Back to the video list: History of the British Isles


The British view is that Edward the Conqueror was the last to successfully invade the British Isles. Even if this statement is very much debatable it is beyond dispute that the Battle of Hastings in 1066 is a significant event in English history. The victorious Normans broke the Anglo-Saxon rule and gained the power in England.






  • Date: 14 Oct 1066
  • Location: Hastings, East Sussex, England
  • Event: Decisive victory of the Normans which leads to the conquest of England


Parties & Persons Involved

  • William the Conqueror (1028 – 1087)
  • Harold Godwinson (1022 – 1066)



  • 911: The French king Charles the Simple allows Vikings to settle in Normandy
  • Under the Vikings (Normans) Normandy develops into a prosperous & powerful duchy
  • 1002: The English king Ethelred marries the sister of the Norman Duke Richard II
  • 1042: His son Edward ascends to the English throne & places Normans in influential positions
  • The Norman influence in England & the conflict with the Anglo-Saxon nobility starts
  • 05 Jan 1066: Edward dies without children & conflict about the succession arise
  • The mightiest Anglo-Saxon nobleman Harold, Earl of Wessex, is elected king
  • Esp. William, Duke of Normandy, & Harald Hardrada, King of Norway, claim the English throne because of former arrangements




  • May 1066: King Harold’s exiled brother Tostig fails in raiding Southern England & withdraws to Scotland
  • Sep 1066: The Norwegian king Harald Hardrada invades Northern England
  • 20 Sep 1066: Harald Hardrada & Tostig win the Battle of Fulford & occupy York
  • 25 Sep 1066: King Harold defeats Harald Hardrada & Tostig in the Battle of Stamford Bridge
  • 28 Sep 1066: William lands his troops in Sussex & takes up positions in Hastings
  • Until 13 Oct 1066: Harold marches parts of his troops to Hastings
  • 14 Oct 1066: Battle of Hastings


The Battle of Hastings on 14 Oct 1066

  • 09:00 hrs: The battle starts with an unsuccessful attack by Norman archers
  • The Anglo-Saxons repulse Norman cavalry & infantry attacks by forming a shield wall
  • The Norman troops withdraw & the rumour spreads that William has fallen
  • The Anglo-Saxons pursue the Normans
  • William shows himself to his troops, motivates them to fight & inflicts heavy casualties on the Anglo-Saxons
  • Repeated Norman attacks wear the Anglo-Saxons down
  • After the death of king Harold the Anglo-Saxon army is in disarray
  • As the sun sets the Normans have won the battle


Consequences & Impact

  • 25 Dec 1066: William is crowned King of England Westminster Abbey
  • Until 1071 William finally brings England under his control
  • Until 1154: Norman kings rule England until house Anjou-Plantagenet takes over the throne
  • Most of the Anglo-Saxon nobility is dispossessed & replaced by Normans
  • William introduces a centralised & feudal system of Normandy to England
  • Cultural changes (in the nobility), esp. the introduction of the French language
  • Anglo-Saxon emigration, esp. to Scotland, Ireland, Scandinavia & Byzantine Empire