[00:05.67]It was the hand of God that decided the outcome of battles,
[00:10.71]the fate of nations and the life or death of kings.
[00:15.11]Everyone knew that.
[00:19.75]It was winter, the season of frost and death.
[00:24.47]A king lay dying. His name was Edward the Confessor.
[00:28.87]He was dying childless and it wasn't obvious who would succeed him.
[00:34.43]As there was no heir, many thought they should be the next king,
[00:38.99]including foreign princes like Duke William of Normandy.
[00:43.87]Among those gathered round the bed of the dying Saxon king
[00:48.35]was the next most powerful man in England, Harold Godwineson
[00:52.51]and he thought the crown would look well on his head.
[00:56.51]He was hoping for a sign that King Edward felt the same way.
[01:02.35]Then Edward stretched out his hand and touched Harold.
[01:06.91]But was he giving him a blessing or a curse?
[01:10.19]Was this the hand of God making Harold king?
[01:13.15]Nobody knew for sure, but Harold had no qualms.
[01:16.71]He seized the crown.
[01:18.83]The question now was for how long would he keep it?
[01:24.51]Then, in the April sky, the hand of God showed itself as a comet, a hairy star,
[01:32.39]and everyone knew this was no blessing but an evil omen.
[01:37.19]The year was 1066.
[02:22.43]Historians like a quiet life and usually they get it.
[02:26.83]For the most part, history moves at a glacial pace,
[02:30.07]working its changes subtly.
[02:32.79]In Britain we like to think there's something about our history,
[02:36.95]like our climate, our landscape, that's naturally moderate,
[02:40.87]not given to earthquakes and revolutions.
[02:45.63]But there are times and places when history, British history,
[02:49.75]comes at you with a rush, violent, decisive, bloody -
[02:54.71]a truckload of trouble knocking you down,
[02:57.19]wiping out everything that gives you your bearings:
[03:00.55]Law, custom, loyalty and language.
[03:04.15]And this is one of those places.
[03:09.99]I know it doesn't look like the site of a national trauma.
[03:14.35]These days it looks more suitable for a county fair than a mass slaughter.
[03:20.23]But this is the battlefield of Hastings,
[03:23.19]and here one kind of England was annihilated
[03:26.39]and another kind of England was set up in its place.
[03:36.03]Some historians say that for most people of England
[03:39.75]Hastings didn't matter that much,
[03:42.35]that 1066 was mostly a matter of replacing Saxon lords with Norman knights.
[03:49.07]Peasants still ploughed their fields and paid taxes to the king,
[03:52.59]prayed to avoid poverty and pestilence
[03:55.11]and watched the seasons roll round.
[04:01.03]But the everyday can rub shoulders with the catastrophic.
[04:06.11]The grass grew green again, but there were bones beneath the buttercups
[04:11.75]and an entire governing class of the English had been dispossessed,
[04:15.91]their men, land and animals taken from them
[04:19.11]and given as spoils to the victorious foreigners.
[04:24.39]You could survive and still be English
[04:27.51]but now you belonged to an inferior race, the conquered.
[04:31.67]You lived in England but it was no longer your country.
[04:47.03]Anglo-Saxon England was no stranger to invasions.
[04:51.27]Viking raids had been part of life for a century,
[04:54.23]but since the days of Alfred the Great,
[04:56.23]it was a country stable enough to soak them up.
[04:59.95]Longboats came and went but still the king's law ran the shires.
[05:04.83]His churches and abbeys were built more beautifully than ever,
[05:08.23]and a town that would one day be called London
[05:11.39]was beginning to grow and prosper on the banks of the Thames.
[05:16.47]Then one invasion succeeded where the others had failed,
[05:20.83]and there was a Viking on the throne. His name was Canute,
[05:24.79]the man we remember for trying to hold back the tides.
[05:28.15]While he turned Anglo-Saxon England into part of his vast maritime empire,
[05:33.19]he went out of his way to change nothing.
[05:36.35]He even chose as his closest advisor
[05:39.15]one of the most powerful Anglo-Saxon nobles, Godwine, Earl of Wessex.
[05:43.83]A scheming, ruthless man, Godwine became
[05:47.55]virtual co-ruler with Canute over what was still
[05:50.39]recognisably Anglo-Saxon England.
[05:56.11]But with Canute's death in 1035 began a chain of events
[06:00.51]that would culminate in the one invasion
[06:02.91]that Anglo-Saxon England would be unable to swallow.
[06:07.11]And what a saga it was.
[06:10.47]It started with a bloody and unsparing fight for Canute's throne
[06:15.19]amongst the surviving elite.
[06:17.47]Treachery, murder and mutilation were par for the course.
[06:25.11]The last man standing with any kind of claim to the throne
[06:28.71]was a descendant of Alfred the Great, a prince of the Saxon royal house.
[06:34.07]Called Edward, he would become forever known as The Confessor.
[06:38.31]He was crowned on Easter Day, 1043.
[06:43.87]He inherited more than just the crown.
[06:47.15]He also got Earl Godwine, in no mood to lose power
[06:50.99]just because there was a new king.
[06:53.35]Unlike Canute, Edward had good reason to hate
[06:56.07]the right-hand man forced on him.
[06:58.35]For Godwine had arranged his older brother's murder.
[07:04.87]There was nothing he could do about his bloodstained rival,
[07:08.11]not yet anyway.
[07:10.27]He knew that Godwine held the keys to the kingdom.
[07:13.43]When Godwine offered Edward his daughter in marriage,
[07:17.59]what could he do but take her?
[07:23.31]Godwine was not Edward's only problem.
[07:25.71]He'd also to learn how to govern a country he knew little about.
[07:29.63]For he'd grown up in exile in a very different world
[07:33.07]across the English Channel in Normandy.
[07:43.51]We think of Edward the Confessor
[07:45.83]as the quintessential Anglo-Saxon king.
[07:48.39]In fact, he was almost as Norman as William the Conqueror.
[07:52.47]After all, his mother Emma was a Norman
[07:55.87]and he'd lived here in Normandy for 30 years,
[07:58.63]ever since she'd brought him as a child refugee from the wars
[08:02.39]between the Saxons and the Danes.
[08:04.87]But Normandy was not just an asylum for Edward,
[08:08.99]it was the place which formed him politically and culturally.
[08:13.11]His mother tongue was Norman French.
[08:16.11]His virtual godfathers were the formidable Dukes of Normandy.
[08:22.51]The Normans were descendants of Viking raiders,
[08:26.03]but had long since traded in their longboats for powerful war-horses.
[08:30.75]The Duchy of Normandy was in no sense just a piece of France.
[08:35.27]Though the Dukes did formal homage to the kings of France,
[08:38.31]they were fiercely independent,
[08:41.11]possessed of castles, patrons of churches.
[08:52.39]These warlords were constantly in the saddle
[08:55.31]imposing their will on vassals,
[08:57.43]fighting off revolts and forging shaky coalitions.
[09:01.55]But the duchy was also humming with energetic piety.
[09:05.07]In the 11th century, handsome stone monasteries and churches
[09:08.59]with Romanesque arches began to appear.
[09:12.03]Grandiose stone castles, as tough as the Norman lords who'd built them,
[09:16.91]became part of the landscape.
[09:25.43]So until the throne of England tempted him back
[09:28.99]across the Channel at the age of 36,
[09:31.47]this was Edward's home, and while he was here a child was growing up
[09:36.75]who would change the course of British history.
[09:42.03]It was at the site of this castle at Falles in 1027
[09:45.99]that William, known to his contemporaries though not to his face
[09:49.99]as William the Bastard, was born.
[09:52.79]He was the illegitimate son of the Duke of Normandy
[09:56.15]and the daughter of a tanner called Ellave.
[09:59.19]And in the cut-throat world of feudal Normandy,
[10:02.35]it was important that he learn, and quickly, how to survive.
[10:06.51]He was only a child when his father died on a pilgrimage
[10:09.99]to the Holy Land, leaving William, just eight years old, as his heir.
[10:15.03]A lamb thrown to the wolves.
[10:22.55]Certainly Edward would have known the young William.
[10:26.39]There were suggestions that he was one of the hand-picked companions
[10:29.67]entrusted by William's father, Duke Robert,
[10:32.75]with keeping an eye on the vulnerable young boy.
[10:36.99]He would have seen how William survived the traumas of his childhood,
[10:41.23]narrowly escaping assassination attempts;
[10:44.15]how William was forced, aged ten, to witness the brutal murder
[10:48.71]of his beloved steward in his bedchamber, before his very eyes.
[10:53.67]Edward must have marvelled at the way the stripling boy
[10:57.35]grew into a steely and ruthless young man,
[11:00.63]triumphing in battle over a formidable league of rebel nobles.
[11:10.79]While William was securing absolute power in Normandy,
[11:14.27]Edward was, by now, in the middle of a nervous reign,
[11:17.87]continually having to look over his shoulder
[11:20.31]at his biggest threat, Earl Godwine.
[11:22.91]In 1051, Edward seized his chance to rid himself of his rival.
[11:29.71]Edward brought over Norman allies, established them in castles,
[11:34.31]made one Archbishop of Canterbury.
[11:37.23]Feeling his moment had now come, he confronted Godwine
[11:40.91]with his brother's murder and threw him out of the country.
[11:45.55]His bid to rid himself of his sworn enemy failed miserably.
[11:50.87]In exile, the Earl of Wessex was just as dangerous as at home,
[11:54.83]and sailed back with a fleet to humiliate the king.
[12:01.27]Out went Edward's Norman cronies,
[12:04.35]back came the Godwines stronger than ever.
[12:11.79]Edward was now little more than a puppet king.
[12:16.47]He turned to the religious life, spending days
[12:19.59]in meditation and prayer, becoming at last, The Confessor,
[12:23.91]devoting himself to the foundation of his Benedictine abbey
[12:28.35]upstream of London, his "West Minster".
[12:31.75]Impotence though, has its uses.
[12:35.51]Godwine clearly had ambitions for the future.
[12:38.35]He'd foisted his daughter Edith on Edward
[12:40.75]to get a young Godwine as the next King of England.
[12:44.71]But Edward had his own ideas.
[12:47.35]Yes, he'd married Edith but he'd never sleep with her.
[12:50.99]His revenge would be her childlessness.
[12:58.79]Now Edward had an even more mischievous thought:
[13:02.19]"All right, if Godwine wants an heir to the throne so badly
[13:06.39]"I'll give him one but one more to my liking."
[13:09.67]It's at this point, Norman chroniclers claimed,
[13:12.87]that Edward apparently promised the succession
[13:15.71]to the Duke of Normandy, William the Bastard.
[13:20.51]Of course, nobody knew of this in England,
[13:23.63]least of all Godwine, who in 1053 died suddenly of a stroke
[13:28.95]while at dinner with the king.
[13:31.11]There were plenty of other Godwines to step into the Godfather's place.
[13:35.87]His sons now took over where he left off,
[13:39.35]controlling England virtually unchallenged.
[13:42.31]And presiding over the family empire was the eldest son, Harold.
[13:50.15]Harold Godwineson seemed to have everything:
[13:53.91]Land, power, riches, charisma, an aristocratic wife
[13:57.11]and a supporting troop of loyal and clever brothers.
[14:00.59]He even managed to make himself patron of churches,
[14:03.71]like this one at Bosham in Sussex.
[14:06.59]And though he didn't dare make too brazen a move,
[14:09.67]any dispassionate observer arriving in England in the early 1060s
[14:14.15]would have to conclude that once Edward was gone
[14:16.75]the throne was Harold's for the taking.
[14:19.79]All at once an ill wind blew away this fair-weather vision.
[14:31.39]It started with a voyage that no one can explain, even to this day.
[14:37.23]In 1064, Harold and a group of men set sail for Normandy.
[14:42.83]Maybe it was to rescue his younger brother, Wulfstan,
[14:46.27]who had been taken hostage by William.
[14:48.75]For the Norman chroniclers, the journey could only have one purpose.
[14:53.23]Harold was confirming Edward's offer of the crown.
[15:00.43]Why would Harold do something so against his own best interests?
[15:06.83]Perhaps that's why it makes up the first bit of the story
[15:10.27]of the most grandiose piece of Norman propaganda,
[15:13.51]the 70-metre long Bayeux Tapestry.
[15:18.11]The tapestry was commissioned by William's half-brother,
[15:21.27]Bishop Odo of Bayeux, a few years after the conquest.
[15:25.39]It may have been made by English embroiders in Canterbury,
[15:29.83]who were regarded as the most skilled stitchers in Europe.
[15:34.19]Who else would have made such a glamorous hero?
[15:46.51]Something seems to have gone wrong in the Channel, perhaps a storm.
[15:51.15]Landing in the territory of Guy of Ponthieu,
[15:53.99]they were arrested and handed over to Guy's liege lord,
[15:57.27]William of Normandy.
[16:03.07]The embroiderers make it dramatically clear that Harold and his men
[16:07.67]now find themselves in an alien world.
[16:10.79]The Saxons are moustachioed at this stage of the story,
[16:14.07]rather fine-looking, with a certain air about them,
[16:16.79]despite their predicament.
[16:19.75]The Normans, by contrast, shave the backs of their heads.
[16:24.07]They're the scary half-skinheads of the early feudal world.
[16:30.83]Realising his lucky number has come up,
[16:33.59]William can afford to be all charm and generosity to his prisoner,
[16:38.51]cleverly bringing him into his military entourage.
[16:44.43]William took Harold on campaign with him in Brittany,
[16:47.51]where Harold returns the favour by rescuing two of William's soldiers
[16:51.91]from the quicksands of Mont Saint Michel,
[16:54.75]one on his left arm, one on his back.
[17:04.31]His hospitality is steel-tipped. He makes Harold one of his knights,
[17:10.23]a solemn ceremonious business involving a two-way obligation.
[17:16.87]William, now his liege lord, would be obliged
[17:19.75]to protect Harold, his new knight.
[17:22.51]Harold would have had to make his own promises, and there seems no doubt
[17:26.87]he did swear some sort of oath to the Duke.
[17:30.87]To the medieval mind, there was nothing more serious than an oath,
[17:36.03]and the tapestry maker makes it clear that this was a religious act
[17:39.87]by having a witness point to the word "Sacramentum".
[17:44.15]His oath was a kind of sacrament as it went to the heart of the matter.
[17:49.63]What would happen to England after Edward died?
[17:55.31]The English said that Harold agreed to be William's man
[17:59.35]only in Normandy and that it had no bearing on the English succession.
[18:05.07]The Norman chroniclers, though, said Harold had sworn
[18:08.71]to help William take the throne of England.
[18:14.79]The oath became even more binding when in a cheap theatrical trick
[18:19.43]the cloth was whipped from the table over which Harold had sworn.
[18:23.39]Underneath was revealed a reliquary containing the bones of a saint.
[18:36.75]Well, how much trouble was he in now?
[18:40.19]Had Harold promised something he couldn't deliver,
[18:42.83]or had he made no promises at all about the English crown?
[18:46.23]Norman chroniclers like to imagine the returning Harold
[18:49.63]haunted by guilt, saying one thing but doing another.
[19:00.67]In England, there was no sign of a queasy conscience at all.
[19:05.23]To get his hands on the crown, Harold now did something
[19:09.07]inconceivable for a Godwine, something which
[19:12.87]one day would have disastrous consequences.
[19:16.35]He sold his own brother, Tostig, down the river.
[19:24.91]Tostig was the Earl of Northumbria and also the family hothead,
[19:30.15]and had managed to provoke a northern rebellion against him.
[19:33.83]He'd been fleecing abbeys and monasteries,
[19:36.71]creating his own private army and acting like a greedy tyrannical brat.
[19:42.31]Inevitably, the local nobles rose against him,
[19:45.67]declared him outlaw and put in their own man to be the new earl.
[19:51.15]Harold was sent by King Edward to sort out the mess
[19:54.67]and was immediately faced with two tough choices.
[19:58.23]He could back his younger brother Tostig against the rebels,
[20:01.91]but that might create a civil war.
[20:05.15]Or he could forget about blood ties and support Tostig's enemies.
[20:09.79]In return, they might feel grateful enough
[20:12.51]to offer him their crucial support
[20:14.87]when the time came for him to make his bid for the English throne.
[20:21.19]In the end, Harold put ambition before brotherly love.
[20:25.55]He threw out Tostig and replaced him with the Earl Morcar.
[20:29.27]Harold had broken Godwine clan solidarity
[20:32.95]and turned his own brother into a mortal enemy.
[20:39.23]It was this merciless war of brothers which in the end
[20:42.87]cost Harold his throne and his life.
[20:46.07]More than anything, it was the cause of death of Anglo-Saxon England.
[20:54.23]The winter of 1065 was marked by tremendous gales
[20:58.63]which destroyed churches and uprooted great trees.
[21:04.31]As King Edward the Confessor lay on his deathbed,
[21:07.47]he was visited by a strange and terrible dream
[21:11.07]which he insisted on relating to all who gathered around him.
[21:17.19]Two monks came to my deathbed and told me
[21:20.95]that because of the sins of its people
[21:23.11]God had given England to evil spirits.
[21:26.51]I said, "Will God not have mercy?" And they replied,
[21:30.03]"Not until a growing tree, cleft in two by a lightning storm
[21:34.87]"should come together of its own accord and grow green again.
[21:39.19]"Only then will there be pardon."
[21:52.03]But no one paid much attention to the ravings of an old man.
[21:55.95]What was much more important
[21:58.03]was that Edward had touched Harold's hand.
[22:06.59]The king had fallen short of actually declaring him his heir
[22:11.15]but it was enough of a sign for Harold
[22:13.51]and the northern earls who supported him.
[22:17.87]On January 6th 1066, Westminster saw the funeral of one king in the morning
[22:24.11]and the coronation of another in the afternoon.
[22:28.79]There are two Harolds depicted in the Bayeux Tapestry,
[22:32.55]but which was the real one -
[22:34.99]the confident king who issued coins bearing the optimistic slogan "Pax",
[22:39.07]the Latin for peace,
[22:40.95]or the guilty, twisted usurper, stricken by omens, haunted by a vision of ships?
[22:52.43]The phantom fleet which the embroiderers set in a border of the tapestry
[22:56.67]suggests Harold could all too well imagine the reaction
[23:00.11]across the Channel to his coronation.
[23:05.79]A Norman historian has William hearing the news while out hunting.
[23:11.83]When the Duke heard the news, he became as a man outraged.
[23:15.19]Oft he tied his mantle, oft he untied it and spoke to no man.
[23:19.99]Neither dared any man speak to him.
[23:31.27]For ten years, William had confidently let it be known throughout Europe
[23:35.67]that he'd soon add England to his territories.
[23:38.83]He was now in a lethally dangerous position of looking ridiculous.
[23:44.27]He consulted his feudal magnates in a series of assemblies
[23:48.19]and by no means all of them were particularly thrilled
[23:51.31]with the idea of an invasion of England.
[23:54.31]The risks seemed a lot more daunting
[23:56.87]than the enticement of new lands and wealth.
[24:00.95]So the Duke went to strategy number two,
[24:04.11]turning the matter into an international crusade.
[24:07.99]Couldn't the Pope see that his cause was just,
[24:11.43]that Harold was an infamous oath breaker, a despoiler of churches?
[24:15.91]William on the other hand was a builder of abbeys,
[24:18.87]a protector of bishops against bullying barons.
[24:21.63]It was completely absurd and it worked like a dream.
[24:26.11]The Pope was won over, gave William his Papal blessing
[24:29.79]and invested him with his ring and banner.
[24:38.51]It was now much more than a dynastic feud.
[24:42.19]William used the consecration of his wife's abbey,
[24:45.11]here at La Trinite in Caen,
[24:47.55]to proclaim a crusade against the infidel Harold.
[24:52.31]The barons who'd fought shy of risking their necks
[24:55.47]on the Duke's personal vendetta
[24:58.15]now flocked to join the legions of the blessed.
[25:05.83]The Bayeux Tapestry shows work immediately got under way
[25:09.31]to build an awe-inspiring expeditionary force.
[25:12.83]Rows of Normandy trees went down to the axe
[25:15.43]to emerge as 400 dragon-headed ships.
[25:24.03]Loaded onto the ships were coats of mail, bows, arrows, spears
[25:28.95]and the most indispensable item of all, vast casks of wine.
[25:34.87]Packed so tightly into the boats they supported each other,
[25:38.11]were perhaps 6,000 horses, three for each knight.
[25:52.91]Across the Channel, Harold responded
[25:56.15]by proving that he too was a phenomenal military organiser.
[26:00.27]As the crack troops of his army, Harold could call on the elite
[26:04.15]of perhaps 3,000 "huscarls", professional soldiers
[26:08.35]trained to handle a two-handed axe that, if swung right,
[26:12.23]could slice through a horse and its rider at one blow.
[26:16.99]The core of the army was 5,000 Thanes - or noblemen - of England.
[26:21.79]In addition there were the 13,000 part-time soldiers, the "fyrd",
[26:27.87]mobilised by their lords, obliged to give the king
[26:31.07]two months service each year.
[26:35.71]With amazing speed, this army was stationed along the south coast.
[26:41.67]By August 10th, William had his army in place along the Normandy coast.
[26:47.35]Two great fighting forces bent on each other's annihilation
[26:51.95]faced each other across a little strip of water
[26:55.07]to determine the destiny of England.
[27:02.07]And there they sat,
[27:04.03]William waiting for a southerly wind that never came,
[27:07.39]and Harold waiting for William, who never came.
[27:15.43]This waiting was particularly serious for Harold.
[27:19.35]By the first week in September he'd kept the fyrd in battle position
[27:23.11]for at least two weeks longer than their two-month obligation.
[27:30.83]What's more, it was now harvest time.
[27:34.43]So, with who knows what misgivings and uneasiness,
[27:37.71]on September the 8th Harold demobilised the fyrd
[27:41.27]and sent the soldiers home.
[27:47.07]He was right to feel uneasy. Just eleven days later
[27:51.51]Harold had a very nasty shock - his younger brother was back.
[27:57.27]Tostig, together with the Norwegian king, Harold Hardrada,
[28:01.23]had landed in Northumbria with as many as 12,000 men.
[28:05.51]Tostig had spent his time in exile looking for allies
[28:09.59]to pursue his vendetta against Harold.
[28:11.91]It was a coup for him that he'd enlisted the support
[28:15.59]of the awesome King of Norway.
[28:18.23]Hardrada was quite simply the most feared warrior of the age.
[28:22.99]Built like a Norwegian cliff face,
[28:25.83]he had the reputation for super-human strength
[28:29.15]and elaborately creative cruelty.
[28:32.39]Hardrada also had a flimsy claim to the English throne
[28:36.11]that went back to Canute, and he wasn't one to flinch
[28:39.19]at a military challenge that could win him the disputed crown.
[28:48.07]Harold Hardrada sailed southwest from Norway on August the 12th.
[28:52.39]En route, he stopped here in the Viking earldom of the Orkneys
[28:57.51]to pick up yet more men and ships
[29:00.31]to add to his already formidable fleet.
[29:02.67]Expectations must have been high.
[29:06.03]The Norsemen could almost smell triumph in the summer winds.
[29:10.07]There would have been feasting, singing and the reading of poems,
[29:15.15]some of them doubtless written by Hardrada himself.
[29:18.11]And it may be here that Tostig joined the Viking fleet.
[29:23.03]If he did and looked out and saw the 300 ships,
[29:27.19]his little heart must have skipped a beat
[29:30.03]to think of the catastrophe awaiting his brother.
[29:33.35]Together, Tostig and Hardrada would be unstoppable, invincible.
[29:38.95]Or would they?
[29:48.39]Landing on the Northumbrian coast, the Viking army headed for York,
[29:53.11]where it fought off the northern earls to take control of the city.
[29:58.75]Complacent with victory, Hardrada and Tostig travelled
[30:01.67]with just one third of the army, eight miles east of York,
[30:05.31]to Stamford Bridge, where they'd arranged to collect 500 hostages.
[30:12.67]What they saw on the banks of the River Derwent
[30:15.79]was not a forlorn group of hostages but a massive army,
[30:20.11]their weapons glittering like sheets of ice, as the Viking bard put it.
[30:25.27]Tostig knew it meant trouble.
[30:28.31]It was his big brother.
[30:31.87]Getting his army in position to surprise the Norsemen
[30:35.11]was an epic feat by any standards.
[30:37.55]Harold had travelled from London, picking up his army on the way,
[30:41.79]covering 187 miles in four days - 37 to 45 miles a day.
[30:47.91]Imagine then, thousands of men going as fast as their horses,
[30:52.87]or, in many cases, as fast as their legs could carry them.
[30:56.59]Up the Great North Road to Peterborough, Lincoln, Tadcaster.
[31:00.87]The ultimate high-impact hike with the heaviest backpacks imaginable.
[31:05.79]At the end of it, Harold fought
[31:08.91]one of the bloodiest battles in English history.
[31:12.43](SHOUTS AND CRIES)
[31:35.83]It was the English who broke the Viking line,
[31:39.03]and the remaining Norse warriors cowered around their chiefs.
[31:42.99]We must imagine the great Hardrada swinging his axe beneath the Landvaster flag,
[31:48.19]before finally sinking down with an arrow in the throat;
[31:52.67]Tostig picking up the Raven flag and, in his turn, being cut down.
[32:06.67]The carnage was so complete that it took just 24 of the 300 ships
[32:13.23]that had sailed to England to return the pitiful remnant
[32:17.15]of the Norse army back to Norway.
[32:23.95]In a final act of respect, Harold found his dead brother
[32:27.87]and took what was left of him to be buried at York Minster.
[32:35.95]He had no time to grieve or exalt over the death of Tostig,
[32:40.91]for the day after the Battle of Stamford Bridge, the Norman fleet,
[32:45.11]at last, felt the wind change direction.
[32:51.35]So, with great haste, the Duke went to sea,
[32:54.63]with his fleet sailing swiftly to the coast of England.
[33:07.63]Their first sight of land would have been the cliffs at Beachy Head,
[33:11.71]and they landed in the nearby sheltering harbours at Pevensey.
[33:17.27]An old Roman fort guarded the beach.
[33:20.03]Within its empty shell, William's men erected
[33:23.03]a prefabricated timber castle, later to be rebuilt in stone,
[33:27.83]as if declaring that they were now heirs to the Romans.
[33:35.07]Expeditions for food and forage from the base camp
[33:38.79]took the usual form, burning everything that couldn't be seized,
[33:42.31]striking terror into the hearts of the locals.
[33:49.39]One of the most unforgettable details in the entire Bayeux Tapestry
[33:54.07]is this seemingly incidental detail of a mother and child turned refugee,
[33:59.87]fleeing from their burning house, maybe even Hastings,
[34:05.55]resigned to their fate, not looking back.
[34:08.15]This is the first of the images that will echo through European art;
[34:13.47]through Rubens, Goya and Picasso's Guernica,
[34:16.51]of the victims of war, of civilians, of innocence.
[34:24.51]William soon discovered there was no easy route from Pevensey to London.
[34:29.23]The country behind the town was waterlogged,
[34:31.87]crossed by little river valleys that fed into the sea.
[34:35.19]But there was one old Anglo-Saxon trail that could take him
[34:39.51]to the Roman road north through Kent,
[34:41.99]and it was for mastery of this ancient, muddy, rutted track,
[34:46.27]that the most gruelling battle in early British history would be fought.
[34:52.71]Having beaten back the threat of the Vikings and his own brother,
[34:56.83]it must have seemed inconceivable to Harold
[34:59.59]that he'd have to do it all over again within a week or two.
[35:03.87]It would not be easy. Who could he call on?
[35:06.91]The bruised and battered remains of his army.
[35:09.99]It would be a long shot, but after Stamford Bridge
[35:13.55]perhaps Harold felt he could actually trust his gambler's luck.
[35:17.59]Besides, William's public name-calling - Harold the Perjured,
[35:22.51]Harold the Oath Breaker, Harold the Perfidious -
[35:25.15]had made it personal now, a mortal duel.
[35:28.75]Let the hand of God decide the righteous party, who would prevail.
[35:39.91]Harold left London at full speed.
[35:42.79]He gathered what he could of a new army by an old grey apple tree,
[35:47.71]an ancient blasted tree that stood on a hill
[35:50.99]at the crossing of the track leading out of Hastings.
[35:54.31]There Harold planted his banner, "The Dragon of Wessex".
[35:58.39]The Normans called this place "Senlach", meaning "Lake of Blood".
[36:14.91]Imagine yourself on the morning of Saturday 14th October, 1066.
[36:21.35]You're a Saxon warrior, a huscarl as it happens,
[36:25.11]and you've survived Stamford Bridge.
[36:27.87]You know your position here couldn't be better.
[36:31.39]You stand on the brow of the hill and look down
[36:34.31]hundreds of yards away at the opposition.
[36:37.19]You only have to prevent the Normans breaking through to the London road.
[36:42.79]They have the horses but they have to ride them uphill.
[36:47.43]You look along the hillside to see a densely-packed crowd of Englishmen.
[36:52.23]At the front are the huscarls,
[36:54.43]a wall of solid shields, and with them the axemen.
[36:58.03]Behind them the part-timers, the fighting farmers,
[37:01.67]who must have time to find their courage.
[37:06.99]At the foot of the hill you can hear the whinnying of Norman horses...
[37:12.71]...and what sounds like the chanting of psalms.
[37:19.23]You're a Norman foot-soldier and you hope to God
[37:22.43]the gentlemen on horses know what they're doing.
[37:25.07]All around you can hear the scraping of metal,
[37:28.03]the sharpening of blades, the mounting of horses.
[37:31.39]You look up to the brow of the hill
[37:33.71]and you see a glittering line of men and you cross yourself.
[37:37.43]You finger the rings on your coat of mail, your hawberg,
[37:40.99]and wonder how solid they are.
[37:43.67]You wonder what use they'll be against an axe.
[37:46.43]You've never seen axes in battle before.
[37:49.35]Then you catch sight of the Papal banner and take heart.
[37:53.31]Surely God is on your side.
[37:59.91]The real beginning must be imagined as the cavalry raced up the hill,
[38:03.95]one by one getting into range, hearing the rhythmic chant
[38:07.99]of "Oot, Oot!" - Out, Out! - from the Saxons,
[38:11.39]and then hurling their javelins at the front line.
[38:17.39]Then came the slow advance of the archers,
[38:20.27]unloosing their first arrows under a hail of enemy spears.
[38:30.19]And finally the foot-soldiers breaking into a run behind them.
[38:39.19]Then there was just the murderous smashing and crashing of horses,
[38:43.31]the slicing and thrusting of weapons,
[38:45.87]the screams, cries of the wounded and dying.
[38:54.31]If the axeman stood firm against the oncoming horse
[38:57.51]he'd still only get one good swing. If he missed,
[39:00.95]he was left open to the slash of the sword from the rider above.
[39:12.99]The initial success of the English threatened their downfall.
[39:17.63]On the left flank of William's army, horses stumbled and retreated.
[39:21.83]The right flank of Harold's army,
[39:23.99]many of them inexperienced fyrdmen, decided to chase them down the hill.
[39:29.27]But Harold, always conservative in his tactics,
[39:32.51]refused to allow others to follow.
[39:34.79]He seems to have lost momentary control of his troops,
[39:38.91]who couldn't resist following the horsemen,
[39:41.67]elated by the thought that the Duke of Normandy was lost.
[39:45.91]But William threw back his helmet to prove he was very much alive.
[39:50.87]He rallied the ranks of the Norman centre round the rear of the pursuing Saxons
[39:55.39]and set about slicing them to pieces.
[40:05.19]The battle wasn't over yet.
[40:07.51]It was going to take at least six hours to decide.
[40:15.67]The Bayeux Tapestry is shockingly explicit
[40:18.67]in exposing the extent of the carnage and mutilation.
[40:27.11]But it was the English army that was eventually, and very, very slowly,
[40:33.15]William began exploiting weak points,
[40:35.43]settling into an alternating rhythm of archers and cavalry.
[40:39.75]The arrows now shot high into the air and fell,
[40:43.63]not onto the front line but the heads of the unprotected men behind them.
[40:51.99]How did Harold himself die?
[40:54.51]Lately there has been an attempt to read the death scene in the Tapestry
[40:58.99]as though he was the figure cut down by the horseman,
[41:02.31]not the warrior pulling the arrow out of his eye,
[41:05.87]the story you and I grew up with.
[41:08.03]It seems to me perfectly clear that the words "Harold Rex"
[41:12.15]occur directly and significantly above the arrow-struck figure.
[41:19.47]Then certainly the knights would have been on him, cutting him down,
[41:24.15]leaving him disembowelled.
[41:28.03]The Thanes bravely mounted a last stand,
[41:30.87]defending the body of their king, but for many it was a lost cause.
[41:35.95]It was time to save one's neck, to get out of the way.
[41:42.23]There are such sad stories of what follows,
[41:45.35]and perhaps some of them are true.
[41:47.55]One of them has Harold's lover, Edith Swan Neck,
[41:50.55]walking through the heaps of gory corpses to identify the dead king
[41:54.99]by marks on his body, known only to her.
[42:00.99]What we do know is that around half the nobility of England
[42:05.07]perished on that battlefield.
[42:27.35]William had sworn that should God give him the victory
[42:30.83]he would build a great abbey of thanksgiving at the exact spot
[42:35.19]where Harold had planted his flag, and here it is -
[42:38.55]a statement, if ever there was one, of pious jubilation.
[42:46.07]But William had to make sure he'd won not just a single battle
[42:49.79]but the war for England.
[42:52.23]This was done in the time-honoured way, cutting a swathe of fire, rape and plunder
[42:56.95]through the countryside of south-east England.
[42:59.95]One by one the Anglo-Saxon cities folded.
[43:05.59]William was crowned at Westminster on Christmas Day 1066.
[43:11.59]But the event was more like a shambles than a triumph.
[43:16.99]At the shout of acclamation, the Norman soldiers stationed outside
[43:21.35]thought a riot had started, to which their response was
[43:24.47]to burn down every house in sight.
[43:28.03]As fighting broke out, many inside the Abbey,
[43:30.95]smelling smoke, rushed outside.
[43:34.91]The ceremony was completed in a half empty interior,
[43:40.11]with William, for the first time in his life, seen to be shaking like a leaf.
[43:48.63]When he emerged from the smoke and chaos of the coronation,
[43:52.27]just what kind of king did the surviving remnant of the old governing class
[43:56.27]imagine they had?
[43:58.43]Did they fondly suppose he was going to be another Canute,
[44:02.11]who now that he'd won, would disband his army and send them home?
[44:06.67]If they did, they were in for a very nasty shock,
[44:11.07]because even if William had wanted to do this, it was quite impossible.
[44:15.39]His whole campaign had been based on the promise of the lure of land,
[44:20.55]the pledge to hand over Saxon land on a golden plate of conquest.
[44:28.07]So there was never the remotest chance that William
[44:30.79]was going to be another Canute and assimilate himself
[44:33.59]into the world of Anglo-Saxon England.
[44:36.27]His conquest turned the country around.
[44:38.99]England's orientation now was south,
[44:41.95]away from Scandinavia and towards continental Europe.
[44:50.63]The part of the country offering most resistance
[44:53.31]was the north of England, which still retained strong Viking sympathies.
[44:57.59]Just three years into William's reign, York opened its gates
[45:01.07]to King Swein of Denmark, hailing him as a liberator
[45:04.87]from the new king of England.
[45:09.87]William's response was to mount a campaign of oppression in the north
[45:14.55]which was not just punitive but an exercise in mass murder -
[45:19.35]thousands of men and boys gruesomely butchered,
[45:22.23]their bodies left to rot and fester in the highways.
[45:31.39]Every town and village burnt without pity.
[45:34.55]Fields and livestock destroyed so completely
[45:37.67]that any survivors were doomed to die in a great famine.
[45:44.83]Hard on the heels of massacre and starvation came plague.
[45:51.39]All across England, William built at least 90 castles,
[45:55.15]dominating areas of potential revolt,
[45:58.47]engines of terror that helped William control over two million Saxons
[46:03.39]with just 25,000 Normans.
[46:17.03]Most of the voices that have come down to us describing the events after 1066
[46:22.83]are written from the victor's perspective,
[46:25.79]unapologetic and crowing, sketching the starkest possible contrast
[46:30.51]between the Machiavellian perjurer Harold and the noble, betrayed William.
[46:36.47]But among this nauseating chorus of congratulation
[46:39.79]there's at least one that dares break rank,
[46:42.71]that in fact sees the conquest as it surely was -
[46:46.03]a brutal, ruthless and completely successful act of aggression and cruelty.
[46:53.95]The voice is all the more credible because it belongs to someone
[46:57.11]who by rights, should have found nothing to fault in the Norman Conquest -
[47:01.27]the monk Orderic Vitalis, whose family came over with William
[47:05.39]and belonged, therefore, to the conquering class.
[47:08.83]In the early 12th century,
[47:10.95]he began to pen his account of the Conquest and its aftermath,
[47:14.71]and, in complete contrast to the others,
[47:17.35]Orderic never minces his words about what he thought of as a colonisation.
[47:22.43]Foreigners grew wealthy with the spoils of England,
[47:26.19]while her own sons were either shamefully slain
[47:29.11]or driven as exiles to wander hopelessly through foreign kingdoms.
[47:36.35]His account conveys the traumatic magnitude of what happened in England
[47:41.23]in the years following 1066.
[47:43.91]Pre-Conquest England was an old country, as Orderic describes it.
[47:48.71]Afterwards, it was a completely new one.
[47:52.27]Of course, not everything changed,
[47:55.31]and to look at a list of governing institutions
[47:57.83]you might suppose nothing had changed;
[48:00.31]that one class of governors had kicked out another class of governors.
[48:06.75]But I rather think it was a big deal.
[48:09.03]Imagine the county gentry of England - priests, squires, judges -
[48:14.63]all wiped out overnight, half of them dead,
[48:18.43]the rest humiliated, broken, replaced by an alien class.
[48:23.99]They speak differently, they look different, they take what they want when they want,
[48:29.71]and then rubber-stamp the decision in your courts.
[48:35.99]They also build differently.
[48:38.91]Ely Cathedral is one of those places
[48:41.19]where the intimate scale of Saxon churches
[48:44.47]was replaced by a statement of massive triumphalism.
[48:49.31]These columns speak of authority and raw power.
[48:53.35]They command obedience and reverence.
[48:56.31]They are, in the most literal sense, awesome.
[49:09.19]It was the difference
[49:11.35]between the immense Romanesque bulk of the great Norman cathedrals
[49:15.79]and the small spaces of the Saxon chapel.
[49:19.35]There is another telling difference between the old and new rulers of England:
[49:24.23]Anglo-Saxons didn't use surnames.
[49:26.95]They were Cedric or Edgar of somewhere or other.
[49:29.91]But the Normans incorporated places
[49:32.35]into their own names like an act of possession.
[49:35.87]They were Roger of the beautiful hill - Roger Beau-Mont -
[49:39.67]as the place was theirs and they owned it lock, stock and barrel.
[49:45.11]In fact, preserving the estate intact
[49:47.79]was what the Norman nobility was all about.
[49:50.27]It was they who introduced the practise of passing on whole estates
[49:54.11]intact to one heir, to the eldest son.
[49:58.99]The unsentimental, decisive way with things was the Norman way,
[50:03.71]giving a hard-nosed edge to the fuzzy tangles of contracts and customs
[50:08.83]that had been used by the Anglo-Saxons.
[50:12.99]And it was in this spirit that William, in 1085,
[50:16.95]held court in Gloucester and launched arguably
[50:20.27]the most extraordinary campaign of his entire reign, a campaign for information.
[50:27.43]We tend to think of William as more or less permanently in the saddle.
[50:31.03]He grew up in a world, after all, where authority was usually delivered
[50:35.31]on the blade of a sword.
[50:37.55]So it's all the more impressive that he seems to have understood instinctively
[50:41.43]that information could also be power.
[50:44.35]William the Conqueror was the first database king.
[50:50.59]His immediate need was to raise a tax,
[50:53.35]but the compilation of the Domesday Book was more than just a glorified audit.
[50:58.15]It was a complete inventory of everything in the kingdom,
[51:01.43]shire by shire, pig by pig;
[51:06.19]who had owned what before the coming of the Normans and who owned what now;
[51:10.79]how much it had been worth then and how much now.
[51:17.59]The king sent his men all over England, into every shire,
[51:20.95]to find out how many hundred hides there were in each shire,
[51:25.71]what land and cattle the king himself had in the county.
[51:29.47]So very narrowly did he have it investigated
[51:32.47]there was no single hide nor - shame to relate it,
[51:35.51]but it seemed no shame to him - was there one ox or one cow
[51:40.47]left out and not put down in record.
[51:43.91]While some of the information was taken verbally by William's scribes,
[51:48.27]some must have owed its existence to Saxon records.
[51:52.35]The most extraordinary paradox about the Domesday Book
[51:55.71]is that what we think of as a monument to the power and strength of the Normans
[51:59.91]owed itself to the advanced machinery of government
[52:02.79]left in place by the old Anglo-Saxon monarchy.
[52:06.87]And it was thanks to this that the data was collected
[52:09.95]at such lightning speed, less than six months.
[52:16.43]The results were presented to William here at Old Sarum,
[52:20.39]an ancient Iron Age fort inside which he'd built
[52:23.63]a spectacular royal palace.
[52:26.11]When he took hold of the Domesday Book,
[52:28.23]it was as though William had been handed the keys to the kingdom all over again,
[52:32.55]as if he'd re-conquered England, but this time statistically,
[52:36.23]because its information was more impregnable than any castle.
[52:41.11]It was called The Domesday Book, after all,
[52:43.51]because it was said its decisions were as final as the Last Judgement.
[52:51.71]The Church itself holds Wenlock.
[52:54.15]There are 20 hides, four of which are exempt from tax under King Canute.
[52:59.03]There are 15 slaves, two mills serve the monks, plus one fishery.
[53:04.27]Enough woodland to fatten 300 pigs, and two hedged enclosures.
[53:09.79]Value now twelve pounds.
[53:13.79]Two ceremonies took place on Lammas Day, 1087, at Old Sarum.
[53:20.07]First, every noble in England gathered here
[53:23.03]to take an oath of loyalty to the king.
[53:25.63]Then came the handing over of the Book,
[53:29.11]the ultimate weapon to keep them in line.
[53:31.83]Nobody could hold back anything, and it was this book,
[53:35.83]the Domesday Book, that made the gathering at Old Sarum
[53:39.39]unique in the history of feudal monarchy in Europe.
[53:43.15]For the Book ultimately WAS England.
[53:49.31]For centuries after, this was the secret of English government,
[53:53.39]a partnership between the power of the landed classes
[53:56.83]and the authority of the state,
[53:58.99]between the guardians of the green acres and the keepers of knowledge.
[54:03.43]In the right hand corner, the gentry;
[54:05.67]in the left hand corner, the civil service.
[54:08.51]In between them, the eternal umpire, the king.
[54:13.19]But the umpire was finally feeling the strain of it all.
[54:17.31]Not surprising when, aged 60,
[54:19.87]William still couldn't resist playing the warlord.
[54:23.03]In 1087, he subdued a border dispute in France
[54:27.27]by totally destroying the town of Mantes.
[54:30.91]But perhaps this devastation was one too many,
[54:35.55]for a flaming timber from a house burned by his soldiers
[54:39.27]fell right in front of the king. William's horse suddenly bucked,
[54:43.79]throwing the now overweight king violently against his saddle,
[54:48.55]his gut taking the force of the blow.
[54:51.83]Mortally wounded, William was taken to a priory at Rouen.
[55:00.31]At the very end, Orderic Vitalis puts into William's mouth
[55:04.27]an extraordinary deathbed confession,
[55:07.39]so penitential, so utterly out of character
[55:10.83]that it seems on the face of it completely incredible.
[55:14.47]But whether William actually spoke those words or not,
[55:17.75]they clearly reflected what some, perhaps many people,
[55:21.03]felt about William the Conqueror - that when all the battles were won,
[55:25.95]when the laws were all laid down, he was what he had always been,
[55:30.39]a brutal adventurer.
[55:33.15]And the conquest of England not a righteous crusade,
[55:36.31]but just a grand throw of history's dice.
[55:41.83]I appoint no one my heir to the crown of England
[55:44.75]for I did not attain that honour by hereditary right,
[55:47.63]but wrestled it from a perjured King Harold
[55:50.55]in a desperate battle with much effusion of human blood.
[55:54.23]I have persecuted its native inhabitants beyond all reason.
[55:58.67]Whether gentle or simple, I cruelly oppressed them.
[56:01.67]Many I unjustly disinherited.
[56:04.15]Innumerable multitudes, especially in the county of York,
[56:07.43]perished through me by famine or the sword.
[56:10.75]Having therefore made my way to the throne of that kingdom
[56:13.99]by so many crimes, I dare not leave it to anyone but God alone,
[56:18.99]lest after my death worse should happen by my means.
[56:24.27]Once he had gone, in the early hours of the morning
[56:27.55]of the 9th September, 1087, a shocking scene took place.
[56:33.15]His closest followers now paid their last respects to William
[56:37.15]by all deserting him,
[56:39.35]racing to the four corners of the kingdom to secure their land,
[56:44.03]leaving the corpse to be looted by the servants,
[56:49.23]naked, bloated and beginning to putrefy on the monastery floor.
[56:56.27]So the man who spent his life taking whatever he could
[57:00.07]by whatever means, was finally robbed of everything,
[57:04.23]even his dignity.
[57:06.59]Perhaps the hand of God had decided that this was a fitting end.
[57:17.83]As for his old antagonist, Harold,
[57:20.47]he certainly didn't stay buried on the shore facing the Channel,
[57:24.55]as some Norman historians suggested.
[57:27.19]Rumours had it that he'd escaped and was living as a hermit.
[57:30.99]But another story is much more likely to be the truth -
[57:35.39]that once it was safe, the female survivors of the family
[57:38.63]took Harold's remains and had them interred here at Waltham Abbey.
[57:43.59]According to William and the Pope,
[57:46.35]Harold was supposed to have been a despoiler of the Church, deserving of destruction.
[57:51.83]But the monks at Waltham didn't seem to agree,
[57:54.55]for they secretly buried him and prayed for his soul.
[57:59.27]Somewhere, then, beneath the columns and arches
[58:02.67]of this Romanesque church, is the last Anglo-Saxon king,
[58:07.59]literally part of the foundations of Norman England.
九个小时的战役（the Battle of Hastings）之后，一切都改变了，诺曼人取代了盎鲁——萨克逊人，英国从此走上另一条道路。
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