The Battle of Stamford Bridge

Ancestrally speaking, I’m a Norman. A supposed ancestor of mine came over from France to England in 1066. His name was William and he became King of England by conquest. I won’t vouch for the certainty of this, for my ‘knowledge’ comes from the work of a long ago genealogist researching someone else’s ancestry. Nineteenth century genealogists seemed to think it was their duty to link their person back to royalty. I’m not sure they bothered so much with actual facts.

Statistically, there’s a pretty good chance that a huge number of us descend from William the conqueror. Like all others, I have two parents, four grandparents, 8 great great grandparents etc. Go back 32 generations to William and I have 2 raised to the power of 32 ancestors. That’s 4294967296 or more than 4 billion of them. That’s roughly ten times as many ancestors as we think there were people in the world!

Anyway, in my heart I am more Saxon and I always wished Harold had won the Battle of Hastings. And so he might have done had he and his men not been battle and travel weary after the Battle of Stamford Bridge.

This battle, quite near York, was between our King Harold and Harald Hardrada, invading from Norway with the support of Tostig who was King Harold’s younger brother.

On a recent visit to Yorkshire we looked at the battle site, which, according to our map was here.


Yes, like so many battle sites, it was just ordinary land on the edge of what is now the village of Stamford Bridge.

The village commemorates the battle in a number of ways. One of them is with this planter, shaped like a ship.


This models the ship of Harald Hardrada.


Having defeated the invading Norwegians, King Harold and his men had to hurriedly march down to Sussex to face William and the Norman invaders. Tired and weary, they made tactical errors and William was able to gain the crown.


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