It was unseasonally warm for the time of year as the three noblemen drew up their men to form ranks next to the banks of the river Ouse, they numbered in the region of 5000. The strip of land they had chosen for the battlefield lay between the river and a beck (the local name given to a stream or watery ditch), though usually a mash the ground was firm under foot, except for the land around and beyond the beck which was still water-logged, and there they waited, though they didn’t have to wait for long.

From the south came the forces of Harold Hardraada, King of Norway who lay claim to England as the direct descendent of King Magnus of Norway who had made a pack with Harthancnut, the former King of England that if ether one of them was to die without a direct heir then the other was to become the king of both lands, but on Harthancnuts’ death the Saxon witan (council) refused to honour this agreement and so elected that Edward the Confessor should return from exile in Normandy to become King Edward I (it is while Edward was in Normandy that the William of Normandy claimed that Edward declared him his rightful heir to succeed him on his death and so the reason behind William of Normandys’ invasion merely days later), Hardraada was here to clime his birthright. Drawn up before his army was the smaller Saxon force led by the inexperienced 24 year old Edwin Earl of Marcie and his brother Morcar Earl of Northumbria aged only 20. The brothers were joined also by Waltheof son of Siward (former earl of Northumbria).

View

Battle of Fulford Gate in a larger map

(more…)