It was October 14th, 1066.
The day of the Battle of Hastings, when William the Conqueror defeated King Harold Godwinson and brought the feudal system into England, along with many other social changes to this country.
Tiger has been fascinated by this event eversince we started studying British History last autumn, and he had studied the Bayuex Tapestry many times so we are very familiar with the stories that led up to the event.
And he had waited patiently to attend the annual re-enactment of this historical battle.
|Norman knight all dressed up and ready for battle.|
The entire day was activity filled. If nothing else, just walking around the Norman camp and the Saxon camp (both camps were on opposite sides of the battlefield) was enough to learn about the way people lived, dressed and worked at that time.
Our first stop was the Naval Battle stop where a Norman boatman showed the children a replica Norman boat that would have been used by William I's army to sail over the English Channel. The boatman also gave a detailed description of how the boats would have been built, the materials that were used to build, paint and maintain them.
|Holding a jar of tar that would have been used in Norman times to paint boats.|
There was also storytelling. We heard the story of The Battle of Maldon which involved the Vikings and the Saxons.
The Norman Calvary and Infantry Display was very impressive. During the one hour display, the commentator and re-enactors did a marvellous job at helping us understand the weaponry and training that the Normans had in preparation for the battle.
Tiger could not wait to get involved in the Kids' Battle of Hastings! Actually, none of the boys (I didn't see any girl taking part in this activity) could wait. The man who ran the programme had only 10 minutes to explain what the rules of the battle were (no hitting on the face or anywhere on the neck, or jabbing into anyone's sides) and to divide the children into Saxons and Normans, before he handed out the foam swords, which promptly led to his losing control of the mob.
After the carnage of the kids' battle, we headed over to the Novices' Room in the abbey ruins to listen to a very knowledgeable man explaining the history of Western music and performing music of the Norman period. He also gave a short but detailed explanation and demonstration of the instruments used during that time: bells, harp organistrum, psaltery, claves and horn.
The lady's voice was gorgeous, as they sang and performed music that would have been familiar to the monks who lived in Battle Abbey. Hear it for yourselves below:
|The commentator who did a wonderful job narrating the historical event.|
|An article in a history magazine about Matilda, William I's wife, and their relationship as a couple.|