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Looking back: Yet another knight to remember on Sussex beach
7:00pm Friday 9th August 2013 in News
In 2006 Norman knights landed on the beaches of Pevensey in a reenactment of an invasion which took place more than 940 years ago.
The 14 French visitors set off across the Channel at about 3.30am from Le Treport having sailed all along the coast from Normandy.
They were following in the footsteps of Duke William of Normandy who fought on the battlefield in Battle in 1066.
The men rowed across the Channel in an authentic longboat dressed in 11th Century armour to reach shore at Normans Bay, Pevensey, near Eastbourne, on July 10, 2006.
The invaders camped overnight at Pevensey Castle and marched on Battle Abbey and the 1066 battlefield the following day through Wartling, Ninfield and Catsfield.
Duke William of Normandy, a Viking descendant, had designs on the English throne and launched his conquest during a period of uncertainty.
King Harold II succeeded King Edward the Confessor after his death in January 1066, leading to several claims to the throne.
William claimed distant cousin Edward had promised him the throne and assembled a large fleet of ships.
As Harold II defended England from invading Norwegian King Harald Hardrada at the Battle of Stamford Bridge, William landed in England.
As many as 726 ships arrived in Sussex carrying 7,000 to 8,000 men.
The Normans built a wooden castle at Hastings and raided the surrounding area to ensure supplies for the army.
Meanwhile King Harold II marched south to confront him leaving a significant portion of his army in the north.
Around 7,000-8,000 English troops arrived, made up of local militias and housecarls, nobleman's personal troops who fought on foot.
William led his army from his castle and advanced around seven miles north-west of Hastings.
The English army comprised almost entirely of infantry and had few archers while about half of the invading force was infantry, the rest split between cavalry and archers.
The battle lasted from about 9am to dusk with The Normans pretending to flee in panic and then turning on their pursuers.
Harold’s death was thought to be near the end of the battle and led to the retreat and defeat of most of his army.
After further marching and fighting William was crowned King on Christmas Day, 1066.
Despite the victory the conqueror made arrangements to govern England from abroad and returned to Normandy.
He was credited with compiling the Domesday Book in 1086 which listed all the landholders in England along with their holdings.
William died in September 1087 while leading a campaign in northern France and was buried in Caen.
His reign was also characterised by castle-building, the arrival of the Norman nobility and changes to the English clergy.
He had to quell several rebellions during the early years of his reign and died in battle at Normandy in 1087.
ON THIS DAY
1593: Izaak Walton, the "father of angling" - he wrote The Compleat Angler - was born in Stafford.
1721: Prisoners in Newgate Gaol were offered a pardon if they agreed to be inoculated - to test Dr Charles Maitland's theories on the subject. Seven men volunteered - and all survived to live in freedom.
1870: The Elementary Education Act was passed, giving compulsory free education to every child in England and Wales between the age of five and 13.
1902: Edward VII was crowned. The Coronation, set for June 26, had been postponed because he had an emergency appendectomy.
1941: RAF fighter pilot Douglas Bader was shot down and seized by German troops, who were surprised to discover his apparently fractured legs were both artificial.
1945: The second atomic bomb of the war was dropped on the Japanese city of Nagasaki.
1963: Ready Steady Go! was first transmitted by ITV to rival the BBC's Top Of The Pops - presenter Cathy McGowan became known as "Queen of the Mods".
1967: English playwright Joe Orton was battered to death by his male lover who then committed suicide.
1969: The bodies of actress Sharon Tate, eight months pregnant, and four others were found butchered at a Beverly Hills mansion. Members of a commune known as The Family led by Charles Manson were later arrested, tried and jailed.
1979: Brighton established the first nudist beach in Britain, despite protests from those who feared great depravity.
2010: British adventurer Ed Stafford became the first person to walk the entire length of the Amazon after a gruelling 4,000-mile trek lasting nearly two-and-a-half years.
The Argus’ popular “Looking Back” feature has been compiled into an A4, soft back book which catalogues the events that have made their mark on the people of Sussex. The fascinating archive of “Looking Back” images dates back to the 1930s when The Argus first started to print photographs. The book costs £6.99 including postage and packing. To order please visit theargus.co.uk/store
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