The Bearded Axe & King Harold

The bearded axe was the preferred weapon of the housecarls who protected King Harold Godwinson, the king of England from 1022 to 1066. It was one of the weapons used at the battle of Hastings. Which they lost. The opposing knights charged in and the housecarls ran after them (taking their axe’s with them) and left him with only his own personal guard who were quickly overpowered and at some point Harold got an arrow in the eye. And then was killed. And the houscarls were wiped out by the knights.

But let’s back up a little.

King Harold Godwinson of England won a battle of champions to defend his kingdom against Harald Hardrada of Norway. He then led his people against the Vikings of Norway and wiped out enough people there to depopulate Norway for a generation. And then, after all that, he did a forced march to Hastings to fight William of Normandy (William the Conqueror, a Norman). And that’s where he met his doom. The guy really liked a good battle, clearly.

See here for more information, if you’re interested: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Stamford_Bridge

(Please keep in mind that I did my research from years of reading actual books and very long chats with historians and re-enactors – not from websites, as I am a self acknowledged recovering analog fossil. My daughter found the links. I’ve never looked at any of them. So please don’t blame me for any inaccuracies in content there. You guys are awesome!)

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