The Battle of Hastings was a battle between forces of the Anglo-Saxon king of England Harold II, and the troops of William, the duke of Normandy. The battle was fought on Senlac Hill, south of Hastings, a town in the south of England. Harold had about 7000 troops, while William had 10000. The battle was eventually won by William, he was crowned king William I 10 weeks later. The battle was a couple of weeks after William’s invasion of England, which he started because he claimed the English throne.William was the cousin of former English king Edward. When he visited him in the year 1051, Edward promised William the English throne. However, when Edward was dying, he gave the throne to Harold, an important English noble.
William wasn’t happy with this decision, because he believed he was the rightful heir to the English throne, therefore he planned an invasion. William gathered his highest officials, and gathered soldiers from all over France. William got support from his allies in Flanders, Brittany and other parts of France, and was given soldiers.
The pope also supported William. William built a large fleet to cross the English Channel. On the 27th of September 1066, the ships left France, and landed in England the next morning.
Harold moved his troops South, and met William near Hastings. The battle lasted about a full day, and was eventually won by the Norman forces led by William. William stayed in Hastings for a couple of days before marching to London, after a short fight, London was captured by William’s forces. On Christmas day 1066, he was crowned the first Norman King of England. He is shown in the picture on the right.The Bayeux tapestry was most likely made because of an order to do so by Bishop Odo of Bayeux.
Odo was William’s half brother, and when his new cathedral was consecrated 1077, he had the tapestry made to celebrate both William’s victory, and the opening of his new cathedral. Where the tapestry is made isn’t known, but one story says that it was made in Canterbury, a city known for making tapestries at that time. The tapestry is now a popular tourist attraction. The tapestry is often said to be ‘Norman Propaganda’ as it excuses William’s invasion of England, as if he had the right to do this. Even though some panels are less pro-norman, such as the one where woman and child have to leave their burning home. In the first panels you can see Harold traveling to France, where he is taken prisoner upon arrival. After William sends a messenger to Harold, Harold is taken to William. William and Harold fight the duke of Brittany together in the following panels, eventually they defeat him.
In the next panel, Harold promises William that he will respect him as heir to the English throne. This panel shows that the tapestry is made by the Normans, because Harold breaking this oath is seen as the reason William attacked, the attack is thereby kind of justified. After this, Harold returns to England. After which you can see king Edward on his deathbed, and after this, his funeral. Harold is crowned king of England in the next panel, thereby breaking his promise to William, making William furious.
William decides to attack England and orders ships to be build, which are later loaded and send towards England. The ships arrive in England, and a feast in honour of William is held. The duke of Normandy is seen talking to some men, after which a castle is build. The next panels show the battle; First the Norman army, later the fighting, and eventually the death of king Harold and the end of the battle. Harold’s death is shown on the picture on the right.