There were now 3 main battlefronts at
The Vikings cut into the troops on the high ground.
They were now behind
the English troops attacking at the Ford. The defenders who now found
themselves with enemy on 3 sides.
There were 2 retreats in progress.
When retreating nearly all the
advantages lie with the pursuers who could direct their weapons
at the undefended backs of those fleeing towards York.
However, the defenders moving along the river bank would be able
to slow the initial advance as they retreated through the Fenland.
The front they had to defend was limited by the Ings and the Ouse.
The English right flank was being
driven towards Heslington. The marshy land protects them.
Keeping the shield wall and defending the causeways, allows them
to disengage. This is the area where we have
uncovered so much evidence of metal re-processing so it is
possible that some men abandoned some weapons as they fled from
It is probable that the two Earls
still led their men.
The Earls might have been able to bring some order to the retreat.
The records state that the surrender of the City was by negotiation
which suggests that the defenders were not routed. They probably moved
back inside the city walls, secured and manned the defences. York was
safe for the moment.
The injured who had not reached
sanctuary were dispatched and hacked by their pursuers.
No amount of bravery could save these defenders. Wading through
the heavy mud was exhausting and soon impossible. Unable to move and
dodge blows, they were easy prey. The Chroniclers description of a
causeway of bodies might be accurate.
Perhaps 500 men were trapped in this morass. There is little chance
that any of this doomed band could have escaped.
version of the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle records them as fighting their way
to Heslington, a mile away along the Beck.
It is over this precise ground that modern developers plan to
build their access road.
What happened next