Monument record MYO5058 - Battles of York 1069

Summary

A combined record for two battles in 1069 (Jan and Sept). Battle of York 1069 , 28th January. Norman force in the city was defeated by an English force. The Norman garrison was led by William Malet, who then occupied the new castle, which was on the site of the later Clifford's tower. Relief arrived in the form of King William, who drove the rebels away, killing many. To secure York further he ordered the construction of a second motte and bailey castle. Battle on 21st September 1069 was the largest defeat suffered by the Normans in England. A battle had taken place on the same site earlier in January 1069 where the Normans were also defeated. After King William had left the site the English received help from a Viking fleet and together they declared the teenage Edgar as king. William Malet was heavily beaten and the Normans suffered a serious loss. The Anglo-Danish force then took the city and two small castles. William returned to York however he was delayed by bad weather and took three weeks to find a crossing over the River Aire. Once across, the Danes withdrew to the south bank of the Humber which allowed William to occupy York where he carried out the ‘Harrying of the North in 1071. The Danes left after William bought them off without doing so he would not have had the capacity to defeat them.

Location

Grid reference SE 6051 5147 (point)
Map sheet SE65SW
Unitary Authority City of York, North Yorkshire

Map

Type and Period (1)

Full Description

In January 1069 the men of Durham massacred a force of Normans, those of York followed suit with remarkable alacrity and slew one of the commanders at York with many of his men. This northern rising initiated a formidable alignment against the Conqueror. Its leaders, Merleswein—an important figure in the Domesday account of York—and Cospatric, had abandoned the compromised earls, and had taken up as their candidate the Wessex prince Edgar Ætheling. Welcomed at York by the rebellious citizens, variously called 'portmen' and 'burhmenn' by the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, Edgar and his supporters began an attack on the castle, whence the sheriff William Malet reported to the king that in default of assistance he would be driven to surrender. With astonishing speed William returned to York and slew, captured, and scattered his adversaries. While the Ætheling fled to Scotland, the king 'harried the burh' and, according to one account, dishonoured the minster, perhaps disregarding its rights of sanctuary. He now built a second castle and shortly marched south to keep Easter at Winchester. Very soon after his departure a stubborn body of northern rebels reassembled to attack both the York castles. (1-2)

1 English Battlefields: 500 Battlefields that Shaped English History 2004 Rayner, Michael
2 A history of Yorkshire: the city of York 1961 edited by P M Tillott Feb-24

September 1069:
The site of the Battle of York is located in the City of York. The battle was fought on the 21st September 1069 and was the largest defeat suffered by the Normans in England.
A battle had taken place on the same site earlier in January 1069 where the Normans were also defeated. After King William had left the site the English received help from a Viking fleet and together they declared the teenage Edgar as king. William Malet was heavily beaten and the Normans suffered a serious loss.
The Anglo-Danish force then took the city and two small castles. William returned to York however he was delayed by bad weather and took three weeks to find a crossing over the River Aire. Once across, the Danes withdrew to the south bank of the Humber which allowed William to occupy York where he carried out the ‘Harrying of the North in 1071. The Danes left after William bought them off without doing so he would not have had the capacity to defeat them. (1)

The National Grid Reference for the site is: SE6026952219 (2)

1 English Battlefields: 500 Battlefields that Shaped English History 2004 Rayner, Michael 392
2 Ordnance Survey Map (Scale / Date)
Default value used to record large numbers of archive items which are not separately catalogued. See Monument Recording Guidelines for details of use. 1:1250, 2008

NMR related event - NHPP Battlefields Project - Project to audit English Heritage holdings on pre-16th century battlefields. http://www.battlefieldstrust.com/resource-centre/index.asp

Sources/Archives (0)

Protected Status/Designation

  • None recorded

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Related Events/Activities (1)

Record last edited

Nov 3 2021 2:52PM

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