One big battle and everything changes. King Edward the Confessor was supposed to have promised his throne to Duke William of Normandy. But Harold Godwinson, the earl of Wessex, said that Edward made that promise to him on his deathbed. Well, Harold was there and William wasn't so Harold became King Harold II. But William said that a promise was a promise and so he gathered his Norman warriors and sailed across the channel to take what he believed was his. He brought horses, cooks, carpenters and more. It was also when Halley's Comet was visible and though the English thought it a bad sign, William thought it was good luck. After a rough passage when they were blown off course, they made landfall at Pevensey. King Harold was already battling Norwegian forces in the north and got word William was waiting for him. On October 14, 1066, they fought at Hastings. Harold had a very weary 5,000 men. William had 15,000. Once, in the battle, the Norman's thought William was slain, so he had to lift up his helm so they could see it was him. Harold got an arrow in the eye. After a few more battles, William conquered England, and replaced all the lords with his own men, making Norman French the language of the aristocracy for a very long time. On Christmas Day, 1066, he was crowned in Westminster Abbey. He later launched the Domesday Book to take a survey of all the land holdings in England, a remarkable listing of who and what was there in England and parts of Wales in the eleventh century.
Next: Westminster Abbey