Animals have been used in conflict throughout history. In the Battle of Hastings this is no different!

Bayeux Tapestry - the battle of hastings Scenes 55 & 56

Horses were a vital part of this conflict and are depicted throughout the Bayeux Tapestry.

The two armies that fought in the Battle of Hastings were organised very differently, see more on the difference between the Norman and Anglo Saxon side here. One major difference was the Knights - although the Anglo Saxons rode horses to battle, they were not actually used in the conflict themselves. So, when the Normans arrived ready to fight on horseback this would have been something quite new to the Saxons.

It has been said that the horses were actually involved with the fighting themselves - biting and kicking their opponents!

The Norman Knights would have fought on horseback with a lance and a shield, see weapons page here for more details. There was approximately 1000 to 2000 knights in the Norman Army recorded- and this advancement in medieval warfare is something that continued for almost 1000 years.

© Reading Museum (Reading Borough Council)


Animals are depicted throughout - whilst the story of the Battle of Hastings is the main images there were patterns and animals above and below the centre of the Tapestry. Shown being used for farming here!



There are 190 horses, 35 dogs, 506 other birds and animals are depicted in the Bayeux Tapestry!

Could you create a piece of artwork inspired by the animals in conflict?