Along with King Harold Godwinson, Anglo-Saxon England died on the battle field, the flower of English youth, the flower of English nobility, covered the ground far and wide filthy with their own blood. A week after his victory, the bastard descended from Viking pirates, set off on the march to London. He was now William the Conqueror, soon to be William King of England, the future belonged to the Normans.
Painting: The Battle of Hastings by Tom Lovell, 1999. “Stand Fast! Stand Fast!” shouts Bishop Odo. “Fear nothing, for if God please, we shall conquer yet. So they took courage.” Or, so wrote the 12th century chronicler Master Wace: “He…sat on a white horse, so that all might recognise him. In his hand he held a mace, and wherever he saw most need he…Stationed the knights, and often urged them on to assault…the enemy.” Bishop Odo, William’s half brother, was unlikely not actively get involved in the main cavalry charges as depicted here, but it is a wonderful image just the same. If the bishop did any fighting with his baculum, it would most likely have been toward the end of the battle; when every able-bodied man was desperately needed to break the defensive shield-wall before night overtook the Normans. The wooden mace was evidently an insignia of command status, and Odo (as well as duke William) would have used it most often to “rally” (persuade) their own troops to valour.
Traditionally called Dorothy Cary, later Viscountess Rochford, c. 1614–1618, but now re-identified as Elizabeth Cary (née Tanfield), Viscountess Falkland, by William Larkin. Kenwood House, England, UK.