1066 was a year that changed a lot of things – though not as much as you might think. 3 experienced war leaders fought for control of England – and we all know who won, so no need to worry about plot spoilers. The History of England podcast takes us up the coronation of William at Westminster Abbey, Christmas day 1066
Why William, Harold and Harold claimed the throne
Harold Godwinsson claimed the throne by an ancient elective principle. He was nominated by Edward the Confessor, and appointed king by the Witan. Lets hear it for the poor of the people! William the Bastard claimed the throne by hereditary right through his Great Aunt Emma of Normandy. Plus he said that Harold had sworn an oath to help his claim. Harold Hadradaa said that Magnus I of Norway and Harthacnut has agreed that whoever died last should get England, back in 1040. But when Harthacnur died first, Edward the Confessor took the throne instead.
I'm only going to do a simple coverage on the blog – There are literally a billion websites (well quite a few anyway) that will tell you all you want to know, if you want more information or want to read about it . The BBC's is comprehensive and straightforward – cleck here if you want to look at it. You can listen to Stanley Holloway's version of events at Hastings as well, on YouTube here. Or find out more about Fulford at a very dedicated website here.
So the main events . . .
- 6th January: Harold is hastily crowned King in Westminster Abbey
- Spring and summer: Harold gets an army and Navy together and waits for the axe to fall. Nothing happens. William is in Normandy, arguing with his barons, persuading the Pope to help out, building ships and then, once he's done all that waiting for the wind to change so that he can sail over.
- 8th September: Harold has to disband his army and navy – no more food, everyone needs to go back to the fields. The very same day, Hadrada and Tostig land in Northumbria. Ach, bummer.
- 12th September: William sails – but gets pushed back into port
- 20th September: the Battle of Fulford: Earls Edwin and Morcar do their best, but it's not good enough, and they are defeated by Hadrada.
- ?21st – 25th: Harold absolutely canes it up to the north, about 185 miles in 4 days. The Vikings are luxuriating in their victory, are caught unawares and comprehensively defeated at the Battle of Stamfordbridge. Yay.
- 28th September: William lands at Pevensey and starts to knock up a castle. Harold absolutely charges down to London with his men, but then, sensibly, waits for a week in London getting himself together, orders the local Fryds to assemble. Then it's off to the seaside.
- 14th October: The Battle of Hasting. Boo. They think it's all over…
- October: The Witan proclaim Edgar the Atheling king.
- November: William marches to Wallingford, buring and destroying as he goes. Archbishop Stigand gives in and submits.
- December: Edgar and the Anglo Saxon Thegns submit to William the Bastard at Berkhampstead, and now we must start to call him William the Conqueror. William is crowned William Ist on Christmas Day. … it is now.
The companions of William the Conqueror
There are 15 people who we are pretty sure were with William on his great adventure. Some of them gained massive rewards from their support. The nams we know are:
Robert de Beaumont
Eustace, Count of Boulogne
William, 3rd Count of Évreux
Geoffrey of Mortagne
Aimeri, Viscount of Thouars
Walter Giffard, Lord of Longueville
Hugh de Montfort, Lord of Montfort-sur-Risle
Ralph de Tosny
Hugh de Montfort
William de Warenne
Odo, Bishop of Bayeux
Engnulf de Laidgle