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1066: A Timeline of the Norman Conquest

Norman knights and archers at the Battle of Hastings depicted in the Bayeux Tapestry

To help you get ready for our Special Issue on the Norman Conquest and the Battle of Hastings, we've prepared a timeline for the events of the year 1066.

January 4 - Edward the Confessor, King of England, dies

January 6 - Harold Godwinson is crowned King of England

Late January - William, Duke of Normandy, begins preparations to invade England to assert his claim over England

August 12 - William’s army and fleet are based at St. Valery in Normandy, but are unable to cross the English Channel due to adverse winds

September 8 - Harold disbands his army on the south coast of England, believing that William will not attempt a crossing of the English Channel that year

Mid-September - A fleet from Norway arrives on the northeast coast of England, commanded by King Harald Hardrada with Tostig, brother of King Harold

September 20 - The Battle of Fulford Gate see the Norse army defeat an English army led by Edwin, Earl of Mercia, and his brother Morcar, Earl of Northumbria. York surrenders to Harald Hardrada

September 25 - King Harold Godwinson arrives in York, after a four-day march from southern England, and then defeats and kills Harald and Tostig at the Battle of Stamford Bridge

September 28 - After setting sail a day earlier, the Norman fleet lands at Pevensey, on the southern coast of England

September 29 - Duke William occupies Hastings

October 1 - King Harold, still at York, learns of the landing of the Normans and begins a march back to southern England

October 6 - King Harold arrives in London

October 11 - Harold and the English army march out of London and go to Rochester

October 13 - The English army camps at Senlac Hill, about 10 kilometres from Hastings. William marches his forces there.

October 14 - The Battle of Hastings is fought, ending with victory for Duke William and the death of Harold

Mid-October - While the Normans remain near the battlefield, the remaining English leaders return to London and name Edgar the Aetheling the new King of England

October 21 - The Norman army goes to Dover, which surrenders

October 29 - The Normans arrive at Canterbury

November - Duke William’s army approaches London, but the city does not surrender to the Normans

Early December - English and Norman leaders meet at Berkhamsted, where Edgar the Aetheling and other English leaders surrender to William

December 25 - Duke William of Normandy is crowned King of England in Westminster Abbey

Want to know more?  Order our Special Issue of Medieval Warfare magazine on The Battle of Hastings

4 thoughts on “1066: A Timeline of the Norman Conquest”

  • Geoffrey Tobin

    Hastings and Dyrrhachium were compared by EA Freeman, who asserted that Brian of Brittany (first Earl of Cornwall and brother of Alan Rufus) was at both: Brian was an expert at feints. Brian held Kastoria until 1083 when the Norman supply lines failed due to issues in Italy. In 1084 he was in Brittany to witness a family charter.

    • Peter Konieczny

      You will be interested in the article comparing Hastings and Dyrrhachium in our special issue. It is by George Theotokis, who has been researching the Normans in the Balkans.

  • Duncan NcVee

    while I cannot comment on Geoffrey Tobin's remarks I am puzzled by the fact that William with a merchant fleet was not stopped by the Anlo-saxon Navy at sea when since its inception that fleet was mainly a battle fleet and could in a joint action have defeated William long before he reached Penvensey. This mysterious fleet has only a few references to its existence in the Anglo-Saxon chronicles so where was it when it was so vitally needed?

    • Peter Konieczny

      Part of the reason might because Harold pulled out his troops from southern England in mid-September, thinking that William would not attempt a crossing so late in the season.

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