The site of a crucial ‘rematch’ after the Battle of Hastings has been discovered in a field in Devon, according to a historian.
Nick Arnold believes he has found the site of a second big battle of the Norman Conquest and leading historians have backed his findings.
Not many people know that history’s most famous loser – King Harold – had sons and in 1069 they wanted payback.
According to Mr Arnold, the showdown in a field between Northam and Appledore settled once and for all who would rule England.
“It was the second big battle after Hastings and involved many of the same people,” he said.
“At least 3,000 men were killed.”
Although it was named after Hastings, the site of the 1066 battle was actually fought down the road in Battle.
There were some remarkable differences to the 1066 battle as this time the victor wasn’t William the Conqueror – it was his little-known Breton second cousin, Brian.
And instead of Normans versus English – the 1069 battle was Normans, Bretons and English versus Irish, English, and Danes.
“This was a battle fought by people from several nations,” Mr Arnold said.
“The battle is closely linked with the monarchy.
“The losers were the sons of the defeated King – the victor was related to William the Conqueror.
“Queen Matilda owned the manor and took a close interest in the area.”
For almost one thousand years the site of this epoch-making conflict has been lost but now the site can be revealed between the villages of Appledore and Northam in Devon.
The Horrible Sciences author has been searching for the site of the 1069 battle for five years.
“Harold’s sons were the original teenagers from hell,” he said.
“They led an army from Ireland intent on plunder.
“They landed in Appledore but were defeated in a single day.
“The battle raged until nightfall.
“By combining scientific data on the estuary with accounts of the battle it’s possible to locate the fighting in a small area.”
According to Mr Arnold, the findings are backed up by circumstantial evidence.
“The amazing cast of supporting characters include a treacherous Abbot, a conscience-stricken Queen and a headless saint.
“All the background information points to this location.”
The Devonshire Association have just published Arnold’s research paper and the Battlefield’s Trust is republishing it.
Ten experts, including some of the world’s leading historians of the Norman Conquest, have read the paper.
All of them back Arnold’s conclusions that King Harold’s sons landed at Appledore and the fighting took place between Northam and Appledore.
Residents and politicians have enthusiastically welcomed the discovery and Nick Arnold foresees a tourist bonanza.
“I can see battlefield tourism really taking off and just as Hastings is known as the 1066 country so this corner of Devon could be the ‘1069 country’.”
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