The Battle of Stamford Bridge
Earl Tostig and
Harald Hardrada were celebrating their victory at York but by
means of a remarkably rapid four day forced march, King Harold
and his army reached Stamford Bridge in Yorkshire by the 25th
of September 1066. The rapid response by Harold and his
mounted Housecarls must have taken the enemy by complete
King Harold rode up and offered his banished brother, Tostig,
his earldom back if he would lay down his arms and join him,
Tostig asked what English lands Harald Hardrada of Norway
could expect if he dismissed his Viking army. King Harold's
reply was that 'he would offer Harald seven foot of good
English soil, or as much as he needed as he was taller than
The Norse King and his confederates had been taken by
surprise. The battle which followed, fought adjacent to
Stamford Bridge, was desperate and long. King Harold, unable
to break the ranks of the Norwegian's by force, eventually
tricked them into breaking ranks by a feigned retreat.
columns suddenly turned, and it is believed that King Harald
Hardrada received a fatal arrow through the neck. Shortly
after all of the upper echelons of his Viking nobility were
killed. The treacherous Earl Tostig was also killed at the
Battle of Stamford Bridge. The English army decimated the
Vikings. It was a total victory for King Harold.
The Battle of
Stamford Bridge was so decisive that only 25 ships returned to
Norway form the original fleet of over 300. As a result of
this crushing defeat Norway ceased to be able to raise an
effective military force for the next 25 years.
was total, but at the cost of the lives of many of his best
officers and men, and even worse the advantage Duke William
had gained due to his unopposed landing on the Sussex coast...