What’s new in Battle Museum of Local History and the History Society?

Robert Emeleus, Chairman of the Museum, giving a speech at the reception celebrating the 60th birthday of the Museum - picture by Peter Greene. SUS-160606-131150001
Robert Emeleus, Chairman of the Museum, giving a speech at the reception celebrating the 60th birthday of the Museum - picture by Peter Greene. SUS-160606-131150001

The next History Society talk is on ‘William Rufus, King John & Henry III and Battle Abbey’ by John Gillingham and David Carpenter at 7.30 pm on Thursday 16 June in the Main Hall, Battle Memorial Hall. All welcome; non-members £4 on the door.

New at the Museum: local artist Chris O’Brien has painted a new map of Battle High Street to commemorate the 950th anniversary of the Battle of Hastings. Signed prints are available at the Museum for £3.95

Dr Keith Foord is delivering a talk on ‘1066: Origins, Events and Aftermath’ at 3.00 pm on Wednesday 29 June in the Almonry Meeting Room. Admission is £4 on the door. The lecture will be followed by a guided tour of the Museum.

The Museum also celebrated its 60th anniversary on 18 May – it was 60 years ago that the Museum opened in its first permanent home. Museum supporters gathered to celebrate the occasion and to see the new exhibition. If you have not yet seen 1066@battlemuseum, why not come along? Admission is free; opening hours are 10-4.30 pm Monday-Saturday inclusive.

And don’t forget to add a stitch to the Battle Community Tapestry! Tina Greene will be in the Almonry on Thursdays and alternate Saturdays – just come along to one of the sessions. No experience necessary – but experienced embroiderers welcome of course!

This month in 1066

By the middle of June, the Normans were almost at a point where they could invade. The ships – bought, borrowed and built – were being assembled at Dives-sur-Mer: they were a real mixture of warships, cargo vessels, smaller boats and skiffs to allow for the transport of men, horses and supplies. Estimates of numbers range from 3,000 to around 700 – the lower figure is much more likely and corresponds closely to figures in the Ship List, a record of the ships provided by the magnates for William.

Spiritual preparations were also underway. On 18 June 1066, William and Matilda attended the dedication of the Abbey of Holy Trinity in Caen – it cannot have been completed (it was only begun about 7 years earlier) but events had prompted an early ceremony. The dedication provided an opportunity for them to give a public demonstration of their piety and seek divine approval for the invasion of England: as well as grants of land and rights to the new Abbey, they also handed over one of their daughters to be a nun. At the same time, there are records of other magnates across Normandy making gifts to religious houses in anticipation of the forthcoming action. As for Tostig, it is uncertain what he was doing. At some point, he formed an alliance with Harold Hardrada: he is almost certain to have met up with him in person in Norway, as this meeting forms a key part of the story in the Norse Sagas. There are however conflicting views of when the meeting took place. It could have been earlier in the year, before Tostig’s raids against his brother in May 1066; alternatively, it could have taken place around June/July but if it did, he was back in Scotland by late summer.