Traders unite for two days of 1066 anniversary fun

TRADERS in Battle have organised a host of special events to mark the anniversary of the Battle of Hastings next month.

Members of the Battle Chamber of Commerce have put together a programme of events in a bid to encourage trade into the town on October 12 and 13.

Amongst other happenings, ‘William the Conqueror’, played by actor John Kocel, will be at The Lunch Bar in Old Ladies Court to answer questions about 1066 and pose for souvenir photos.

Mrs Burton’s Tea Room and The Bull Inn are going mediaeval and offering special menus for the weekend and the latest new business to the town, Aurelie and Rose jewellers on the Abbey Green, will be offering face painting courtesy of local talent Debbie Bartlett.

Whilst wandering around Battle, visitors are encouraged to enter the Spot the Soldier Competition, with six Budkin knights hidden in shop windows around the town from now until October 14.

Entry forms available from many of the retailers in town.

And on Sunday there will be a different sort of battle played out on the Abbey Green.

Visitors are invited to fight it out in conker matches from 10am until 3pm.

Each match will be played with a Saxon and Norman conker and the tally at the end of play will decide who won the battle in 2013 – and perhaps the Saxons will triumph this time.

A spokesperson for Battle Chamber said: “Battle is a ‘must to visit’ over the weekend of October 12 and 13 with lots of special events throughout the town to celebrate the anniversary of the Battle of Hastings on October 14, one of the most important dates in English history.

“All this against the fantastic backdrop of ‘Prepare for Conquest’ at Battle Abbey with lots of different activities for the whole family.”

Organised by English Heritage, Prepare for Conquest will, for the first time, take families behind the lines into the camp of William, Duke of Normandy as he and his troops prepare to face King Harold.

Over the two days, visitors will experience life in the build up to one of the most defining battles in England’s history.

A new play, ‘We Three Kings’ written exclusively for English Heritage by Simon Kirk and performed by Time Will Tell Theatre, will form the centre-piece of the programme.

There will be a chance to meet the main protagonists and be drawn into their lives, joining in their dilemmas and decisions in a light-hearted dramatisation of the events that lead William to embark on the most dangerous gamble of his life.

The Abbey grounds will be transformed into a tented encampment, visitors will be able to meet the noble war horses and kids can have a go at raising the sail on a Norman Longship and learn how William navigated the channel.

Prepare for Conquest will take place on the Saturday and Sunday, 10am – 4pm.