National Geographic : 1966 Aug
.A DITCH TO BE DUG AND A CASTLEBUILT AT HASTINGS HEREWILLIAM HAS HAD NEWS OF HAROLD A Castle Built, a House Burned, a Family Homeless First rule of Norman occupation-build a castle to defend the territory. Workmen shovel dirt and stones for a mound to support the wooden keep; another digs a ditch, or moat. A seated William hears a messenger tell of Harold, who now hastens southward to meet this new threat. When the Breton ranks broke into disor dered retreat, they exposed the Norman flank and endangered the whole army. The rumor spread that William had been killed. Seeing his forces disintegrate under the English attack, he rode down from his com mand post on Telham Hill into the battle, threw off his helmet, and rallied his forces (pages 207 and 247). William's knights, inspired anew, turned and slashed at their disorganized pursuers. 238 Others tore into the main body of Harold's army. Still the shield wall held, men so close ly packed that the dead had no space to fall. William of Poitiers says that the duke's forces twice feigned retreat, and each time wheeled their horses around "and cut down their pursuers so that not one was left alive." At last the weary English line showed signs of breaking as the Normans "threw and struck and pierced." The chronicler of Poitiers makes William Ceremonial robes of office bedeck Hastings' Mayor D. W . Wilshin, who stands amid the ruins of Hastings Castle with the author. Dr. Kenneth M. Setton also wrote "A New Look at Medieval Europe," in the December, 1962, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC. The stone fortress at Hastings replaced the wooden keep thrown up by William. While the walls have crumbled through the years, one new stone was added in 1961, a block from Falaise Castle, William's birthplace. Parks and promenades delight visi tors to the seaside resort of Hastings. On the circular height above the beach, castle ruins overlook the sprawling town. To celebrate the 900th anniver sary of the Battle of Hastings, the Borough Council commissioned a new embroidery that now portrays English history since 1066.