Road heading south found at Battle of Fulford site of Anglo-Viking clash
Archaeologists investigating the site of the Battle of Fulford, where a Viking army defeated the Saxon troops of Mercia and Northumbria in September 1066, have discovered the ancient road through the ford which gave the village near York its name.
© Chas Jones
A section of clay meeting a peat-filled ditch has revealed more precise points of the conflict and the route the English army retreated along when they were outflanked, according to experts from the Battle of Fulford project which aims to tell the full story of a place which has been at the centre of much debate among historians.
“This is clearly the main road heading south from York,” says Chas Jones, the leader of the project.
© Chas Jones
“The alignment suggests that this was the originals A19 linking Main St in Fulford to the route south through Deighton and Lincroft Farm.
“It will take a few months to analyse all of the material but there can be no doubt that this road was the axis for the battle fought at the ford in 1066.
© Colin Smith / Wikimedia Commons
“It illustrates just how much can be achieved by volunteers and professionals working together. We ran a short training course for adults and children during the dig to ensure that the work was done to a professional standard.
“Many pieces of iron and bits of bone have also been recovered during the dig.”
© Paul Glazzard / geograph.org.uk
The excavation was funded by private donors and the Mick Aston Memorial Fund.
- Viking leader Harold Hardrada – his name means “hard ruler” – led his army towards York on September 20 1066
- Tostig Godwinson, the Earl of Northumbria for ten years from 1055, supported Harold with his rebels
- Edwin and Morcar, of Mercia and Northumbria, led their troops south to meet their enemies
- The English army is said to have taken up a resolutely defensive position at a ford to the south of the village of Gate Fulford
- The battle resulted in substantial losses for the English. But it also badly weakened the Viking army
- A modern impression of the battlegrounds at Hastings and Fulford suggests the Yorkshire site could have been the larger of the two
- Fulford is often overshadowed in historical accounts by the nearby Battle of Stamford Bridge – a bloody encounter which the Saxons won just five days later
- Visit the Battle of Fulford project online.
What do you think? Leave a comment below.
Three places to discover more of the story in
Re-live the atmosphere and tension as more than 400 soldiers clash in a re-enactment of the 1066 Battle of Hastings. October 10-11 2015.
In penance of killing so many in the Norman Conquest of England in 1066, William the Conqueror built Battle Abbey on the site where the Battle of Hastings took place. Find out mrore with a talk about the Battle Abbey Archive. December 8 2015.
Norwich Castle Museum and Art Gallery
Norwich Castle has one of the best collections of Anglo-Saxon material in the country. Designated by the government as being of outstanding quality, the collection contains a huge variety of objects of beauty and historic significance. More than 900 of these treasures are on display in the Anglo-Saxon and Viking Gallery gallery.