Why did William the Conqueror win the Battle of Hastings?

  • Created by: Dene3
  • Created on: 05-05-18 11:43
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  • Why did William win the Battle of Hastings?
    • Harold's fleet was waiting
      • From May to September, Harold's fleet and soldiers waited, guarding the Sussex Coast
    • William's thorough preparations
      • He was given a Papal Banner by the Pope to show that God was on his side. This lowered the morale of the opposition.
      • He called on his lords to bring themselves from Normandy and beyond. He asked his vassals to provide him ships and ordered hundreds to be built.
      • He built pre-fabricated castles to immediately secure power once he won
      • By August, WIlliam had 7000 soldiers, 3000 horse and 700 ships
      • Untitled
    • September 8th- Harold's army goes home
      • Resources were exhausted and the ordinary men had to return for harvest. This was bad timing as WIlliam was arriving at England and Harald was ready to invade North England.
    • The Battle of Fulford 20.9
    • Battle of Stamford Bridge 25.9
      • Harold re-gathered his army and caught Harald by surprise. Hardrada and Tostig died and most of the Norman army was slaughtered.
    • The Norman Landing 28.9
      • Landed when Harold was at the North. Landed at Pevensey- good choice as the Roman fort offered protection. They erected their first castle for more protection. He terrorised the local population
    • The Battle of Hastings 14.8 at Senlac Hill
      • Formations
        • The English had a shield wall. Behind it were the inexperienced fyrd. The fyrd carried heavy axes, scythes, slings, hay-forks and iron-studded clubs No archers. Relied on foot soldiers. Defensive battle.
          • William had a heavily-armed cavalry, with powerful and speedy horses -aggressive. First line were archers. Second line were foot soldiers with swords. Third were the cavalry. He's here.
        • William had a heavily-armed cavalry, with powerful and speedy horses -aggressive. First line were archers. Second line were foot soldiers with swords. Third were the cavalry. He's here.
      • The start of the battle
        • The Normans rained down on the English. The shield wall was firm and the hilltop position gave them an advantage. The Normans could not charge uphill.
      • The Turning Point
        • WIlliam of Poitiers: A rumour spread that William was dead and so the Normans began to flee.
          • Whatever the reason, the English shield wall crumbled and Harold was exposed and killed.
            • Other Sources: Normans had a 'feigned retreat' where they deliberately retreated to tempt the English
            • The Bayeux Tapestry says that 'Harold was killed' above a guy with an arrow in the eye and a guy being mutilated by a horse. HIs death is ambiguous.
        • Other Sources: Normans had a 'feigned retreat' where they deliberately retreated to tempt the English
      • Conclusions
        • William defeated Harold because of better tactics and effective commanding of his troops. They were also more flexible.
        • William took great personal risks. He was lucky to have not been killed- the Normans would have lost.

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