New
New
Year 10
Edexcel

Reasons for William’s victory at the Battle of Hastings

I can explain the reasons for William’s victory.

New
New
Year 10
Edexcel

Reasons for William’s victory at the Battle of Hastings

I can explain the reasons for William’s victory.

Share activities with pupils
Share function coming soon...

Lesson details

Key learning points

  1. William was an experienced and organised military leader who held his army together in the summer of 1066.
  2. Harold was an experienced military leader who was weakened by fighting at Stamford Bridge.
  3. The English troops had a varied skill level which held an effective shield wall that eventually broke.
  4. The Norman troops had a mix of professional skills which used a retreat tactic to break the English line.
  5. Historians recognise there were multiple reasons for William's victory at Hastings.

Common misconception

Sending the fyrd defences home in September is evidence of Harold's poor decision making.

In fact, Anglo-Saxon leaders had always struggled with the 60-day limit for the fyrd. Harold had actually kept the fyrd out for twice as long as usual: evidence of his impressive influence as a leader.

Keywords

  • Turning point - a turning point is the time at which a situation starts to change in an important way

  • Logisitically - the term logistically is used to describe the effective organisation of a complicated activity or event

  • Strategic - being strategic is doing things which help to achieve a wider plan, for example, in war or politics

  • Tactic - a tactic is a planned way of doing something, or a specific action intended to achieve a wider strategy/plan

Content guidance

  • Contains conflict or violence.

Supervision

Adult supervision suggested.

Licence

This content is © Oak National Academy Limited (2024), licensed on Open Government Licence version 3.0 except where otherwise stated. See Oak's terms & conditions (Collection 2).

Video

Loading...

6 Questions

Q1.
A is a military tactic where soldiers stood in a long line overlapping their shields to form a wall of shields.
Correct Answer: shield wall , Shield wall
Q2.
A is when soldiers pretend to draw back in order to lure the enemy into a more vulnerable position.
Correct Answer: feigned retreat , Feigned retreat
Q3.
What had prevented Duke William of Normandy and his army from invading England since the beginning of August?
They were not yet equipped.
Correct answer: Bad weather prevented his ships from sailing.
There was unrest in the Norman army.
Q4.
Where was Harold Godwin when Duke William of Normandy and his army set sail across the English Channel?
Correct answer: York
London
Wessex
Pevensey
Q5.
Who was at the centre of the Norman army formation?
knights
archers
infantry
soldiers
Correct answer: William, Duke of Normandy
Q6.
Starting with the earliest, sort these events into the order in which they happened.
1 - Harold occupied the hilltop with a shield wall.
2 - Norman archers and knights’ charges are ineffective.
3 - A section of the Norman army feigned retreat.
4 - The English shield wall is broken and Harold is killed.

6 Questions

Q1.
The time at which a situation starts to change in an important way is known as a .
Correct Answer: turning point, Turning point
Q2.
A planned way of doing something, or a specific action intended to achieve a wider strategy/plan is known as a .
Correct answer: tactic
Correct answer: Tactic
Q3.
How might a possible lack of discipline in the fyrd have contributed to William's victory?
It may have improved their cavalry tactics.
Correct answer: It may have led to a breakdown of the shield wall.
It enhanced the accuracy of their archers.
Q4.
What tactic requiring a high level of skill did the Norman troops use to break the English shield wall?
a surprise attack from behind
Correct answer: feigned retreat
siege warfare
Q5.
How did William demonstrate his patience and strategic leadership in the summer of 1066?
Correct answer: He made sure his soldiers had enough to eat and drink.
He plundered the area around the port of Dives.
Correct answer: He united troops from traditionally opposing French regions.
Correct answer: He waited long enough for Harold’s army to be sent home.
Q6.
Which of the following were strengths of the Norman army?
Correct answer: They were innovators in their use of cavalry.
They had taken the high ground.
Correct answer: They had a wider mix of troops: archers, foot soldiers and cavalry.
Correct answer: They used the feigned retreat tactic.

Additional material

Download additional material
We're sorry, but preview is not currently available. Download to see additional material.