This Day in History: 1069-11-15

In mid-November 1069, William I arrived at the ‘broken bridge’ (Ponte-fract) crossing the River Aire in Yorkshire. William was facing numerous uprisings across the country – including York where 3000 Normans were killed by the Danes, Dorset/Somerset, Exeter, Shrewsbury, Stafford – and reached York in early December to find that the Danes had fled having no intention to meet William in open battle. This was William’s third visit to the north in eighteen months! His strategy of ‘buying off’ the Danes and scorched-earth destruction of homes, herds, chattels, food and crops and slaying of people (‘Harrying of the North’) to ensure that no future army could take arms against him, resulted in over 100,000 deaths through famine.