The Battle of Hastings 1066

In January of 1066, the dying King Edward the Confessor named his brother-in-law, Harold Godwinson, as his successor. In doing so he broke his promise to leave the throne to Duke William of Normandy. Edward didn't really have the right to choose the next king; that right belonged to a royal council called the witan. The witan, too, chose Harold. He was crowned the day after Edward's death.

Duke WilliamDuke William of Normandy left St.Valery in Normandy with about 600 ships and 10 to 12,000 men Sept 27th in 1066.

William and his barons, "which probably included the ancestors of the Everingham's, SEE DETAILS BELOW" had been recruiting and preparing the invasion of England since early spring of that year. He had been waiting to take the throne, and had not expected Harold to be named King of England. William was a seasoned general and master tactician, using cavalry, archers and infantry and had fought many notable battles. Off Beachy Head, his ship, the Mora, arrived ahead of the fleet.. William waited and ate a hearty breakfast. As his fleet straggled into place behind him they moved eastward to the first sheltered bay to provide protection for his armada. Pevensey and Bulverhythe were the villages on each promontory. Pevensey, to the west, was protected by an old Roman Fort and behind the fort there was much flat acreage to house his large Army. To suggest this landing was not pre-planned, is not in keeping with the preparatory time taken by William, or his track record. There had been much intelligence gathering in the past few months.

The bay, wide enough for maneuverability of this large fleet, was flat shored. William is said to have fallen on the beach, grasped the sand, and declared "This is my country" or words to that effect. Next, the ships were disembarked without resistance. They included 2,500 horses, prefabricated forts, and the materiel and equipment was prepared for any contingency. The ships shuttled in and out of the bay with the precision of a D Day landing. A Fort was built inside Pevensey Roman Fort as an H.Q, while the army camped behind it. William and FitzOsborn scouted the land He was unhappy with the terrain but it had proved to be a satisfactory landing beach. Taking his army around Pevensey Bay he camped 8 miles to the east, north of what is now known as Hastings all of which was most likely pre-planned. He camped to the east outside the friendly territory of the Norman Monks of Fecamp who may have been alerted and were waiting for his probable arrival. William waited. Perhaps he was waiting to know of the outcome of the battle to the north. In those two weeks William could have marched on London and taken it. He was obviously waiting for something?

Harold, far to the north in York at Stamford Bridge, was engaged in a life and death struggle against his brother who had teamed up with the Viking King Hadrada to invade England. Whether this was a planned Norman tactic, part of a pincer movement north and south, is not known, but students of Norman and Viking history might find it very feasible. The timing of each invasion was impeccable, and probably less than coincidental. Harold managed to resist the invasion to the north and killed both commanders. He was advised of the landing to the south by William.

Bringing the remnants of his Army south, Harold camped outside London at Waltham. For two weeks he gathered reinforcements, and exchanged taunts, threats and counterclaims to the Crown of England with William. Finally he moved his army south to a position about six miles north of where William waited.

Perhaps one of the most devastating events preceeding the battle was Harold's sudden awareness that he had been excommunicated by the Pope, and that William was wearing the papal ring. It is most likely this had been arranged by fellow Norman Robert Guiscard who had conquered most of southern Italy and was patron of the Pope who was indebted to him for saving the Vatican. Harold's spirit flagged. William was leading what might perhaps by called the first Crusade. The whole world was against Harold.

William moved up to Harold's position and set up in what was then the conventional European style. Archers, infantry and cavalry in the rear. A set piece, each assigned to their own duties. .

Harold waited. He and his brother Gyrth arranged a mass of men along a high ground ridge 8 deep, 800 yards long . A fixed corridor of tightly wedged humanity. Strategically, given the relative equipment of each side, it was hopeless from the start. To William it was almost a formality. Harold's men were hemmed in by their own elbows. William, with total mobility, held his Breton, Maine and Anjou contingents to the left of the line, the Normans the main thrust, the Flemish and French to his right. The flanking movements paid off. How long the battle took has varying estimates. Some say as little as two hours. Some as long as six hours. The latter seems more reasonable simply because of the numbers involved. .

This battle would later be called Senlac, a river of blood. It demolished most of the remnants of the Saxon fighting men of the Island at very little cost to William.

It is very doubtful if Harold was shot in the eye with an arrow from over the ranks of his front line. He was probably run through by William's lance, accompanied by three others who were in at the kill, and who savaged him brutally.

Thus began a three century Norman occupation of England, Wales and Scotland, and later Ireland.

Why is the battle of hastings, and King William important to the Everingham family?...
It is most probable, that due to the vast wealth of the Everingham family in early England (A fact), they were supporters of Duke William and had remained in financial prestige by supporting the New King and future thrones of England. Everingham's have been identified that show them owning estates as early as the 12th century thru the 16th century. The Everingham's were not only supporters, but probably royalty or at least Lords, Barons & Knights from the time of the 11th century conquest of England by the Normans. It is also known that later, a Robert de Everingham donated lands and estates from his vast holdings in England, to the Templar Knights "which he may have been part of" the 12th century, and was at the very least, a supporter of the Templars. The Templars were a very wealthy and influiential sect of Monks who were sworn protectors and powerful Knights. Later, in 1287, another Robert de Everingham died with the title "Lord Paramount" of Rouston. The original manor donated to the Templars from an Everingham, was also in Rouston.
The presence of the "DE" proceding the surname Everingham in very early English records shows a probable connection to the French and most probably to Duke William from the time of the Conquest of England.

What does this say about the origins of Everinghams?
They were very probably descendants of ancient French before the time of settling England. Or ancient English who somehow converted to the support of Duke William which is not as likely. They also, due to being followers and military supporters of the Duke of Normandy, were probably descendants of the original conqueors of Normandy, the Vikings! This is all without documented proof, but all quite probable in light of the multitudes of circumstantial evidence.

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