Monthly Archives: August 2013

Caen stone identified at Crowhurst Manor confirms Norman construction on site of abbey foundations

The stone for the building at the manor house site in Crowhurst has been identified by the author Alan Gillet in his 1989 book Battle and Robertsbridge Old Photos.

A copy of the reference relevant page was kindly sent to me by Cordelia Silver. Cordelia says “Caen stone is a limestone, harder than our local sandstone, yet carveable. Battle Abbey has some Caen stone in the building, but according to British History on-line, most of the stone was quarried locally.”

Alan Gillet book Battle and Robertsbridge Old Photos

The significance is that Caen stone was usually used in great buildings built by the Normans, usually upon the instructions of the King, at the time of the Conquest. The primary use was Canterbury Cathedral, Norwich Cathedral and the Tower of London and a relatively small amount at Battle Abbey. The confirmation of Caen stone on this site in Crowhurst is good solid evidence of Norman involvement in the construction.

I am in the process of getting confirmation from a stonemason source and am waiting to hear from Canterbury Cathedral where they have a team working on Caen Stone. Hopefully they will be able to assist. Clearly this reference is not to what is below ground and relates to those stones that were probably robbed out at the time of the building of the current ruin (estimated to be 1220AD).

I am sending this evidence to English Heritage who must take this into account when they review the battlefield application. The presence of Caen stone indicates Norman construction or re-use of Norman stonework re-used in the Manor House construction and would confirm why the Norman arches are present in the wall previously misidentified as 13th century by W.S.Walford in 1884 and appears to confirm Norman construction, as only the Normans had access to this building material in this early period of History. It is possibly significant that the other site in the area which has Norman Caen stone elements is the Church in the Wood Hollington – the nearest church to the Manor House and Wilting Manor where the Normans landed.

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You and Yours Radio Four

I am afraid the You and Yours programme due to go out this morning has been put back a week due to me being ill in bed with a fever and going through a big sweat.

It has been rescheduled for next Friday 23rd August before Bank Holiday weekend.

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Crowhurst Manor Geophysics published

Crowhurst Manor Geophysics

The geophysics for the Crowhurst Manor site report by Archaeology South-East is published here. Please note the conservative nature of this document prepared for English Heritage. Having been involved in a number of different resistivity surveys over the last 26 years it confirms the presence of the foundations (as a minimum element) but also probably some substantial footings (due to the depth of the mound and the limited depth of the recording equipment). The high resistivity peaks appear to confirm a building in an east/west and north/south orientation where we know buttresses are present from the previous survey work done on the site, with walls and robbed out areas at least a meter thick. The real surprise is the lack of any low resistivity areas normally associated with ditches and the extent of the site covering an acre and certainly as big as the original Battle Abbey, all completely hidden from view.

The significance of this survey, for those unfamiliar with the background to this story, is there is written evidence in a Chronicle written at the time of the Invasion by the monks at Battle Abbey (the first 22 folios of the Chronicle of Battle Abbey published around 1180), that confirms the abbey that William ordered to be built on the site of the battlefield, was started next to a low wall at the bottom of the ridge that surrounds Hastings at a place called Herste. The monks then moved the Abbey a few years later to where it is today. This information has been ignored by historians because the building could never be found. Finding the foundations of the original abbey site confirms the site of the Battle of Hastings in the Crowhurst Valley. There can be no other interpretation of this information.

Those who want to process the raw data from this survey (which has not had the time spent on it that it should, due to lack of funding to date) can contact me and I will also make it freely available here when I have the time. This week is extremely busy with ITV today and You and Yours Radio Four lunch time Friday after the Sunday Times last weekend.

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Minister distances himself from ESCC

I have now had a response from the Secretary of State where I stated that the road being built by East Sussex County Council was being built through a site of national heritage importance where the Hastings Burgh (pre1066 built by Alfred the great)was located.

The response from the Minister, from another MP on his behalf, as if to say this isn’t something I want to personally sign off, is clearly distancing himself from the actions of East Sussex County Council. A copy of that letter is found here.

This clearly tells any journalist or media person (like myself) that they are on the back foot and looking for someone to blame. Is it English Heritage or the County Archaeologist, who has not stopped the road when all the evidence of the archeology is crying out for someone in authority to intervene, or is it the councilors, or local MPs who are clearly very disposable. The wind has changed and now we shall see who is responsible for this spending heritage mess. The last people to take the blame will be the Government.

We shall find out shortly as more evidence comes out of the ground. Don’t shoot me I am just the messenger. Everyone has to stand by the decisions they made, right or wrong. The really clever ones make sure they are on the winning side when the drawbridge comes down and it is clearly about to drop:)

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Battle Abbey found in Crowhurst

You have to admit this is the greatest headline you have ever read. It is of course almost certainly true and the story can be found here tucked into page four of the main feature. Share share share!!! This is a national story that is going to blow those away who have trampled upon the evidence for ten years.
We are following Phillippa Langley’s example and those who want to get this road out of this valley should consider contacting Michael Bernard who has been a trooper throughout this ghastly episode of heritage vandalism. He organised the fund raising to do the resistivity survey when no-one else would and now we are raising money for the ground radar to locate the boats of the Invasion Fleet. No-one in authority is going to do it so we will. They are certainly still there, because one was found in the 1930’s and hidden we know that. Contact Michael Bernard if you would like to donate through the BLINKRR web site. It wont take very much money, but too much for one man and a few helpers – donate now. Its a World Heritage Site for goodness sake. Lets change our future of this area by doing what is right for a change!!! It will make you feel good when we get the evidence that transforms our area into a global tourism hot spot..

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English Heritage Review Battlefield site

Battle Observer 2nd August 2013
And here is the story

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