The Battle of Hastings

An arrow to the eye, and England had a new king.

The Battle of Hastings took place several miles inland from the town of Hastings itself. The armies of William of Normandy fought the forces of King Harold Godwinson in this field in October of 1066. Poor Harold did not survive. Later, though he did not repent enough to go back to Normandy, William did penance by building an abbey on the hill where Harold died. The abbey was called, appropriately, Battle Abbey, and the town that grew up around it is simply, Battle.

For centuries the field was plowed under and farmed over. No need to let a battle and change of royal lineage ruin perfectly good farmland. Besides, there was no explosive ordinance left behind as there was durning WW2. Every now and again an unexploded bomb will be found somewhere in England!

The abbey was abolished in the reign of Henry VIII and the buildings were ravaged by locals seeking good building materials. But the ruins remain and they, and the battlefield, are in the loving care of English Heritage. No more fighting, no more farming- just tourism and history lessons. It is well worth the train ride to get there and the better part of a day to explore the museum, abbey ruins and battlefield.

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