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  1. #1
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    Historians arm for a new Battle of Hastings 1066: Senlac Hill v. Caldbec Hill

    Battle of Hastings? No, the Battle of Caldbec Hill: Real site of 1066 carnage was a mile away, claims historian
    For a millennium, it has stood as a monument to one of the bloodiest struggles in England’s history.

    Hordes of tourists troop to Battle Abbey to stand at the spot where King Harold fell at the Battle of Hastings.

    Now, if the theories of a local historian are to be believed, they may be going to the wrong place.
    ---
    According to Mr John Grehan, the supposed site of the struggle, marked by Battle Abbey, is a mile away from the real scene of combat in 1066.

    Mr Grehan points out that no human remains or artefacts from the conflict have ever been found near Battle Abbey, even though some 10,000 men are believed to have died there.

    His theory is that the real site of the fighting was the steep Caldbec Hill, to the north-west of Hastings – and if he is proved right, history books around the world may have to be rewritten.
    ---
    Witness accounts from 1066 state the battle was fought on steep and unploughed terrain, consistent with Caldbec Hill. Senlac Hill, meanwhile, was cultivated and had gentle slopes.

    In addition, the Normans erected a cairn of stones on the battle site to commemorate their victory, known as a ‘Mount-joie’ in French. The summit of Caldbec Hill is still known as Mountjoy. One English source from the time, John of Worcester, also stated that the battle was fought nine miles from Hastings, the same distance as Caldbec Hill.
    ---
    Much more, plus good pictures, a chart, and a sidebar on the battle at the link above.

    Another take on the matter, from the Telegraph:

    Are bodies of 10,000 lost warriors from Battle of Hastings buried in this field?
    ---
    Mr Grehan, a 61-year-old historian from Shoreham, West Sussex, has made his arguments in a new book about to be published called 'The Battle of Hastings - The Uncomfortable Truth'.

    He said: "I assumed everything was known about the Battle of Hastings but I found that almost nothing is known by way of fact.

    "The evidence pointing towards Caldbec Hill as the scene of the battle is, at present, circumstantial, but it is still more than exists for the current Battle Abbey site.

    "Excavations have been carried out at Battle Abbey and remnants pre-dating the battle were found but nothing relating to the conquest.

    "The Battle of Lewis took place 200 years later 20 miles down the road and they dig up bodies by the cart load there.

    "Some 10,000 men died at the Battle of Hastings; there has to be a mass grave somewhere.

    "You would have also expected to find considerable pieces of battle material like shields, helmets, swords, axes, bits of armour."
    ---
    Much more at the link.

  2. #2
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    "History books around the world"?

    Somebody is exaggerating the importance the world attaches to which hill in the vicinity of Hastings provided the battleground.

    It's simple: King Harold was killed; his name forms an alliteration with Hastings. Mystery solved.

  3. #3
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    Oh Nova - DM likes its little folksy touches, lol. The sun used never to set on that Empire, and many like to think that's still the case.

    Also, it's a big deal to pretentious prattlers like me, who - since the family name is in fact recorded in Domesday - like to say, "Yes, yes. My people - there when the Conquerer arrived."

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by wfgodot View Post
    Oh Nova - DM likes its little folksy touches, lol. The sun used never to set on that Empire, and many like to think that's still the case.

    Also, it's a big deal to pretentious prattlers like me, who - since the family name is in fact recorded in Domesday - like to say, "Yes, yes. My people - there when the Conquerer arrived."
    Mine, too. Probably on both sides. No doubt they gave up swindling widows and orphans for the day out of concern for the nation!

    I'm sorry if I seemed to be disrespecting one your links; I enjoy them very much.

    I was just amused at the notion that publishers everywhere would be rushing to print corrections because the battle was held NINE miles from Hastings rather then EIGHT!

    The historian's argument that Harold would have chosen the high ground closest to his remaining troops certainly makes sense to me.

  5. #5
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    As I recall, William got lucky on a couple of things: first, managing to cross the Channel with a large army. First time they'd tried, the winds pushed them back to shore and they had to land again. Perfect the next time, though. Also, Harold's forces had just fought two major battles and destroyed the Norwegian Viking army in the process, then hastily had to march a couple hundred miles or so to meet William's men.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by wfgodot View Post
    As I recall, William got lucky on a couple of things: first, managing to cross the Channel with a large army. First time they'd tried, the winds pushed them back to shore and they had to land again. Perfect the next time, though. Also, Harold's forces had just fought two major battles and destroyed the Norwegian Viking army in the process, then hastily had to march a couple hundred miles or so to meet William's men.
    Wasn't Harold also killed by a freak, battle injury: an arrow through the slit of his helmet? (Per Wiki, that's a legend which can't be verified.)

    Per the same source, the Normans waited all summer, partially due to weather and the strength of the English fleet, and partially because the delay caused the English fleet to exhaust its supplies and disband.

  7. #7
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    According to the Bayeux Tapestry, at least, Harold was killed by an arrow through the eye. But I can't remember if he was wearing his headgear at the time. Probably, one would think.

    Yes, here it is: http://www.history.org.uk/resources/resource_2530.html



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