1066 - An Eventful Year

We all know about the Battle of Hastings (October 14th) and the events that took place there, but few people know about the momentous battle that took place here in Stamford Bridge on September 25th 1066.

We must not forget the battle of Fulford (20th September} in which the Viking army defeated the garrison at York - another major battle in this year.

A summary of events -

In 1066 the English Saxon King Harold Godwinson fought and defeated a huge Viking army here at Stamford Bridge. Although history recalls how Harold lost at Hastings 19 days later; the significance and scale of this battle should not be underestimated, nor the efforts made by King Harold to bring an army here from London (marching 180 miles in 5 days) and then return to Hastings (250 miles in 7 days). All this without proper roads or transport – unbelievable even by today’s standards!!

The Vikings had arrived in 300 ships which had sailed up the Humber and landed at Riccall. They then marched to York and defeated the Saxon garrison at the battle of Fulford. 5 days  later they were caught by surprise at Stamford Bridge when Harold Godwinson arrived unexpectedly.
The Battle itself was a ferocious encounter that lasted several hours with approximately 15,000 Saxons against 20,000 Vikings. 
Viking King Harald Sigurdsson (Hardrada) and Tostig (Godwinsons' brother) were both killed.

So many Vikings were killed it was impossible to bury them all before Harold received a message saying William had landed on the South Coast.
We all know what happened next…...............................

After the battle the Viking army went home in only 30 ships, showing the scale of their defeat.

Facts - The battle not only ended the Viking era in England  after 250 years but weakened the Norwegian population so much it took generations to recover  from the loss of so many.
         - It was the last Saxon Victory
         - while King Harold had to come and  fight the Vikings, the Normans managed to land unopposed.  
         - the 2 long marches (totalling 450 miles in 12 days!!!) must have weakened his army significantly.