Trouble Up North

The Saxon Times 

31st August 1066

Norse 

HARDRADA’S INVASION DIARY

Harald Hardrada calls to arms his Viking brothers and embarks from the Isle of Solund. His invasion fleet consists of 300 warships and about 12000 men. It is a formidable force and prides itself on its fierce history.

SHETLAND

16th August and Hardrada reaches the Shetland Islands. There is ‘overlord business’ to take care of as befitting a colony of Norway and the stay on Shetland is prolonged for a few days. The men use the time for a little rest and recreation in the true Viking way and there are a few battered and weary bodies when the call comes to embark ship for the next journey.

ORKNEY

By the end of the week, they reach the Orkney Islands, another Norwegian protectorate.

To cement his position as King and to seal the alliance, Hardrada betroths his daughters to the brothers Paul Thorfinnsson and Erland Thorfinnsson who jointly rule the Isles as Earls of Orkney.

It is no coincidence that the Earls ‘agree’ to provide reinforcements for the Norse army and they sail to Scotland with Hardrada at the end of August.

VIKING FEAST FIT FOR A KING

Hardrada spends the rest of August feasting, renewing and accepting new oaths of fealty.

A horse was sacrificed to the old Gods, spitted and roasted until it fell off the bone. Salt fish and pork and goat added courses to the feast with plenty of fresh heavy bred to mop up the grease and gravy.

Some would use the bred as a plate, rather than the wooden bowls laid out for Hardrada, and their fingers instead of the sharp knives and spoons – made from wood, horn or animal bone. For the King they had been carved and decorated in the form of a dragon.

For the lesser tables, there was stew from the great iron cauldron over the fire. The stew, of boiled lamb bones, beans, peas, carrots, turnips and whatever else could be found, had been simmering for the last few days. The smoke from this fire and the one for the spit, roasting the horse, left the great long hall full of smoke.

A thin layer of fat has formed over the stew that softens the bred and which the men seem to enjoy although there is little appetite for the fresh fruit and the honey on buttered bred.

There is beer and more beer but Hardrada seems to prefer his mead made from the local honey and drunk from a silvered and decorated animal horn. The men get louder, the more they drink and soon start to sing the old Norse songs before falling asleep on the floor of the Great Hall.

For the full report behind these headlines and the reports, read 1066 The Saxon Times and experience the Norman Conquest through the eyes of the Saxon Times reporters.

For more information on The Saxon Times and to LOOK INSIDE visit: www.1066thesaxontimes.com/home

 

June 1066: News of Tostig and William

Title

TOSTIG’S TORTUOUS TRAVELS

Tostig’s European Tour continues.  ‘Once I get to the Orkneys, it will be easy to sail to Norway to meet Harald Hardrada. He too has a claim to the throne and has an axe to grind with Harold’ said Tostig.

IS HARALD HARDRADA TOSTIG’S LAST HOPE?

Reports suggest that on 2nd June Tostig did indeed sail to Norway. He thinks that he has a ‘good idea’ that will appeal to King Harald Hardrada.

If Hardrada believes that any campaign with Tostig will succeed he is more stupid than he looks. Believe me when I say that he is doomed, he is really doomed. All Tostig’s ideas ultimately prove disastrous.

A BLESSING IN DISGUISE

On the 17th June, a Charter for the Holy Trinity in Caen was ratified by William and confirmed the status of the Abbey of the Holy Trinity. Work had started on this Benedictine monastery in 1062 as a penance to appease the Bishop of Rouen following William’s marriage to Matilda of Flanders.

Following the dedication of the Abbey, sources close to the Duke suggested that it was a further example of William’s godliness.

COMMENT

I believe that William is profiting from the Papal Blessing and that the dedication of the Abbey, at this time, is more than coincidence. I suggest that it is all propaganda, designed to woo the people of Normandy to follow William on some kind of religious crusade.

It seems that you can pull the wool over people’s eyes all the time.

For the full report behind these headlines and the reports, read 1066 The Saxon Times and experience the Norman Conquest through the eyes of the Saxon Times reporters.

For more information on The Saxon Times and to LOOK INSIDE visit: www.1066thesaxontimes.com/home