At the Battle of Hastings in 1066, huscarls made their last stand as an English fighting force, serving among the household troops of King Harold Godwinson and his brothers, the earls Leofwine of Kent and Gyrth of East Anglia. The warriors deployed separately from the fyrd, using the standard battle formation of the shield wall. This dense block of shields interlocked and prevented the enemy from thrusting home an attack between the ranks. When the Normans under Duke William charged sections of the shield wall, some huscarls stood ready to absorb the impact of the mounted knights, while their companions with Dane-axes cut down riders and horses.
|Huscarl at Hastings in mail, wielding his Dane-axe |
against a Norman knight, Bayeux Tapestry