In one violent day of battle, England was transformed from an Anglo-Saxon land of earls and peasants to a conquered island nailed down by the will of a single man—William, Duke of Normandy. The 14 October 1066 Battle of Hastings was the final defeat for the Anglo-Saxon King Harold II, and at the moment he died, England became Norman ever after.
While the battle is well documented, there are still gaps in accounts of the amphibious invasion itself. How, in only a few months, did William assemble a huge army of 8,000 infantry and cavalry and—above all—build a fleet capable of carrying them across the stormy English Channel? “Aye,” as Shakespeare wrote, “there’s the rub.” Nearly a thousand years later, it remains, to the nautically minded, the most compelling element of the Norman Conquest.
Lars Brownworth, The Normans, From Raiders to Kings (Surrey, UK: Crux Publishing, 2014).
David Howarth, 1066: The Year of the Conquest (New York: Dorset Press, 1993).
“How to Organise a Norman Invasion Fleet,” English Heritage.
Bjorn Landstrom, The Ship (London: Allen & Unwin, 1961).
Marc Morris, The Norman Conquest, the Battle of Hastings and the Fall of Anglo-Saxon England (London: Atlantic Books, 2008).
Rudolf Poertner, The Vikings: Rise and Fall of the North Sea Kings, 9th to 13th Centuries (New York: St. Martin’s, 1975).
“Viking Ship Construction,” Regia Anglorum.
“William the Conqueror and the Channel Crossing of 1066,” Medievalists.net.