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Battle of Hastings: Identifying Those Present

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Summarizing the findings

The following table gives Professor Douglas's list of 27 names, as discussed in White's 1944 lecture:

WikipediaWikiTree-IDGBOD RT PCL
1Robert de Beaumont, later Count of MeulanBeaumont-29G OD HLT 1-061-14513
2Eustace, Count of BoulogneBoulogne-8G OD - 1-05
3William, Count of ÉvreuxEvreux-18G OD - 1-08 41
4Geoffrey, Count of Mortagne & lord of Nogent Châteaudun-20G OD - 1-08
5William fitz Osbern [1]FitzOsbern-21G OD - 1-0642
6Aimeri, Viscount of ThouarsThouars-18G OD - 1-07
7Walter Giffard, lord of LonguevilleGiffard-6G OD HLT 1-052-12045
8Hugh de Montfort, lord of Montfort-sur-RisleMontfort-64G OD HLT 1-052-29368
9Ralph de Tosny, lord of ConchesToeni-4G OD HLT 1-073-171104
10Hugh de GrandmesnilGrandmesnil-17G OD -T 2-03 47
11William de Warenne, later 1st Earl of SurreyWarenne-112G OD HLDT 1-043-262111
12William MaletMalet-128 and Malet-2G OD HLT 2-042-6156
13Odo, Bishop of Bayeux, later Earl of KentBayeux-54G*B D HLT 1-03
14Turstin fitz Rolf OD H 1-072-69
15Engenulf de Laigle[2]Aigle-13 OD - 2-06 52
16Geoffrey de Mowbray, Bishop of CoutancesMowbray-201G* D HLD 2-012-23571
17Robert, Count of MortainConteville-2 B* D HLDT 1-032-239
18WadardWadard-4 B* D -
19Vital B* D -
20Goubert d’Auffay D++ - 8
21Robert de Vitot D+ -
22Roger son of Turold D+ -
23Gerelm de Panilleuse D+ -
24Erchembald D* -
25Robert fitz Erneis D* - 2-07
26"The noble heir of Ponthieu" D** -
27Wikipedia: Taillefer D** -

G - the 12 + 2 names given by William of Poitiers
G* = not said to have fought
B - the 1 + 3 names given by the Bayeux Tapestry
B* = shown before but not during the battle
O - the 14 names given by Orderic (of which 1-12 were copied from William of Poitiers)
D - the 27 names given by Douglas
D++ = accepted by White (1944)
D+ = considered by White likely to have been on the 1066 expedition, though with reservations
D* = regarded as doubtful or problematic by White
D** = rejected by White
R - Appears in a purported copy of the "Battle Abbey Roll"
H = Holinshed
L = Leland
D = Duchesne
T - He or his kin were Domesday tenants-in-chief or subtenants, see note below.
P - Biography by Planche (Volume-chapter), see note below. (Reference not in the Camp book, but added here for convenience)
C - Biography by the Duchess of Cleveland (Volume-page). Reference given by Camp, with hesitation
L - Biography by Loyd (Page). Reference given by Camp

(The overlapping W, B, O groups united (nos. 1-19) give the 15 + 4 names of the 1931 White paper, nos. 1-15 being classed as "certain")

More recent proposals

1. A Wikipedia contributor adds a further name, proposed more recently:[3]

  • Humphrey of Tilleul-en-Auge

It's not clear whether this name was missed or discounted by White and Douglas.

2. Keats-Rohan Domesday People p.51 writes, that although we need to be careful of Wace:

"There is very little direct evidence as to which Bretons fought at Hastings in 1066, though accounts of the battle make it clear that they were numerous. The relatively abundant evidence on the career of Alan the Red puts his participation beyond reasonable doubt. It is confirmed by the evidence of Wace's Roman de Rou pm the Conqueror's companions. Although Wace actually spoke of Alan Fergant he clearly meant Alan the Red."


To define who what we know we can look at two types of source:

1. The original medieval reports (Primary Sources)
2. The critical analyses of modern historians (Secondary Sources)

We can additionally compare our finding to those of tertiary sources trying, like Wikitree, to summarize the other sources. Most obviously, Wikipedia's article.

The so-called "Battle Abbey Rolls" are not original medieval documents and not reliable as a source for who was at the Battle of Hastings. As the middle ages faded into history, heralds, family genealogists, and book-published developed fantastic pedigrees all beginning with someone supposedly at Hastings.

Near-contemporary primary sources

Considered most reliable:

  • William of Poitiers, Gesta Guillelmi II Ducis Normannorum ("The Deeds of William II, Duke of the Normans")
  • Orderic Vitalis, Historia Ecclesiastica (The Ecclesiastical History)
  • The Bayeux Tapestry

Considered less reliable:

  • Carmen de Hastingae Proelio (Song of the Battle of Hastings), a poem written shortly after 1066.
  • Wace, Roman de Rou (The Romance of Rolf)

Secondary sources

In the 20th century serious genealogists and historians addressed the problem of inflated lists.

  • Planche, James Robinson (1874) The Conqueror and his Companions Vol. 1, Vol. 2
  • Camp, Anthony J (1990) My Ancestors Came With The Conqueror, publ. Society of Genealogists, London, Introduction, p. 3.
  • Douglas, David C, "Companions of the Conqueror", in History, Vol. 28, pp. 129-147.
  • Genealogists Magazine, Vol 6, pp. 50-7, reprinted in Camp, ch. 2, pp. 9-14
  • Moriarty, Oct 1944, The American Genealogist, Vol. 21 no. 2, p. 111, extract online.
  • Thomson, Dec 1931, Genealogists Magazine, Vol. 5, pp. 394-7. Reprinted in Camp, ch. 1, pp. 5-8.
  • White, Geoffrey Henllan (1944) Genealogists Magazine, Vol. 9 , pp. 417-24. Reprinted in Camp, pp. 15-23.
  • White, Appendix L in Complete Peerage (2nd edn), Vol 12 pt 1.

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