Battle
Battle
One might naturally assume that the Battle of Hastings, that pivotal conflict which changed the course of English History, took place at Hastings. Well, it didn't, it took place at the attractive and entirely aptly named town of Battle.
The site of the battle was on Senlac Hill, and to this day a legend persists that after a heavy rain the hill seeps red from blood deep within the earth (though a more likely explanation for any red colouring is the presence of iron oxide in the soil, but that's not nearly so compelling a story!). When William, Duke of Normandy emerged from the battle victorious, one of his first acts was to found a Benedictine abbey on the site. Battle Abbey was consecrated in 1094, and during the medieval period it was one of the most powerful monastic settlements in the south of England. Within the extensive abbey grounds is a stone said to mark the spot where Harold fell (not from an arrow in his eye, as tradition goes, but that's another story!).

Just outside the abbey gates is the market place, where an old bull ring marks the spot where animals were 'baited' for entertainment in the Middle Ages. A short stroll up Battle High street from the market brings you to the Battle Museum of local History, with displays covering the heritage and social history of the area. The local historical society has also placed plaques on many of the historic buildings in town, making a stroll up the High Street a journey through history.