FOR centuries visitors from all over the world have flocked to Battle to view the site of the bloody clash between the Normans and Saxons in 1066, which changed the course of history.
But an explosive new book claims the historians may have got it wrong.
After years of research, historian Nick Austin claims in his new book, Secrets of the Norman Invasion, the clash never took place in Battle at all – but in nearby Crowhurst.
Mr Austin, who lives in the village, says documents show the Abbey was initially being constructed in Crowhurst, before it was deemed an unsuitable location and moved to its current site.
Mr Austin studied the Doomsday Book, which shows that Crowhurst suffered greater devastation following the Battle of Hastings than Battle itself.
He said: “You have to accept there is no plausible explanation of Battle being considered as a battle site when you look at the Doomsday Book.
“The most devastated manor in Sussex was Crowhurst, then Wilting and Battle is well down the list.”
He added that evidence in the Doomsday Book also rules out Pevensey as the site where the Normans landed.
Mr Austin studied the Bayeux Tapestry as part of his research and says topographical clues hidden in the piece also points towards Crowhurst.
He says the Tapestry, which is said to tell the story of the conflict, also includes an image of an ancient yew tree, which still stands in the village today.
Speaking of his research, Mr Austin said: “It’s almost like a mystery tour you are involved in.
“And you think ‘how can anyone have got this wrong?’
“It’s this issue that we want to believe what we are told.
“It becomes the received wisdom.
“When someone comes along and says it is not right, a good historian will say ‘I have got to look at this’.”
Mr Austin decided to write Secrets of the Norman Invasion because of the threat of the Hastings to Bexhill Link Road, which would cut through Crowhurst.
The 248 page book was released last Friday (Ocotber 14).
• To find out more about Secrets of the Norman Invasion, to purchase the ebook for £2.95, or to purchase a hard copy, visit www.secretsofthenormaninvasion.com