Time Team Special Battle of Hastings 8pm Sunday 1st December

Time Team television show

This story will get national airing on Channel Four at peak time Sunday 1st December at 8pm. This story is probably the biggest history story to hit academic circles this century because the implications upon everyone who has ever written on the subject are immense. Indeed recently I was accused of being a lone voice against 500 academics determined to stop this story in its tracks.

Tony Robinson and his team have been down to Battle Abbey to get the evidence that the Normans fought there.

To find out what he found out watch the show and draw your own conclusions. Its a story that will not die. I am in that story and we will not quit until it reaches conclusion. This Spring we will be carrying out a systematic search for Norman pottery at the newly discovered castle site where French sources tell us the Normans were commissioned by William for two years after the Battle at the port of Hastings at Wilting Manor. Once the pottery is found we will do the geophysics and bring the Invasion site to a conclusion by finding the boats we know are there. Like Richard the Third sometimes it takes time and patience to get the right people involved before proper investigation can take place by archaeologists. Documents are open to interpretation. Only archaeology can close this story where the documents fit the geography and topography with artefacts and evidence out of the ground to back up the claims. The claim that the Battle of Hastings was at Battle Abbey has none of these essential features and hopefully Time Team have found that essential fact out and will tell us next weekend. I must remain an optimist:)

Categories: Announcements | 18 Comments

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18 thoughts on “Time Team Special Battle of Hastings 8pm Sunday 1st December

  1. jerry.marchant@tiscali.co.uk

    Hi Nick

    Well done, can’t wait till Sunday. I particularly like the bit in the TV blurb which says that “Tony Robinson gives the history books one in the eye”

    Time Team involvement is very significant as the series is I think running down this yesr and they will want to go out with a bang. Also very encouraging that they are coming back to the Battle/ Hastings area having drawn an almost complete blank when investigating the roman naval bathhouse in Beauport Park back in 1999 (Time Team series 6, episode 7)

    Best wishes


    >—-Original Message—- >

  2. Fingers crossed Nick. Much that I have always enjoyed Time Team, I have always considered them extremely pro-Roman and quite dismissive of the so called dark ages which tells me that they very much tow the line of Oxbridge’s version of history and so the establishment’s, they have worked hand in hand with English Heritage throughout and still peddle the rubbish that the Romans introduced Christianity to Britain, so I can’t help but be a little skeptical and worried, but who knows, maybe they are ready to upset the apple cart, I hope so, and if Tony has read your book, then surely he can appreciate the solid basis your theory is built on. If they commit themselves to the fact that the battle did not take place in Battle and leave the viewer to decide how much water your theory holds, I would see that as a major victory Nick.

  3. Yet again Time Team/ Channel 4 conflate English and British.”The most famous story in British History”. Eh, dinnae think so. The Battle of Hastings has nothing to do with “British History”, it’ll be “English History” you mean. Since New Labour supporter Tony Robinson thinks he has some sort of right to interfere in Scottish politics this hardly comes as a surprise though. SAOR ALBA!

  4. I hope it will be more interesting than many shows in the series are. I find them very repetitive in that they seem to follow a format of ” lets dig in the wrong place , lets dig in another place , lets assume that what we dug up indicates we may have been right to assume that what we were looking for was somewhere in the area. ” and “Oh look , yet another piece of pottery that could have belonged to almost anyone.

  5. Brenda Troughton

    Hello Nick, have just started editing the film we spoke of at the end of the summer. Looking forward to watching the Time Team special and fingers crossed that it will support both yourself and the film.

  6. So Pictishbloke, does Scotland have a more famous battle than the Battle of Hastings then? Famous being the descriptive word here, and it did happen in what is now Britain, so I see no problem with the statement, unless you’re just so nationalistic, so one-dimensional you see a politically loaded statement where there is none, also if you think the Norman Conquest had no affect on Scotland, you are deluded pal!

  7. Richard Porter

    Nothing to do with trying to make the evidence fit the plan then? The link road is being built, end of.

  8. Ben Levett

    Time Team location is conclusive, it fits the topography and geology of the area. No army commander with any sense would try and fight a battle in a boggy valley at Crowhurst after having possession of the ridge.
    The reference to the first building of the abbey names the place as Hurst. Look in the Doomsday book and you will find Crowhurst is called Crowhurst, Hurst is at Herstmonceux
    Time to stop wasting every ones time with your silly ideas.

    • William Rex


    • T Langham

      Time team’s topography of the battle only works if you start from modern day Hastings, not as Nick has it, from the inland harbour that is now Coombe Valley Haven, (where you could easily & safely moor a large fleet of ships of the early medieval period). I know the area well & the massive results of the later storm on the south coast which is responsible for today’s Dungeness peninsula, the modern course of the Rother & the blocking of the Haven that surely must colour most people’s historical judgement of the land today. Nick’s topography works, Crowhurst ‘manor’ is an anomaly and ‘his’ battlefield area hasn’t been tested with the same rigour as they’ve let them at Battle Abby’s field and Caldbeck Hill. The Crowhurst battle theory deserves its fair share of testing independent of Nick and East Sussex County council. It’s too important to the English nation & the ecology of the area with the road building going on there to get wrong just because they won’t let them simply dig there if there’s a chance that it’s a creditable contender.

      • William Rex

        It’s all very well spotting sites with the right topography. But what about the history? I read Nick’s book and was impressed by the number of sources he consulted. Then I thought I’d read them for myself and found they’d been misunderstood or worse. Look at Wace, one of Nick’s favourite sources, who actually says that Battle Abbey was built on the battlefield! There aren’t sources which point to Crowhurst. When you add nothing but a couple of buckets I’m not surprised that Time Team decided there was nothing to investigate on the ground. I’m not pro-road but I am pro-common sense.

      • T Langham

        OK well the Battle site still needs to be found as the program seemed conclusive about two other possible sites not being the place. Topography seems a very good starting point.to enabling that search.
        As for the Abbey; there seems a plausible explanation for it being moved (at William’s command, no less) from the wrong place ON THE BATTLEFIELD, even though Crowhust site is adjacent to the lower battlefield (of Nick’s), to the right place BUT the new place is set up not on the battlefield at all but in a geographically convenient place for an ecclesiastical house to be built! The church has form’ for such actions for the sake of a better ‘return’ on it’s investment, St Alban’s whole layout as a town springs immediately to mind. William never went back to check.
        Hurst (a wooded rise) neatly describes the area of Crowhurst manor and a place called ‘Hurst’ is ascribed to the site of the Abbey. I’m more than accepting of Nick’s idea that Cr”urst,, the local name for Crowhurst, is corrupted to ‘Hurst’ by Norman writers. How many examples of phonetic corruptions are there in our language do you need to accept that as a possibility? There are many villages’ with the ending or praenomen ‘hurst’ in the south east. Crowhurst happens to be one with Wilting manor (a key location to Nick’s theory) on its doorstep showing some of the greatest long term wastage in Domesday. A coincidence? It needs testing.

    • James Bullard

      Prove him conclusivley wrong, then crow. There is no evidence at Battle either, or anywhere else for that matter.

  9. An interesting programme but Time Team appear just to have decided where the battle probably took place if it did happened at the town of Battle. Why no ‘dig’ at Crowhurst which was dismissed – so the whole story was not investigated.

    • alan hayday

      Crowhurst. Is. Not. And. Was. Not. Boggy……….it. is. Well. Drained. By. The. Malfosse !
      It. Is. Also. Home. To. The. Original. 1066. Battlefield. Abbey………….QED.
      So. Why. No. Archaeological. Dig. There??? Methinks. We. Are. Being. Sold. A. Pup.

      • William Rex

        I used to be sympathetic to the Crowhurst idea but every professional archaeologist and historian who has looked at it has dismissed it. That includes Time Team, who are lavishly praised on this blog. Surely that tells us something? The only other conclusion to draw is that they’re all part of a pro-road conspiracy theory, which is unlikely. Time to face reality.

  10. Stephen Pollock-Hill

    Will anybody dig under the mini roundabout to confirm Norman remains there?

    What was not mentioned by Time Team was that some Breton knights made an advance on foot up the Hill towards the Saxons, and Harold seeing that sent some experienced soldiers to deal with them. William seeing that, sent some mounted knights up the hill to support and rescue the Bretons who would have been annihilated.
    I believe William then copied this tactic later in the day feigning a retreat luring the English from their solid shield wall, and then turning to crush the unprepared Saxons.

  11. Of course you realise that:

    (1) it was a big battle, covering a big battlefield.

    (2) Harold moved his command post from the summit to a position much further east, which is why the Flemish reached him long before Duke William did.

    (3) Harold’s reason for moving was probably to avoid the Bretons who’d gained the western side of the ridge.

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