William the Conqueror

25 December 1066

Confusion Leads to a Riot!

After defeating Harold at the Battle of Hastings, William the Conqueror came to the Abbey for his coronation, but it did not run smoothly.

It was attended by both French-speaking Normans and English-speaking Saxons. As the congregation shouted their approval in both languages, the Norman soldiers, trying to keep order outside, thought the noise inside was an assassination attempt and began setting fire to the houses surrounding the Abbey.

Smoke filled the church, the congregation fled and riots broke out outside! Meanwhile, inside the Abbey, William and the officiating clergy completed the service, despite the chaos.