Norman Conquest Encyclopedia
Harald Hardrada was, in 1066, a challenger for the English throne. He felt he had a right to it because Magnus of Norway and Harthacanute, Canute's son, had agreed between themselves that he who survived the other should inherit the vacant kingdoms. Harthacanute died first, and Magnus took over Denmark, but was too insecure to take England as well, so Edward the Confessor's claim went unchallenged. As successor to Magnus, Harald revived the claim. His career up to this time had earned him the nickname of "Ruthless" or "Hardruler" as we might translate it. He was a huge man and had seen war and service in Norway, where he was severely wounded at the Battle of Stiklestad in 1030, Novgorod and Constantinople where he became an officer of the Varangian Guard. He was joined on his English venture by Tostig, the disaffected brother of Harold Godwinsson, and plundered the Yorkshire coast, entered the Humber and marched on York. Flying his banner, Landwaster, Harald defeated earls Edwin and Morcar at Gate Fulford and retired to Stamford Bridge to recuperate and to negotiate final peace terms. He was taken by surprise when Harold Godwinsson arrived after a forced march north and both he and Tostig died in the battle that followed.
- Hastings 1066 (Revised Edition) - The Fall of Saxon England
(Campaign 13 )
- The Vikings