A bone of contention?

IN the mid-1960s, my brother had taken his new car out for a spin and stopped at The Chequers Inn on the A2100, Battle.

This is adjacent the roundabout that using LiDAR was suggested as the most likely battlesite by the Time Team.

He heard a banging from the cellar and, being an architect and curious, spoke to builders who were digging down under the cellar floor in order to clear a blocked drain and rebuild a collapsed manhole.

They had been delayed as they had recently discovered bones which the Coroner’s Office determined were horse bones.

We do not know the number found. The approximate depth will have been four metres below ground level. The inn goes back to the 16th Century and may have slaughtered animals for the kitchens, of course.

Yet if the new ‘adjusted’ or rather extended site for the battle is correct then the bones may be contemporary with that conflict.

If further bones could be excavated, perhaps close to the cellar in the pub gardens, these would be available for modern carbon-dating.

Admittedly, all of this is anecdotal without documentary proof of the 1960s incident, but I have no axe (battle or otherwise) to grind and merely offer this information for what it is worth.

I have contacted the coroners and they do not keep records that far back and certainly not for horse bones. I suspect the same will apply to building control.

The police have no records that far back. I can find no-one from that period via The Chequers Inn.

So, here is where your readers come in: are there any older people - ex-builders, ex-owners or staff, retired policemen, ex-museum staff, retired coroners’ personnel - who remember this incident at The Chequers Inn?

Of course, if evidence of massed bones of the right period were found at the ‘roundabout’ site then this does not affect the attribution of the official battle site as it is adjacent. One can speculate that perhaps the Normans turned the English staggered left wing that was protecting the London Road and rolled it up which would accord with where Harold was eventually struck down.

Barry M Carrick-White

Via email