History homework - storyboard on the Battle of Hastings, due 6/10/20.
"Look at me! I live, and with God's help, I shall conquer!"
Saturday 14th October, 1066 - The English arrange themselves into a defensive position, forming a "shield wall" on the hilltop. The Normans are on the far hillside above the valley bottom, in three ranks: the first row, archers, the second, infantry, and the third, mounted knights. They begin to battle at around 9'o'clock in the morning to the sound of trumpets from both sides.
"Neux sommes victorieux!"
As the battle continues, the Normans are unable to break the English wall. The English repulse the attacks and the Norman forces regroup, when some on the left flank hear a rumour that the duke had been killed and begin to flee. Some of the English pursue them down the hill. William then rides out from the back and shouts, "I live!" to stop the panic and rally his troops.
William's forces, now under control, surround the pursuing English and cut them down. For the rest of the day the Normans pretend to flee mid-battle twice to encourage the English to pursue them. It was partly successful but the English line still held - they were so tightly packed together that "the dead had nowhere to fall". Then - Harold Godwinson was killed; he was said to have been shot in the eye with an arrow.
Now leaderless and hopeless, the English finally gave way and flee, leading the Normans to victory. An indication of just how evenly matched and led the armies were, victory at Hastings is not decided until around dusk, about 9 hours after the battling began.
After his victory, William marches on London and is crowned King on Christmas Day, 1066. A generation later, the Normans have changed the country completely, from its language to its customs, and probably most visibly today - the architecture. A wave of castle building spread across England after the Conquest to secure William's hold on power.
The end of the battle also marks the beginning of the history of Battle Abbey - in around 1071, William founded the abbey on the site of the battle to "atone for the carnage of the Conquest". According to tradition, its high altar was placed on "exactly the spot" where Harold's body had been found.