Story of 1066

The story of 1066: Collectibles

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The power of the church

The Normans were led into battle by a cross banner, which is shown twice in the Bayeux Tapestry. This banner was personally blessed and sent to William by Pope Alexander II, the head of the Church to which all Christians belonged.

William had got it by persuading the Pope that King Harold Godwinson was an oath-breaker, and by promising to modernise the old-fashioned Anglo-Saxon Church if he won. It symbolically turned the invasion into a sort of holy war. Under it the Normans could see themselves not as aggressors but as crusaders, guaranteed to go straight to Heaven if they died in battle.

Want to know more?

Discover how William the Conqueror founded a monestery as an act of penance, atoning for the bloodshed caused at the Battle of Hastings.

Atoning for the Bloodshed