The Normans Advance
The English had
prepared their defences at Senlac...
Normans appeared advancing over the ridge of a rising ground,
and the first division of their troops moved onward along the
hill and across a valley.
And presently another division, still larger, came in sight,
close following upon the first, and they were led toward
another part of the field, forming together as the first body
And while Harold saw and examined them, and was pointing them
out to Gurth, a fresh company came in sight, covering all the
plain; and in the midst of them was raised the standard that
came from Rome.
Near it was the Duke, and the best men and greatest strength
of the army were there. The good knights, the good vassals,
and brave warriors were there; and there were gathered
together the gentle barons, the good archers, and the
men-at-arms, whose duty it was to guard the Duke, and range
themselves around him.
The youths and
common herd of the camp, whose business was not to join in the
battle, but to take care of the harness and stores, moved off
toward a rising ground. The priests and the clerks also
ascended a hill, there to offer up prayers to God, and watch
the event of the battle.
The English stood firm on foot in close ranks, and carried
themselves right boldly. Each man had his hauberk on, with his
sword girt, and his shield at his neck. Great hatchets were
also slung at their necks, with which they expected to strike
The Normans brought on the three divisions of their army to
attack at different places. They set out in three companies,
and in three companies did they fight. The first and second
had come up, and then advanced the third, which was the
greatest; with that came the Duke with his own men, and all
moved boldly forward."