Perhaps the most famous battle of British history, the Battle of Hastings was one of Britain’s most era-defining moments. Fought between Duke William ‘the Bastard’ of Normandy and the English army of King Harold Godwinson, it marked the beginning of the end for the Anglo-Saxon rulership of England, which had lasted six centuries since the fall of the western Roman Empire. It was the last major battle of the three-way war of succession between William, Duke of Normandy; Harold Hardrada, King of Norway, and Harold Godwinson, King of England.
The battle saw the death of England’s current reigning king, Harold Godwinson, and marked the beginning of the conquest of Anglo-Saxon England. After the battle, England was without an army or a king, leaving William with little major opposition and as such he was able to easily wrest control of the country from the Anglo-Saxon nobility. William replaced the Anglo-Saxon elite with his nobility and comrades from Normandy. The period of Anglo-Norman rule saw the introduction of thousands of French words to the English language. New castle architecture was introduced in the form of motte and bailey castles, and Feudalism was properly established as the legal, economic and military system of the country.