There is much more to 1066 than ‘the bigger picture’

The Saxon Times seeks to provide that important newspaper’s view of 1066.

World Book Day 2017

A compilation of The Saxon Times created to celebrate World Book Day. Read the Stories behind the Headlines

The Saxon Times was written to bring 1066 alive with the stories behind the headlines, ‘eye witness reports’ that explores life in 1066.

 

Eadwine of Christ Church, Canterbury, Editor The Saxon Times 1060 to 1066, writes:

‘I would like to thank my good friend William of Poitiers for all his help and support in writing this newspaper, he was a valuable source of information and privy to most of the decisions of Duke William himself.  William of Jumièges also proved to be a reasonably reliable source although he was limited in his capacity to travel because of his great age. Our discussions about the events of the day and their jottings and scribblings served me well when it came to write up my copy. I wish them both every success when they both come to write up their books on ‘The Deeds of Duke William’.

Despite keeping ‘immaculate’ records for both King Harold and Duke William there is occasionally some confusion as to the actual day or dates when these tumultuous events occurred. Everybody seemed to work to a different calendar and sometimes there was a discrepancy or difference of opinion for which I apologise. Even the best of us can forget which day it is!

I must also thank my colleagues who followed the campaigns of King Harold and Duke William, sometimes in great personal danger. Alfgar of Peterborough and Eadgar of West Minster were given leave of absence from their monasteries to record the events of 1066 for posterity. Eadgar became Court Correspondent and Alfgar followed the northern campaigns before we all joined up together at the Battle of Senlac Hill.

I do hope that you enjoy reading The Saxon Times. We will not see the like of it again.’

1066 is the stuff of legends and uncorroborated tales which allow a story to be woven as a best guess or a more than likely scenario.

There are only a few dates that than can be conformed categorically and often there is a discrepancy or a difference of opinion and sometimes pure conjecture as to when the events happened and I have attempted to draw together a timescale that meets the facts and the logistics of moving armies around Saxon England.

The main problem is that the two main chroniclers, William of Poitiers and William of Jumièges, both wrote their respective ‘books’ some years after 1066. The bulk of the writing of William of Poitiers’ ‘Gesta Guillelmi’ probably took place between 1071 and 1077 and William of Jumièges’ Gesta Normannorum Ducum (Deeds of the Dukes of the Normans) was most likely finished in the year of his death in 1070. With no internet access, dictaphones, laptops or tablets it is unsurprising that the dates may be out.

The Saxon Times is a compilation of the available historical information from a wide variety of sources that include relevant books, magazines, journals, television, radio and of course the internet. Where dates cannot be pinpointed accurately, they have been included as summary of events that provide some historical context to 1066. I must thank the eminent historians and scholars  whose books provided much of the detail for The Saxon Times and the Medievalist.net, and all their contributors, whose valuable research provided background reading for additional news items.

Summary

There is more to that tumultuous year than the political intrigues and family betrayals that led to the Battle of Hastings and so beloved of television productions.

The Battles of Fulford, Stamford Bridge and Hastings, between Vikings, Anglo-Saxons and Normans, are the stuff that every student knows. King Harold’s epic marches are part of our folklore and can be read in any history book. Old facts dressed up as new facts, revelations and interpretations that serve to create a vision of an official history are unchallenged. despite the many pages written that create a far more accurate picture of history.

But there is much more to history than ‘the bigger picture’ and The Saxon Times seeks to provide that important newspaper’s view of 1066.

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