Harald Hardrada's bid to become King of England

Map showing where the battle of Stamford Bridge took place - 1) 300 Viking longships arrive from Trondheim. 2) Harold sends Saxon Army from London. 3) Vikings defeat Saxon army in Fulford. 4) Saxons defeat the Vikings at Stamford Bridge. 5) 24 Viking longships depart

After Harold Godwinson was crowned King Harold II, William and Harald Hardrada both made plans to invade England.

Hardrada invades England with 300 longships

Viking longship.
Viking longship
  • Harold II assembled his bodyguards, known as the housecarls, and gathered an army of ordinary men, called the fyrd. He split the fyrd in two, sending some men to the south and some to the north. He sent a fleet of ships to the English Channel. Then they all waited. In September supplies had run out and Harold II had to send the fyrd back home to bring in the harvest.
  • Hardrada invaded. He landed in Yorkshire and defeated the northern Saxon army at the Battle of Fulford.
  • Harold II marched north quickly, gathering an army on his way. He took Hardrada by surprise and defeated him at the Battle of Stamford Bridge (25 September).
  • Hardrada and Tostig, Goodwinson's half-brother, were both killed.
  • So many Vikings were killed that they only needed 24 longships to go home.