A spine surgeon by profession, Paul W. McDonough, MD, enjoys listening to lectures and reading about history in his free time. Dr. Paul McDonough pursues a particular personal interest in the history of the British Isles.
On October 14, 1066, William the Conqueror faced off against King Harold of England and his Saxon armies. William, the duke of Normandy, had come to England to claim the throne that he believed to be rightfully his.
William’s cousin, Edward the Confessor, had been ruler of England. Being childless, he had promised to leave the throne to William, but on his deathbed he named English nobleman Harold Godwine as his successor. William waited only eight months to bring 7,000 cavalry and troops on 1,000 ships across the Channel to England.
At the time, King Harold and his troops had traveled to Yorkshire to face a challenge from the king’s brother, Tostig. William landed in England facing no opposition and immediately traveled to Hastings. The king’s troops returned south and arrived west of Hastings on the 13th of October.
William and his troops attacked the following day. The victor remained uncertain until late afternoon, when the Normans broke the Saxon line. Legend has it that the battle ended when a member of the Norman armies pierced King Harold’s eye with an arrow, thus ending his life and bringing about the end of Anglo-Saxon rule in England.