As the afternoon wore on, William began to fear that nightfall would give Harold time to regroup. Bringing his archers forward once more, he ordered them to aim high to soar above the English shields and rain down death from above. It was this tactic that famously gave rise to the depiction of Harold’s death on the Bayeux Tapestry , more at this website. Struck in the eye by an arrow, the last Saxon King of England was too weak to defend himself as the Normans charged again. Though he managed to strike down one Norman knight, he was killed in the onslaught.
With their King dead and the Normans closing in on both flanks at the top of Senlac Hill, the English began to waver, and fled towards the safety of the Wealden forests. William consolidated his position, allowed his troops a fortnight’s rest, and then began a slow march to London. With no King to unite them, the English lords soon submitted, and William was crowned King of all England in Westminster Abbey on Christmas Day 1066.
The Norman Conquest is still often considered the starting point of British history. Strictly speaking this is a nonsense but, nonetheless, it must count as one of the most significant events of the last 1,000 years.The ensuing clash and merger of the Norman and Saxon cultures, via Henry II’s reforms of the English legal system and King John’s reluctant granting of Magna Carta to placate his nobles, formed the basis for the modern British, and American, political and legal systems. Norman French slowly blended with Anglo-Saxon and the Latin of the church until, by the time of Chaucer three centuries later, a recognisably English language had begun to emerge.
READER OFFER Brunel birthday giveaway
IT SEEMS UNFAIR for Brunel to have a birthday and there not be any presents, so we’ve teamed up with Videoex Productions and the Royal Mail to give our readers the chance to celebrate in style. We have five copies of the DVD The Life of Brunel to give away and ten first edition sets of these Brunel bicentenary stamps. To win simply tell us the year of the Great Exhibition, at which the engineer exhibited his Iron Duke steam locomotive for the first time. Send
Brunel’s brilliance explored
CONTINUING THE BICENTENARY celebrations of Isambard Kingdom Brunel’s birth , Bristol’s Maritime Heritage Centre has been refurbished for a special exhibition. Set alongside Brunel’s mighty iron ship SS Great Britain, the show brings the great Victorian engineer’s career and works to life. Visitors are encouraged to explore the achievements and near-disasters of his innovative work. Among the great man’s letters and journals can be found abandoned designs and items that inspired him. The centrepiece is a giant recreation of his 50 tonne broad gauge railway engine The Iron Duke, which served on the Great Western Railway from London to Bristol, visit all this places with only one clik at this wonderful website.This vast engine dwarves modern locomotives thanks to its wider tracks — an anomaly which was eventually superceded by the standard gauge railways which came to dominate the world.