There has never been a year quite like
the year of the Norman conquest of Britain. 1066 was that
year and England saw in three kings, had three battles
and also a comet. A momentous year and the one that
reshaped the face of England.
During the middle ages, comets were known as "hairy stars". In 1066, William the Conqueror used Halley's comet as his omen for victory over Harold || of England. The comet was very bright, had a short tail, and its shape was depicted on the Tapestry of Bayeaux.
William the Conqueror crossed the channel with a large army and landed at Hastings. After fierce fighting, the newly crowned king of England, King Harold ||, was killed. William won the crown and became the next king on christmas day, 1066. He was not safe although much of England gave in to his forces and supported him. Many other towns resisted him and to suppress any Saxon uprisings, William built over 500 motte and bailey castles outside each town that resisted him during his first years.
Northampton was such a place
and Simon de St.Liz, who came over with William the
Conqueror, built the castle and defences to thwart any
Saxon uprising. Simon became the first Norman Earl of
Northampton and must be credited for shaping Northampton
to become one of the top three towns in England by the
For a man who has done so much for Northampton, I have great admiration. I will be exploring some of his great works and about Simon himself in further sub-links.