Year 7: Autumn Revision Guide

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1 Year 7: Autumn Revision Guide Section One: Society and background Anglo-Saxon Society and the role of the King The richest group of people in Anglo-Saxon society, apart from the king, were called the aristocracy, who formed about 1% of the country. They inherited their wealth and power from their parents. They helped the king to run society and keep control over the country. They got the poorest people to work on their land for them. The poorest people in Anglo-Saxon society were peasants. They rented small farms from the aristocracy where they worked for themselves and their families to produce food. They would be kicked off the land if they did not produce extra food and supplies for the aristocracy. Over 90% of the population were peasants. The king controlled the aristocracy by giving out rewards for loyalty. The king was very powerful because they led the army. He had the support of the aristocracy who provided men and weapons. The king could fight threats from abroad if necessary. Kings also had powerful because they could give rewards to their loyal followers. They could give out money and land to encourage other people to support them. This made them very powerful The king also made the law, helping to keep England stable and keep the peace between rival groups and forces. Anglo-Saxon kings were also very religious. They said that they were God s representative on earth. This meant that people supported the king because they thought he was doing what God wanted. However, in some ways the power of the monarch was limited. Anglo- Saxon kings needed to rule the whole of England, but part of the country was under the control other Viking invaders. The legacy of Edward the Confessor Edward the Confessor was king for twenty four years. The way he left the country (his legacy) has been debated. He achieved this for most of his reign. Edward the Confessor was a very religious man, and helped make sure that everybody in England was a devout (strong believer) in the Catholic faith. He was a very traditional ruler who wanted to maintain things the way they were and keep things being done in the same way. Edward was full of energy and travelled round his kingdom acting ruthlessly. He made sure that he got what he wanted done. His marriage was stable and helped ensure that the country remained settled during times of crisis. Edward was also responsible for building Westminster Abbey, a huge church, in 1065.

2 However, Edward faced serious problems. He faced a threat from Earl Godwin who tried to invade the country. Although Edward managed to deal with the threat of the invasion, he was not able to stop the Godwin family becoming more powerful. Harold Godwin, Earl Godwin s son, became Earl of Wessex the most powerful member of the aristocracy in the country. This weakened Edward s rule, as his army was controlled by Harold Godwinson. Edward was also forced to agree to pass the rule of the country onto Harold, because he and his wife Edith had not had any sons. Passing the throne onto Harold meant the country was more unstable, as many people believed that he was not the rightful king. Who should succeed Edward the Confessor? Harold Godwinson was present when King Edward died. He said that he should be king because he was the king s brother-in-law (the King s wife, Edith, was his sister). When Edward died he is reported to have said to Harold: I commend this woman [Edith] with all the kingdom to your protection. Harold took this to mean that he would be king. Harold had also been in control of the army under King Edward and had done a good job. Harold was influential among the aristocracy. Despite this, there were others who believed they should be king. Another strong claim to the throne came from Harald Hardrada the king of Norway. He was a Viking warrior who was feared across Europe. His nickname Hardrada meant stern ruler. His claim to the throne was based on secret deals and treaties most importantly Hardrada believed he had a good chance of invading England successfully. Finally, William, Duke of Normandy believed that he should be king. Normandy was a small country in France. William of Normandy s claim to the throne was based on an agreement between William and Edward the Confessor had made around William of Normandy managed to get the Pope s backing for his decision which helped William increase his power, although there was no real evidence for his claim other than his own claims. No. Question Answer 1 Who were the aristocracy? 2 Where did the aristocracy get their wealth from? 3 What percentage of society were the peasants? 4 What power did kings have in Anglo-Saxon society? 5 Who did people believe the king represented? 6 How long was Edward the Confessor monarch for? 7 Why was Edward s reign so stable? 8 What key problem did Edward face as king? 9 Who were the main contenders to succeed Edward? 10 Which of the contenders had the strongest claim to the throne?

3 Section Two: The reign of King Harold King Harold s early reign King Edward died on the 5th January 1066; the next day, as the old king was buried, Harold Godwinson was crowned King Harold. He moved quickly to ensure that he took his opportunity. The Witan met very quickly after Edward s death (on the same day) and decided to elect Harold as king. The Witan wanted to make a quick decision so that Harold could defend England in case William invaded. When William of Normandy heard of the coronation he was very angry. Straight after his coronation, King Harold went to York in order to increase his support there he wanted to keep the north of the country on his side. King Harold then gathered a huge army and positioned it along the south coast of England to defend the country against invasion. He also stationed a large fleet of ships along the south coast. The Battle of Gate Fulford Om 20 th September 1066 Harald Hardrada launched an attack against King Harold. Harald Hardrada had around warships carrying about 10,000 Vikings. The landed by the River Humber and marched to York. King Harold was ready for the attack, and asked the Earl of Northumbria and the Earl of Mercia to defend the country for him. They were position at a place called Gate Fulford. The brothers had decided on a battle to defend York. The Earl of Northumbria and the Earl of Mercia were badly defeated at the battle. This was because they were outnumbered; they had only 6000 troops compared to the Vikings who had about 10,000. Harald Hardrada s troops were better fighters and used a clever strategy during the battle he encouraged the English to attack, making them think that they were going to win, but then attacked from behind. When the English were attacked they tried to run away, but they were surrounded by swampy ground and got stuck trying to leave. The Norwegians said that they could walk across the marsh without getting their boots muddy because there were so many dead bodies. The Battle of Stamford Bridge King Harold heard about the battle and decided to march his army north (about 185 miles), taking five days to get there. Leaving the south coast was a terrible decision, as it meant that William of Normandy could invade there. However, King Harold thought that it was too late in the year for William to try to invade. There was a strong wind that would stop William of Normandy from sailing from Normandy to England. King Harold also thought that William would not have been able to keep his army happy for so long. Harold arrived after five days in the north this was an amazing to achievement to get there so fast. By taking his army north King Harold could launch a surprise attack at Stamford Bridge, on the 25th September King Harold won the Battle of Stamford Bridge on the 25th September 1066, only five days after his men had been defeated at the Battle of Gate Fulford.

4 King Harold launched a surprise attack against Harald Hardrada and his men, which was a complete success. Harald Hardrada was killed along with many thousands of his men. Out of the over 200 Viking ships only 24 survived the battle. One of the reasons why the Viking army was so badly defeated was that although the Viking army had their weapons and shields with them, they had left their armour on their ships (as it was a very hot day). They also did not take all of their men with them about a third were left on the ships as they did not expect to be attacked. This was one of King Harold s greatest success the elements of surprise. It was likely that Harald Hardrada and his men did not even know that King Harold was in the area and ready to fight. Harald Hardrada s men were also not properly prepared Harald Hardrada s men had fought a battle five days before and were not expecting to fight another; they had not had time to rest. Harold s men had marched nearly 200 miles and fought a tough battle some had been killed and even those that survived were worn out with minor wounds. Another consequence of the Battle of Stamford Bridge was the fact that King Edward s two strongest leaders, the Earls of Northumbria and Merica, had been defeated after making bad mistakes at the Battle of Gate Fulford. Although they survived, they were weakened as leaders and would not be any use if King Harald had to fight again in the future. The Battle of Stamford Bridge was that it gave King Harold a lot of confidence that he could defeat any enemies that he needed to; this meant that he was happy to attack any future threats he might face. No. Question Answer 11 Why was Harold appointed king so quickly? 12 Where did Harold go straight after his coronation? 13 Who led Harold s forces in the Battle of Gate Fulford? 14 Why did Harold s forces lose the battle of Gate Fulford? 15 How many miles did Harold march to fight Harald Hardrada? 16 When was the Battle of Stamford Bridge? 17 Why did King Harold win the Battle of Stamford Bridge? 18 What happened to Harald Hardrada s ships? 19 Give one positive consequence of the Battle of Stamford Bridge for King Harold. 20 Give one negative consequence of the Battle of Stamford Bridge for King Harold.

5 Section Three: The Battle of Hastings Preparations William s preparations for the Battle of Hastings William decided to let his wife run Normandy whilst he prepared for the invasion. During the summer of 1066 William assembled an army and an invasion fleet in Normandy. William had a force of about 10,000 soldiers many of the troops came from Normandy but he also got volunteers from others parts of France like Brittany William built a wooden castle at Hastings Harold s preparations for the Battle of Hastings King Harold travelled south covering about 27 miles (43 km) a day to cover about 200 miles (320 km) Harold had about troops Harold made sure his housecarls were ready Harold took a defensive position at Senlac Hill, which was about 6 miles from William s castle at Hastings Key events Firstly, William of Normandy had sent spies out to watch King Harold. These spies informed William that King Harold was advancing on Hastings. Both Harold and William wanted control of a wooded hilltop called Caldbec Hill, which Harold won control of. He organised a shield wall (a group of men in a line with their shields out in front of them) along a ride. There was marshland on either side of the hill. The battle between William and Harold s men lasted for 8 hours this was a very long time in a medieval battle. It was fought on the 14 th October William first sent his archers forward, but the English caught the arrows on their shields and so were not injured or disrupted. Norman foot soldiers then went up the hill towards the shield wall. The heavy axes of the English did a lot of damage and attacked the Norman soldiers. After this, the Norman cavalry (men on horseback) went up the hill, but failed to break down the shield wall. The battle therefore began to go King Harold s way it looked like he would win. Throughout the day the Norman soldiers continued to attack King Harold s troops, but the shield wall formed by Harold s men stayed strong. At one point there was even a rumour that William of Normandy had been killed or wounded! However, William was able to lift up his helmet to show that he was still alive this gave hope and inspired his men. Some of King Harold s army decided to leave the shield wall and chase William s men. This was a terrible decision as they were cut off from the rest of Harold s troops and killed. The Normans gradually attacked Harold s soldiers, eventually forcing the shield wall to break up and become less effective against attacks from soldiers on horseback. King Harold remained at the top of the hill along with his brothers and a small amount of soldiers who formed rings around the king. They were heavily outnumbered, and many Norman soldiers on

6 horseback kept attacking the top of the hill. Eventually Harold and his brothers were killed, even though Harold s soldiers fought until they were killed. The last few men tried to flee. Armies at the Battle of Hastings William s knights William s knights fought on horseback. The horses were specially bred to be strong enough to carry an armoured knight and trained for battle. William to bring his war horses across from Normandy with him. The horses carried a saddle and stirrups. The saddle held the knight tightly in place on the horse so they could use their arms freely. The stirrups allowed them to stand in the saddle to attack the enemy. It took years of training to fight on horseback. The soldiers wore chain mail armour with a helmet covering their nose. Their shields were kite shaped, to protect their left hand side and their leg. They carried a javelin and sword. They could charge at the enemy easily and were much higher than Harold s army fighting on the ground, meaning it was easier to attack them. However, the horses were vulnerable to attack and it was harder for them to attack uphill. Harold s housecarls Harold s foot soldiers were known as housecarls. They would carry a long axe (1.3 metres in length), a sword and a javelin. They were trained to hold and swing their axe with enough force that they could chop off a horse s head. Their shield was round and made out of wood with a piece of metal in the centre. They would line up in a row, to form a shield wall. They would wear chain main or metal plates sewn onto leather as armour to protect themselves. They would wear a helmet with a nose piece. The housecarls were seen as the best foot soldiers in the whole of Europe they would fight to the death anyone who attacked their king. They had already proved how successful they could be at the Battle of Stamford Bridge. In particular they could use the heavy axe heads to attack others easily. However, Harold s soldiers depended on discipline once the shield wall had been attacked, opponents could charge through and easily attack them. Other troops Both armies had a core of elite troops, but the mass of each army was made up of ordinary soldiers. William had around 800 knights and about foot soldiers. It is not known how many housecarls Harold had in total. William s foot soldiers were a mix of people from all over Europe. Some would have been archers. Harold s ordinary soldiers were men that he had taken from the south; some had good weapons but others only had basic tools to fight with. There were not many Anglo-Saxon archers, as most of them were still in the north after the Battle of Stamford Bridge. The importance of tactics King Harold decided to use a shield wall at the Battle of Hastings. Some people argue that this was a good decision, even though in the end it did not work. This is because shield wall tactics were sophisticated. Shield walls could be used to encourage attacks before responding. Shield walls were also effective against archers. At first, William s archers made little impression on Harold s army because the shield wall caught the arrows on their shields. Early on in the battle, the shield wall also proved effective against the Norman cavalry. The horses had to charge up hill, so they didn t hit the wall hard enough or fast enough. The housecarls huge battle axes could chop the horses down. Eventually William changed tactics and found a tactic that could work he used archers once he had managed to break down the shield wall. Once there were gaps William wanted to take

7 advantage this shows that his tactics were successful. Furthermore William changed the way that the cavalry were used and used them against the shield wall. At first this tactic did not work, but eventually the knights on horseback could charge through and break it up. The battle lasted all day, suggesting that the tactics of both sides were even and therefore tactics were not an important reason for the victory. Perhaps the main reason why Harold lost was the fact that his shield wall weakened. This was not due to any particularly sophisticated tactics, but instead a lack of order and discipline in Harold s army. It was the decision of some of Harold s army to leave the shield wall and chase William s men that caused the shield wall to weaken, not William s tactics. Leadership William s leadership William s leadership was strong he waited throughout the summer of William knew that at some point Harold would have to move his army from the south coast. As soon as he did this, William set sail William also showed strong leadership in keeping his army and ships together and well supplied The crossing (from Normandy to France) was well-planned. William took horses with him from Normandy, rather than stealing English horses William made a good decision to build a castle in England when he landed. This gave him some security William let his men cause destruction in England, burning down some houses Harold s leadership Harold s military leadership was seen as a strong, although he called his army to defend the south coast in May they were there for a long time without doing anything Harold rushed to fight William in the south this was a bad decision. He should have waited for William to come to him in London Harold planned on surprising William, but he failed to do this William learned of Harold s attack from his spies Luck In the chaos of battle, anything could happen. If Harold was hit in the eye, as the Bayeux Tapestry shows, then this was bad luck that could easily have happened to William. Harold was also unlucky that Harald Hardrada chose to invade when he did; Harold s forces were weakened by the defeat at Gate Fulford. Although he won the Battle of Stamford Bridge, he had to travel north and then south again in a short space of time. William decided to set sail for England after winter storms had made the English Channel very dangerous. He was lucky that his fleet was not destroyed. Finally Medieval battles were chaotic. The two sides were evenly matched and William was lucky not to have lost he was helped by the indiscipline of Harold s shield wall. No. Question Answer 21 Give one way William was well prepared for the Battle of Hastings. 22 Give one way Harold was well prepared for the Battle of Hastings.

8 23 Give one way Harold was not well prepared for the Battle of Hastings. 24 Who managed to capture the wooded hilltop, Caldbec Hill? 25 How long did the battle last? 26 What did Harold do in the Battle that had little impact? 27 How did William inspire his men? 28 What terrible decision did some of King Harold s men take? 29 What happened to King Harold and his brothers? 30 What equipment did William s knights carry? 31 What equipment did Harold s housecarls carry? 32 Who had the biggest army? 33 Give one way the shield wall was effective in the Battle of Hastings. 34 Give one way the shield wall was not effective in the Battle of Hastings. 35 What tactic did William use to break down the shield wall? 36 Give one success of William s leadership. 37 Give one failure of Harold s leadership. 38 Did William make any mistakes as a leader? 39 How was William lucky? 40 When was the Battle of Hastings? Key Dates No. Event Date 41 King Edward dies. 42 Harold Godwinson becomes king. 43 Battle of Gate Fulford 44 Battle of Stamford Bridge 45 Battle of Hastings

9 Section Four: Writing Writing a PEEL paragraph No. Question Answer 46 Where should you find the words to help you write the point? 47 What must you include in your example? 48 What do you do in the explanation? 49 What is the point of a link? 50 Should you separate the different parts of your paragraph? How important were William of Normandy s tactics in his victory over King Harold at the Battle of Hastings? Write a PEEL arguing they were important How important were William of Normandy s tactics in his victory over King Harold at the Battle of Hastings? Write a PEEL arguing they were not important another factor was more important

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