Battle and District
                 Historical Society

  Newsletters and News 

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Latest Newsletters

September 2018. Click pdf icon to open

July 2018              

June 2018                     


Programme for 2018-19 published and Archive listings updated

See the programme for the Society's next year by clicking on the Programme tab to the left. Adrian and Sarah Hall have put together a varied programme with something historical for everyone.

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 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 papers added to Collectanea in July 2018

These include a paper by Australian Dr Beverley F Ronalds about her forebear Sir Francis Ronalds, the inventor of the electric telegraph who once lived at St Marys Villas off Battle Hill, this is complementary to a paper by George Kiloh and both will be found in Section O. Other papers include three more related to 'big' houses, and one about the history of the Almonry (all also in Section O), local Doctors until 1945 (Section D),  and local banks until 2018 (Section C - yes as we all know they are history now). There is more about the Brownes and Montagues of Battle Abbey and their Catholic recusancy after the reformation (Section F), an update to the 'Six artists' paper (Section L) and a new discussion paper about how the Norman Conquest has been viewed by the British over the centuries (Section X). A new Section S - for local family histories has been added with its first paper about the Ticehurst family - Could you add to this section, all offers are welcome? The Indices have also been updated. Enjoy..

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. 

Copies of the book are available from Battle Museum of Local History, the English Heritage shop at Battle Abbey (where it is a 'best seller') and from the new 'Rother Books' shop on Battle High Street. It can be ordered online from Waterstones, or contact us directly. The price is unchanged at £14 but BDHS members can obtain copies at meetings at the discounted rate of £12.50.

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.

Battle of Hastings Re-enactment 2017

14/15 October 2017  BDHS was offered the opportunity to have a small stand at the English Heritage 'Battle of Hastings' re-enactment. Chairman George Kiloh and other volunteers manned the stand which was in the Lower Dorter at the Abbey. Here he is with the stand and Hugh Willing. They were able to give visitors information about the Society and about other aspects of local history. Member Tina Greene was also there with the Community Tapestry as were Battle Museum representatives.


Photos from Peter Greene

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