Harold lay else­where

Country Life Every Week - - Town & Country -

he memo­rial stone mark­ing the spot where King harold was slain at the Bat­tle of hast­ings has been moved. It’s part of a £1.8 mil­lion re­vamp of Bat­tle abbey by english her­itage ahead of the 950th an­niver­sary of the bat­tle that changed the face of me­dieval eng­land. after wil­liam the Con­queror’s vic­tory on sen­lac hill in oc­to­ber 1066, he founded the abbey as atone­ment for the blood­let­ting. The high al­tar, of which noth­ing re­mains above ground, was sit­u­ated where harold fell. how­ever, new re­search places the al­tar nearly 20ft to the east and the memo­rial has been moved ac­cord­ingly. There is an ex­hi­bi­tion about the bat­tle and the pub­lic has ac­cess to two pre­vi­ously unseen ar­eas of the abbey. They can climb 66 steps to the top of the re­mark­ably pre­served 14th-cen­tury Great Gate­house for a sweep­ing view of the wealden land­scape and they may find it in­con­ceiv­able that this tran­quil view once saw such car­nage that the hills were said to seep with blood after heavy rain. The abbey be­came one of the rich­est re­li­gious foun­da­tions of the time and visi­tors can pass through an im­mense door­way into the monks’ huge dor­mi­tory (www.english-her­itage.org.uk/ bat­tleabbey). Jack Watkins

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