The Battle of Stamford Bridge

Having won the Battle of Fulford Gate, the Vikings took time off. They did not burn the City of York as they had Scarborough but, as victors, they collected tribute in the form of goods and hostages. For late September, the weather was unseasonably hot. The Vikings made camp on the western and the eastern sides of the River Derwent.

In this portion of one of fifteen panels, the Viking army is relaxing.

They are fishing, talking and sleeping.  King Hadrada gave them permission to leave off their chain mail protection because of the heat.


Meanwhile, in southern England Earl Harold Godwinson (King Harold) had his army trained and ready to meet the expected invasion from Normandy. In Normandy, Duke William had his invasion army ready but the wind and tides had been unfavourable all summer. They waited, as did King Harold and his army in England.

King Harold heard about the Viking invasion in Scarborough. The Vikings had a poor reputation which made them unacceptable immigrants. King Harold gathered some/all of his army and marched them north to York. The distance between London and York is 215 miles (350 kms) which is about the distance between here, Guelph, and Ottawa. The roads were not as they are today. It is said that they did this march in four days but, this is so remarkable as to be unbelievable, that I can only think that they started out before the Battle of Fulford on September 20.  This is surmise on my part.

Their arrival at Stamford Bridge and their attack on September 25 was unexpected. In the first panel, their arrival is indicated by the dust storm you can see in the upper right section of the first picture.   The Vikings on the western (left, wrong end) of the narrow, wooden bridge were trapped.