National Geographic : 1966 Aug
.. WHETHER HE HAD SEENHAROLD'S ARMY Opposing Armies Swarm Across the Flanks of Opposing Hills; From Telham Hill, hardened Norman knights blanch at the sight before them. Across the valley on the crest of Senlac, sunlight glints on thousands of spear points, bristling behind a phalanx of wooden shields. The Norman way threads marshy land and climbs a steep slope cast a critical eye on both vanquished and victors. Some sixty years after the Conquest he looked back to that "fatal day for Eng land" and drew these portraits: "The English at that time wore short gar ments, reaching to the mid-knee; they had their hair cropped, their beards shaven, their arms laden with gold bracelets, their skin adorned with punctured designs; they were wont to eat until they became surfeited and to drink until they were sick. These latter qualities they imparted to their conquerors... "The Normans-that I may speak of them also-were at that time, as they are now, ex ceedingly particular in their dress, and deli cate in their food, but not to excess. They are a race inured to war, and can hardly live with out it, fierce in attacking their enemies, and when force fails, ready to use guile or to cor rupt by bribery.... They weigh treason by its chance of success, and change their opin ions for money." With the Conquest, the use of English declined. Latin and French, serving church, state, and high society, influenced the English spoken in kitchen and countryside. But Eng lish, the language of a conquered people, would someday subdue the conquerors. There would always be an England. In London William constructed a wooden "castle." About eleven years later, in much the same place, the White Tower, first structure of the Tower of London, began to rise under the guidance of Bishop Gundulf of Rochester, one of the great builders of the age. Although time has effected many changes in the Tower, 242 William is not entirely lost in its cavernous chambers. Jay and I sat for half an hour in the Chapel of St. John, which is still exactly as it was about 1080. The stone to build it was brought from Caen in Normandy. Much remained to be done after occupying London, and in time William would do it. He spent most of 1067 in Normandy but Where the battle raged, a regal oak reigns in a now peaceful pasture. From the misty trees on Telham Hill the Normans rode down across the meadow and up the slope in fore ground to conquer the Saxons. In a nearby field lies a grim reminder of the carnage-a grisly figure clutch ing a skull. The 14th-century carv ing ornamented Battle Abbey, the monastic house William built to commemorate his victory. EKTACHROMESBY GEORGEF. MOBLEY© N.G .S.