1066 Countdown: On target for axe display fund

Meme Holloway in her cutting garden SUS-150109-075104001
Meme Holloway in her cutting garden SUS-150109-075104001

In the build- up to the 950th anniversary next year of the Battle of Hastings, join us as we explore the events surrounding the battle. Also read this regular column for other aspects of Battle’s fascinating history. We’ll update you on what was happening 950 years ago in the countdown to the battle, reveal our Secrets from the Archives and explain some curious facts about Battle

What’s new in Battle Museum

We have almost reached the fundraising target for a new case and display for the ‘Battle of Hastings Axe’ which will form a central part of our exhibition next year – thanks to the individuals and organisations who have been so generous. In the meantime, there is still time to see the ‘Women of Battle’ exhibition.

This month in 1065

In September 1065, King of England, Edward “the Confessor” is not well: he is in his 60’s and has been in decline for some time.

Harold Godwineson has just suffered a setback – a hunting lodge he was preparing for a visit by King Edward had been destroyed on 24 August by the Welsh and all the people working on the site were killed (some sources suggest a wider conspiracy without giving details). However, as we now know, there was indeed an anti-Godwineson conspiracy underway but it was not to be directed at Harold – more next month!

William meanwhile was no doubt watching and waiting. There is little doubt by this time that he expected to inherit the Crown of England on Edward’s death but he had also got to know Harold well on the latter’s recent visit to Normandy. Such a clever man as William would realise that Harold may have ideas of his own!

Secrets from the archives

On display in Battle Museum now (next to the Almonry) are the WW1 medals of Tom Vidler and his Prayer Book. He had it in his breast pocket when he was hit there by a piece of burning shrapnel, the book taking the main force. He lived at No 4 on the Abbey Green but sadly died of flu in 1927.

Continuing on the WW1 theme, local author George Kiloh’s book “The Brave Remembered” is on sale in the Museum, price £12.50. It tells the story of the 500 Battle men who served in WW1 against a compelling narrative of the War. If you wish to purchase by post, please email your details to Georgek@lse.ac.uk

Unusual facts about Battle

Did you know that the Almonry was never used as an almonry ie for giving out donations to the poor? The Almoner lived there at one stage but it was mainly a farmhouse, and then until 1974 the private residence of “Meme” Holloway, daughter of a famous jeweller family.

She employed Derek Ellwood as a gardener: in our photo we see him in her “cutting garden” which stretched all the way back where Woodhams Close now is.