Monthly Archives: May 2013

National broadcaster to investigate Battle of Hastings

I have it on very good authority that a national broadcaster has commissioned a one hour special to investigate the claim that the Battle of Hastings battlefield is in the wrong place. I am also told that it will involve active archaeological investigations of the claimed battlefield. The failure of English Heritage to investigate properly the correct site in Crowhurst has been a major concern to the people who have been involved in the archaeological investigations in the Crowhurst Valley I know that. Since this is the only place where any archaeology relating to the Battle of Hastings can be found we can expect to hear more soon. This is good news for those who have fought so hard to get my claims looked at. A verdict delivered on national television, most probably at peak time on a Sunday evening, will deliver the killer blow to the careers of those who have issues those false press releases stating all my claims have been investigated at the previous public inquiries – roll on the Autumn. Can I hear the ghost of 5,000 Englishmen shouting a “hooray” echoing around the Crowhurst Valley? Some things you cannot stop.

Note: I shall not be providing the name of the production company for obvious reasons as I do not want our political friends interfering in the democratic process for their own ends so please don’t ask just speculate.

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Open letter to County Archaeologist recent developments

Can you confirm whether the report is true Casper that a complete Iron Age cooking pot was found in the staff compound being built at the Wilting Farm site in Crowhurst? I believe you are aware that my 1997 work suggested an Iron Age camp at the top of Wilting Hill. The photographs on my web site were dismissed at the time by the then County Archaeologist, exactly where the compound is being built. A defensive ditch just south of the compound was also dismissed. If correct this find confirms the previously dismissed claim of continuous habitation from the Bronze Age to the Normans on the top of this hill and evidence is now in the archaeological record for those top fields for each of the relevant periods in history including the Norman period pottery found by Wessex.

That compound currently being bulldozed through also cut through the Roman track that led to the earthen jetties down by the edge of the marsh. Were any Roman pottery shards found where that track cut through the compound? I know you have found them on the adjacent top field.

I hear the political wind is changing direction. Are you sure they should continue to build east of the Combe Haven before further investigations take place at the Wilting site? We have now completed the resistivity survey at the Manor House site in Crowhurst, as discussed, and if there is a large building there you will be the first to know. I know your reservations and despite this surely it would be prudent to be very careful on that top field at Wilting when matters are still unresolved and we need to see the survey results first.

You know it takes time to get the evidence that will persuade everyone of such an important issue – this is the nature of history and archaeology. Everything that has been claimed to date will now fall under the microscope because it was claimed that “all my claims were investigated at the public inquiries” by the now defunct power base at County Hall which was headed by Peter Jones is now powerless. You and I know only too well that my claims in the Crowhurst Valley relating to the battlefield for the Battle of Hastings materialised after both the public inquiries took place, so those claims cannot be true and have not been tested. Indeed it is quite clear that these statements have been made in the past to misinform councilors and other politicians who support caution.

We know there is a claimed crossbow (early footbow) in the field where documents say the Battle of Hastings was fought (not the traditional site) and I recently had a verbal confirmation from one of the people at the Wallace Collection (probably the most experienced armor museum in London apart from the Tower) that the image taken at the time suggested it was an early footbow, but they cannot be sure unless it is re-excavated. We also have the claimed helmet rims from the malfosse (a feature missing from the traditional site) and these have not been seen by metalurgists. We have the defensive ditches that Wace identifies next to the plain where Henry of Huntingdon says the Battle started on “level ground” and these have not been excavated and we have agreed to research the manor house site because it is claimed this is the site where the foundations of the original Abbey was built on the battlefield upon the instructions of William the Conqueror. This last matter is now about to be put on the table. Should we really wait for the reformed Time Team or one of the other national shows who are courting me to investigate this Autumn so that everyone can be shamed into admitting their mistakes on public television? That should not be necessary.

I am not going to seek to change your mind but just remind you that this is your patch and people come to give an impartial view. This coming week I am lecturing at the Medieval History Department at Trinity College Dublin and they are the most important medieval dept for history outside of the UK for English History. I am there to get their support for the correct battlefield in Crowhurst. You do not get invited unless the case is solid. You are an archaeologist and my work is as a historian. We may differ on whether what we have already dug up and seen constitutes evidence of a battlefield, but the time for recognising this claim has to be investigated properly is now – before work on the western end of the Link Road completely destroys the integrity of the top field at Wilting. This is because a lot of people who have seen what has been written in the original historical texts believe it is part of the most important national heritage this country has – the site of the Battle of Hastings and the Norman Invasion – one event and one set of documents that all point to the same place called the Crowhurst Valley.

You told me that I had not provided you with the evidence to prove that the field in Crowhurst was the site of the Battle of Hastings or a battlefield and I said I am not an archaeologist. I said to you that you do not have the evidence to dismiss this claim and you cannot dismiss it without examining the elements that I have identified. At present every single element that I have presented to you has stood scrutiny and is supported by all the documents written at the time of the Battle. I have dismissed all of John Grehans contradictory elements and this will shortly be published in the Battlefields Trust magazine and is published on my blog. It is time to recognise that whilst I cannot at this time claim authority for the battlefield, because as I have said this takes time, neither can you claim to have any expert analysis to dismiss it with any authority either. The English Heritage re-assessment of the Battlefield was inherently flawed and being challenged because they did not look at any of the new evidence. The expert views given on television as a response have also been shown to be flawed. Your new political masters need to know this before it is too late. You confirmed that nothing is known about this building in Crowhurst. It should not be there but is.

It is time to remember Richard the Third in the car park I think. Experts are not always right and proper caution by at least looking at what is claimed can sometimes produce the best result for everyone. We could deliver a World Heritage Site which is much needed in the area. Peter Jones could not do that – the evidence we are seeking would and we have a duty to look before the Link Road is finalised.
regards

Nick Austin

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Crowhurst Manor House report

This is a video of the Crowhurst Manor House site where we will shortly be doing a full resistivity survey.

The video can be found at this link http://youtu.be/C6D55o0df58

The manor house may in the course of time be the proof of the battlefield. If we are correct, as the detail in the documents confirm, then William’s camp at Wilting will ultimately be confirmed from the same documents and in particular the Bayeux Tapestry, which can be seen to be recording all the events according to the topography of the valley.

Thank you Phillip for the plane which gives a good perspective of the size of the battlefield plain where we believe the two sides assembled before the battle.

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East Sussex County Council Link Road fiasco

Political observers have failed to see the connection between the Tory loss of East Sussex County Council and the fierce resistance to the Link Road being foisted upon the population at the east end of East Sussex by George Osborne and the now departed head of East Sussex County Council Peter Jones. It certainly has not been missed on my blog or at the annual Jack in the Green Carnival, celebrated yesterday by many tens of thousands, who saw the ten foot tall Hollywood Sign style saying “No Link Road” across the hill opposite.

The Independent on Sunday confirmed what we all knew – that the scheme – the first of 40 is ill-conceived and a heritage disaster waiting to happen.

People think the Link Road must be completed because Peter Jones spent so much money (currently estimated at approaching £20m by some pundits) even before the government granted permission to build. However this is not the case, because the housing developers who are building the properties at the Bexhill end of the Scheme have admitted in their planning applications that the Link Road was not an essential feature. Most of the money spent to date has been at the western end where the old railway line has been lost. It is the third of the route that falls into the proposed route S3A that avoids the Combe Haven environmental disaster, avoids the heritage claims for the Battle of Hastings and in 1997 when the route was discussed at Public Inquiry was the cheapest route.

It seems to me the politicians of East Sussex who now are no longer controlled by the whims of George Osborne or his crony Peter Jones should think this route again. If they adopt route S3A they will save the country money, they will save the environment and save the heritage disaster – that is a win win situation. All it needs is political will and the minds of those who are not puppets of masters who live somewhere else. Isnt that what we have politicians for?

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The People Have Spoken – Stop the Link Road Now

The people of East Sussex gave the politicians of East Sussex a wake up call last week by voting out of power those who had brought in the much opposed Link Road. Putting roads across our open countryside and destroying our national heritage will not go unpunished when it come to the time to vote. This was a crucial local issue that stopped the Tories dead in their tracks. The rhetoric of Peter Jones (who really believed his own press) faded into oblivion as he departed the political circus he had created around himself. Now the people have spoken the Tories are out of control of the Council and the Link Road must be stopped.
The Tory press machine told the people that all my heritage site claims in the Crowhurst and Combe Haven Valley had been investigated at the public inquiries. These were lies and if they were not lies I would have been sued. Those claims must be investigated BEFORE the east end of the Link Road is started that crosses the Combe Haven – a Site of Special Scientific Interest.

It is the duty of the new power in East Sussex to impose that due diligence upon the officers who work for them (not the other way round). Privately funded archaeological investigations continue in the Crowhurst valley and if a heritage and environmental disaster are to be avoided they must allow those investigations to come to conclusion this Autumn, before the site of William the Conquerors camp at Upper Wilting Farm is covered in tarmac.

It is the duty of our newly elected representatives to adopt Route S3A – the cheapest route, the route that avoid the Combe Haven and was discussed at the 1997 Public Inquiry when it should have been adopted. Adopting this route is a win win situation. Those who support the environment win, those we who want a road built win, those who want the national heritage of the site of the Battle of Hastings preserved win, those who want to save money win, its a no brainer – wake up everyone, Peter Jones the architect of this folly has gone, lets bury his road with his ego. Lets do it NOW!!

The evidence we are investigating is here

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Battle Abbey not supported by Saxon Chronicles or William of Malmesbury

Those who support keeping the claim that Battle Abbey was built on the battlefield use this statement as support for their cause as taken from a review of John Grehan’s book at
http://www.historytoday.com/blog/2013/05/battle-hastings-uncomfortable-truth

What of the traditional site? The authors assert that the story of the abbey’s altar being erected on the spot where Harold raised his standard occurs only in the Chronicle of Battle Abbey, written a hundred years after the event. On the basis that the same chronicle contains other known distortions, they then rule its testimony out of court. But the Battle Chronicle is far from being the only source of the altar story. Half a century earlier the Anglo-Norman historian William of Malmesbury said exactly the same thing. Even more compelling is the testimony of the ‘E version’ of the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, recording William the Conqueror’s death in 1087: ‘On the very spot [On ðam ilcan steode] where God granted him the conquest of England he caused a great abbey to be built.’ Thus an English source, demonstrably written before 1100, confirms what is alleged here to have been a Norman conspiracy.

This has been wheeled out on a number of television shows as something that seems to speak the truth of the matter.

The very first thing to understand is that the Chronicle of battle Abbey was not written half a century after William of Malmesbury. William of Malmesbury was written after 1100 and the Chronicle of Battle Abbey was published to the King in 1180ish, but relied upon the source document written in the first 22 folios in the hand of a monk giving a first hand account of the events of the battle – that is the authority upon which the Abbey relied – so academic nonsense talking about William of Malmesbury being 50 years before since it is the source that matters.

Ok so let’s think about what we say happened. We say the Chronicle of Battle Abbey was correct and the Abbey was started in Crowhurst where the foundations can be found and was moved by the French monk six years after they started (and left the foundations there to build the manor house on for the Count of Eu).

Now those who wrote the Anglo Saxon Chronicles also reported that William landed at Hastings (along with William of Malmesbury) and we know this is correct and the statement that he built his abbey on the battlefield was also correct, because the foundations are in the right place. The words which are being relied upon are:

‘On the very spot [On ðam ilcan steode] where God granted him the conquest of England he caused a great abbey to be built.’

These words dont actually say anything that was not known by those who were sold the lie by the monks. The wording is indeed tenuous, because it could be a statement relating to when William made the oath on the so called battlefield, or actually at his camp at the port as recorded by the Chronicle of Battle Abbey alone. Indeed the Chronicle of Battle Abbey is somewhat suspect in this matter – meaning the whole story may well have solely arisen from “tradition” which was correct in that it was a word of mouth statement of fact that William made the oath (but omitting the crucial element that it was then moved). It is ironic that John is accused of the same heinous academic crime of leaving out all sources, yet here the whole story can only stand at Battle Abbey traditional site by leaving out what the Chronicle states as truth.

Eleanor Searle the foremost authority confirmed the lies that arose at the time by the monks, but failed to identify the abbey building where Harold fell statement as a lie, also listed as a tradition, because like all those who have gone before it could not be proven that the abbey was in the wrong place. So she was correct at the time to ignore the issue, now it cannot be ignored.

Identifying the foundations of where the abbey was started in Crowhurst damns the traditional site for ever and those statements made by people who never visited the site, or simply passed on what they had been told by the monks many years, and more than a lifetime later in those days after the events, cannot be a relied upon in any way as an authoritative statement of fact.

William of Malmesbury’s account of the Battle of Hastings is devoid of any substance in regards to the account of the battle and written with nothing to give it authority as a first hand source. It’s content for that reason is assumed to be totally taken from other sources. The fact he repeats what the monks tell him is not surprising. The actual words that he uses are:

“William built another monastery near Hastings, dedicated to St Martin, which was also called Battle, because the principle church stands on the very spot, where, as they report, Harold was found in the thickest of heaps slain”

It is a report from the monks and not an observation from the author. It is time to recognise what is written and realise it is not even a statement of fact, but a third party observation – suggesting that it probably is not correct (otherwise he would not have qualified the statement). This qualification is not present elsewhere in his book the Chronicle of the Kings of England and should not be quoted as confirming that William of Malmesbury says the site at Battle was where Harold fell – he did not – he says others reported that and the others were the monks in the abbey.

The Chronicle of Battle Abbey was presented to the King as the authority of the Abbot and there were no direct lies – tradition was the only lie, because it could not be a tradition at that point in the document. It was a first hand observation of events and the king identified that then, as we should easily understand now.Those who rely upon either William of Malmesbury or the Saxon Chronicles have failed to understand the chronology of the events they seek to rely upon. They are quoting documents that have been edited to support a case which when examined in detail are seen to be lacking. They do not support the traditional site at Battle Abbey. Any serious historian who understands the context of these document and how they came into being should recognise this.

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