Next Talk– 1066, Duke William’s March on London

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1066 William’s March on London

14th October 1066 seems such a terminal date in English history but life continued.

‘1066 William’s March on London’ is an engaging account of what happened next as Duke William sought to consolidate his invasion of Anglo-Saxon England.

This is the story of Duke William’s strategy that culminates in his coronation at Westminster Abbey on 25th December 1066 and ends on New Year’s Eve.

Portrayed by his chroniclers as ‘a generous and accommodating man’ the reality is a little different as his plan unfolds and he cuts a wave of destruction across southern England with little opposition.

This talk delves a little deeper into the background and intrigue that surrounded the important events of that October, November and December starting with the aftermath of the Battle of Hastings.

The talk is based on all the evidence available for William’s march to London and brings it together in a logical, understandable and entertaining format.

From History Walks, Talks and Books – More than just footsteps on a Path.

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Saxons Count Cost Of Joining Europe

Issue 40

Norman Lies

God came in peace and Bishop Odo’s reliance on the Pope’s Blessing is hypocritical at the very least.

It is really all to do with power, the power of the Church and the power of Duke William. Both see the opportunity for riches and wealth. I’ve already heard the nobles carving up lands for themselves and looting and murder are all part of their game. No doubt they hope to buy their forgiveness, in the eyes of the Lord, by making large donations to the Church.

There is no such thing as Norman goodwill.

All Are Dead

After the terrible events of the Battle of Senlac Hill, when the ‘flower of English nobility and youth lay dead’, the Norman Army spent yesterday scouring the battle field.

If any Saxon was still alive it was a miracle, but they would not be long for this world. The murderous Normans made sure that no Saxon should ‘suffer’ a lingering death.


This issue of The Saxon Times is included in the 1066 Saxon Times Resource book:

Final Battle Edition

Issue 39

Exclusive Eye Witness Reports

The Battle

They were like dogs after a hare- – Once they got the scent.

There was no stopping them.

Down the hill they ran, Faster And faster.

They thought that they had won. They thought that they were proper soldiers

But they just didn’t listen.

We could see what would happen From the top of the hill.

We knew what would happen At the bottom.

They gave William the upper hand As we fell back to defend the King.


Runners told us the Second Army was close But the King was hit, his brothers too

And the word was given. Fall Back, Fall Back, To the Andreasweald, To the Malfosse.


The Malfosse

It’s late. It’s dusk. The Second Army’s here. At last.

We join the line they’ve formed At Malfosse, at Malfosse we whisper.

It’s darker now And on the Normans come

The sound of horses and cries in French, Louder, Louder. Closer, Closer


They are the dogs now after the hare, They have the scent of blood.

We are stronger now and we stand defiant. We urge the Normans on For we can win here

For we can win, or we have Malfosse!


And win we did. In the name of Harold and Saxon England.

Horses and Normans piled high in the ditch. The ditch that was Malfosse.

And then we disappeared, Into the night, Into the Andreasweald.

Remember Malfosse, A victory, but a hollow one,

For we have lost our King. For we have lost our country

May God Speed And Save Us All From Norman Rule.


This issue of The Saxon Times is included in the 1066 Saxon Times Resource book:

Medievalists review The Saxon Times


The Medievalverse Newsletter brings history alive with contributions from around the world.

In the latest newsletter is a short review of The Saxon Times that highlights its use of a newspaper format to record the tumultuous events of 1066.

Click MEDIEVALISTS.NET to read the review of The Saxon Times

Many of the troubles of modern day society are mirrored throughout 1066 with enough examples of invasion, terrorist acts and subjugation for comparison. That fateful year also can also be contemplated and argued as a lesson in business strategy and administration. 1066 is right on so many different fronts.

Writing The Saxon Times allowed for some fun stuff too; adverts, medical pages, cooking pages and a few insights from the ‘people’. Events such as the report by the BBC that the ‘Battle of Hastings sword failed to sell at auction’ and ‘the discovery at Lewes of the skeletal remains of a man believed to have been injured at the battle’ are all be woven into the fabric of the paper.

Enjoy the read.


For more information on ‘The Saxon Times’, classroom resources and ‘How to Buy’ visit:

For TES (TImes Educational Supplement) Resources visit:

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, and all their contributors, whose valuable research provided background reading for additional news items.


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.

Would King Harold II have been late for his own death?

A review of the route that King Harold took to the Battle of Hastings

By David Clarke


‘There were arrows everywhere.

Long arrows, short arrows, broad and narrow arrows, even red and blue arrows.

I was in the bookshop at Battle Abbey and every map in every book that I looked at about the Battle of Hastings gave a different view of the route that Harold took from London.

There were arrows on a diagonal from London, aiming at Battle, four or five in a row as if a hail of arrows had been fired at William.

There was a broad arrow creating a swathe across the south-east as the Saxon army passed over the land.

Arrows approached Battle from all the points of the compass – except the south!’

I wrote the above in my introduction to 1066 Harold’s Way, a 100mile long distance walk from Westminster Abbey to Battle Abbey, inspired by King Harold’s epic march to the Battle of Hastings 1066.

It appeared that the alternatives for King Harold on his march to battle was for his army to either take a more direct route, south east through the Forest of the Andreasweald, or march along the old Roman roads, east then south. The latter would have been a longer journey of over 90 miles rather than the 65 miles of the direct route and Harold was in a hurry.

In my research for 1066 Harold’s Way, a Channel 4 documentary of the mid 2000s gave a thorough, logical and compelling argument for the alternative route along the existing Roman roads, east out of London along Watling Street and south along the clear Roman road towards Hastings, with the added legend of a camp at Rochester on the night of 11th October 1066.

The Weald was a forest in Saxon times and hacking a way through the trees and over the highest parts of the Downs and the Weald, through Tonbridge and Tunbridge Wells, would have been a real struggle for the army. After Tonbridge, where the Roman road ended, the vast Andreasweald, the limited tracks, the climbs, descents and the glutinous Wealden mud would have debilitated any army.

Even in the 18th century the Weald was declared ‘roadless’ and any journey took hours through the deepest clay imaginable (Cobbett). The Weald was not a traveller’s paradise.

With the Roman roads still being used in Saxon times, there was a certain logic to the longer route – it followed the old Roman roads that led to the dock at Bodiam and on to the iron quarries around Beauport Park. It was a clear route through the forest to the ‘old hoar apple tree’ at Caldbec Hill.

If the legend that Harold’s army camped overnight at Rochester is believed, it is possible that they stopped again on the route perhaps somewhere between Sissinghurst and Bodiam or at Bodiam itself as it would take time to cross the tidal Appledore estuary. After Bodiam, the route links up with the line of the old ridgeway towards what is now Cripps Corner where it would link with the trackway south through Vinehall Forest to Caldbec Hill.

BBC History Today, in their September 2016 issue, published an ‘experts’ article on King Harold’s journey to Caldbec Hill, taking a simplistic view of the route from Westminster Abbey that ignored the conflicting views of scholars and historians.

The Roman roads across the South-East still largely exist which contradicts their view that the roads are all gone. If they are in use now they would have been in use in 1066. Although the Rochester route was longer, the easier terrain would have provided a fast and less demanding route across the Weald with the army in a better state to fight a battle.

I would suggest that a march south west from London would not be a route that would follow in the footsteps of King Harold.

Indeed, by taking this route it is quite likely Harold would have been late for his own death!

David is the author of The Saxon Times and 1066 Harold’s Way as well as other History Walks in Kent and East Sussex.

For more information on 1066 Harold’s Way visit:

The Saxon Times is on Display


Our next exhibition from 16th June will be ‘The Saxon Times’.

‘The newspaper is a look at how the events of 1066 may have been reported and records eye witness reports of the events surrounding the death of Edward the Confessor, the coronation of King Harold II, the events that led to the Battle of Hastings, 14th October 1066 and the subsequent conquest of England through the eyes of The Saxon Times reporters’.

The book is due to be published in August 2016 and promises a fascinating view into this most important period of the nation’s history. This is the work of David Clarke, who some of you will have heard talk on ‘Harold’s Way’ last year. David has also produced a series of walk booklets in and around Hastings and St Leonards which are stocked at the History House. We are grateful to David for the loan of the exhibition.