Fulford Battlefield Research Website


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 Recording the events of September 1066
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English Heritage (Designation) Consultation Report 14 June 2012Page 5 of 5  (Image from CB 369)

MapNational Grid Reference: SE6163748688© Crown Copyright and database right 2011. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licencenumber 100019088.

Rectangular Callout: The Fulford Ings were investigated by Manchester University and predated the battle. The detailed shape was surveyed and shows how the falling tide on the day of the battle would allow make the beck fordable to King Harald and his ‘best men’ beside the river before the water drained from the Ings, offering an explanation in the sources to the way the English reacted slowly to the outflanking move by the Norse. It is also worth noting here that King Harald’s ally, Earl Tostig, was the owner of the hall that overlooked this area according to the Domesday records so might have been familiar with the military opportunity the peak tide would present on the day of the battle.
Rectangular Callout: The ditch we now call Germany Beck, was formed  when the last ice sheet retreated some 12,000 years ago. The lake of trapped melt-water carved a breach in the hard moraine material to reach the river Ouse which ran at least 5m lower at the time.  The process left two banks that are too steep to clamber. These were extremely good flanks with the Ings in the west and the wetlands to the east, making bypassing impossible. I have estimated the distance between the flanks as 545m which would have been covered by a deep shieldwall if the various estimates of the English force at over 5,000 men is accepted




Text Box: The battle site and the boundaries can be tightly drawn as the EH proposed designation zone illustrates. 
Line Callout 2: The ditch itself, with the ford forming the western half, is a formidable military obstacle and its shape is consistent with the literature which makes a number of references to this feature when describing the battle.  The landscape, literature and tidal evidence firmly place and define the battlesite which the metal finds confirm as the battle zone.
Rectangular Callout: The extension of this ditch lies to the south of the steep east flank bank. There is also an ancient hedge which recognised methods of dating suggest could have been there at the time of the battle. Ironically, the bank and hedge might have provided respite for the outflanked English protecting them from assault thus preventing their annihilation.
Rectangular Callout: The flood plain beyond the ditch is the site of most of the recycling hearths.(concentrations of iron confirmed in a geophysical survey that was found among the papers supplied under FOI by English Heritage.) The recent flooding has allowed the ‘islands’ in this wetland to be investigated. Tidal evidence and the tide times in 1066 allow for a feasible interpretation that the English held their ground as the tide rose and then slipped away after dark, leaving much equipment which might account for the number of post-battle recycling sites in this area we have termed the Retreat Field.
Rectangular Callout: The second, and shorter route from the base at Riccall, arrives at the ford which has been geologically identified, supplies the place with its name, Foulfe or Muddy Ford, and has post designation, produced finds that can be related to the battle. Several sources describe this feature across the beck. The shape and tidal nature of the ford also makes sense of the gruesome image of the bodies looking like stepping stones after the battle.
Rectangular Callout: Norse literature sources put King Harald of Norway beside the river. One of the two routes from Riccall. I surmise that a good commander would use all available roads, which would place him in the dead ground described. We also located items such as the part-made arrow head here that is of Norse design and suggested as one of the post-battle recycling areas.

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The author of the content is Charles Jones - fulfordthing@gmail.com   Last updated April 2015

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