Much to the amusement of my Irish neighbour, the day before my birthday I went to Battle. Yes, it’s an actual place, in East Sussex, quite near Hastings, and the site of the Battle of Hastings and Battle Abbey
In 1070, Pope Alexander II ordered the Normans to do penance for killing so many English people while conquering the country. So William I vowed to build an abbey on the site of the Battle of Hastings. The Benedictine Abbey was begun and the church was finally consecrated in 1094 and called the Church of St Martin of Battle (the Martin in question was also known as the ‘apostle of the Gauls’). It was a pretty significant Abbey in it’s time due to being outside of episcopal jurisdiction (so on a level with Canterbury!). It stopped being an abbey in 1538 with the Dissolution of the Monasteries and eventually fell into ruin.
The site is run by English Heritage nowadays and anyone who been reading this a while will know about my love of old and ruined things and my love of my English Heritage membership. Look I’m middle aged now and it’s in the job description, I’m embracing it! So Ma and I took a day trip during my week off work to look around and be frankly terrified by the stone spiral staircases.
I didn’t bring a proper camera with me but it was very ruined and picturesque, well worth a visit especially if you have small children that are doing 1066 at school. There’s a great and small exhibition about the lead up to the invasion and you can walk around the battlefield.