I’m not sure what order these two blogs should come in. Should I put them in date order, date of the events that is? Or should I put them in photographs taken order, in which case it becomes three blogs not two. Should I put them in event categories order, in which case it’s back to two blogs? Do I then put the events in date order? Or do I just stop messing around and get on with it … fair enough …
Guillaume, Duc de Normandie, was named by Edward (Confessor) as his heir and the next king of England and he asked his brother-in-law Harald to go to Normandie and inform Le Duc. Harald eventually arrived but not until after being kidnapped by another different, evil Duke. Guillaume met Harald treated him as a friend and Harald swore fealty to him on several sacred objects recognising him as England’s next and future King. (At this point in history Scotland belonged to the Vikings, Wales to the Celts, and England, dependant on which way the wind was blowing either to the Danes or the Saxons. (The united kingdoms – weren’t!)
Harald returned to England. Edward promptly snuffed it and Harald, despite his oath to Guillaume, had himself crowned king on the same day. Guillaume took umbrage and with the Pope’s support, and having built a fleet to sail in, arrived in Pevensey. Despite his and his army’s weariness Harald scampered back from Stamford Bridge where he’d just defeated a different lot of foreign invaders and the battle of Hastings between Guillaume and the Norman army and Harald and the Saxon army took place on October 14th 1066. It lasted 14 hours and Guillaume very nearly lost when Harald trapped his cavalry in a hidden ditch and slaughtered them. But then the famous arrow from on high hit Harald in the eye, and Guillaume became William I, otherwise known as the Conqueror.
The Bayeux tapestry all 70 metres of it, probably commissioned by Ondine, Bishop of Bayeux and William’s brother, was beautifully embroidered by Bayeux nuns, very bloodthirsty nuns if their depictions of the battle dead are anything to go by, severed heads and limbs everywhere. The needlework is incredible, the details amazingly preserved. Apparently it is not, as most English folk imagine, typically arrogant French braggadocio, it was intended as a morality tale, a warning to the illiterate peasantry, as to what can happen even to noble folk if they break a sacred oath. The arrow from on high being seen as God’s punishment of Harald’s impiety.
The Bayeux tapestry
The English didn’t like William then and don’t, if ever they bother to ponder over it, think overly much of him now. So I have to admit to a wry smirk at the British Memorial in Bayeux. It stands opposite the Commonwealth cemetery, both designed by Philip Hepworth and solemnly states in Latin –
We, once conquered by William, have now set free the Conqueror’s native land.
Dare I say, tongue in cheek, twice?!
🙂 🙂 🙂