I know. 1066; must be Hastings. That year was complex, though, with three kings and three battles to navigate. When Edward the Confessor, the last Anglo-Saxon king of the old line, died on 5 January, there were three men vying for the spoils, the Saxon, Northman and Norman. On the 6th, with almost indecent haste, the Saxon, Harold Godwinson, plonked his posterior on the throne and challenged the others.
The Northman, Harald Hardrada, accepted the challenge. We know he’d established a beachhead on England’s north-east coast by 8 September and joined forces with Harold’s disaffected brother Tostig. The pair defeated Harold’s brothers-in-law, Edwin and Morcar, in an eliminator at Gate Fulford (20 September), a couple of miles south of York, which duly surrendered. Come the 25th, Harald and Tostig were relaxed, minus armour on a hot early morning, and split their force, some remaining behind with the ships while the rest advanced to Stamford Bridge, eight miles east of York, where Hardrada expected to meet the city’s envoys. The approaching dust cloud told him rather more was heading his way; Harold’s army had caught up with him.