English Heritage rejects bid to re-assess battlefield

AN AUTHOR who believes the Battle of Hastings was fought in Crowhurst, has failed in his bid to have the site recognised as the official 1066 battlefield.

Nick Austin believes the bloody clash took place in the village, rather than the registered site at Battle.

Mr Austin applied to English Heritage, which is responsible for the battlefield, to examine his evidence, which he believes proves King Harold met his fate in Crowhurst.

But English Heritage has rejected Mr Austin’s bid for a re-assesment of the site.

He has accused the organisation of ‘bottling it’.

Mr Austin said: “Having been told on a number of occasions the Battle of Hastings flawed site at Battle Abbey was to be reviewed, I have now been forwarded the review document which clearly shows they have, in colloquial terms, bottled it and will not review the evidence, or the site claimed in Crowhurst.

“This is despite national television coverage by authorised archaeologists, which showed the nation in no uncertain terms there is no archaeology supporting the battle anywhere within the registered battlefield area.

“I was not consulted by any historians, or archaeologists on any evidence referred to in this document, where I can see some serious flaws in what it is claimed that I claim.

“It makes a nonsense of the listing process. Rest assured this is not the end of the story, as evidence is still being sought in the Crowhurst valley, by people who do care about the nation’s heritage and we are close to a conclusion.”

Dr Joe Flatman, Head of Casework and Programmes for English Heritage said: “We have thoroughly weighed up the evidence presented to us, and have sought expert independent opinion before reaching a decision on this case. We accept that there will be some degree of uncertainty in determining the precise location of the Battle of Hastings because there is no archaeological evidence of the battlefield or of a Norman encampment at Battle Abbey. It is important to note that the Battlefield Register entry does not make such claims.

“However, English Heritage does not consider that the points raised by the applicant provide sufficient grounds to grant the request for re-assessment. We have concluded that English Heritage has applied the correct designation criteria and has adopted a fair and balanced approach to the assessment.

“Having weighed up all the arguments – which included a resistivity survey at Crowhurst Manor that aimed to evaluate the significance of the archaeology there; the identification of Caen stone at Crowhurst which the applicant suggested proved to be good solid evidence of Norman involvement at the site; and the significant archaeological excavations into the proposed route of the Bexhill to Hastings link road which found no evidence associating Upper Wilting with events surrounding the Battle of Hastings – we have concluded that there is currently insufficient evidence to support claims of a Norman encampment and landing site in the Upper Wilting area, or that the Battle of Hastings was fought at Crowhurst.

“We therefore determine that there are insufficient grounds to undertake a full assessment of the site at this time.”