Thursday, October 18, 2012

Battle of Hastings Reenactment - October 13, 2012

Well last week, October 13th, I decided to take a trip to Battle, to see where the Battle of Hastings was fought...that's right, it was fought at Battle, not at Hastings which is another 10min train ride from Battle.  when I bought my train ticket and entry ticket to the site, I didn't realize that it was the weekend of the reenactment!  Needless  to say, I was pretty stoked about this!

It was a pretty nice 1.5 hour train ride over, no changes or anything which is always nice.  I got there too early, because when I travel by myself I tend to look at things pretty quickly, even though I might go back and look again later on, which  I did here.  I got in around 11 and walked up from the station to the entry- not far, about a 15-20min walk.  It had rained when the train pulled into the station, which was annoying, but by the time I walked it was blue skies...but not for long.

So I got in, after buying my English heritage pass...which I'm pretty excited about using!  So I went in, and you're immediately by the gatehouse museum, which has some pretty steep windy steps (Mom you would have hated them and stood outside) .  There's also a school (Private property so you don't go wandering around), but still pretty cool it's a pretty old building, and how cool would that be as a kid to go to school on a battlefield!?

The Gatehouse Museum was interesting, if a little bare- just basically the inside of the building plus some old stones from earlier foundations, etc...  Still pretty cool, and a lot of little nooks and crannies to stick your head into and look around, and the room where the garderobe would have been (That's the toilet)...a nice hole in a stone wall.

After that I wandered around, following the trail to where the battle actually took place (although you couldn't go that far when I visited because of all the re-enactors, vendors, tents, etc...)  It was still a really nice day, a little chilly and windy...but it's England, you expect it.  I walked over to the ruins of the abbey, which was basically an old, empty stone building, but still pretty cool since it's almost 1000 years old!

That was basically all there was to do there- wander around looking at the battlefield, and ruins- and the spot where King Harold was killed during the battle is marked, which is also pretty cool!

The reenactment started, and so did the rain- off and on.  The reenactment began slow, the Anglo-Saxons came out and waited, then King Harold came out.  Then we waited and the Normans began to appear from the trees, and then the Norman knights came out (Everyone else was on foot), and then William, Duke of Normandy came riding out!  There was also a running commentary going on during all of this to let everyone know what exactly was happening. It was pretty much a general reenactment, they ran up, fought, ran back, fought, etc... and I left about half way through because there were some big black clouds coming our way, and I wanted to beat the crowd to the very small railway station.

The exterior of the Abbey
Overall it was a pretty fun day!  I highly recommend visiting Battle if you have the chance!
The stairs going down in the gatehouse museum

The exterior of the abbey
Where King Harold was killed
The crypt

This is what I stood for the reenactment
The Anglo Saxons are the ones closest to all the people

The ones in the distance are the Normans

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The gatehouse

The battlefield

The inside of the Abbey

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