£1.5 million to be invested in Battle Abbey

Norman Cavalry scouts at Battle Abbey today after their two day ride from Pevensey Castle ahead of English Heritage's Battle of Hastings re-enactment
Norman Cavalry scouts at Battle Abbey today after their two day ride from Pevensey Castle ahead of English Heritage's Battle of Hastings re-enactment
  • £1.5 million investment programme
  • Gatehouse roof will be open to public
  • New displays at Abbey
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English Heritage has announced plans to spend more than £1 million in enhancing the visitor experience at Battle Abbey and the battlefield.

The money comes as part of a £80 million Government package to enhance the ‘National Heritage Collection’.

A feasibility study comes to a close in April and May and work on an improvement programme could start as early as November.

Neil McCollum, Historic Properties Director for English Heritage in the South East, said: “Next year we will enhance our presentation of the most famous battle fought on English soil, and the abbey and great house that were later built on the site.

“There will be a new exhibition in the Great Gatehouse of the medieval abbey and for the first time visitors will be able to enjoy the magnificent view from the roof, to look over the town of Battle, and gain a better understanding of the landscape on which the battle was fought.”

He added: “This is something we have wanted to do for some time and have been exploring the options in the hope the funding would be secured. We jumped the gun a little bit but it means we are ahead.”

The project, in a way, responds to claims made following a Time Team survey of the site which that King Harold fell where the roundabout now stands at the junction with Lower and Upper Lake on the A2100 in Battle.

Mr McCollum said: “The new displays will chart the Norman Conquest and the battle; the subsequent building of the Abbey and monastic life and its latter role as a private estate and the part it played in the gunpowder industry. It will establish the time-line.

“It will give people a clearer idea of the extent of the battlefield, some of which has now become part of the town.”

Commenting on the plans, he said: “We are looking at using more audio-visual elements, including augmented reality using i-pads to show people what they would have seen if they had been on that spot in the past.”