People Born in Battle
Battle in People's Lives
William the Conqueror: After setting out from my castle in Hastings, I met my rival Harold Godwinson and his armies here for the famous Battle of Hastings in 1066. Though numbers on both sides were about equal, my superior cavalry and archers (Harold's army did not include a cavalry regime) proved a tipping point. My troops feigned retreat, luring the English soldiers into pursuing, only to be ambushed and slaughtered by horsemen. When Harold was slain later in the battle, the fighting stopped, and I was the decisive victor. Some accounts say that I myself killed him, while others say that he was slain by an arrow. Four years later, in 1070, I was ordered by Pope Alexander II to build a monastery in this town, as penance for bringing about the death of so many at the Battle of Hastings. And so I founded Battle Abbey here, proclaiming it a respectful monument to the dead.