Images of flood on the day of the battle
12 panoramas of the battle site
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Symeon of Durham
Symeon, writing at
the end of the 11th century, mentions the name Fulford. He is one of
only two among the ancient chroniclers to name the battlesite as Fulford. For
those unfamiliar with the geography of the region, Durham is the nearest
Episcopal See north of York. So Symeon could be said to be a ‘local boy’.
This could explain why he was able to add some details to the earlier accounts.
This also supports the earlier suggestion that the chroniclers, and the
subsequent historians of the 11th century events, have left us
accounts which have a parochial bias. There is nothing to link him with the work
in the southern monasteries.
“Earl Tosti with
his fleet ….and with a quick voyage they entered the mouth of the river Humber
and so sailing up the Ouse they landed at a place called Richale, and took York
after a hard struggle. The Brother earls Edwin and Morkar with a large army,
joined battle with the Norwegians at Fulford, near York, on the northern bank of
the river Ouse and at the first onset of the fight they overthrew many; but
after a long continuance of the contest, the Angles, unable to resist the force
of the Norwegians, turned their backs not without some loss of their men and
many more of them were drowned in the river than fell in the field. The
Norwegians were masters of the field of slaughter…” [i]
The Latin the words
‘joined battle with the Norwegians at Fulford, near York, on the northern bank
of the river Ouse’ is expressed like this:
ripa usae fluminis juxta Eboracum apud Fuleford cum Norreganis praelium…’
The word apud
is translated as meaning ‘with, at or near’. However, it might be safer to
say that apud expresses the idea of ‘nearness’ to Fulford. Juxta
translates easily as ‘close to’ so Symeon was relating that the battle with
the Norwegian took place close to York and near Fulford and on the north bank of
the river Ouse.[iii]
While it is convenient to translate this sentence as the first record of Fulford as the place of the battle we know little about the settlement or place called Fulford before 1066. The area that Symeon identifies as the location of the battle is extensive, and covered an area significantly bigger than the city of York at that time. But there is no evidence that Fulford has 'moved' since the time he was writing his Historia, about 50 years after the battle. However Fulford's boundaries have shrunk, but it remains a large area and what we have come to see as the location of the battle site occupied less than .03% of the area of ancient Fulford. So the naming is interesting but contributes no more than we found in the AS Chronicles.
Related sites Facebook Twitter (@ helpsavefulford) Visiting Fulford Map York
There is a site devoted to saving the battlesite: The site has the story of the process that has allowed the site to be designated an access road to a Green Belt, floodplain housing estate.
And another website for the Fulford Tapestry that tells the story of the September 1066: This tells the story embroidered into the panels.
The author of the content is Chas Jones - firstname.lastname@example.org last updated June 2015