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The Battle of Hastings

Harold and William's armies met near Hastings. Harold and his army took up position on Senlac Hill. The battle of Hastings began at about nine o'clock on the 14th October and lasted most of the day. The Norman attacks had little effect at first. It is not clear what broke the deadlock At one point the Normans began to retreat, fearing that William had been killed. William took off his helmet so his men could see he was alive and well. The Normans then used the trick of pretending to retreat and many of Harold's army ran after them thinking that the battle was won.

Position of troops at the Battle of Hastings

The Normans then suddenly turned their horses, surrounded the English and cut them down. Twice this trick was employed and at last the English tired. Gradually the Saxon line broke up. Harold's bodyguard (Housecarls) were left to fight on alone. It is unclear how Harold died he may have be struck in the eye with an arrow or cut down by a Norman Knight. What ever the cause, by dusk the Saxons were in full retreat and Harold lay dead behind them. William was the victor, he had won the battle of Hastings but had he won the crown of England?

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