View from spot where King Harold was slain

View from spot where King Harold was slain

This evening, I am focusing on Battle Abbey in East Sussex, England.

Location of this building was dictated by the site of the famous Battle of Hastings in 1066 when William the Conqueror ( from Northern France) defeated the Saxon King Harold and transformed England and its language forever.

The site is where the English army was positioned prior to the battle with the altar of the abbey church deliberately positioned ( on orders of the Conqueror) on the spot where King Harold was slain.

The first set of 11th century monastic buildings were almost entirely replaced in the 13th century with buildings whose remains are visible today and are summarised below.

EAST RANGE

  • Three story latrine block which projects east from the southern end of the dormitory.
  • Vaulted, ground rooms below the dormitory which formed the Novices Chamber.

    Novice Monks Chamber at Battle Abbey

    Novice Monks Chamber at Battle Abbey

  •  Common Room lit by a line of five lancet windows in the eastern wall.
  • Inner Parlour where monks were permitted to engage in essential spoken conversations and dispensation from the rule of silence.
  • Apsidal-ended Chapter House which was at the heart of the monastic community.
  • A vast monastic dormitory at first floor level which was lit by a series of lancet windows with shutters in the lower halves.

    Dormitory at Battle Abbey, England

    Dormitory at Battle Abbey, England

South end of East Range at Battle Abbey, England

South end of East Range at Battle Abbey, England

CLOISTER

  • Now marked by gravel paths but originally covered and decorated with elaborate tracery.

    Cloister and West Range, Battle Abbey

    Cloister and West Range, Battle Abbey

SOUTH RANGE

  • The monastic refectory or dining room was re-built in the 13th century but substantially demolished during the Reformation in 16th century with plan remaining, marked out in the grass. South of the refectory, and also marked out in the grass, is the plan of the great monastic kitchen which was demolished in 1683-7.

WEST RANGE AND ABBOT’S LODGING

Originally a storage place for provisions but converted under Abbot Ralph of Coventry (1235-61) into high status lodgings for the abbot and distinguished visitors.

ABBEY CHURCH

  • Completed in 1094 but destroyed 1539 with just outline plan and crypt remaining.

PRECINCT WALL

A well preserved section, completed under tenure of  Abbott Ralph (1107-24), is situated north of the abbey church.

GREAT GATEHOUSE.

Commenced in 1338 to reflect status and provide accommodation and security. This structure still dominates the town of Battle.

Great Gatehouse at Battle Abbey, England

Great Gatehouse at Battle Abbey, England

 These are impressive and extensive remains which are usually visited in conjunction with the adjacent battle site.

Be Sociable, Share!