30+ Generations back relative makes power grab at the British Isles.
|House of Normandy|
|Robert II Curthose, Duke of Normandy|
|Richard, Duke of Bernay|
|William II Rufus|
|Adela, Countess of Blois|
|Henry I Beauclerc|
Descendants of William, the Conquerer
1-William, the Conquerer http://fabpedigree.com/s092/f004378.htm
+Matilda , of Flanders
|-2-Henry Beauclerc I (King of England)
+Matilda , of Scotland (Empress) http://fabpedigree.com/s073/f751094.htm
|-3-Empress Matilda , Queen of England
+Goeffrey V (the Fair) Plantagenet, Compte de Anjou and Maine
|-4-Hamelin Plantagenet (Brother of Henry II, King of England)
+Isabel de Warenne
|-5-Adela Plantagenet http://fabpedigree.com/s097/f023081.htm
|-7-William Fitzwilliam, of Elmley
+Agnes De Gray
|-8-Sir William Fitzwilliam, of Elmley
|-10-Sir John Fitzwilliam
|-11-Sir William Fitzwilliam
|-12-Sir John Fitzwilliam
|-14-Sir William Fitzwilliam, of Milton
|-15-Sir William Fitzwilliam, of Gainspark
|-16-Mary Fitzwilliam http://fabpedigree.com/s043/f622846.htm
+John Shelley http://fabpedigree.com/s042/f622846.htm
+Sir Anthony Hungerford of Black Bourton
|-18-Anne Hungerford http://fabpedigree.com/s079/f688108.htm
+Stephen Hopkins I
|-22-Stephen Hopkins II
|-24-Allen Bangs Revolutionary War Soldier
|-28-Jennie Ereda Howes
|-29-Frederick Emil Bechtold
+Marie Caroline Dresser
|-30- Bechtold / Miller / Immel / Connolly
Claim to the English throne
Upon the death of the childless Edward the Confessor, the English throne was fiercely disputed by three claimants—William; Harold Godwinson, the powerful Earl of Wessex; and the Viking King Harald III of Norway, known as Harald Hardrada. William had a tenuous blood claim through his great aunt Emma (wife of Ethelred and mother of Edward). William also contended that Edward, who had spent much of his life in exile in Normandy during the Danish occupation of England, had promised him the throne when he visited Edward in London in 1052. Further, William claimed that Harold had pledged allegiance to him in 1064: William had rescued the shipwrecked Harold from the count of Ponthieu, and together they had defeated Conan II, Duke of Brittany. On that occasion, William had knighted Harold; he had also, however, deceived Harold by having him swear loyalty to William himself over the concealed bones of a saint.
In January 1066, however, in accordance with Edward's last will and by vote of the Witenagemot, Harold Godwinson was crowned King by Archbishop Aldred.
Meanwhile, William submitted his claim to the English throne to Pope Alexander II, who sent him a consecrated banner in support. Then, William organized a council of war at Lillebonne and in January openly began assembling an army in Normandy. Offering promises of English lands and titles, he amassed at Dives-sur-Mer a huge invasion fleet, supposedly of 696 ships. This carried an invasion force which included, in addition to troops from William's own territories of Normandy and Maine, large numbers of mercenaries, allies and volunteers from Brittany, north-eastern France and Flanders, together with smaller numbers from other parts of France and from the Norman colonies in southern Italy. In England, Harold assembled a large army on the south coast and a fleet of ships to guard the English Channel.
William the Conqueror invades England
Fortuitously for William, his crossing was delayed by eight months of unfavourable winds. William managed to keep his army together during the wait, but Harold's was diminished by dwindling supplies and falling morale. With the arrival of the harvest season, he disbanded his army on 8 September. Harold also consolidated his ships in London, leaving the English Channel unguarded. Then came the news that the other contender for the throne, Harald III of Norway, allied with Tostig Godwinson, had landed ten miles from York. Harold again raised his army and after a four-day forced march defeated Harald and Tostig on 25 September.
The Battle of Haistings
On 12 September the wind direction turned and William's fleet sailed. A storm blew up and the fleet was forced to take shelter at Saint-Valery-sur-Somme and again wait for the wind to change. On 27 September the Norman fleet finally set sail, landing in England at Pevensey Bay (Sussex) on 28 September. William then moved to Hastings, a few miles to the east, where he built a prefabricated wooden castle for a base of operations. From there, he ravaged the hinterland and waited for Harold's return from the north.
William chose Hastings as it was at the end of a long peninsula flanked by impassable marshes. The battle was on the isthmus. William at once built a fort at Hastings to guard his rear against potential arrival of Harold's fleet from London. Having landed his army, William was less concerned about desertion and could have waited out the winter storms, raided the surrounding area for horses and started a campaign in the spring. Harold had been reconnoitering the south of England for some time and well appreciated the need to occupy this isthmus at once.
Harold, after defeating his brother Tostig and Harald Hardrada in the north, marched his army 241 mi (388 km) in 5 days to meet the invading William in the south. On 13 October, William received news of Harold's march from London. At dawn the next day, William left the castle with his army and advanced towards the enemy. Harold had taken a defensive position at the top of Senlac Hill/Senlac ridge (present-day Battle, East Sussex), about seven miles from Hastings.
The Battle of Hastings lasted all day. Although the numbers on each side were about equal, William had both cavalry and infantry, including many archers, while Harold had only foot soldiers and few if any archers. Along the ridge's border, formed as a wall of shields, the English soldiers at first stood so effectively that William's army was thrown back with heavy casualties. Then William rallied his troops reportedly raising his helmet, as shown in the Bayeux Tapestry, to quell rumors of his death. Meanwhile, many of the English had pursued the fleeing Normans on foot, allowing the Norman cavalry to attack them repeatedly from the rear as his infantry pretended to retreat further. Norman arrows also took their toll, progressively weakening the English wall of shields. At dusk, the English army made their last stand. A final Norman cavalry attack decided the battle irrevocably when it resulted in the death of Harold who, legend says, was killed by an arrow in the eye, beheaded & bodily dismembered. Two of his brothers, Gyrth and Leofwine Godwinson, were killed as well. By nightfall, the Norman victory was complete and the remaining English soldiers fled in fear.
Battles of the time rarely lasted more than two hours before the weaker side capitulated; that Hastings lasted nine hours indicates the determination of both William's and Harold's armies. Battles also ended at sundown regardless of who was winning. Harold was killed shortly before sunset and, as he would have received fresh reinforcements before the battle recommenced in the morning, he was assured of victory had he survived William's final cavalry attacks.