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Wuffing Education

The Battle of Stamford Bridge (25th September 1066)

Stamford Bridge, 1998 (Sam Newton)

with Dr Sam Newton

in Tranmer House, Sutton Hoo (map)
on Saturday, 25th September 2010

On Monday, 25th September, 1066, King Harold Godwinsson of England defeated and killed the Norse king Harald Sigurdsson, popularly known as Harald Hardrada, and utterly routed his army. This titanic clash at Stamford Bridge near York was the second of three great battles in the autumn of that year, but it has been somewhat overshadowed by Harold’s own defeat near Hastings only 19 days later. We shall begin with a look the background of the battle from both sides.
The near contemporary entries in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle provide a wealth of information about Harold Godwinsson. Of tragic significance are the events of 1065, when the men of the North rose successfully against Harold Godwinsson’s brother, Earl Tostig, and invaded the south, which led to the bitter rift between the two brothers, which is why they were fighting on opposite sides at Stamford Bridge.
Much information about the Norse king can be derived from King Harald’s Saga, which is contained in Snorri Sturluson’s magnificent history of the Norse kings, Heimskringla. Although Snorri wrote the prose text of this saga over 150 years after the battle, it is based on near contemporary verse, which he quotes throughout.
Using these sources, and looking at the landscape of Stamford Bridge, we shall chart what we can of the build-up to the battle, the battle itself, and its aftermath.

Provisional Programme
  10.00 Coffee on arrival  
  10.15 The Rise of Harold Godwinsson  
  11.15 Coffee  
  11.45 The Saga of Harald Sigurdsson  
  12.45 Lunch break  
  14:00 The Battle at the Bridge  
  15:00 Tea break  
  15:15 Aftermath  
  16:15 Close  

About Dr Sam Newton

Sam Newton was awarded his Ph.D at UEA in 1991 and is the author of The Origins of Beowulf and the pre-Viking Kingdom of East Anglia (1993) and The Reckoning of King Rædwald, (2003). He has lectured widely around the country and has contributed to many radio and television programmes, most recently Michael Wood on Beowulf and Dr Alice Roberts’ Digging for Britain. Sam is also a Director of Wuffing Education, NADFAS lecturer, and Time Team historian.

Some suggestions for further reading
(useful but not essential)

Barlow, F., Edward the Confessor (London 1970; Yale 1997)
Barlow, F., The Godwins (Pearson Longman 2002)
Gordon, E.V., An Introduction to Old Norse, rev.A.R.Taylor (Oxford 1957, 1981)
Jones, G., A History of the Vikings (2nd Edition, Oxford 1984)
Magnusson, Magnus, The Vikings ( rev.ed. Tempus 2000)
Magnusson, Magnus, & Hermann Pálsson, King Harald's Saga (Penguin Classics 1966)
Swanton, M.(ed. & tr.), The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle (Dent 1996; Phoenix 2000)
DeVries, K., The Norwegian Invasion of England in 1066 (Woodbridge 1999)


Please phone or email to check the availability of places and then send the application form and a cheque for £38, payable to Wuffing Education to:

Wuffing Education,
4 Hilly Fields,
Woodbridge, Suffolk IP12 4DX
(tel : 01394 386498)

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