Stamford Bridge Tapestry Project 1066- updated.

Here is a new video that updates us on the progress made to the Stamford Bridge Tapestry.  I wrote about this project a few months ago.  The video will tell you and show you the embroidery in progress. Here is a repeat of  the historical background.

1066 was a bad year for England.  Very bad in fact.  King Edward the Confessor died in January.  There were three contenders to the throne of England which, at that time, was a prosperous agricultural country.  First, there was Duke William of Normandy to whom King Edward had promised the throne.  Secondly, there was King Hadrada of Norway who was a Viking and was eager to increase his territory.  Thirdly, there was Duke Harold of England who was a statesman for King Edward.  He had no royal blood in him but had run the country for many years.

In Duke Harold’s travels as chronicled in the Bayeux Tapestry, he vowed allegiance to Duke William and said that he would not make a claim to the throne in England.  Well; that was famous last words.  No sooner had King Edward died than Harold did just that.

It was a summer of unrest in England.  Duke William  in Normandy prepared an army and fleet to invade England and claim his throne.  He was ready to invade but had to wait for the tides and winds to be right.

In England, Duke/King Harold also prepared for battle.  They both waited. It also happened to be a very hot summer,

In Norway, King Hadrada of the Vikings took advantage of the weather and tides which happened to be favourable for him.  In early September, he landed on the Yorkshire coast and invaded the city of York and fought the English/Saxon army at the Battle of Fulford Bridge.  The Vikings won. This historical event has been recorded in the Battle of Fulford Bridge Tapestry.

The Norwegian/Viking army withdrew to the area of Stamford Bridge which is east of York. They were resting before proceeding to London to claim the throne for their king.  King Hadrada was abetted in this by one Duke Harold’s brothers.

Duke/King Harold was waiting in Sussex for the Norman invasion.  Upon hearing of the rout at Fulford Bridge, he took some/all of his army and rode north to Yorkshire.  This took him four days – which for the time, transportation available, and road conditions, was an incredible achievement.  The Viking army was taken by surprise.  What followed was the Battle of Stamford Bridge which is now being chronicled in the tapestry. It was a decisive victory for Duke/King Harold.  The Vikings retreated back to Norway and never invaded anywhere again.

The video will show this panel which now completed.

Meanwhile, the Norman army had landed on the coast of Sussex and were  preparing for battle.  This battle, the Battle of Hastings, together with the Norman preparations, are the subject of the Bayeux Tapestry.

Duke William and the Norman army won the the Battle of Hastings. Duke/King Harold and his brothers were killed leaving England without a leader.  Duke William had himself declared King of England and was crowned in the newly built Westminster Abbey.  The English population were not happy about this and only the participating officials were present at his crowning.  There was essential crowd control outside the Abbey.  King William built many fortresses and prisons around England including the Tower of London.

It is possible that, if King Hadrada of Norway had not invaded England and diverted the English/Saxon army north to Yorkshire, that the Normans would not have won the Battle of Hastings and history of the western world would have been different..

Interestingly, King William returned to Normandy and visited England infrequently during his reign.  He had a large number of children whom he married off all over Europe.  It is said that King William’s blood flows in all the royal families of Europe.

Chris Maudsley, videographer, has re-edited and added to the original video.    It is good to see the progress, the stitching up close, how well the colours all blend and contrast and, to hear how much more remains to be done.  It is going to be a fabulous Embroidery that Records History.  I hope that there will be more video updates in the future.

Thank you Heater Cawte for posting the video and giving me permission to share it with you.






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  1. Reply

    Thank you for sharing Ann! This is a lovely project and I wish we had something like this here in Germany :).

    • Heather Groef
    • August 15, 2018

    Harold probably did have some English royal blood in him (from an ancestor marrying a Wessex king’s daughter) ; his mother was a Danish princess, making him a member of the royal house of Denmark.
    Through his first wife, Edith swan-neck (hand-fasting remained legal in England and Wales until 1753, and in Scotland until c. 1980), their children had a right to the throne – hence the Norman propaganda that she was only his mistress – and post-1066 their oldest daughter Gytha went off to Denmark to live, and thence to Russia to be a royal bride. Two of her grandchildren married back into the Danish royal family, and from there into the English/ British royal family (and no doubt others in Europe) – so the Queen has Harold’s blood in her veins as well as William’s, as does the Duke of Edinburgh (member of the royal houses of Denmark and Greece).
    Other queens from Denmark include Anne, wife of James I/VI, Alexandra (Edward VII), and Mary (George V).

    1. Reply

      Hello Heather,
      Thank you for your reply and for correcting the lineage for Duke/King Harold. Non of this information surfaced when I was researching the events around the Bayeux Tapestry. I am glad that you have supplied correct information both for current readers and future researchers.
      With thanks, Ann B.

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