10 Incredible Ways People Faced Up To Their Own Death

2. The Giant Norse Axeman At Stamford Bridge (1066)... Singlehandedly Held Back The Entire English Army, Killing At Least 40

giant axeman

The year 1066 proved to be a pivotal one for British history - yet the Battle of Hastings was preceded by another huge battle, that of Stamford Bridge.

English King Harold Godwinson rode up to East Yorkshire in order to see off the threat from his brother, Tostig, and Viking King Harald Hardrada - and a huge battle ensured at Stamford Bridge.

Although the British eventually claimed victory, the battle went down in folklore due to the actions of one giant Norse axeman in particular. Likely armed with a Dane Axe, the huge warrior stood in the middle of the bridge crossing the River Derwent and gave his fellow Vikings time to retreat as he blocked the English army's passage.

The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle claims the huge warrior wielded his axe with precision and ferocity, cutting down at least 40 Englishmen - and that he was only felled once an enemy soldier sneakily crouched underneath the bridge and thrust his spear through the gaps, mortally wounding the axeman from below.

In fact, the axeman had held up the entire English army for such an extended period that the Norse troops were able to form a defensive shieldwall on the bank behind the bridge and await an enemy attack. Talk about a one-man army...

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Tom Hanks
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NUFC editor for WhatCulture.com/NUFC. History graduate (University of Edinburgh) and NCTJ-trained journalist. I love sports, hopelessly following Newcastle United and Newcastle Falcons. My pastimes include watching and attending sports matches religiously, reading spy books and sampling ales.