King Harold Prepares for Battle
"Harold had summoned his men, earls, barons, and vavasors (a feudal tenant who ranked directly below a baron or peer) from the castles and the cities, from the ports, the villages and boroughs. The peasants were also called together from the villages, bearing such arms as they found; clubs and great picks, iron forks and stakes. The English had enclosed the place where Harold was with his friends and the barons of the country whom he had summoned and called together.
Those men of London had come at once, and those of Kent, of Hertfort, and of Essesse; those of Suree and Susesse, of St. Edmund and Sufoc; of Norwis and Norfoc; of Cantorbierre and Stanfort, Bedefort and Hundetone. The men of Northanton also came; and those of Eurowic and Bokinkeham, of Bed and Notinkeham, Lindesie and Nichole. There came also from the west all who heard the summons; and very many were to be seen coming from Salebiere and Dorset, from Bat and from Sumerset. Many came, too, from about Glocestre, and many from Wirecestre, from Wincestre, Hontesire and Brichesire; and many more from other counties that we have not named, and cannot, indeed, recount. All who could bear arms, and had learned the news of the Duke's arrival, came to defend the land. But none came from beyond Humbre, for they had other business upon their hands, the Danes and Tosti having much damaged and weakened them.
Harold knew that the Normans would come and attack him hand to hand, so he had early enclosed the field in which he had placed his men. He made them arm early and range themselves for the battle, he himself having put on arms and equipments that became such a lord. The Duke, he said, ought to seek him, as he wanted to conquer England; and it became him to abide the attack who had to defend the land. He commanded the people, and counselled his barons to keep themselves all together and defend themselves in a body, for if they once separated, they would with difficulty recover themselves.
King Harold addressed his troops:
"The Normans are good vassals, valiant on foot and on horseback; good knights are they on horseback and well used to battle; all is lost if they once penetrate our ranks. They have brought long lances and swords, but you have pointed lances and keen-edged bills; and I do not expect that their arms can stand against yours. Cleave whenever you can; it will be ill done if you spare aught."