1066 and All that

Discussion in 'Military History and Militaria' started by jonwilly, Mar 24, 2010.

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  1. Gents I have done a search and there are several comments involving 1066 The Invasion by Duke William but I did not find an indepth discussion.
    A few months a go one member mentioned a 'New Web Site' that raised doubts on the the Accepted history that I had grown up with.
    I would like to hear the views of members wiser then I on just what happened and where it happened.
    Below are first and second Two websites of the conventional view and third is the New Idea on what actually happened.
    Both agree on the final outcome but someone has got it drastically wrong.



    http://www.secretsofthenormaninvasion.com/ New view.

    Personally either the third is just made up myth or History as we know had it wrong.
    Please read some of the New Idea before commenting.
  2. It would not be the first battle field marked in the Wrong place, The Custom of building Churches on Battlefields has always been taken as gospel, but it seems that on a number of sites the builders did not build on the actual battlefield site, but on the nearest location that would enhance the appearence of their newly built church, in some cases miles away,
  3. It's not just the site of Battle Abbey.
    I feel that the new interpretation is right.
    His comments on the 'Rates' is most interesting.
    Pillage would have been part of an invading army of the day, hence the new Rate set in the Doomsday Book is much lower at the suggested point of landing then at the previously know pre Norman assessment.
    The comment that Battle started mid morning, (09.00) is impossible if William marched to the site of Battle Abbey after breakfast and of course the widely accepted 'Both sides camped the night before in sight of the other'.
    So much Seems Correct to me but I would hope to get a more knowledgeable opinion.
  4. One of the great things about early medieval history is that the paucity of sources means that there is room for a lively debate about some things. New interpretations are not, however, necessarily better interpretations.

    I'm dubious about the information on the impact of the invasion on the valuation of manors in the Pevensey / Hastings areas. We don't have a comparison pre 1066 / post Domesday Book for other parts of Sussex, or the rest of England. This matters hugely because the economic and social consequences of the Norman conquest were huge- only 5% of land was still in English hands by 1086. That gives you some idea of the scale of expropriation, and economic upheaval in the 20 years between the Conquest and the Domesday Book's completion. Any analysis that rests solely on Domesday, and focusses on just two areas is not compelling.

    Second, his argument against Battle Abbey being on the site of Senlac Hill is, from a documentary perspective, specious. He argues that the Battle Abbey Chronicle, produced in the 1180s was a retrospective justification of the Abbey's site as the true location of the battle. His argument that the Chronicle is a work of deceit ignores the reality that work on the Abbey began in the reign of William the Conqueror, and that he himself chose the site. The Abbey was completed in 1094.

    The Conqueror was not a man to mess about. He was also conscious that his invasion had Papal backing from Alexander II, and that his was essentially a Holy mission. Piety was an important element of early medieval life. Why, then, would he have sanctioned the building of an abbey intended to give thanks for his divinely sponsored-victory in the wrong place? At the very least, it makes it impossible to argue that the monks were indulging in some creative history a century after the event.

    All interesting stuff, and anything involving Anglo-Saxon history is good.
  5. But, monks, the Cistercians, in particular, had a bad habit of bigging up the locations of there churches, At Tintern there were all sorts of storys about it being the site of a battle against , the Romans,the Saxons,the Vikings,ect but the place was not founded unti 1131 so all these storys are crap,probably used to impress the illiterate poor pilgrims to give the thieving churches more cash
  6. Tropper,

    Yes, in some instances monks did 'big up' the location of their churches, usually in order to justify some sort of privilege that they felt entitled to.

    Tintern Abbey is in a different position to Battle. It was founded as a Cistercian monastery, 80 years later than Battle, by a baron (Walter de Clare), in the Welsh Marches.

    Battle Abbey was founded by William I, King of England, to give thanks for his victory over Harold. As such it was in a different position to Tintern, and it's monks were already in a privileged position with royal patronage.

    Your generalisation is probably unjustified in this case. I don't need to prove that the monks of Battle Abbey weren't lying. The revisionists need to show that they were, and in so doing show that William the Conqueror was party to a decision which meant that he deliberately chose to place the Abbey on a different site to that of the battle.
  7. Bit 'Off topic' but as someone who lives within spitting distance of Bosworth Field it's a bit of a shock after building the Battlefield Centre and a memorial at the spot Richard met his death; to be recently told it was quite a distance away!
    But, as I try to point out to people these battles didn't take place on a bit of area like a football pitch! :?
  8. I'd heard about this, how far out were they?

    Battlefield memorials aren't necessarily much help as at Naseby the plinth says 'NEAR' here Oliver Cromwell led the charge....
  9. I would question whether William believed that he was on an essentially Holy mission. While I agree that piety was important in medieval life, and important for him to demonstrate overt piety and give thanks for his victory, I doubt his personal depth of piety. He was a very ruthless man, albeit in a ruthless age and he was brought up in a hard school.
    But I suggest that what he was doing with the papal blessing was to dress up a shaky claim to the crown of England with a backing that if he won would give him firm grounds for his kingship which was in fact what happened. Also papal backing allowed him to persuade more vassels to line up with him, which initially they were reluctant to do and he needed some very hard negotiating and 'persuading' to achieve the size of army that he needed. It also allowed him to easier attract mercenaries to his cause to agin fill out the numbers, as this was undoubtedly a huge venture.
    Howarth in his book suggests that it undermined Harold's morale so he didn't shine as a general, unlike his usual self, and why he took both his brothers into battle instead of leaving one behind just in case. Don't know if I agree with that but it is an interesting point of view. Very readable book.

    More realistic politics rather than piety.

    As to placing the abbey, I think that he was fairly straightforward and would have the building where he won, allowing for architectural considerations, and it probably is on the real site.
  10. Another problem in Wales is that the English re wrote history, there are only 2 battle fields on the OS maps in the whole of South Wales, Fishguard and St Fagans,in an area that was fought over for the best part of 400 years, in greater Cardiff alone there are the remains of at least 10 castles,or fortified dwellings, and the last battle was in 1642 with Carne rebellion
  11. I don't think that OGS Crawford and his predecessors and successors at the OS would be pleased to hear you accusing them of helping to rewrite history. Welsh battlefields are certainly shown on the old six-inch maps. Maes Garmon (to pick a random example) is marked on the 1st ed with the following text:

    "Site of Battle
    Victoria Alleluitatica
    Fought between the Britons
    and the Picts and Saxons

    Hardly whitewashed from history but probably too much to fit on an already cluttered Landranger or Explorer sheet. That's why only the big battles like Hastings or Towton are shown. I don't have access here but smaller ones (derived from the historic OS maps) might be marked on the 1:10000 series.

    If you're really keen on battlefields, why not use this useful National resource
  12. Chimpchoker, re Battle Field Bosworth...............
    about three miles from Ambion Hill where Centre is.
  13. Interesting - though so far 1066 thread has been mainly about the battle between William and Harold.

    I will out myself as having an interest in 1066. I am an officer of The Battlefields Trust and have been a regional organiser for the Trust since 2001. We carried out the work at Bosworth. Glen Foard is our Chief Archaeologist. Another of our Trustees, Matthew Bennett, provided input to the new Visitor Centre at battle Abbey. http://www.battlefieldstrust.com/

    We have a growing national network of branches with an interest in their local battlefields. We have partners among existing battlefield societies, such as Tewksbury. We can bring professional archaeological and historical expertise to evaluate interpretations and evidence offered by amateurs.

    There are over 450 battles skirmishes and seiges in Englald alone. For many of these the historical interpretation is either based on scanty evidence or has been challenged. The Bosworth project examined four possible sites - and found the battle on a fifth!

    There are similar misgivings about Barnet. (I am leading a walk around Barnet on Sunday 11 April 2010 with the aim of raising awareness and starting to raise funds for a preliminary archaeological survey of where we think the battlefield might be.)

    The fascinating thing about history is that it isn't "fact". There is evidence and interpretation - and the interpretation can chance new evidence emerges. of course if we destroy the evidence then we lose the ability to find out anything more - which is why we are opposed to treasure hunting and development which threatens to destroy evidence.

    Techniques of Battlefield Archeology have advanced dramatically in the last few years. A decade ago it was novel to find a C19th battlefield through bullets and cartridges. Now we can confidently find the evidence of C17th century battles and skirmishes, with far fewer firearms and Bosworth has enabled us to find a C15th one! Artillery round shot identified the location, but in the area the team found fragments of a high quality sword and silver favours including the silver boar dropped by one of Richard's retinue. Maybe archaeologists will have the techniques to find objects that would link a site definitively to a 1066 battle.

    The big case for the existing interpretation is the location of Battle Abbey. The story goes like this. Battle Abbey is sited on senlac hill, which has been landscaped to accommodate a huge building. People who know about Abbeys tell me that its a wretchedly akward place. You wouldn't chose to build one there, unless someone told you to for some specific reasons - such as the story that William commissioned it as a penance with the altar where Harold fell. Until the reformation it was common practice to build a chantry for the dead of battles. They served the same purpose as the memorials and war cemeteries of more modern times. The location matters in modern times and it mattered to our medieval ancestors. The Thiepval memorial on the Somme, Tyne Cot at Ypres and the US Cemetery at Colville are where they are because these were important battlefields.

    The Church on the battlefield of Shrewsbury is one chantry. We knew that Dadlington church was the chantry for Bosworth, because its in the parish records. This fits the new interpretation of Bosworth, because the Yorkists' rout, where a disproportionate number of casualties would occur is in Dadlington.

    The evidence put forward for an alternative site for the Battle at battle needs to be professionally evaluated. The starting point ought to be the relevant County Archeaologist. I don't think amateur archaeologists should carry out digs just for fun. It makes as much sense as an amateur detective having a go at DIY forensics were they to find a body in the street. Its not difficult to get the professionals involved. We are there to help to put the two together in ways that make the most from the time, enthusiasm and inspiration of the amateur with the best current practice.

    If you find this interesting - jon the Battlefields Trust. Adopt your own battlefield...
  14. Any help?

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