Battle and District
                 Historical Society

  Newsletters and News 

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Latest e-Newsletters

Late October 2018 News 

Early October 2018 News

September 2018 


Top TV Historian at Battle Memorial Hall

Our picture shows (centre) Dr Tracy Borman, top TV historian, who visited Battle on 18 October  as our guest. She was welcomed by the Mayor Cllr David Furness (right) and Mr George Kiloh, Chairman of the Society (left). She spoke about “The Private Lives of the Tudors” to a packed audience. The Society has a talk from a leading historian each month on the third Thursday at 7.30 pm in the Memorial Hall, open to the public (£4 a head) as well as members. Details of the programme and how to join the Society are on tabs to the left.

Photo Peter Greene

Battle of Hastings Re-enactment 2018 : 13th-14th October

On both days we had a tremendous foot fall to our stand in our new location in the Lower Dorter of the Abbey right up to 5pm and beyond!! There were also large attendances at Neil Clephane-Cameron's and and Keith Foord’s presentations in the Abbey Library, probably over 60 per session, and they sold and signed books in the Abbot's Hall. Keith also took part each day in a short workshop led by author Joanna Courtney on 'Women in History' ...see the Facebook video.... Hugh Willing did a sterling job on the BDHS stand on Saturday as did George Kiloh on Sunday and Tina Greene had a really large interest in the Battle Tapestry. We were on our feet all day - both days!  Peter Greene zipped around with his camera and his photos are below. Many thanks to all who represented BDHS so well.

Archive update

A small group of members is at present working on designing and creating a digital archive of items in the BDHS Archives, which will be accessed by via linked website. Volunteers from the membership to assist with copying records selected to be digitized would be very welcome. Please contact Georgina to discuss this valuable work either at Society meetings or via the Contacts page

The archive catalogue was updated by Georgina Doherty in June 2018. She has also copied all the Society's oral histories to new digital media and indexed them in preparation for uploading them to a new BDHS Digital Archive website in due course (to view early details click the Archive tab).

New Printing of '1066 and the Battle of Hastings - Preludes, Events and Postscripts'

This BDHS book by Keith Foord and Neil Clephane-Cameron has been selling so well that we have had to arrange a third printing. The authors have taken the opportunity to make some changes to the first part of Chapter 16 which covers the Battlefield and Battle Abbey. More information and references have been added for this chapter, including to our own Hugh Willing's thoughtful lecture on the eve of the 950th Anniversary of the Battle of Hastings, Tina Greene's 'Battle Tapestry' and other data that has come to the fore since the book was first written in 2015. This has lengthened the text by only two pages and otherwise the book is unchanged from the second printing. 

The price is unchanged at £14 but BDHS members can obtain copies at meetings at the discounted rate of £12.50. Use the tab to the left to get more details of all BDHS books and how to buy them.

Amazing find by BDHS

In the process of changing over BDHS archivists Gina Doherty and David Sawyer unexpectedly turned up an old small parchment that appeared to originate from Abbot Richard Tovey of Battle Abbey in 1493. The Research group contacted 'The Keep' about the document and Christopher Whittick of ESRO confirmed its authenticity This is a 'pass' entitling the carrier to travel freely in England and quoting the old charter rights of the abbey. Gina has produced an excellent summary of this find which can be accessed in Section A3.4 of Collectanea.  BDHS has also given a facsimile copy to Battle Abbey for future display.


L-R: Neil Clephane-Cameron, Keith Foord, George Kiloh, Gina Doherty, Natasha Williams (English Heritage) handing the parchment to Christopher Whittick (ESRO). Picture Peter Greene

Christmas 2017 meeting

Our Christmas meeting on 14th December started on a high note, with a first-time performance of a new setting of "Be Merry", the "Battle Carol". The words of the carol were hand written on a service book by one of the monks of Battle Abbey in about 1500. The book made its way to the library of Trinity College, Cambridge, and the carol remained there, unnoticed, for four centuries. Retrieved for English Heritage by Michael Carter, it was set to music by local composer and Battle Festival favourite Stephen Page. Charlotte Moore translated the original words into modern English.

The Battle Community Singers rehearsed it in secret as a Christmas treat for the Historical Society, and performed it with gusto at our meeting.

Here are links to a video of the performance, rendered in two formatsthe first is in mp4 

and the second in QuickTime Movie .

The carol was followed by a highly entertaining and well-illustrated talk on the customs and superstitions surrounding Twelfth Night, by Tim Macdonald, covering everything from the Lord of Misrule to human sacrifice.

2017 AGM


We held our AGM on 16th November. Referring to the report of last year's AGM held on 17 November 2016, our chairman, George Kiloh, noted that there were no Matters Arising but that it been an exciting year, particularly with events surrounding the 950th anniversary of the Battle of Hastings on 14 October 2016. The following were accepted by those present: Minutes of last year's Annual General Meeting, the Chairman's  and the Treasurer's Reports.  As regards the BDHS Committee, it was noted that Nick Hollington had decided to stand down;  the membership of the Committee was subsequently confirmed (see About Us tab for the updated Committee Membership ), with the possibility of co-opting other members as required.

A copy of the Trustees' Annual  Report for 2016-17 is now available. Click here to open     

The AGM was followed by a very informative presentation on Henry III and his relations with Battle Abbey during his long reign, by Professor David Carpenter, the President of our Society. Following a lively Questions and Answer session, our Chairman thanked David for his most illuminating lecture.

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