Harold arranged for his army to meet nine miles from Hastings at the 'hoary apple tree' on Caldbec Hill. It was a well-known landmark easily distinguishable by its shaggy coat of gray, leafy lichen. Hoar means "gray-haired with age, venerable".
Harold arrived here in the late afternoon of Friday the 13th of October with 4,000 of his men. He was met here by a further 4,000 fyrdmen. It was his intention to surprise William and launch an early morning attack, however William was fully prepared, having advanced six miles to be in full array on Telham Hill and ready to do battle.
It was here that Toustain le Blanc bore the gonfanon so gallantly "with a good heart," until it was planted in triumph beside "the hoary apple tree."Return to Main Index