Duke William Lands at Pevensey - The
Normans Invade England
invaders found an undefended sea, and an undefended coast when
they reached England - the English army had marched to York to
meet the Viking Invasion! William's army landed in Pevensey Bay,
Sussex, at Bulverhithe, on the 28th of September 1066.
The old Norman chroniclers described the preparations of
William on his landing with great vigour, they inform us how
of Duke William's own ship was the first of the Norman fleet.
It was called the Mora, and was the gift of his duchess
Matilda. The figure head was a brazen child bearing an arrow
with a drawn bow. His face was turned toward England, and he
looked, as though he was about to release his arrow at
The ships beached,
the sailors, the sergeants, and squires unloaded the ships;
carried out shields and saddles, landed the war-horses and the
Of the army, the archers came ashore first, each with his bow
strung, and a quiver full of arrows at his side. All were
shaven and shorn; and dressed in short garments, ready to
attack, to shoot, to wheel about and skirmish. All stood well
equipped and ready for the fight; and they scoured the whole
shore, but found not a single armed man!
After the archers
had gone ashore, the knights landed, fully armed wearing
their hauberks (a long tunic made of chain mail). Their
shields were slung at their necks, and their helmets laced.
They formed up on the shore, each armed and mounted on his
war-horse; all had their swords girded on, and rode forward
into the country with their lances raised.
carpenters landed, with great axes in their hands, and planes
and adzes hung at their sides. The carpenters were vital to
William's battle plans - they were going to build
pre-constructed castles that William had shipped over in the
When Duke William
himself landed, as he stepped on the shore he slipped and fell
forward upon his two hands. Many of his men raised a
loud cry of distress. "An evil sign," they said, "is here."
But he cried out lustily: "See, my lords, by the splendor of
God, I have taken possession of England with both my hands. It
is now mine, and what is mine is yours." (Duke William's
customary oath). This quick thinking and the ability to turn a
negative event into a positive one was a major quality that
Duke William possessed.