The Battle of Hastings

The Battle of Hastings (14 October 1066) was the decisive Norman victory in the Norman Conquest of England.

It was fought between the Norman army of William the Conqueror, and the English army led by Harold Godwinson. The battle took place at Senlac Hill, approximately 6 miles northwest of Hastings.

The Norman army was estimated to number as many as 8,400 and consisted of at the most 2,200 cavalry, 4,500 infantry and 1,700 archers and crossbowmen. William's strategy relied on archers to soften the enemy, followed by a general advance of the infantry, and then a cavalry charge. The Norman army was composed of nobles, mercenaries, and troops from France and Europe, including some from Southern Italy. The English army is usually thought to have numbered roughly 7,500 and consisted entirely of infantry. It is most probable that all the members of the army rode to battle, but once at the appointed place they dismounted to fight on foot.

The battle was a decisive Norman victory. Harold II was killed; traditionally, it is believed he was shot through the eye with an arrow. Although there was further English resistance, this battle is seen as the point at which William gained control of England. It remains the last occasion in history where England has been successfully invaded by a foreign power.

The famous Bayeux Tapestry depicts the events before and during the battle. An abbey, known as Battle Abbey in East Sussex, was subsequently built on the site of the conflict.