This September visitors are being invited to explore the last days of the Vikings in England at two special battlefield walks near York.
1066 is remembered best for the Battle of Hastings when William the Conqueror’s army defeated King Harold, effectively ending Anglo-Saxon rule of the country. What is forgotten is that this year also saw the end of the Viking Age in England as well, with two major battles taking place in Yorkshire in the weeks leading up to Hastings.
“Both battles are significant events in English history, with the last Anglo-Saxon King of England, Harold Godwinson having to march his army from the south to Yorkshire to battle his brother, Tostig and his ally the Norwegian King, Harald Hardrada, who had invaded Northern England in September. Once Harold had defeated the Vikings at Stamford Bridge he had to march his tired army to Hastings to fight the Normans, and the rest, as they say, is history.”
Comments Sarah Maltby, director of attractions for York Archaeological Trust, the owners of The JORVIK Group.
“Although these battles in 1066 did signal the end of any Viking political control in England the memories of the Norsemen live on at JORVIK Viking Centre and at our battlefield walks you are escorted by our Battlefield Historian who will take you on journey back in time and discover what occurred in these forgotten fields nearly 1000 years ago.”
The Battle of Gate Fulford Walk takes place on Sunday 21st September with Stamford Bridge taking place the week after on Sunday 28th September. Each walk costs £4 for adults and £3 concessions. Pre-booking is recommended by calling The JORVIK Group Reservation Line on 01904 615505 or booking online at www.jorvikbookings.com.
Notes to Editors
The JORVIK Group is is owned by York Archaeological Trust, a registered Charity in England & Wales (No. 509060) and Scotland (SCO42846) and is made up of five York city centre attractions:
The JORVIK Viking Centre, which has celebrated 30 years in 2014
DIG: An Archaeological Adventure
Barley Hall – a medieval townhouse in the centre of York
Richard III and Henry VII Experiences on York’s city walls
More information can be found at www.thejorvikgroup.com/press.
Sarah Maltby is the 2014 York Tourism Ambassador. For more information please visit: http://www.visityork.org/media/news/news-release-York-Tourism-Awards.aspx.
Key Dates in 1066:
- 5th January: Edward the Confessor, King of England dies without an heir
- Harold Godwinson, one of the richest Earls in England voted king by the Witenagemot, an early form of parliament.
- Harold’s succession to the throne is not welcomed by William, Duke of Normandy or King Harald Hadrada of Norway who both feel they have a claim to the English throne. Each start planning to invade.
- Harald Hadrada and Tostig (Harold Godwinson’s brother) invade Northern England with 10–15,000 men on 240–300 longships in early September.
- 20th September, Hadrada’s army defeats the Earls of Mercia and Northumbria at the Battle Fulford, opening Jorvik (York) up to the invaders.
- 25th September, Hadrada and Tostig are defeated and killed at the Battle of Stamford Bridge by Harold Godwinson, effectively ending the Viking Age in England. He then has to march his army back south to face William of Normandy.
- 14th October, the English army is defeated by the Normans. Harold Godwinson is killed in battle and William takes his crown. This event marks the end of Anglo-Saxon rule of England.
Image Caption: Vikings Ragnar (Nathan Wade, L) and Floki (Matthew Lester, R) prepare to mark 1066 in York
The JORVIK Group