Monday, 16 August 2010

1066 and all that

As every phule kno, the Battle of Hastings did not occur at Hastings but further up the Roman road at what is now Battle. The photo shows the battlefield from the point of view of the Saxon defensive line. The Normans attacked up the hill behind David Drake, the famous SF&F author.

Dave and I tend to agree that Fuller was quite wrong in that there is no such thing as a decisive battle. But I sometimes wonder whether Hastings might be the exception. The creation of England can be dated to various events: (1) Cerdic the first King of Wessex (app. 520AD), who has a Celtic name, incidentally; Alfred The Great (871 AD, the only English King to bear that title) who united the Anglo-Saxons; or Edward (899AD), who was the first King of England. However, you can make a case for William the Conqueror, who created Anglo-Norman England.

No Hastings, no King William, no Anglo-Normon England. Would Saxon England have achieved what Anglo-Norman England achieved? Who can say?

This picture shows David standing at the monument on the top of the Senlac Ridge where Harold was cut down (or shot by an arrow - take your pick).

Nearbye is a monument to Harold erected by the French (of all people). Harold may be buried at Bosham where he was born. An Anglo-Saxon coffin in the church was discovered in 1954. The incumbent was an elderly man lacking a head, leg, and second lower leg.

Dave and I are in the photo: I'm the short fat one with the short fat hairy legs.


  1. The continuation of a Saxon England would have been interesting as it would preclude all the reasons for war in France over the next four hundred and so years (though no doubt other reasons would have been found).

    Whilst Norman influence is notable in some aspects it is interesting how well the English assimilate invaders (we still speak English not French), though few of us are called Aelfric etc these days...

    BBC is showing an interesting series on the Normans on Wednesdays (catch ups on iPlayer)

  2. Nice pictures. And I like the history lesson with them too. I will have to ask that you not be so hard on my friend John. While shorter than Mr. Drake I don't find him fat. It's hard to argue the hairy leg bit, but I'd call to fact that in this picture it really doesn't come to matter.

  3. Dear Steve, I have been watching the Norman series on Aunty Beeb. It ain't bad.

  4. Dear Geek
    And I intend to keep my trousers on in public. Sighs of relief all round, I imagine.

  5. So the Battle of Hastings should have been the Battle of Battle? Who knew!

  6. Dear Fred
    I think it was a field before William built Battle Abbey.