On October 14, 1066, at the Battle of Hastings in England, King Harold II (c.1022-66) of England was defeated by the Norman forces of William the Conqueror (c.1028-87). By the end of the bloody, all-day battle, Harold was dead and his forces were destroyed. He was the last Anglo-Saxon king of England, as the battle changed the course of history and established the Normans as the rulers of England, which in turn brought about a significant cultural transformation.
WILLIAM THE CONQUEROR: BACKGROUND
William was the son of Robert I, duke of Normandy, and his mistress Herleva (also called Arlette), a tanner’s daughter from Falaise. The duke, who had no other sons, designated William his heir, and with his death in 1035 William became duke of Normandy.
Just over two weeks before the Battle of Hastings in October 1066, William had invaded England, claiming his right to the English throne. In 1051, William is believed to have visited England and met with his cousin Edward the Confessor, the childless English king. According to Norman historians, Edward promised to make William his heir. On his deathbed, however, Edward granted the kingdom to Harold Godwineson (or Godwinson), head of the leading noble family in England and more powerful than the king himself. In January 1066, King Edward died, and Harold Godwineson was proclaimed King Harold II. William immediately disputed his claim.
BATTLE OF HASTINGS: OCTOBER 14, 1066
On September 28, 1066, William landed in England at Pevensey, on Britain’s southeast coast, with thousands of troops and cavalry. Seizing Pevensey, he then marched to Hastings, where he paused to organize his forces. On October 13, Harold arrived near Hastings with his army, and the next day, October 14, William led his forces out to battle, which ended in a decisive victory against Harold’s men. Harold was killed–shot in the eye with an arrow, according to legend–and his forces were destroyed.
This year marks the 950th anniversary of this defining date in British history. To commemorate this milestone, The London Mint Office is proud to offer the free Battle of Hastings Commemorative Medal. The stunning piece depicts a scene from the battle, inspired by the intricate Bayeux Tapestry, one of the world’s greatest treasures.
Claim your free solid bronze medal.
Struck in solid bronze, to a collector’s quality finish, the reverse of this medal features the double dates 1066 – 2016, commemorating 950 years since the battle that changed Britain forever. These features are surrounded by the beautiful floral designs of the Bayeux Tapestry, crested with twin tapestry eagles.
The exclusive medal is struck especially for The London Mint Office by Worcestershire Medal Service, holders of a Royal Warrant as Medallists to Her Majesty The Queen.