Godne dæg, good folk who may happen to read this!
I’d intended to write my first post for this blog on the nine hundred and fiftieth anniversary of the Battle of Stamfordbridge, but when that turned out to be Sunday, I decided to do it early. Stamford bridge was the place where Harold II (also known as Harold Last-King, Harold Godwinson, and for about nine months by his contemporaries, Harold Cyning) defeated Harald Hardrada, the Norse contender for the English throne. It was his last victory, as his next battle, three weeks later, was at doomed Hastings, known to the Normans as Senlac. I will let the authour of the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle tell you himself:
Then came King Harold to Sandwich, and there awaited his fleet, because it was long before it could be gathered together. And when his fleet was gathered together, then went he into the Isle of Wight, and there lay all the summer and the harvest; and a land-force was kept everywhere by the sea, though in the end it was of no benefit. When it was the Nativity of St. Mary, then were the men’s provisions gone, and no man could any longer keep them there. Then were the men allowed to go home, and the king rode up, and the ships were dispatched to London; and many perished before they came thither. When the ships had reached home, then came King Harald from Norway, north into Tyne, and unawares, with a very large ship-force, and no small one; that might be, or more. And Tosty the earl came to him with all that he had gotten, all as they had before agreed; and then they went both, with all the fleet, along the Ouse, up towards York. Then was it made known to King Harold in the south, as he was come from on ship-board, that Harald King of Norway and Tosty the earl were landed near York. Then went he northward, day and night, as quickly as he could gather his forces. Then, before that King Harold could come thither, then gathered Edwin the earl and Morcar the earl from their earldom as great a force as they could get together; and they fought against the army, and made great slaughter: and there was much of the English people slain, and drowned, and driven away in flight; and the Northmen had possession of the place of carnage. And this fight was on the vigil of St. Matthew the apostle, and it was Wednesday. And then, after the fight, went Harald, King of Norway, and Tosty the earl, into York, with as much people as seemed meet to them. And they delivered hostages to them from the city, and also assisted them with provisions; and so they went thence to their ships, and they agreed upon a full peace, so that they should all go with him south, and this land subdue. Then, during this, came Harold, king of the Angles, with all his forces, on the Sunday, to Tadcaster, and there drew up his force, and went then on Monday throughout York; and Harald, King of Norway, and Tosty the earl, and their forces, were gone from their ships beyond York to Stanfordbridge, because it had been promised them for a certainty, that there, from all the shire, hostages should be brought to meet them. Then came Harold, king of the English, against them, unawares, beyond the bridge, and they there joined battle, and very strenuously, for a long time of the day, continued fighting: and there was Harald, King of Norway, and Tosty the earl slain, and numberless of the people with them, as well of the Northmen as of the English: and the Northmen fled from the English. Then was there one of the Norwegians who withstood the English people, so that they might not pass over the bridge, nor obtain the victory. Then an Englishman aimed at him with a javelin, but availed nothing; and then came another under the bridge, and pierced him terribly inwards under the coat of mail. Then came Harold, king of the English, over the bridge, and his forces onward with him, and there made great slaughter, as well of Norwegians as of Flemings. And the King’s son, Edmund, Harold let go home to Norway, with all the ships.
If you found that interesting, you might like to stick around and see what else follows eventually. I will be introducing my works in progress on a page for them shortly. But for the moment, my sister’s garb claims my attention.
Yours in service,