Battle and 1066 Country

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The attractive, thriving market town of Battle is the celebrated site of the most famous confrontation in English history when William, Duke of Normandy, defeated the Saxon King Harold II on the 14th October 1066 and changed the course of English culture and governance. Many events will be taking place in the town to mark the 950th anniversary of the battle including Concorde 1066 whose  website is at  Concorde 1066 , a day of commemorative activities to take place on the actual anniversary date.  Battle lies in the heart of the 1066 country formed by the Sussex Weald, which itself is designated the High Weald Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

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After the battle, William the Conqueror built Battle Abbey as a penance ordered by the Pope for those slain in the conflict. The site of the Battle is managed by English Heritage and visitors can experience the battle through dramatic film, audio tours, interactive exhibits and walking the battlefield. Battle Abbey was dedicated in 1095. and the high altar of the Abbey church was reputedly on the spot where Harold died. Image courtesy Durham  World Heritage Site

Battle Abbey

The Abbey gateway is still the dominant feature of the south end of the main street of the town, although little remains of the rest of the Abbey buildings. The remaining cloisters, part of the west range, were leased to Battle Abbey School shortly after World War I, and the school, which has flourished since then, has an excellent academic and pastoral reputation .

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The town of Battle, which has a population of over 6000, grew up around Battle Abbey and offers a range of attractions, restaurants and galleries. The area surrounding the town offers a wide range of places to visit.  Sussex is renowned for its many famous authors and Batemans, the home of Rudyard Kipling, is situated in the village of Burwash, which lies to the north of Battle. Nobel prize winning Kipling, wrote extensively and his books  cover a range of themes from India including the Jungle Book and Tales from the Hills.   Puck of Pook’s Hill, written  later gives a wonderful insight into the history of this area of Sussex.

PLACES TO VISIT

Some of the places to visit in and within easy reach of Battle are

Site of the Battle of Hastings and the remains of Battle Abbey which offers an exhibition and tours of the Battlefield and every year  a re-enactment of the Battle.

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Batemans    was the home of  famous author and poet, Rudyard Kipling, who was awarded the Nobel Prize for literature in 1907.  Author of many works of which the Jungle Book, Kim, Plain Tales from the Hills and Puck of Pook’s Hill, which  features many tales of East Sussex, are perhaps best known. Kipling is rather unfairly neglected today because of his unfashionable political views but is nevertheless a rewarding writer. Image © Bob Mazzer, courtesy of 1066 Country Marketing. This property is owned by the National Trust.

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Pevensey Castle    was the landing point for both the Romans and Normans and was a major stronghold in mediaeval times. Pevensey Castle from the West” by Barbara van Cleve. This property is managed by English Heritage

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Bodiam Castle  near Robertsbridge and managed by the National Trust  is one of the best preserved medieval moated castles. This property is owned by the National Trust.

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 Winchelsea  founded by Edward 1, was once an important Cinque Port, but silting of its harbour, war and plague reduced it to probably the smallest town in England entitled to elect its own mayor

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Kent and East Sussex Railway  a preserved steam railway running from Tenterden to Bodiam is the country’s finest example of a rural light railway and runs for ten and a half miles, through the unspoilt countryside of the Rother Valley . Also of interest to enthusiasts is the Rother Valley Railway at Robertsbridge    Rother Valley Railway . Photo ©  H F Stephens courtesy Loco Yard

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Hastings  is renown for the largest beach launched fishing fleet in Britain and is one of the country’s oldest fishing ports having worked for over one thousand years.  Hastings is also the birthplace of John Logie Baird, who invented television.

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Bexhill-on-Sea is the home of the  De La Warr Pavilion with a wide range of concerts and events. Photo courtesy  De La Warr Pavilion

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Rye town is famous for its pretty cobbled streets, is also a maritime maze of medieval and Georgian buildings and Henry James lived in the Lamb House in Rye, for most of his last 18 years there, where he wrote several major works.  Photo courtesy Rye Town Council  Rye Town Council

Rye Today

2016 is the Year of the English Garden and within easy reach of Battle are the outstanding gardens of Great Dixter, Pashley Manor Gardens, Merriments and Sissinghurst Castle.  Further information can be found  at Great Dixter, Pashley Manor Gardens Merriments  ,  Sissinghurst

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Unless otherwise attributed, all photographs ©DJDaniels2016

More information can be found via the following links

Battle Town Guide

Concorde 1066

East Sussex — what to do

National Trust  — Sussex buildings

National Trust —- Sussex gardens and parks

English Heritage — Sussex and Kent

1066 Country