The viking at stamford bridge
1066: The Battles of York, Stamford Bridge and Hastings by Peter MarrenIf ever there was a year of destiny for the British Isles, 1066 must have a strong claim. King Harold faced invasion not just from William and the Normans across the English Channel but from the Dane, King Harald Hadrada. Before he faced the Normans at Hastings in October he had fought and defeated the Danes at York and neighboring Stamford Bridge in September. What dramatic changes of fortune, heroic marches, assaults by land and sea took place that year! This book explains what really happened and why in what is arguably the best-known but worst understood battle in British history.
Part of the Battleground Britain series, which is itself part of the larger Battleground Europe Series.
Viking Norman Conquest of England
Battle of Stamford Bridge
The arrival of the Anglo-Saxon forces took the Vikings by complete surprise. The unarmored and disjointed Vikings frantically organized on the east side of the river, but the Norse king needed more time to arrange their defenses. Nine months earlier, in January, the English King Edward the Confessor had died without designating an appointed heir. The two armies together, along with Flemish mercenaries, numbered between 9, and 11, men. Godwinson, in retaliation, dispatched the Earl of Mercia and the new Earl of Northumbria to muster an army and drive the Norse back into the sea.
2. Harald had teamed up with Harold’s own brother
Englishmen and Vikings battle at Stamford Bridge, Courtesy of O. Painting by Peter Nicolai Arbo. The Norsemen had formed into a traditional shield wall, against which the oncoming English smashed themselves like waves on a rocky shore. In September , while England warily watched its southern coast, anticipating the Norman invasion force forming up across the channel, a nasty surprise erupted at the other end of the country: A fleet of dragon-headed Viking longships descended from the northeast, bearing some 9, armed, plunder-seeking warriors. The berserkers had returned. After sacking Scarborough, the Viking force—which largely consisted of Norwegians, as well as Scots, Flemings and some English—sailed up the Humber estuary as far as Riccall on the River Ouse.