Fictional account of life at the time of the Conquest

   

Rumours of a great battle had reached Badsell, but the churl’s descendants had no real idea of what had truly happened and what impact it would have on their lives. Then one cold night towards the end of October their sleep was rudely disturbed by a great hammering on the door of their home. Alarmed at the noise, the man of the house threw off the fur that served as a blanket, and grabbing an axe left deliberately by his bed, went to the door. 

 

He cautiously lifted the latch and peered outside but the door was violently thrown open and three men bundled into the tiny hovel. The leader, a sword in his hand, did nothing more than growl at the farmer who aware that a fight would be useless, dropped his weapon. The men demanded food and drink, and the farmer and his wife willingly obliged, relieved that the men-at-arms spoke English and clearly weren’t Norman invaders. Their belly’s full and their thirst quenched, the soldiers told a tale of a terrible fight, of how at first they thought that the foreign invaders had been vanquished and of how the battle had turned when King Harold had been killed. The English soldiers spent the rest of the night resting in the hut, leaving before dawn, keen to widen the gap between themselves and the foreign knights.

 

Fearing for their lives, the farmer considered fleeing like the soldiers but he was only too aware that the invaders would soon catch up with a poor peasant and his young family and so he decided to stay. For a few days the family hid in the nearby wood but the freezing nights soon weakened their resolve and they soon moved back into their home.