Battle Abbey found in Crowhurst

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The foundations of the original Battle Abbey are under a family home in Crowhurst according to historian and campaigner Nick Austin.

He believes walls a metre thick are inside the mound in front of Court Lodge, previously the Manor House and next to the church.

This backs up Nick’s claim the original abbey was built there but then moved by monks who came over from France and felt Crowhurst was “not suitable for such a fine building”.

He has been researching the site of the Battle of Hastings for more than 20 years and says he will never give up his fight to be heard or for the history books to be re-written.

Nick has found encouragement from speaking with Philippa Langley, whose dedicated work led to the discovery of Richard 3’s burial in a pub car park in Leicester.

“She said she had a great deal of frustration in her research because experts consistenly refused to accept the story she was telling them. So she funded research herself, and it cost a lot, but it was the only way forward. This struck a chord with me because I have been doing roughly the same thing for 25 years, and no-one has been listening.”

As a result Nick joined forces with Michael Bernard of BLINKRR and they managed to raise funds for key research - a resistivity survey on the Manor House site.

“And what that would tell us was absolutely crucial in confirming the site of the Battle of Hastings. It could prove whether the building existed in a mound that was there. I discovered that in the Chronicle of Battle Abbey. It tells us, what historians tend to leave out, that monks came from France and moved it six years later to where it is today. The monks moved it to where it is today because it was not a good place.”

“I strongly suspect that the experts do not want to look because almost all of them have written books about the Battle Of Hastings so they have a personal interest.”

Nick and his group now had finanical backing thanks to donations from some 150 local residents and friends and the geophysical resistivity survey was carried out by Archeaology South East survey in May.

“What we found was the site which is over an acre in size is covered in building rubble where there are walls present over a metre thick and the whole site covered in earth and a newer building built on top of that. The building is in an east/west orientation and has all the hallmarks of the foundation of the orginal Battle Abbey before it was moved.

“This evidence has been sent to English Heritage and it is absolutely essential that the road building stops now because there is documentary evidence that shows this is the site of the Battle of Hastings - the abbey foundations prove it.

“People will say - the road is a mile away. But, in history, battles are defined by a place where two opposing enemies camp, and documents prove there was an enormous camp on Wilting, even if archeologists cannot find a Norman helmet. History is proven by documents at this period in time so it is important.”

It’s been a long fight already for Nick to get his views heard but he says it’s one he will never concede. “There is no point giving up. The evidence is there. We are going to win.”

He added: “The Time Team has been filming here - there is no way this is going away. You can’t change history, it is written in the soil and in the ground. You might not want to admit the Battle of Hastings was in the wrong place, but you have to. People have been looking away for too long, and that has resulted in having to fight a rearguard battle against evidence continually coming out of the ground. But there will come a point when people realise those who spending money on the road have wasted all of it. Tony Robinson said to me - Nick, this is going to cost an awful lot of money isn’t it? And my answer was that sometimes politicians make big mistakes and we pay for that. Politicians should never interfere with history.”