25 September – On this day
The Battle of Stamford Bridge took place at the village of Stamford Bridge, East Riding of Yorkshire, in England on this day in 1066, between an English army under King Harold Godwinson and an invading Norwegian force led by King Harald Hardrada.
At this time King Harold was in Southern England, anticipating an invasion from France by William, Duke of Normandy, another contender for the English throne. Learning of the Norwegian invasion he headed north at great speed with his houscarls and as many thegns as he could gather, travelling day and night. The sudden appearance of the English army caught the Norwegians by surprise. Their response was to rapidly deploy in a defensive circle. After a bloody and horrific battle, Hardrada along with most of the Norwegians were killed. Although Harold Godwinson repelled the Norwegian invaders, his victory was short-lived: he was defeated and killed by the Normans at Hastings less than three weeks later. The battle has traditionally been presented as symbolising the end of the Viking Age, although major Scandinavian campaigns in Britain and Ireland occurred in the following decades, such as those of King Sweyn Estrithson of Denmark in 1069–70 and King Magnus Barefoot of Norway in 1098 and 1102–03.