Battle of Hastings Day
 

Battle of Hastings Cake, 2014

 

Battle of Hastings Cake, 2016

Battle of Hastings Cake, 2017

October 14 marks that eventful day on which William, the Duke of Normandy, defeated King Harold’s Saxon army at the Battle of Hastings. Each year, the Friday before or after October 14, the English Literature and History class celebrates “The Battle of Hastings Day” with a discussion of the day’s importance and cake, decorated for the occasion.

The Norman invasion had an enormous impact on the history of England—economically, politically and linguistically. Our celebration is not of the victory of the French-speaking Normans over the Saxons. It is to recognize that the the great literature, language and institutions of the English would not have been the same had not William the Conqueror defeated Harold on Senlac Hill. Below is a representative map of the event. Notice that the Norman troops were arrayed in three groups, which consisted of foot soldiers, archers and cavalry. Harold’s forces, represented in red, made a shield wall, which seemed invincible when unbroken, but once weakened by a ruse, the Norman forces were able to penetrate and later defeat Harold’s ax-wielding men. Our cake decorators tried to reflect the more gruesome aspects of the war, which included the gouging of King Harold’s eye by an arrow. Don’t worry, girls; it’s food coloring!

Battle of Hastings Cake, 2018

Battle of Hastings Cake, 2010

Before launching his invasion of England, William of Normandy had to garner the support of neighboring duchies and territories, as well as make an appeal to the pope. Pope Alexander II blessed William’s take over, giving him the signet ring and the banner of St. George, which are pictured on the cake of 2018.