Posts Tagged ‘battle’

The Battle of Stamford Bridge

May 23, 2014

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.

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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.

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This models the ship of Harald Hardrada.

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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.

 

The Battle of Sedgemoor

July 22, 2013

I’m not going to delve into the history or the rights and wrongs of this – said to be the last pitched battle fought on English soil. Suffice to say that The Duke of Monmouth fancied himself as king, rather than the incumbent James II. Monmouth and his 500 men were utterly routed at Westonzoyland in the Sedgemoor area of Somerset. His rebellion and attempt on the throne was over. But Catholic James was replaced by Protestant William soon after.  And of course the lessons of history teach us nothing. People of various religious beliefs still squabble, fight and go to war, all professing their rightness and that God is on their side.

But back to that battle which took place in 1685. There is a memorial which I photographed with my first digital camera back in 1999.

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Sedgemoor is part of the Somerset levels and you can see in the photo that it is level! It is all barely above sea level and there is a tendency for the levels to flood. It was in this peaceful scene that the two armies – Monmouth’s and the King’s met.

The memorial is said to mark the site of the battle.

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The plaque makes it clear that all sides believed they were right and that many died or suffered.

The whole area is made fit for agriculture by a series of dug drains.

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They, of course, are a haven for wildlife.