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ROGER OF WENDOVER Flowers of history. The history of England from the descent of the saxons to A.D. 1235. vol.1

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ROGER OF WENDOVER
Flowers of history. The history of England from the descent of the saxons to A.D. 1235. vol.1
page 332



A.D. 1066.] BATTL E OF STANFORD BRIDGE. he was opposed by earl Mercher and the men of that region, whom he defeated in battle and drove into York. On hearing this, Harold king of England hastened thither with all his strength, and arriving at a town called Stanford, he found there his armies aforesaid, and, though it is hard to believe, a single Norwegian, standing at the entrance of the bridge, slew a number of the English, and kept their whole army from passing over. On being invited to surrender, he mocked the English, and said that they were men of no spirit, who could not overcome a single warrior. When no one dared to approach him, as deeming it unadvisable to engage with him hand to hand, at last one of the king's household pierced him through with a dart, on which he fell dead into the stream, yielding the victory to the English, who finding a free passage, fell on the rear of the Norwegian fugitives. At length, after slaying Harold king of Norway, Tosti, brother of the king of England, and many others, the king of England appropriated to his own use the booty and spoils, without allowing any one to share with him, which so disgusted his army, that they unanimously forsook him. William duke of Normandy charges Harold with breach of faith. Elated with his recent victory, Harold thought nothing of the solemn oath he had made to William duke of Normandy. Moreover, the death of duke William's daughter, whom he had betrothed in her infancy, increased his security ; added to which, William was embroiled in wars with the neighbouring princes, so that his threats seemed likely never to be effective. Harold maintained that the oath he had taken when in duresse was not binding, since he could not give the kingdom to another, while king Eadward was yet living, and without consulting him. But William thought otherwise ; for no sooner did he hear that Harold was invested with the diadem, than he sent messengers to him with a mild rebuke for his breach of faith, and threatening that within a year he would claim his rights. Harold, on the other hand, by the same messengers, excused himself to William on the grounds aforesaid. They accordingly returned without success to the duke of Normandy, and delivered the following message, " Harold king of England says that it is true that he did, under duresse, swear to give you the kingdom of


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