The Battle of Hastings and a Medieval Sunday lunch!
“Cry havoc and let slip the dogs of War!” or maybe ” Your mother was a hamster and your father smells of elderberries!” Quotes from Shakespeare and Monty Python.
Two thoughts that entered my mind as my time machine touched down in Battle near Hastings circa 14th October 1066 in a muddy field at the back of Battle Abbey.
As the mists of time cleared there was the thunder of hoofs and the clash of steel as armoured knights battled it out across the hillsides of East Sussex England.
Oy! dont throw that spear at me! oh watch where you fire those arrows!!!!! ouch!
Actually it was a rather excellent day trip to the ancient Battle field of Hastings on Sunday the 11th of October where celebrations were underway for the actual nation changing battle all those years ago.
In the rear area of the Abbey built just after the battle circa 1079 (as a sorry for killing so many of the locals gesture by William the Conqueror) a reenactment society had created a medieval village for the yearly event run by English Heritage.
It was a feast for the eyes for anyone with the slightest interest in things medieval a the event filled the air with smells of cooking meat on wood fires and the sight of leather workers and Artisans at work.
There were metal workers and woodworkers offering their wears along with trinkets and other gifts to take home and celebrate ones ancient ancestry and kids battled it out locked into their imaginary world slaying dragons in the abbey ruins.
Medieval musicians and Bards told tales of deeds long past among the cloisters and young warriors were showing off demonstrating how to duck oncoming arrows!!!!
wandering the area I took along with me a Nikon D200 equipped with a Nikon 70-200mm f2.8 and a Nikkor 24mm f2.8 traveling very light.
It was a great way of meeting the locals as they would have been in times past!!
The battle of Hastings proved to be the major nation changing event of the British Isles in Medieval times. It was fought between Harold Godwinson and the leader of the Norman Army William the Conqueror at this location on Senlac hill in Battle.
The Norman Army consisted of approx 9000 men that was a full modern army at the time involving Infantry, cavalry,Archers and crossbowmen against the English army that consisted of mostly 7500 Infantry soldiers.
After holding steady with an impenetrable shield wall the English fell for the run Away! run away! tactic that resulted in English troops breaking their defence and pursuing the Normans only to be surrounded and cut down by Norman Knights.
King Harold was killed believed shot through the eye (wounded and fell near the church altars position apparently) with and arrow and as they say history was written by the winners,the Normans took control and the Saxons got used to French food and going on strike!
The Battle is portrayed in all its gory detail by the Bayeux Tapestry.
After all this gnashing of teeth , twooing and frowing and clashing of steel we were in much need of a good sunday lunch and I cannot recommend enough the Bull Inn in Battle high Street where we were served a medieval size sunday lunch with lashings of excellent gravy.The yorkshire pudding is the largest I have ever seen in my life,a serving fit for the likes of Desperate Dan or even Henry VIII.
So enguarde! Enjoy.
Pictures copyright:Kerry Davies.
Due to the exceptional demand for this post and request for more images from the event please enjoy viewing these extra pictures.