Bayeux Tapestry Scene by Scene

Bayeux Tapestry Scene by Scene

The Bayeux Tapestry is an embroidery that illustrates the Battle of Hastings. Commissioned in the 1070s, the embroidered cloth is more than 70 metres long and is on display at Bayeux in Normandy, France.

It depicts Harold’s journey to Normandy and relationship with Duke William in the years before the Battle of Hastings and ends with Harold’s death and the Norman victory. The tapestry provides a unique insight into the medieval weapons, customs and dress of soldiers in Medieval England.

King Edward the Confessor talks to his brother-in-law Harold, Earl of Wessex in 1064
The first scene shows the journey to Normandy in 1064. King Edward the Confessor is talking with Harold, Earl of Wessex, who then departs for his family estate in Sussex with his hunting dogs and followers.
Harold Godwinson's journey to Normandy
Harold prays at a church for a safe voyage before eating his final meal with his companions. They then board their ships and set sail with the dogs and falcons.
Harold lands in Ponthei
On landing in Ponthei, Harold encounters the fierce Guy of Ponthieu who orders his soldiers to seize the Earl.
Harold is taken prisoner by the Normans
Harold is taken prisoner, but is allowed to ride up front with his hawk as they make their way to Beaurain. Harold then speaks with Guy.
Duke William of Normandy and Harold ride with soldiers to Rouen
Two messengers ride furiously to bring a message to Count Guy - Duke William of Normandy wants Harold to be released.
Guy takes Harold to Rouen
William is told that Guy has been taken prisoner. Guy obeys WIlliam, who is his overlord, and brings Harold to him.
Duke William of Normandy and Harold ride with soldiers to Rouen
Harold and William ride together to Rouen where the Duke listens to Harold. William's daughter Aelfgifu is then betrothed to Harold.
William, Harold and the Norman soldiers travel together to fight Duke Conan of Brittany
William and Harold set off together to fight Duke Conan of Brittany. As they journey past Mont St Michel a few soldiers get stuck in quicksand, but are rescued by Harold.
Duke Conan escapes
William and his soldiers attack the Dol, but Duke Conan manages to escape down a rope.
William honours Harold Godwinson with a gift of arms
Conan surrenders to the Normans who catch up with him at Dinan. He uses the point of his lance to pass over the keys of the town. The battle consolidates WIlliam and Harold’s relationship and William honours him with the gift of arms.
Harold returns to England
After returning to Normandy and swearing an oath to William on holy relics, Harold sails back to England.
King Edward is ill
On his return, Harold talks to King Edward, who appears to be ailing.
The King dies
Edward the Confessor dies and is taken to his new church - Westminster Abbey. Before he dies he talks to his followers from bed. Harold is offered the crown and axe - symbols of royal authority. He accepts and becomes king.
William plans an invasion after hearing of Harold’s coronation
When news travels to William about Harold’s coronation, the DUke is furious. He believes he has a right to the throne and organises an attack on England.
The Normans prepare for the invasion
The Normans prepare to invade by cutting down trees and using the wood to make boats. These are then dragged to sea.
The ships are loaded
The boats are stocked with helmets, swords, chainmail and lances.
The Army sets Sail
The army is led onto the boats by William and they set sail with their horses.
The Normans cross the channel
Many warships travel to England, carrying horses and soldiers. William’s ships was bought for him by his wife Matilda.
Many warships travel to England, carrying horses and soldiers. William’s ships was bought for him by his wife Matilda.
The Army Lands
On the 28 September the army lands at Pevensey in the south of England. The Normans disembark and ride towards Hastings.
The Duke enjoys a banquet
William’s cooks prepare a banquet, including a cauldron with stew and chicken cooked on an open fire. Bishop Odo says grace and everybody eats.
The Normans prepare for battle
The Norman invaders build their camp, including a motte at their base in Hastings. William is brought news of Harold’s army by a messenger.
The Normans ride into battle
Before the battle William, dressed in full armour, prepares to mount his horse and go into battle. The Norman cavalry rides out to meet the Anglo-Saxons.
William leads the Army
William appears both on a dark horse leading his troops and in a conversation with Vital, one of Odo’s followers.
Harold prepares for battle
Harold is warned of the advance by a look-out, and William gives a battle speech to his men.
The Normans attack
The battle begins as the Normans attack on horseback.
The English are attacked on all sides
Arrows and lances fill the air while men fall to the ground. The Anglo-Saxons create a wall of shields but the Normans attack from all sides.
The Battle Continues
Harold’s brothers are killed in battle as soldiers spear each other to death.
The slaughter Continues
The lower section of the tapestry show the bodies of men and animals killed in battle. Bishop Odo stand in the midst of the fighting urging the Normans on while waving a club.
William’s horse falls
William falls off his horse but he lifts his helmet to confirm he is still alive. Newly encouraged, the Normans attack viciously.
Harold is shot in the eye
The Normans appear to be winning when King Harold is shot in the with an arrow. The tapestry also shows a figure being trampled by a horse, who could also be Harold.
The Normans are victorious
Harold’s death brings an end to the battle and the English flee from the battlefield. The Normans pursue them.

MLA Citation/Reference

"Bayeux Tapestry Scene by Scene". 2023. Web.