GUARDIAN: Harold's boys took a hell of a beating

"Your editorial on the Normans (6 July) says "it is open to question whether their victims could usefully be described as English". The army defeated at Hastings after its victory at Stamford Bridge was drawn from all over the kingdom of England, which had existed for more than a century, more or less within the borders of modern England – and a kingdom which unlike France or Germany showed little tendency to fragment. It had the most sophisticated administration in Europe, which was conducted not in Latin but in the national language, Old English, which boasted perhaps the finest vernacular literature in Europe. So it is not surprising that looking back from the new Anglo-Norman world of the 12th century, historians like William of Malmesbury and Henry of Huntingdon should find so much to celebrate in the history of the English."


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