BATTLE, United Kingdom – Roughly 800 people donned battle gear for the 950th-anniversary re-enactment of the Battle of Hastings, in which the Norman-French army of William, the Duke of Normandy, defeated an army under the command of the last Anglo-Saxon king of England, Harold Godwinson.
Soldiers clashed and horses hooves thundered during the re-enactment in this small town located 89 kilometers (55 miles) southeast of London.
The event allowed visitors to get up close to the knights and horses in the cavalry encampment, immerse themselves in medieval life and observe the chain mail and weaponry makers, the visit1066country.com Web site says.
The Battle of Hastings took place on Oct. 14, 1066, amid a succession struggle involving several claimants to the throne after the death of the childless Anglo-Saxon King Edward the Confessor.
It pitted roughly 5,000 English soldiers against a much larger Norman force of infantry, archers and cavalry.
The Normans were victorious in a hard-fought battle that lasted throughout the day and left Harold dead.
William the Conqueror, Edward the Confessor’s cousin, was later crowned the first Norman king of England on Christmas Day in 1066.
The battle, one of the most significant events in world history, gave birth to modern English as the French language used in the king’s court blended over time with the Anglo-Saxon tongue.