Battle and District
                 Historical Society

  Newsletters and News 

Our Secretary Neil Clephane-Cameron has listed BDHS with and if you shop via AmazonSmile they will donate 0.5% of the net purchase price (excluding VAT, returns and shipping fees) of eligible purchases to us.In order to browse or shop through AmazonSmile, you must first select a charitable organisation - Battle and District Historical Society is to be found there on a ‘drop down’ list. Choose Battle and District Historical Society then shop as you normally would. Only purchases made through are eligible to generate donations.

As a charity the Society must publish an annual report. That for 2017-18 is attached here TAR2017-18

Latest e-Newsletters

A request for information about Battle and Langton School

A young man called Ian McGlashan who has just completed an OU degree and has now started teacher training is researching a book about Battle and Langton School. BDHS wishes to give him as much help as possible and if you are a former pupil, parent, governor, teacher or other staff member of the school you may have much to share with him to help. If you are curious about this project and want to help please see

Renovation of the Almonry

As the renovation of the Almonry is a matter of historical interest, we’re circulating to BDHS and Museum members, with permission, the Battle Town Council consultative document below, issued yesterday and with a deadline date of 31 January for the Council to receive your comments.



Plan to renovate Battle Town Hall

“Battle Town Council are proposing to undertake a refurbishment and redevelopment of The Almonry, which is in need of major repair.

Planning approval has been obtained to extend the Almonry by reinstating the original wing over the courtyard and reconfiguring the internal space; returning the main area to an open hall.  This will enable the town’s very valuable asset, The Almonry, to be open and accessible for the residents of Battle. It will also encourage visitors to remain longer in Battle; helping increase the town’s prosperity.  The educational centre will be an asset to the schools and colleges, both visiting and local. 

An application to Heritage Lottery Funding has, unfortunately, been unsuccessful so the cost of the necessary repairs, plus the improvements to enable full accessibility and increased use of the beautiful medieval building, needs to be funded from another source. 

The Finance & General Purposes Committee recommended that an application be made to the Public Works Loan Board for £600,000 to carry out the work in line with the planning approval. 

Members agreed the recommendation by a majority and now invite public comment prior to making the application to the PWLB. 

The repayment of the loan for the Almonry project will require an additional £21,000 to be included within next year’s budget.  The impact on the average property (Band D) will be 15p per week, £7.72 per year.  The Council will continue to seek grant funding towards this scheme and to develop a Heritage Education Centre within the refurbished building.

The plans submitted for the planning approval can be viewed on Rother District Council’s website., the application reference is RR/2017/2150/P

If you have any questions or would like to submit a comment regarding the proposal please contact the Town Clerk at The Almonry, High Street, Battle, TN33 0EA; telephone 01424 772210; via email to  

Any comments must be received by Thursday, 31st January 2019. “

As we understand it from Carol Harris, the loan will be to deal with the building work element of the original HLF bid, comprising necessary refurbishment of infrastructure, and creation of an education room. The equipment, fittings and staff might be the subject of a revised HLF bid later.

The repayment of and interest on the loan would of course be a long term commitment for many years, beyond the £21k allocated for the first financial year 2019/20.

We understand informally that the main building work would be timed in the winter months- possibly 2019/20 – to minimise disruption to the Museum and those visiting the gardens.

The Museum’s relations with the new Almonry activities eg tourism and education, would be discussed further with the Council once the work is more advanced and plans are clearer.

Adrian and Sarah Hall

16 January 2019

BDHS Update for January 2019

Best wishes for 2019 and we wish you a Happy New Year on behalf of the Society.

Renewing your BDHS Membership

There are still eight lectures in the season including the one on 17th January. So at £14 single, £20 double, it’s still a good deal, for the small band who’ve not yet renewed. Just have a word with Adrian or Sarah at the information desk on lecture nights :  it can all be remedied painlessly in two minutes.

Volunteering at the Museum

There are many jobs which need doing in Battle Museum of Local History, set up by the Society in 1956 and run entirely by the volunteers. Guiding the public around the Museum and answering their questions on the exhibits and local history is a vital job; helping with practical issues around the building is another; and helping with social media is also important nowadays. We’ve already had a couple of volunteers from the Society in the last month but there’s room for more: just email or ring Margaret Emeleus on 01424 772058.

Browsing in Battle in the New Year

Just a suggestion following the December talk by Tom Oliver about Capability Brown (94 attended): Tom’s recommended book on this topic is by Susan Rutherford: Capability Brown and his landscape gardens. This book can be ordered overnight through Ian Cawley at Rother Books in Battle High Street. You can also check out Keith Foord's paper in Collectanea on this website - L2.1 Launcelot ‘Capability’ Brown and his work around Battle. 

BDHS member Alan Judd has a new novella just published which is in Rother BooksShakespeare’s Sword. To quote the publisher: ‘ “To Mr Thomas Combe my sword”.   These six words in Shakespeare’s will tell us that Shakespeare had a sword. Did he wear it?  Did he use it?  What sort was it?  When and why did he get it?  What happened to it?  Might it – does it – still exist?

These questions plague Simon Gold, an antiques dealer.  He believes he has identified the sword as belonging to a customer, an unworthy owner indifferent to cultural icons and uninterested in history.  Simon is desperate to acquire the sword, but how?  How far is he prepared to go to get it?  In alliance with Charlotte, his customer’s attractive and disaffected wife, Simon finds himself going farther than he had intended - and finds, too, that Charlotte is rather more than she appears.’

In Rother Books you’ll also find a book which BDHS member Tim Symonds has just published:  A Most Diabolical Plot, another collection of short stories of the most difficult cases ever to challenge Europe’s most famous consulting detective and his faithful biographer Dr John H Watson.

December 2018 News      


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

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