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Re: Bayeux Tapestry

Posted: Fri Oct 26, 2018 12:03 pm
by Richard
Schrödinger's cat paradox postulates that a cat may be alive and dead at the same time.
Maybe worth looking that up one day!

As for the blank sheet of paper, stepping back a little further in time, there were probably two landing sites, Pevensey, much larger and well-known previously to the Normans / Fécamp Abbey which was granted lands at Rameslie Manor region via King Cnut's charter and a second at Bulverhythe, always a much smaller port.
Rameslie was clearly then a valuable estate, with a developing port (Old Winchelsea) on the Channel coast and with 100 saltpans, more than the rest of Sussex put together.
So, I am just trying to indicate that the Normans owned valuable land rights in the general area before the invasion and some had been 'grabbed' by Harold prior to the invasion is what I think we generally understand.
The topography has altered Pevensey (and all the coast in the region) beyond recognition in 1000 years or so and therefore we cannot imagine today that William thought it was a good idea to sail to Pevensey.
Some ships may have also landed at Bulverhythe, whether by accident or design.
Two groups of troops to march round to whatever Battle site or sites fit the bill after building castles along the way...

More later - off to work now!

Re: Bayeux Tapestry

Posted: Sat Oct 27, 2018 5:16 pm
by ColinL
seahermit wrote:Sorry, I'm not meaning to be insulting! Just winding up a bit maybe .. But seriously I'm not comfortable with woolly thinking and I think it is important here to be precise, atleast about facts which ARE known, there's enough uncertainty already around the story of the battle as told by, yes, the victors. Who can indeed narrate the version they wish posterity to swallow. I think it quite fascinating the way that modern scholarship is throwing much doubt on the accounts of the battle which have previously been accepted and handed down, in the lack of other evidence.

I admit that my knowledge of the battle is sketchy/rusty and I appreciate all the literary references quoted by people, definitely this is all worth reading thoroughly at some stage. I suppose there must have been countless books (reliable works of scholarship and other "popular" tomes!) written about the Conquest, where does one start? But I'll have a look at Marc Morris's book, thanks.

If the supposed battle location is shifted, maybe the town could be renamed "Not Battle" or possibly "Not-Quite-Battle"!

I have just had a thought. There is a village in the Lakes called Near Sawery. Perhaps the town we now know as Battle could be renamed, Near Battle!

Re: Bayeux Tapestry

Posted: Sat Oct 27, 2018 7:43 pm
by Richard
If anyone disputes the site of Battle citing lack of evidence (remains of weapons, for example) then it's up to them to come up with evidence, at whatever location they think is the more likely site, otherwise we are just never going to settle the dispute on the back of rambling / wild theories.

I will keep an open mind but what evidence would prove beyond reasonable doubt that 'Battle' was the general location? I have heard a lot of speculation about where it might have been but little concrete proof to the contrary.

Re: Bayeux Tapestry

Posted: Sun Oct 28, 2018 6:05 am
by Cynric the cynical
Richard, re your Friday post.

You've reminded me that there is an eighth location for the Battle of Hastings. Kathleen Tyson in her translation of the "Carmen" states that she thinks the battle took place to the north of Bodiam.

Re yesterdays post. What positive archaeological evidence would satisfy you? Arrowheads, bits of chain mail, tips of spears, or any other paraphernalia of war would "do" it for me.

Re: Bayeux Tapestry

Posted: Sun Oct 28, 2018 10:41 am
by Richard
It is documented that Harold first assembled his army on Caldbec Hill before advancing on Senlac Hill (Battle Hill) a mile away, to meet the invading Normans who had taken him by surprise.
So, in a sense there were two potential sites of fighting and a huge amount of dead warriors must have been buried somewhere, possibly in a gigantic ditch.
Some loved ones may have been removed by relatives but probably not more than low percentages, as men were fighting far from home.
Plus massive amounts of arrow heads and iron axes, etcetera can't all have been totally removed by scavengers, or can they?

Then why build an Abbey to commemorate the spot where Harold was slain / died in Battle since it was difficult terrain (at Battle) that required extensive remodeling at great expense and wouldn't have made much sense otherwise?

I think Harold was the one who normally had the upper hand with his tactic of surprising the enemy, history seems to relate the opposite that it was William who called the opening shots.

Re: Bayeux Tapestry

Posted: Sun Oct 28, 2018 1:45 pm
by Cynric the cynical
Yeah , the document that records Caldbec Hill is .... supposedly the Bayeux Tapestry!

According to John Grehan, the area to the east of the fire station was known as "Mountjoy" which equates to where the Normans burnt their dead. So one battlefield must be nearby.

The problem with the bones is that the soil is very acidic and thus dissolves the bones over a number of years and anyway most of the Fyrd were raised to the north of Battle ( they wouldn't 've come that far, although the Huscarls might). Horse bones might still be around depending on whether or not the locals ate the horsemeat.

Your point about axe heads etc. I totally agree with.

Back in 1066, Telham Hill Road represented the only dry access route to/from Hastings. Apart from being a prominent place ( see my earlier post), the Abbey also served as a rallying point should anyone try and do what William did. The myth was put in writing by Walter de Luci in the 1150's and the rest, as they say, is history.

Re: Bayeux Tapestry

Posted: Mon Oct 29, 2018 9:15 pm
by Richard
Let's look at this again:

Assume that there was no Abbey ever built...
A great battle was definitely fought, at some unknown location, except for the general area nothing is certain and let us assume also that we have no reliable written records to guide us.
Clearly William and Harold clashed in a ferocious battle and it is believed that Harold took the high ground and was, understandably, unprepared to engage with a rapidly approaching Norman army.

We believe that on September 28, 1066, William landed in England at Pevensey and established bases for a couple of weeks, in readiness to attack Harold and his hastily cobbled-together army. William was aware that Harold had been defending his Kingdom against the Northern Viking forces at Stamford Bridge and saw and planned his main chance well in advance.
The Battle of Hastings was fought on 14 October 1066, which gave William time to work out his better strategy of meeting the opposition racing down from their recent battle 'up north', exhausted and in need of rest and recuperation it appears that Harold was not so well supported in his attempts to gather extra troops as were the Normans from France.

Following his well-planned landings William would have fortified further the old Roman fort at Pevensey to protect his western flank and moved most of his men and horses towards Hastings, some on land and some by water, where he threw up a further wooden fort and established his
bridgehead on land known to the Normans because of the Fécamp connection.

With William marching up from the direction of Hastings Harold had little choice but to establish a defensive position and prepare to use his limited hand-to-hand fighting tactics and the tried and tested 'Shield Wall'.
William believed that God, acting through the Pope and the latter's approval of William's right to the Kingdom of Britain was acting on his side.
William took the fight to Harold and after many hours of intense fighting found a weakness by whatever means.
William believed he had support from numerous allies, Dukes and Counts who he rallied to his cause, as well as the Pope's blessing and William may well have been spurred on by the thought 'God and my right' - 'Dieu et mon droit'.
Although this motto was ascribed more so to the later English monarchs claiming Norman descent it gives an idea of the mentality prevailing at the time.

The famous 'tapestry' shows, more than anything, that a great weakness was always forged when the commander in chief was thought to be dead or dying and how greatly this affected the morale of the troops.
A lucky shot killed Harold, by whatever means, and the rest is history.

The exact location of the battle may never be discovered - but does it really matter?

Re: Bayeux Tapestry

Posted: Wed Apr 17, 2019 11:23 am
by Cynric the cynical
Okay, it's time to figuratively take off the gloves......
Since I'm not a historian and have an IQ similar to that of a medieval Norman peasant, I've developed a different view of the last part of the Bayeux Tapestry. Basically, from the initial attack on the Huscarls, the BT shows what was happening at 3 hourly intervals throughout the 14th starting at Tierce ( 09:00 ALL TIMINGS ARE APPROXIMATE).

At Sext (12:00) therefore the BT shows mopping up operations as the shield wall has vanished. This is where the BT says the brothers of Harold were killed.

None (15:00) shows the Norman knights attacking the Fyrd, routing and being rallied by William. (Note:- What I call a "frame" and each part of the frame, a "cameo")

Now at Vespers (18:00) the Normans have overrun the English position and killed Harold.
I'm really confused about the knights chasing the Fyrd at the very end of the BT. Whether this represents the Malfosse at Compline or not, I can't say.

Through terrain matching I'm confident that I know where the Normans gathered prior to the battle, where the Huscarls spent the night of the 13th, a choice of two places for the first engagement and the site of where Harold was killed.

Re: Bayeux Tapestry

Posted: Wed Apr 17, 2019 11:40 am
by Cynric the cynical
Following on from the last post:-

I think the Normans gathered in the area where the road from Pye's Farm meets the A2100
The Huscarls camped in Beechdown Wood on the night of the 13th
The two sites for the first engagement with the Huscarls is either just NE of Catsfield or at the roundabout at the top of Battle High Street ( by the Fire Station). This needs more work doing on it.
Finally the site where Harold was killed.... but before I reveal the site please note that this site is under investigation by the Forestry Commission so no kicking around in the undergrowth... is the ridge just inside Ashes Wood or thereabouts.

The Malfosse would've occurred further into the wood along the side of the path that leads to the B2096.