THERE will be no Battle of Hastings re-enactment or bonfire celebrations at Battle Abbey in 2013.
English Heritage has confirmed it will not hold any major events on the historic battlefield in the coming year after the extremely wet weather took its toll on the site in 2012.
The annual re-enactment of the Battle of Hastings takes place over two days in October, on the anniversary of the bloody clash.
But last year English Heritage was forced to cancel the second day after the field was left looking like a mud bath.
This had a knock-on effect with the town’s bonfire celebrations forced to relocate from the battlefield at short notice because of the poor state of the field.
Now English Heritage has decided not to hold any major events on the battlefield to allow the grass time to recover.
This year’s re-enactment has been cancelled and will be replaced by a theatrical re-telling of events leading up to the Norman invasion.
However the Battel Bonfire Boyes say the annual bonfire celebrations will still be going ahead at an alternative venue.
A spokesperson for English Heritage said: “This year’s anniversary weekend of the Battle of Hastings on 12 and 13 October will focus on the people, politics and power behind the 1066 story in a theatrical re-telling of the decisions and actions which changed the course of England’s history forever.
“This colourful event – part of a programme of activities being held at the abbey from Easter to November to bring England’s history to life for visitors – replaces the annual re-enactment of the Battle of Hastings in 2013.
“Extreme weather conditions in 2012 took their toll on the historic battlefield which normally hosts this and other large scale events, including the town’s annual bonfire celebrations.
“As a Registered Battlefield under the protection and guardianship of English Heritage, its conservation takes top priority and its management has to be handled in a way which reflects the sensitive nature of the site.
“On expert advice, it has been decided the area needs to be re-seeded and rested to enable it to fully recover and establish a more robust grass surface.
“This action will help us to balance the best management of this iconic battlefield, given the potential impact changes in weather patterns are likely to have, with our underlying wish to continue staging events which so graphically illustrate this key event in our history.
“Although we appreciate that many people will be disappointed, we hope the events we are staging in other parts of the site this year will be enjoyed by thousands of Abbey visitors and that by taking this action now, we will be able to safeguard large scale events in the future – with the aim to reinstate them from 2014.”
The spokesperson confirmed that English Heritage had been in discussions with Keane with a view to hosting a homecoming concert for the Battle boys.
She said there will be no gig in 2013, but English Heritage has not ruled out a concert in future years.
The spokesperson said: “English Heritage met with Keane’s management before Christmas to discuss the feasibility of a concert.
“Unfortunately it has not been possible to accommodate them this year, as the conservation of the Battlefield must be our top priority.
“However, whilst currently there are no plans, we would not rule out the possibility of a concert in future years should circumstances allow.”