1066 is the most iconic date in English history, but few of us know much about the characters involved beyond the bare facts: Harold lost, William won, and the Norman dynasty had its beginning.
As this year’s anniversary draws close (14th october), we have drawn together some resources from around the internet to help those non-specialists amongst us to find out more. Click here for full-length television shows, author interviews, a terrific 1066 game (featuring all three major battles), some links to the primary source material, and details of the spectacular re-enactment event held over 2 days at Battle Abbey by English Heritage.
2011 has seen some fantastic books about 1066, and we have asked nine writers to take some time out to introduce to you some lesser-known protagonists in that watershed year.
The blogs will be posted on the following days, and we will link to them here as soon as they are posted. The blogs will also be collected on this site and posted together on Friday 14th – the anniversary of the Battle of Hastings.
Friday 7th Oct – Helen Hollick – author of Harold the King – on Harold’s little-known Queen, Alditha.
Sat 8th Oct – Sarah Bower – author of Needle in the Blood – on the Bayeux Tapestry and the Nazis.
Sun 9th Oct – Stewart Binns – author of Conquest – on the Great Survivor, Edgar the Aetheling.
Mon 10th Oct – Justin Hill – author of Shieldwall – on the Unknown Soldiers of 1066.
Tues 11th Oct – Carol McGrath – on Edith Swanneck, Harold’s mistress.
Tues 11th Oct – Tracy Borman – author of Matilda, Queen of the Conqueror – on Matilda’s Regency of Normandy.
Wed 12th Oct – James Wilde – author of Hereward – on Tostig Godwinson, Harold’s brother.
Thurs 13th Oct – Elizabeth Chadwick – author of The Conquest – on Edward of Salisbury, great grandfather of William Marshal
Friday 14th Oct – James Aitcheson – author of Sworn Sword – on the Conqueror’s right-hand-man, William fitz Osbern.
To win a £50 Amazon gift voucher* you must RETWEET the competition details at least once*, with the URL to this site and the hashtag #hnscomp. You must also correctly answer ALL 7 questions below (hint: reading the above blog pieces will help you find the answers). Send your answers by EMAIL ONLY to richard (at) historicalnovelsociety (dot) org. The closing date for entries is October 16th at midnight GMT. A winner will be selected at random from all correct entries, and will be named on this site on Monday 17th October, and the Amazon gift voucher will be sent by email to the winner on that day.
Question 1 (Friday 7th October): Which actress has been cast to play ‘Alditta’ in the movie 1066?
Question 2 (Saturday 8th October): Where was the Bayeux Tapestry displayed in November 1945?
Question 3 (Sunday 9th October): When and where did Edgar the Aetheling fight his final battle?
Question 4 (Monday 10th October): How do we know about the two un-named men of Tytherley who were killed at Hastings?
Question 5 (Tuesday 11th October): Which invader, according to Domesday, received the lands of Edith – ‘Eadgifu the Fair’?
Question 6 (Tuesday 11th October): Which daughter of William the Conquerer became a novice at La Trinité?
Question 7 (Wednesday 12th October): Where did King Edward hold his great council to consider the rebellion against Tostig?
Question 8 (Thursday 13th October): What office did Edward of Salisbury hold under the first three Norman kings?
Question 9 (Friday 14th October): Who described Fitz Osbern as ‘better than the very best princes’?
* the competition is open internationally, so if a voucher for Amazon.co.uk is no good to the winner, an equivalent sum will be payable via Paypal.
* if you do not have a twitter account, you can also qualify by promoting this competition on your Facebook page or blog (post the URL in ‘Comments’), or by emailing entry details to your friends (cc me in with the email).