King Harold at Stamford Bridge

Harold Godwinson, the Earl of Wessex, was the most powerful noble in England and the brother-in-law of King Alfred of England. Alfred had no children and no successor except a young nephew who would not be considered not be considered because of his age. The Witenagemot, an assembly of the nobility determined the succession, not primogeniture.

Harold’s crowning after Alfred’s death was a cause for war with William whose great-aunt was Harold’s mother which he saw as giving him rights to the English throne. While William was preparing his invasion, Harold’s brother, Tostig, however, approached King of Norway, Harald Hardrada, to help him usurp the throne of England. Harold Hardrada, however, decided he had some claim to the throne himself. The two joined forces to push their claim by force of arms (that means they were going to attack Harold and England.).

While King Harold awaited William’s arrival in the south, Harald Hardrada with Earl Tostig invaded England from the north (near York). King Harold’s forces marched north and defeated the Norwegian Vikings at Stamford Bridge on September 25, 1066. Both Hardrada and Tostig died in battle.

When Harold heard that the Duke William’s forces had landed he hurried southward to meet the invaders. Ignoring his brother’s, Earl Gyrth, advice to delay to recover from battle and assemble more men, he left London on October 12th and arrived at Senlac Hill on October 13th only to be defeated and killed in battle by William. Pic: Duke William and Harold in Normandy Hawking in better days.

Tomorrow, William the Bastard     Rita Bay

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