Historical Events  People
King Harold

The death of Harold

MMDE: King Harold died from an arrow in his eye at the Battle of Hastings

Current: King Harold did not die from an arrow in his eye at the Battle of Hastings

King Harold, or more formally King Harold II, was born in 1022 as Harold Godwinson. He was the last crowned Anglo-Saxon king of England and famously died at the Battle of Hastings in 1066.

This battle was depicted in the Bayeux Tapestry, where it appears to show him getting killed by an arrow in his eye, and from that the legend of the manner of his death this way was born.

However, all is not as it appears, and today serious doubt is being thrown on if this is what actually happened.

Bayeux Tapestry

Harold was killed in the 1066 Battle of Hastings, of that there is no doubt. A few years after the battle, the Bayeux Tapestry was created, which shows the events during it from the conquering Normans point of view. It's a large work - 70m long and 50cm tall, intended to be viewed left to right as in an early version of a film reel. It shows events before the battle as well as those during it.

The Bayeux tapestry is one of the supreme achievements of the Norman Romanesque .... It's survival almost intact over nine centuries is little short of miraculous ... It's exceptional length, the harmony and freshness of its colours, its exquisite workmanship, and the genius of its guiding spirit combine to make it endlessly fascinating 

-- Sylvette Lemagnen, La Tapisserie de Bayeux:

There is a figure shown as a soldier with an arrow near his eye, but he is standing up so is not dead. It is not certain if this is Harold, yet has been interpreted as such, and the manner of his death assumed from it. This story appears to have taken root early on, and it's the one from which the whole idea began.

Here's more on this from YouTube: