There is much discussion about the time that it took for news and armies to travel in 1066 so I decided to try a little experiment.

Dressed in clothing appropriate to the time and following a route that existed then, I set out from the south bank of the Humber on Sunday 23rd September 2007.

My plan was to see how quickly I could get to Waltham Abbey where I might have expected to be able to communicate the news of the defeat of the northern earls to king Harold as the Abbey was a foundation of the Godwinson family.

The agenda

Monk's habit

I made one concession to the ancient dress-code. I wore modern walking boots. In medieval times, pilgrims could have used the roads. But I had discovered in my pre-walk trials that I would often have to use the verge to escape from the traffic that now has ownership of the public highway.

So, while the ancient footwear would have been perfectly adequate for their time, with walkers marginalized on the modern road, tougher boots were required.

More about the clothing and sleeping under the stars (and rain clouds).

The 'backstory' for this little expedition was that, as a monk, I would be able to travel through a countryside now dominated by the victorious Norse army. My mission was to get news of the agreements reached at the Thing held in York where the people had agreed to submit to king Harald of Norway and go south in the spring to conquer the rest of the land.

See how all this fits into the tight timetable of autumn 1066.  1066 Timetable

The route followed was Ermine Street which the Romans built to link London to the Humber. The following pages have images of this wonderful road in its many different modern guises.
Six days later, and a little ahead of schedule thanks to a few lifts to by-pass the impassable, I reach Harold at Waltham Abbey.

And it's still raining hard.

Detailed calculations of speed and distance covered in the agenda.

The weather made photography challenging as it was cloudy, wet and windy for most of the journey. But as we passed through all the seasons everyday, there were sunny spells to dry out the clothing and take a few images.

Index   Ermine Street   Clothing  Agenda  1066 Timetable