If one were to question a handful of well-educated adults regarding a specific date in history without the aid of a smartphone or such (take, for example, the birth year of our very own Queen), it is an almost undoubted truth that the majority will fail to answer correctly, perhaps with the excuse of such information being unnecessary. If the same handful of adults were to be asked about the Battle of Hastings, however, it is an undisputed fact that they will be aware of the date ‘1066’ as well as a few other trivial facts. Why? Because the Battle of Hastings was a pivotal event that completely altered the course of English history.
This notorious battle took place seven miles to the north of Hastings, in the beautiful (though eerily undisturbed) present-day market-town and civil parish in East Sussex, known as Battle accordingly. I was fortunate enough to have visited this momentous erstwhile battleground.
Upon disembarking from the train (after a gruelling two-hour journey, excluding the delays due to major engineering works, it being the Easter holidays) I was met with an air of tranquility, and the rare view of a landscape utterly devoid of modern buildings. From the station car park, the only building in view was Battle Station, which resembles a small church, and is surprisingly hailed for being one of the finest Gothic-style small stations in Britain.
The nucleus of Battle is its renowned Abbey, which William the Conqueror built under the pope’s orders, to serve as a penance for the loss of life during the conflict. Today, a thriving community encompasses the Abbey, living atop the very grounds that witnessed the Normal invasion and downfall of the Saxons.
With good reason, Battle is acclaimed to be one of the ‘Top Ten Hidden Gems of Europe” by Lonely Planet, harbouring not only striking historical significance, but also a vibrant culture stemming from it: the town now comprises award-winning restaurants, artisan shops, local history museums, art galleries, country pubs, picturesque pubs, castles and occasional quirky events.
A day trip in this town is ardently recommended, so as to absorb the delightful attributes on offer.
For more information regarding Battle and how to get there, contact:
Thanks for reading!
© Sadia Ahmed 2015