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1066 Battle Abbey and Battlefield (East Sussex)

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On 14 October 1066 an army of invading Normans defeated the English at the Battle of Hastings in East Sussex. Now the whole family can discover the exciting story of that fateful day at the very place it happened. Highlights include: A major new exhibition uses film, computer technology and interactive exhibits to bring to life this bloodiest of conflicts. Enjoy the new audio tour of the 100-acre battlefield, stand on the very spot where King Harold was slain and explore the ruins of the atmospheric abbey, built by William the Conquer to commemorate the thousands who died. It is a great day out for the whole family

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      19.10.2009 15:57
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      it was an enjoyable day.

      Today was a beautiful sunny day. I went to visit the town of Battle, which grew up on the site of the Battle of Hastings. From this trip I have gained some idea about a famous battle known as the Battle of Hastings, which took place in 1066 and changed the course of English history.

      Before I reached the battle site I passed by an open market. It was a small market selling flowers, books and other things. I did not walk too far from the market before I arrived at the main gatehouse of Battle Abbey.

      William the Conqueror's victory over Harold Godwinson marked the end of Anglo-Saxon England. The Norman Conquest introduced a new ruling class both in church and state as well as new landowners, laws and architecture.

      Battle Abbey was founded here in 1070 by William the Conqueror to commemorate the Norman victory, and it was also built as an act of penance for the bloodshed of the conquest of England.

      First I went to the visitor centre in which there is an exhibition called '1066: The Battle for England'. It was very informative and interesting. Now I had some idea about the history of England, especially the fascinating world of the Normans and the English on the eve of the battle. I also watched a short film that portrayed the dramatic events of 14 October 1066.

      I tried to pick up a sword and a shield that were on display but I failed because they were so heavy. So you can imagine how difficult the battle was for both sides.

      Then I left the visitor centre and followed the footpath. There were two routes to explore the Battlefield. I took the longer one and walked around the site where the battle took place. Dotted along the walk were information panels. From these I gained a clear picture about what happened here nearly 1000 years ago.

      The English army had an advantage by controlling the top of the hill. The Norman army was in difficulty to attack up a steep slope. However it was the Normans who won the battle. Now without being told you would find the field no different to any other field in England.

      After about one hour I finished the battlefield walk. It was very impressive to stand there and imagine what happened almost 1000 years ago, especially the story about the two leaders in the battle, in particular William the Conqueror. Then I came to the Abbey ruins.

      The Abbey was laid out on a hillside with the church on the ridge. Completed in 1094, it housed up to 140 Benedictine monks. Now most of the ruins on the hillside are what remains of the monks' lavatorium.

      In the 13th century, the Abbey's growing wealth allowed the monks to replace most of the early buildings with those we see today. Many of these, including the church, were demolished after the Dissolution in 1538, when the Abbey became a country estate.

      After years of gentle decline the duke and duchess of Cleveland, who lived here between 1857 and 1901, modernized the house.

      Walking along the path I saw two houses, one was for cheese making and the other one was for cooling food, like our modern-day freezers. I was very keen to look at the original freezer, but like the proverbial curious cat, I was almost killed by the low entrance.

      It was a big area to explore. From the ruins I can imagine the Abbey was in a fantastic shape and got some ideas about the life of Monks, especially the rooms in which they communicated and took rest. I walked down the stairs to these rooms. There were the remains of some colourful paintings.

      Anyway I think the outside views were fantastic. I also stood on a place where people think the English King Harold was killed. The place was also the high altar of the Abbey.

      When I left the ruins I passed through a tree path. It was an ordinary tree path as many places in the UK. However after my visit to the ruins I felt it was mysterious too. It reminded me of a Harry Potter film, so I took a picture there too.

      When I came back to the front gate house I visited the museum inside. The museum displayed the historical change of the Abbey and Monks' lives. It was my first time to see a short film of monks' lives. However after seeing it I still don't understand these people who chose a life as a monk. I sat in front of a window and saw busy traffic outside, I felt the time stand still and I was back to 1000 years ago. I wished I could stay longer there.

      It was an enjoyable day.

      PS. Welcome to visit my blog for more pictures.
      http://blossom-iwanttoseetheworld.blogspot.com

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