Here are some facts about the Battle of Hastings, in which the Norman invaders led by William the Conqueror defeated the army of King Harold II.
- The Battle of Hastings took place on 14th October 1066.
- Most historians believe that the battle was fought about 6 miles north-west of Hastings, near a village that is now known as Battle, in East Sussex. Historians have pinpointed Senlac Hill as the likely location of the battlefield, although John Grehan is convinced that the battle took place on Caldbec Hill.
- The army of King Harold took up a position of strength at the top of Senlac Hill. His army consisted mainly of infantry (foot soldiers).
- The Norman army, led by William the Conqueror, positioned themselves near to the base of the hill. His army was made up of infantry, cavalry (soldiers mounted on horseback) and archers.
- The battle was fiercely fought. The Normans attacked with cavalry and archers, but Harold’s shield wall and his defensive position were hard to break down.
- The fighting started in the morning and continued all day. In the end the Norman army, with its greater range of different types of troops, started to gain the upper-hand. If the legends can be believed, King Harold was killed when he was shot through the eye with a Norman arrow. William went on to win the Battle of Hastings and he was crowned King having successfully invaded England.
- The Battle of Hastings and the events leading up to the conflict are depicted (from a Norman perspective) in the Bayeux Tapestry.
- Although exact figures are almost impossible to come by, it is estimated that Harold’s army was made up of about 6000 soldiers, and the Norman army numbered about 7000. The number of soldiers killed is unknown.
What next? Find out more about William the Conqueror, check out some facts about the Bayeux Tapestry, have a look at the Primary Facts resources page on The Normans, or discover the best children’s books about the Battle of Hastings.