Went to an interesting talk about the Battle of Hastings given by Kathleen Tyson to celebrate the launch of her new book in St Thomas’s Church at Winchelsea.
“The Carmen and the Conquest: A spirited translation of the earliest account of the Norman Conquest”- by Bishop Guy d’Amiens (Amazon.co.uk http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/1483959546)
The author has written her book by using the first ever high resolution digital photographs of the earliest surviving example of the Carmen in the Royal Belgian Library to produce a clear and authoritative text. The original Latin script is very small and hard to read, so this new digital method has revealed a number of formerly obscure passages. The book gives both the Latin and the English translation for each line (so you can make your own translation, if you do not like the authors)and she has attempted to produce a text that it intelligible to the modern reader and not just to medieval Latin scholars.
Her conclusions are quite amazing and are given in the copious footnotes to each page. In short:
* The author believes that William landed at Winchelsea rather than at Pevensey
* The Normans later captured both Pevensey and Hastings in a raid
* The Normans built their wooden fort on the strand at Winchelsea
* Harold camped at Appledore and then marched along the ridgeway road towards Seddlescombe
* He was intercepted by the Norman Army moving along the ridge from Winchelsea to Icklesham to Seddlescombe, crossing the river Brede here and then marching north.
* The Battle of Hastings therefore too place north east of Battle on the ridges around the Calbec Hill. In this she is following Jim Bradbury’s 2005 account.
* Harold was slain by four knights and his dismembered body was buried on the cliffs above the Norman camp ie at Winchelsea.
* The current Battle Abbey was sited at Battle so that the monks could gain their rightful curtilage as William has sworn to restore a former abbey in the area that had been destroyed by Harold years before. This clash of curtilgae explains the moving of the site.
There have been two other theories about the site of the battlefield recently:
Grehan and Mace who reckoned in 2012 that the battle took place on Calbec Hill
Austin reckons the battle took place at Crowhurst and a Norman landing at Coombe Haven.