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Early in 1066, Edward the Confessor, King of England died. He had no son to take over the throne.
Edward the Confessor (1004-1066)
Harold, Earl of Wessex, Edward's brother-in-law, was immediately crowned king.
King Harold (1022-1066)
But Harold had sworn allegiance to William and had recognized him as the future king.
Harold's Oath of Fealty to William of Normandy (1064)
Bishop Odo of Bayeux advised William to build a fleet and embark for England to dethrone Harold.
Odo of Bayeux, William's half-brother.
William landed in England on 28 September 1066, at Pevensey near Hastings. He established a camp. Soon after, Harold and his army arrived.
The Battle of Hastings occured on 14 October 1066. It lasted most of the day. Harold was killed and his army collapsed. William was victorious.
On Christmas Day 1066, William was crowned king in Westminster Abbey.
Coronation of William the Conqueror
The Bayeux Tapestry
The Bayeux Tapestry is neither a tapestry nor a woven cloth.
It is a long embroidered cloth (50 cm x 70 m) that you can see in a museum in Bayeux, France.
It tells the story of the Norman conquest of England by William the Conqueror.
The tapestry may have been commissioned by Bishop Odo and was probably made in Canterbury or Winchester by English needleworkers.
This animated version starts about halfway through the original work at the coronation of Harold and the appearance of Halley's Comet (0:20) Six men are pointing at the star. Above them you can read 'Isti mirant stella', which means: 'They marvel at the star'.
The annotations on the tapestry are in Latin. (the English words have been added in the video).
Decorative borders along the top and bottom portray scenes from fables, farming, hunting and mythological figuressuch as lions and dragons.
Bishop Odo went with William on the expedition. He is shown blessing the food and drink. (2:15)
They built a Motte and Bailey castle (2:19)
A 'motte' is a hudge mound of earth with a keep or tower on the top.
A 'bailey' is like a little village at the bottom of the motte where men, provisions and horses can be housed. It is surrounded by a wooden fence and a ditch sometimes filled with water.
A Motte and Bailey castle could be built quickly (1 or 2 weeks).
The Norman Knights had horses unlike the English who were on foot. (3:16) Spears and javelins are themost common weapons used by the Norman knights on the Tapestry. Other weapons used during the battle were axes, bows, maces and swords. Shields were used for protection.
Harold is crowned king despite his oath to William. A comet is seen as an omen. Harold sends a messenger to France. William is furious at Harold's betrayal. William orders an invasion fleet to be built. Weapons and supplies are carried onto ships. The Norman invasion sails across the Channel. William's army lands near Hastings. . The Normans set up camp. William's cooks prepare a banquet in his honor.
A Motte and Bailey castle is built for defense. A house is burnt down to make way for the Norman army. William prepares for battle. The Norman army advances. The Normans outflank the Saxons. Lewine, brother of Harold, is slain. Both Saxons and Normans fall in the raging battle.
William rallies his troops for a final charge. King Harold is killed in the battle.
The Normans are victorious.
Harold's and William's armies met on Senlac Hill, 10 km from Hastings.