Last weekend I had the absolute privilege of going to both Battle and Hastings in East Sussex for the weekend. Battle is the closest town to where the Battle of Hastings in 1066 took place. It’s arguably one of the most important battles in English history, leading to the Norman conquest of England. Battle Abbey was built by William the Conqueror on the site of the Battle of Hastings.
After our very early London train pulled in to Battle Station, our first stop was for coffees, but our second stop was heading to the abbey. There are multiple walks that you can take around the grounds – we opted for the longer one which took about 45 minutes, but we walked the entirety of the outskirts of the battlefield. When you look back on the battle history, you have to feel a bit sorry for King Harold. He had already marched his forces up North towards York to fight the Vikings in the Battle of Stamford Bridge, and as soon as he won there, he had to march his army south to fight the Normans. I feel like Harold was a bit put upon but hey ho. Thus ends Saxon England.
It’s hard to believe that nearly 10,000 men lost their lives in these picturesque fields and hills in East Sussex. There’s a stone marking the spot where King Harold was supposedly killed (allegedly by an arrow through the eye), it’s also the spot where the original high altar of the abbey had been. Pope Alexander II ordered the Normans to do penance for killing so many in his conquest and William responded by building this impressive abbey.
Playing King Harold in his last moments- my finest role.
Dancing for joy inside the monks’ common room.
Being sad about my monkish vow of silence.
Jeans: Urban Outfitters. Shoes: Dune. Blazer: old (similar here, Boden) Shirt: French Connection (similar). Scarf: Joules (old, similar). Lipstick: Mac.
I’d really recommend trying to get out there if you can. On October 17th you can head out to Hastings and see the bonfire. Or just learn more about the Battle Festival in general here – it goes on until October 31st. But if you can’t get there soon, pencil a trip in for Sept/Oct 2016 for the 950th anniversary battle.