National Geographic : 1966 Aug
HERE BISHOP ODO, HOLDING A MACE, URGES ON THE YOUNG MEN A Fighting Bishop Draws Together the Faltering French. Trapped on a hillock in the valley, Anglo-Saxons fight to the last man against encircling Frenchmen. Galloping past, Bishop Odo rallies the Norman cavalry with his swinging mace. In the melee, William's horse is thrice cut from under him. When rumor of his death flies was swift and terrible. His "harrying of the north" left famine and devastation behind him. Even the Norman writer Ordericus Vitalis could only regard the expedition of 1069-70 as a "barbarous homicide." We followed William's first northward march from Exeter to York, where we found ample reminders of the Conquest. The York "Shambles," the medieval butchers' quarter and now a street of shops, is mentioned in William's time. The western part of the cathe dral crypt is early Norman. At York William threw up two mottes, or mounds, on either side of the River Ouse. They still stand at each end of the modern Skeldergate Bridge. One of them is known as Baile Hill; built in eight days, it has lasted nine centuries. Clifford's Tower, built in the 13th century, stands on the other. As we looked at the row of houses along Baile Hill Terrace, facing William's motte and the medieval city wall, we wondered what the mound meant to the people who were spending their lives beside it. Three of the local residents did not know what it was. The fourth, a piano tuner, was in harmony with history; he identified it. "Stand fast! Stand fast!" shouts Bishop Odo, "... fear nothing, for if God please, we shall conquer yet." "So they took courage," wrote 12th-century chronicler Master Wace. "He .. sat on a white horse, so that all might recognize him. In his hand he held a mace, and wherever he saw most need, he... sta tioned the knights, and often urged them on 246 to assault... the enemy."