The Saxon Times were ‘privileged’ to have an audience with Duke William who said “ I am here in Hastings as a friend of the people. I come in peace. Do not be afraid for I will reward those that support me but be warned that if I do encounter opposition it will be dealt with severely, without conscience for I have God and right on my side.” His final words, before we were dismissed, commanded that a motte and bailey castle should be built on West Hill.
Hastings is an ideal stronghold, easily fortified with two commanding hills dominating the town and harbour.
To consolidate his position, Duke William has sent several troops of mounted soldiers to terrorise the country and look for signs of the English army.
The key is to gain control of the ridge at Senlac. He would then be able to march east and west along the ancient trackways or north using the old Roman road. If the ridge falls to William he can move to conquer England.
King Harold is 300 miles away in York and the Senlac ridge is undefended and is only seven miles from Hastings.
The Duke now has time to consolidate his position in Hastings. With control of the ridge Duke William can then advance to dominate the rest of the country – it is a masterful plan as befits the Duke. Nothing will be allowed to get in his way.
This issue of The Saxon Times is included in the 1066 Saxon Times Resource book: www.1066thesaxontimes.com