The Alderney Tapestry is now on display in Battle Museum of Local History until Saturday 29 October. Embroidered by the islanders of Alderney and visitors including Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall, it depicts a version of the assumed ‘missing panel’ of the Bayeux Tapestry, including William’s coronation as King of England. The Museum is open 10.00-4.30 pm on Monday to Saturday inclusive; admission is free.
Kate Russell, the organiser of the Alderney Tapestry, (shown here with the Tapestry) and Tina Greene of the Battle Community Tapestry spoke to a packed house on Tuesday about the history behind their respective works and the techniques they used to create these modern day works.
The History Society kicks off the new season with a talk on ‘Dickens and the Workhouse’ by Ruth Richardson at 7.30 pm on Thursday 15 September in the Wynne Room, Battle Memorial Hall. All welcome; non-members £4 on the door. If you are interested in joining the Society, you can contact the Membership Secretary by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or come along on the night.
This month in 1066
According to the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, it was on 8 September that Harold Godwineson dismissed his army and the fleet he had assembled since the early summer. He had just reached London from his headquarters on the Isle of Wight when he received the awful news of Harold Hardrada’s invasion; seemingly, this was totally unexpected as all Harold’s preparations of the preceding months had been towards defending the south coast from William. Harold only stayed in London a few days before setting out for Yorkshire, sending out messengers to recall the men only disbanded a few days previously; much of his fleet was intact.
Meanwhile, the Earls of Mercia and Northumberland raised an army and met Harold Hardrada at Fulford, where they were soundly defeated, although both Earls survived. The Norwegians then entered York - it appears that there was relatively friendly collaboration; the Anglo-Danish aristocracy of York seemed ready to accept a new Scandinavian ruler. Harold Hardrada then withdrew to Stamford Bridge in anticipation of a meeting where he would exchange hostages he had taken from York before marching south. Instead, they encountered Harold’s army on 25 September. Accounts of the battle are not consistent but what is clear is that it was a decisive victory for Harold; both Harold Hardrada and Tostig were killed. Harold went from there to York.
As for William, as late as the second week of September, his fleet still remained at Dives in Normandy. It is thought that he eventually set sail about 12 or 13 September and were blown by a west wind to Valery, probably because he had set out in less than favourable conditions.
They were unable to set sail again for about two weeks, probably on 27 September and landed at about 9.00 am on the following morning. While William had no doubt heard about the Norwegian invasion, he cannot have known the result of the battle, so he would not have known initially which Harold he was going to have to fight!