Oct 11

Anniversary of The Battle of Hastings

948 years ago this week, William the Conqueror scored a decisive victory at Hastings in Sussex. This event changed the course of English history and English life forever.

Here’s video of a reenactment of the battle that took place on the 940th anniversary.

In my novel, Conquering Passion I describe the emotions of my Norman hero, Ram de Montbryce, in the minutes before the battle began. Here’s the excerpt.

Ram quickly checked his equipment, the hooded hauberk and iron helmet, spear, shield and trusty sword in its scabbard. He smiled at a brief memory of Mabelle heaving his sword into a muddy pond, but quickly banished the thought. He couldn’t afford to be distracted from the dire business at hand. His hauberk, with three layers of metal circles, looped and soldered together, would give him good protectionConquering Passion, especially with the extra rectangular breastplate of chain mail secured to protect his chest. The bottom of his hauberk tunic, split at front and back, covered his thighs like a skirt, and made riding more comfortable. He wished it covered the lower part of his long legs but would have to make sure the pointed end of his tapering wooden shield did that. He was proud of his leather covered shield, one of the few with a coat of arms. Fide et Virtute.

His valet had shaved the back of his head, Norman style. He would be doing a lot of sweating this day, and couldn’t afford to have his vision obscured. The nosepiece of his helmet, protecting his nose, and to some extent his eyes, was enough of a distraction.

Duke William positioned his army looking towards Caldbec Hill. Ram’s gaze ranged slowly over the front ranks of archers, then to the six rows of infantry behind them, and then to the cavalry, the fearsome Bretons on the left, the Flemish contingent on the right, the Normans in the center. As he surveyed the daunting sight, Rambaud de Montbryce knew with dire certainty this would be a different fight from any he had been in before. It would be a mighty battle to the death that would change the course of history. His own, his country’s and his Duke’s.

Immense pride and sheer terror coursed through his veins.





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  1. Michele Drier

    Great blog, Anna, and I loved the video. I’ve seen the tapestry and it’s wonderful storytelling.

    1. Anna Markland

      It’s on my bucket list to see the Bayeux Tapestry. Glad you enjoyed the video. Imagine what they’ll do for the 950th!

  2. Jacqueline Seewald

    Wonderful description! What about the opposition? It seems that like the Romans, Duke William was highly organized for battle.

    1. Anna Markland

      Unfortunately for Harold, his army was exhausted after a major battle a few weeks before and a long march to the south coast. William’s strength and one of the main reasons for the victory was the cavalry.

  3. Nancy Morse

    Great post, Anna. You do such a wonderful job of bringing that era to life. Good work! But then, it’s really not work when you’re doing what you love, and your love of that period clearly shows.

    1. Anna Markland

      Thanks for dropping by, Nancy and for the lovely comments. I do love writing about this period and I’m gratified it shows.

  4. Melissa Keir

    What a great video and reenactment. I can only imagine how it would have felt to have been there. 🙂

    1. Anna Markland

      I would love to go in two years for the 950th. I’ll be there’s something spectacular planned.

  5. Linda Andrews

    Wonderful post. I enjoyed the video

    1. Anna Markland

      Thanks, Linda.

  6. Sylvie Grayson

    Great piece, Anna.
    It’s hard to imagine, the sheer numbers of fighters, the sheets of blood. I think it is one of the most exciting of times and the changes to our heritage were immense.

    1. Anna Markland

      Hi Sylvie
      The “actors” did a great job, I think, of describing the gore and the horror. Of course in our time we just drop bombs.

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