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Qwiz5 Quizbowl Essentials: The Battle of Hastings

The Battle of Hastings was fought in 1066 between the Norman invader William the Conqueror and the Anglo-Saxon king Harold Godwinson. William’s victory at the battle paved the way for the Norman conquest of England. The battle was fought over who would fill the power void left by the death of Edward the Confessor a few months earlier.

A depiction of the Battle of Hastings from the Bayeux Tapestry. Part of the Qwiz5 series by Qwiz Quizbowl Camp, written to help quiz bowl teams power more tossups!

By analyzing questions, you can see patterns emerge - patterns that will help you answer more questions. Qwiz5 is all about those patterns. In each installment of Qwiz5, we take an answer line and look at its five most common clues. Here we explore five clues that will help you answer a tossup on the Battle of Hastings.


Harold Godwinson led the losing forces at the Battle of Hastings. He was from the house of Wessex and was the last Saxon king of England. According to legend, he was killed at the battle by taking an arrow to the eye.


The Bayeux Tapestry depicts the Battle of Hastings. It was commissioned by Matilda of Flanders (William’s wife) and Bishop Odo (William’s half-brother). It famously depicts Halley’s Comet, which was visible during the battle, and Harold taking the aforementioned arrow to the eye.


The Battle of Stamford Bridge immediately preceded the Battle of Hastings. At Stamford Bridge, Harold Godwinson defeated Norse invaders Harald Hardrata and Tostig (Harold's own brother) along the banks of the Derwent River. Though Harold won at Stamford Bridge, the battle weakened his army and they were defeated at Hastings shortly thereafter.


Senlac Hill was the key site of the Battle of Hastings. Harold and his “housecarls” (professional soldiers) famously formed a “shield wall” to defend Senlac Hill, but they were ultimately defeated.


Pevensey is the town in Sussex where William the Conqueror landed and began his invasion of Britain.


Quizbowl is about learning, not rote memorization, so we encourage you to use this as a springboard for further reading rather than as an endpoint. Here are a few things to check out:

* A nice detailed description of the battle with some interesting images can be found here.

* Want to dive deep into the Bayeux Tapestry? Look here.

* Here's a cool episode about the Battle of Hastings from the Stuff You Missed in History Class podcast.

* Here's a short animated video outlining the battle:


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