings the Fyrð are reported to have come from London, Kent, Herfort, Essesse, Suree, Sussesse, St. Edmund and Sufoc; of Norwis and Norfoc ; of Cantorbierre and Stanfort, Bedefort and Hundetone . The men of Northanton also came ; and those of Eurowic and Bokin keham, of Bed and Notinkeham, Lindesie and Nichole. There came also from the west all who heard the summons and very many were to be seen coming from Salebiere and Dorset, from Bat and from Sumerset. Many came too from about Glocestre, and many from Wirecestre, from Wincestre, Hontesire, and Brichesire.

From this report it looks like the majority of the Fyrð at the Battle of Hastings were from Wessex and the local counties Sussex, Surrey, Kent and Essex. So this army would have been different to the forces deployed at Stamford Bridge which would have been local to that area.
This picture of the bayeux tapestry shows the Norman Cavalry attacking uphill to the Fyrd defending the shieldwall, look carefully and you will see most Saxons seem to have moustaches.

The Fyrð seem to be less well armoured than the Thegns/Huscarls and seem to be using spears against the cavalry, also the cavalry appear to be attacking by throwing spears.

The Saxons in the foreground appear to be those who broke from the shieldwall and chased the retreating Normans and were cut down.

External References in no particular order :-
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)
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
Topographic Map of the UK


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Author: Simon M - Last Updated: 13/03/2024 13:12
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Data is derived from a number or sources including the Ordnance Survey Gazetter data overlayed onto Google Maps