The Ship of Harold Godwinson

By André W. Sleeswyk, published February 1981


A study of the English and French (Norman) vessels depicted in the Bayeux Tapestry. King Harold is first depicted sailing to Normandy several years before the Battle of Hastings, in a small ship which is depicted in differing states five times. Of particular interest is the “triangular” shaped main sail; the break in the sheer line amidships; and the “dots” on the sheer strake. Comparison with a 1920’s Norwegian fishing vessel called a Sunnmørsottring gives some assistance and challenges earlier interpretations by J.E.G. McKee and C.H. Gibbs-Smith.

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Filed under: High Middle Ages | North Sea
Subjects include: Art & Music | Shipbuilding & Design

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