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When Edward the Confessor died he left no direct heir, and the throne of England passed to Harold of Wessex. Harold's brother Tostig influenced the legendary Viking warrior, King Harald Hardrada of Norway to invade England.

While a second claimant to the throne of England, William of Normandy, labored to launch his own invasion fleet, the Norwegians sailed by way of the Orkneys and landed at Riccall, near York with a force probably numbering 10,000 men.

Harold had been well aware of the dual threats to his new kingdom, and he called out his levies. These were free men from the shires who owed two months of military service each year. By September the two months were up and rations were low, so Harold reluctantly released these irregular troops. This left him with a trained force of about 3000 mounted infantry known as house-carls. When the news came of the Norwegian landing, Harold quickly marched his men north by the old Roman road known as Watling Street.

The Earls of Northumbria and Mercia, Morcar and Edwin, advanced their men from York and met Harald Hardrada at Fulford on September 20. The experienced Norwegian commander completely routed the earls, depriving King Harold of valuable allies for the fatal battle with the Normans which lay ahead.

The Norsemen appointed Stamford Bridge as a meeting place for an exchange of hostages with the city of York. The confident victors of Fulford were relaxing in the meadows surrounding this crossroads 12 miles from York when to their shock they saw a fresh Saxon army streaming up from the South.

Well, perhaps "fresh" is too strong a word, for Harold had just pushed his men an amazing 180 miles in 4 days, and they were doubtless exhausted. The Norsemen were caught completely off-guard; most had discarded their mail shirts and helmets in the hot sun. They were soon to pay for their carelessness.

The Battle

A desperate delaying action by the Norwegian outposts kept the Saxons from crossing the Derwent while the main army frantically donned their gear and took up position. One anonymous Norwegian held the bridge alone until he was stabbed from beneath the planks of the bridge with a long spear.

The Norse formed a shield wall in the shape of a triangle, to present a narrow front. The Saxons battered at the wall in a fierce hand to hand fight that lasted all day, before the legendary Harald Hardrada was felled by a Saxon missile. Earl Tostig tried vainly to rally the demoralized men, but the Norse resistance crumbled and the battle became a rout.

The Vikings fled, to be pursued all the way back to their fleet at Riccall. Only 24 ships out of an initial 200 or more made the return to Norway. Before the battle Harold swore that the Norse leader would get "only seven feet of English soil" for his invasion, and he kept the vow, though Harald's remains were later taken back to Norway. As for Tostig, he was buried in York.

The Results

Stamford Bridge ended the long Viking threat to England. Although Stamford Bridge was a great triumph for Harold and the Saxons, their strength was sadly depleted by the fight. And now they faced an even greater foe as news arrived that Duke William of Normandy had landed in Sussex. The weary Saxons turned south once more and marched back as quickly as they had come. They met the Normans at the fateful Battle of Hastings.

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Q: What happened in the battle of Stamford Bridge in 1066?
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Related questions

When did Battle of Stamford Bridge happen?

Battle of Stamford Bridge happened on 1066-09-25.

What is the date of the battle of stamford bridge?

25th of September 1066 is when it happened

What date was the battle of stamford bridge?

The battle of Stamford Bridge commenced on 25th September 1066.

When did the Battle of Stamford Bridge end?

The Battle of Stamford Bridge ended in 1066, the same year as the battle of Hastings.

What was the first battle of 1066 called?

The first battle in 1066 was the Battle of Stamford Bridge

What is 1066 famous for?

The year 1066 was famous for the battle of Hastings and the battle of Stamford bridge.

Where is the Stamford Bridge where the battle was fought in 1066?

The Battle of Stamford Bridge happened in a large village on the river Derwent in the East Riding of Yorkshire, England, approximately 9 miles to the east of York. The village is called Stamford Bridge.

What happened totstig godwinson?

Tostig was killed at the Battle of Stamford Bridge near York in 1066.

What was the name of the first battle that took place in 1066?

The first battle in 1066 was The Battle of Stamford Bridge.

When did the battle of stamford bridge finish?

1066 (l8tr on)

When did the battle at Stamford Bridge start and end?

The Battle of Stamford Bridge was fought on September 25 in 1066 and lasted one day.

When was the Battle of Stamford Bridge?

Monday 25th September 1066

When the battle at Stamford Bridge take place?

september 1066

What was the first battle called in 1066?

Stamford bridge this is befor the battle of hastings

When was the battle of Stamford bridge and who won and lost?

The battle of Stamford Bridge was on 25th of September 1066 and Harold Godwinson won And Harold Hadrada Lost !

Who was in the battle of Stamford Bridge?

The Battle of Stamford Bridge, which took place on September 25, 1066, was fought between the Kingdom of England and the Kingdom of Norway. The English won the battle.

Where did Harold Godwinson defeat Harold Harada in battle?

at the Battle of Stamford Bridge, in September 1066

What is the date that the battle of Stamford Bridge ended?

Monday, September 25, 1066

Who did Harald Hadrada get killed by in the battle of Stamford Bridge 1066?

Harold godwinson

What were some significant events that happened in the year 1066?

The most significant event of the year 1066 was the Battle of Hastings. Other events in that year include the coronation of William of Normandy, the battle of Stamford Bridge and the battle of Fulford.

What battle to place in 1066?

Several battles took place in 1066. One of the better known was Stamford Bridge.

Name the first battle in 1066?

The Battle of Stamford Bridge was fought a few days before the Battle of Hastings.

What were the two important battles in 1066?

the battle of Stamford bridge (September 25, 1066, the vikings vs the English) and the battle of Hastings ( October 14, 1066 Normandy vs the English)

Who was fighting at stamford bridge in 1066?


When did Harald Hardrada die?

He died on September 24th 1066 in the battle of Stamford Bridge, Yorkshire.

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