1066: October 14th, 1066 is the most famous date in English history. It is the year of TWO invasions of England, and in which three huge and bloody pitched battles were fought. The feared Norse king Harald Hardraada ('hard ruler') led a veteran viking invasion army to northern England in mid-September, totally surprising the English- who were then waiting for William to invade on the south coast. Whilst King Harold Godwinson force-marched a hardened mounted/infantry army 190miles north from London to destroy this major and unexpected threat, Hardraada smashed another English army (under earls Edwin and Morcar) at GATE FULFORD, near York, September 20th. Five days later, at STAMFORD BRIDGE, Harold Godwinson in turn totally surprised Hardraada's unsuspecting army, and in a ferocious set-piece battle, the English massacred so many of their foes that they were finally allowed to sail home in just "24 out of 300" longships. At this same time, Duke William of Normandy landed his huge invasion fleet on the south coast of England whilst King Harold celebrated his colossal victory at York. Speeding south 250 miles to engage William's fresh and prepared army, Harold's weary and depleted army dashed to Hastings, where on a cloudy Saturday morning, these two powerful and determined men faced each other in the Battle of Hastings.