Battle of Stamford Bridge 1066


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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

Location Description:
East Riding of Yorkshire (Unitary Authority)
Stamford Bridge
National Grid Reference:
SE 72057 55125



In August 1066, King Harold Godwineson found himself confronted with the prospect of two major invasions of his realm - by William, Duke of Normandy, and by Harold Hardrada, King of Norway. Hardrada was first to strike, joining forces with the King's own brother Tostig and capturing York. King Harold marched from London in barely six days, giving him the opportunity to attack before Hardrada could have expected armed opposition.

On the morning of 25 September 1066, Hardrada and Tostig's army watched from higher ground south of Stamford Bridge as the English attacked swiftly breaking the Viking front line and killing Hardrada. But Tostig rejected his brother's offer of a truce and the battle continued until Tostig too was dead. Viking reinforcements came close to overcoming the exhausted English, but the English army finally emerged triumphant.

The defeat and death of the Norwegian King in the last Saxon victory effectively severed the politics of England from those if Scandinavia. At the same time, it gave William of Normandy two precious advantages on the south coast - an unopposed landing and time to establish a consolidated position once ashore. The scene was set for the battle of Hastings.

Except for the expansion of Stamford Bridge itself, the landscape has remained essentially unchanged since the battle. Battle Flat has long been arable land, although there would not have been hedges dividing the open fields. Stamford Bridge has been a crossing point of the Derwent from at least Roman times, although the site of the bridge has changed.

AMENITY FEATURES Public access to the Battle Flats area is currently limited to the Minster Way and to footpaths to the north and east of the battlefield area. An area of ridge and furrow at the centre of the battlefield is a last vestige of the medieval cultivation system.

OTHER DESIGNATIONS The Derwent valley is designated an Area of High Landscape Value in the development Plan. Draft policies N5, N6 and N9 are relevant tot he battlefield area. The River Derwent is a Site of Special Scientific Interest in the area of the town. The historic core of the town is designated a Conservation Area.

KEY SOURCES Douglas, D C and Greenaway, G W (eds.), 1981, English Historical Documents 1042-1189 'Heimskringla', in East Yorkshire in the Sagas, 1966, (ed.) A L Binns

This list entry was subject to a Minor Amendment to the Selected Sources on 10/04/2019


The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

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English Heritage Battlefield Report: Battle of Stamford Bridge 1066 (Published 1995), accessed 10th April 2019 from


This battlefield is registered within the Register of Historic Battlefields by Historic England for its special historic interest.

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