1066 is one of those dates in history that is etched onto the public brain and one of the principal points of historical fact retained from years of school history lessons. Yet, for many, 1066 will be equated with the epic Battle of Hastings, a fight that took place in a location over 5 hours drive and several days walk away from York. However, what is less well known is that 1066 was also a landmark year for the city of York itself as the home to the bloody Battle of Fulford, a fight which helped to recreate the history and future of our ancient city of York.
But now, a Yorkshire Euro MP is calling for a collective recognition of the Battle of Fulford by asking the English Heritage to acknowledge the battle site on their register in order to protect, preserve and remember this historic location for posterity. Edward McMillan-Scott, the Liberal Democrat MEP for Yorkshire and the Humber, who has written to English Heritage, has a longstanding interest in the history-soaked region and in particular in conserving Yorkshire’s former battlefields.
For years the exact location of the battlefield has been a greatly contested subject, although it is now considered by a number of experts to have most likely taken place at Germany Beck, a site recently earmarked by the council for a large-scale housing project. Mr McMillan-Scott said of the site: “Following an informative visit to the site I am convinced that there is a strong case that Germany Beck was the location of the 1066 Battle of Fulford. I have written to English Heritage on behalf of local residents in the hope of speeding up the process of considering the battlefield registration.”
The 1066 Battle of Fulford was the very last Viking victory on English soil. It saw King Harald Hadrada’s Viking army, accompanied by Tostig’s rebels, challenge Edwin and Morcar, the Earldormen of Mercia and Northumbria at a ford immediately to the south of the village of Gate Fulford. While often overshadowed by its sister battles of Stamford Bridge and Hastings, the Battle of Fulford was a hugely significant battle in Yorkshire’s history that ultimate paved the foundations for the later narrative of one of England’s most monumental and debated fights.
If English Heritage accept McMillan-Scott’s proposal to recognise the Fulford site on the historical battlefields’ register, joining 43 other battlefields around the country, the Heritage will endeavour to promote and protect the site in order for the public to better appreciate its historical significance. This kind of official recognition also has the potential to significantly stall the council’s plans to develop the area into housing, a suggestion which has already created a great deal of protest from locals.