Reliving the 1066 conquest at Battle Abbey

Thousands of visitors swarmed through the arches of Battle Abbey last weekend to enjoy the Battle of Hastings re-enactment and see history repeat itself as the Saxons and Normans fought for the English throne.

The celebrations, English Heritage’s biggest showpiece of the year, were made even more special as the second day of the event fell on October 14, the 952nd anniversary of what was arguably the single most important battle in English history.

The re-enactment of the Battle of Hastings took place during the afternoon of Saturday and Sunday October 13 and 14. More than 600 soldiers re-enacted the 1066 conquest, bringing to life the atmosphere and tension as King Harold and his Saxon army took on Duke William and his Norman soldiers in a fight for the English throne.

Visitors had the opportunity to set foot in the Norman and Saxon encampments to learn about life in an 11th century army and experience the sights, sounds and smells of the battlefield.

A range of displays took place throughout the event, from medieval music to falconry with majestic birds of prey and demonstrations of awe-inspiring cavalier horsemanship. Families practised their skills with a bow and arrow in the have-a-go archery sessions and young visitors became warriors themselves in the Children’s Battle of Hastings.

Diana Evans, Events Manager English Heritage, said: “We were very lucky that the weather stayed dry for us and our visitors were treated to some spectacular displays. Birds of prey swept over head during the falconry demonstrations. People got to see the might of horses in combat during the Warriors of 1066 show and re-enactors clash during the Battle of Hastings itself.

“Elsewhere families got to try their hand at archery, enjoy medieval music and children put their combat skills to the test in the Children’s Battle of Hastings. It’s a great day out for the whole family, with plenty of things to see and do to keep the whole family entertained.

“It was a wonderful weekend and we look forward to doing it again next year!”

www.english-heritage.org.uk/battleabbey