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The Bayeux Tapestry


The Bayeux Tapestry

The Bayeux Tapestry, is some serious piece of embroidery, consisting of 50 scenes, with 632 people, 202 horses, 55 dogs, 505 creatures, 37 buildings, 41 ships and 49 trees.  It measures seventy metres in length, along with Latin captions in the upper and lower margins.

It tells the story of William the Conqueror’s invasion of England and the Battle of Hastings in 1066.

The early stage of the Bayeux Tapestry tells of Harold’s journey to France, and Harold swearing an oath of allegiance to William, promising to support William’s claim to the English throne.

Edward dies, and Harold is crowned King of England, the oath he had made to William meant nothing, for he just disregarded it, to be King.

In February of 1066 a comet was observed in the sky… This was a sign of change, the downfall of the current regime.

Duke William prepared his fleet for the seventy mile crossing to the Sussex coast, in dragon-headed ships, a reminder of Norman – Viking ancestry.

These Norman’s built castles at Pevensey and Hastings and ravaged the countryside.  Harold’s family came from Sussex, so William was challenging him on his own ground.

The tapestry depicted the Battle of Hastings, as the English held the ridge, many on foot with their axes and shields.

The first attack by the Norman’s saw the English protect the ridge.  Some English followed Norman’s down, at the word William had been killed… he removes his helmet and cries out, “I am alive.”  His men rally to his side and kill the English who had come off the ridge.

The Norman’s lured the English into a more vulnerable position, and the Norman Calvary cut them down.  Odo, Bishop of Bayeux, half-brother of William the Conqueror, is depicted with a huge club.  As a Bishop, he could not shed blood, but he could breal a few arms, legs and heads.

The decisive moment of the battle comes, when King Harold was killed as an arrow pierced his eye.

The English fled, at the news of their King’s death, pursued by Normans.

William marches off to London the very next day, and on Christmas Day he is crowned King of England in Westminster Abbey.

One story tells of William’s wife Queen Matilda, and her ladies creating this tapestry… This piece of embroidery for her victorious husband.

If we look back in history, other 11th century queens, have produced embroidered pieces for churches.  However a seventy metre linen, embroidered in wool is something quite different, but one never knows.

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5 thoughts on “The Bayeux Tapestry

  1. A mere 50 years short of 1,000 years ago, “Harold is crowned King of England, the oath he had made to William meant nothing, for he just disregarded it, to be King.”

    And History repeats itself still today: we still can’t trust a promise made by a politician. Dig deep enough and we find that most have demonstrated that they will do practically anything for money or position.

    So sad for ALL, the continued lack of integrity of most of our so-called political “leaders.” They weld not ax and shield today, their supposedly bloodless wars are primarily of the corporate capitalism persuasion, but the stories of history repeat repeatedly.

    Strange gene pools produce both politicians and professional warriors. Perhaps I need to take up weaving.
    (Madelyn Griffith-Haynie – ADDandSoMuchMore dot com)
    – ADD Coach Training Field founder; ADD Coaching co-founder –
    “It takes a village to educate a world!”


    • Harold made a pact with William and broke it to become King, egged on by his nobles, a promise which changed the path of history, for one wonders if the pact had been kept, would life in England have been different?

      Politicians of the past and through history are known to say one thing and do another. If we look back in history at the time of Richard III, he moved parliament to make him King, and two young princes were murdered; one the would be king, the other who might in future years take up arms against him.

      Our history is scattered with many such events.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Perhaps – but it doesn’t make them “right” simply because the paths they set into place led us somewhere we enjoy, accept (or rationalize). A lot of human lives were destroyed in the wake of those events – not merely the lives of the murdered we read about in our history books.

    I would LOVE to live in a world that works for everyone – and that starts with integrity, empathy and kindness at the top, IMHO. Mistakes can probably not be avoided, but to *intentionally* mislead (or go back on what you gave your word that you would do) – especially in service of increasing personal power, notoriety or money, strikes me as shameful.

    Happy New Year – may this be the year that marks a turn-around for humanity – in a kinder, gentler and more loving direction.


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