Saturday, October 14, 1066 was another beautiful day after a summer of excellent weather. Better to have a battle on a dry day rather than when it is raining!! The armies were well matched in numbers, around 8000 men each. The Saxon army formed up on the top edge of a hill leaving the Normans the lower ground and having to fight uphill. This sounds like a good strategy to me as I am routing for the Saxons but then, I am English, or rather a Canadian, in this lifetime. The battle started around 9 am and lasted all day. Breaks to eat were taken.
The Saxons formed a shield wall using their left arms which was the accepted procedure in those days. It was a very strong defense and hard for an enemy to break. It would appear fro
m the above picture that they threw spears and wielded battle axes with their right arms.
The Normans had horses. 174 horses are portrayed in the tapestry. Their army was well mounted, well armed and protected by coats of mail. They were also rested as they had been camped for two weeks whereas the Saxon army had walked all the way up to York and back and had fought the Battle of Stamford Bridge.
Riding up the hill towards the Saxon army, they must have been a formidable sight. As was the custom, the leader rode in the front of his army. The fighting was furious but the Saxon shield wall held firm. That is, until; the Normans staged a retreat and the Saxons, against orders, broke their wall and ran down the hill after them. With the wall broken, the Normans came round the ends and through the line.
From then on, it was a matter of individual battles. It was carnage of both men and horses. The horses had no protective armaments. Notice the fallen men in the lower border.
In this scene, Duke William riding a beige horse, and Bishop Odo, riding the blue horse are leading and encouraging the Norman army. Notice the archers in the lower border.
The armies are well matched and the bludgeoning and bloodshed went on hour after hour. A rumor circulated that King Harold had been killed. To show that he was still alive, he lifted the visor of his helmet and an arrow went into his eye. The battle was over.
The Saxons retreated. The Norman army was victorious. Thus ended 600 years of Saxon rule in England. The Bayeux Tapestry ends at this point.
There are plans to bring the Bayeux Tapestry to London where it will be displayed, possibly in the British Museum. This will not happen before 2020. But; if you happen to be in Paris, there are Day Trips to the city of Bayeux and you can see the tapestry in its own gallery. Bayeux is close to the invasion beaches of Normandy. A two day trip from Paris will include both.
Both Brittany and Normandy are very interesting areas of France to visit. Enjoy.
The Bayeux Tapestry – Seven Ages of Britain. Watch it on BBC One !
It is under 5 minutes in length and is an excellent tour of the whole Bayeux Tapestry in it ‘s gallery in France. You will recognize parts and see a broader view of this historic event
Hot news today Feb 06, 2018, from the city of York.
Fulford Tapestry off to Bayeux in France. Mike Laycock Chief reporter – The York Press
A TAPESTRY depicting the 1066 Battle of Fulford is to go on temporary display in France, near the home of the famous Bayeux Tapestry.
But before it crosses the channel, York residents and visitors will get a chance to see it when it is displayed for two days in Barclays Bank on Parliament Street during bank opening hours on Friday and Saturday, February 16 and 17, during the annual Jorvik Viking Festival.
But archaeologist Chas Jones, who designed the Bayeux-style work about the Fulford battle, has already made arrangements with the French authorities for it to go on tour in Normandy next month.
He said it was set to go on public display in Saint-Valery-sur-Somme (which is where Duke William built his armada) from March 13 to 20, before being shown to conservators in Bayeux itself and then to academics at the University of Caen.
The 5.6 metre long tapestry, which has already been shown to MPs at Westminster, took a team of York embroiderers about seven years to complete.
It tells pictorially the story of the Norse invasion of 1066, from King Harald Hardrada’s landing at Scarborough, where cottages were burnt, to their traveling down the coast to Holderness and then sailing up the Ouse before landing at Riccall.
The tapestry then recounts their victory at Fulford, followed by their entry into the city of York.
The Fulford battle was followed by another at Stamford Bridge and then the crucial Norman victory at Hastings, which changed the course of British history.
The plans to take the tapestry to France were welcomed by two women who were involved in the lengthy project to embroider it, which involved complicated stitches such as ‘laid work’ as well as cross stitch and stem stitch.
Mary Ann Dearlove said: “I think it’s wonderful,” while Dorrie Worrall, who lives in Fulford, said she was pleased by the news but said it was more important in the longer term for it to be put on permanent display somewhere in York. With Chas Jones.
Tomorrow: The sequel to the Battle of Hastings including some thoughts and questions on the artist/artists who designed it.