The Battle of Hastings was fought on 14 October 1066 between the Norman-French army of Duke William II of Normandy and an English army under the Anglo-Saxon King Harold II, during the Norman conquest of England. It took place approximately 7 miles (11 kilometres) north-west of Hastings, close to the present-day town of Battle, East Sussex, and was a decisive Norman victory.
The background to the battle was the death of the childless King Edward the Confessor in January 1066, which set up a succession struggle between several claimants to his throne. Harold was crowned king shortly after Edward’s death, but faced invasions by William, his own brother Tostig and the Norwegian King Harald Hardrada (Harold III of Norway). Hardrada and Tostig defeated a hastily gathered army of Englishmen at the Battle of Fulford on 20 September 1066, and were in turn defeated by Harold at the Battle of Stamford Bridge five days later. The deaths of Tostig and Hardrada at Stamford left William as Harold’s only serious opponent. While Harold and his forces were recovering from Stamford, William landed his invasion forces in the south of England at Pevensey on 28 September 1066 and established a beachhead for his conquest of the kingdom. Harold was forced to march south swiftly, gathering forces as he went.
The exact numbers present at the battle are unknown; estimates are around 10,000 for William and about 7000 for Harold. The composition of the forces is clearer; the English army was composed almost entirely of infantry and had few archers, whereas about half of the invading force was infantry, the rest split equally between cavalry and archers. Harold appears to have tried to surprise William, but scouts found his army and reported its arrival to William, who marched from Hastings to the battlefield to confront Harold. The battle lasted from about 9 am to dusk. Early efforts of the invaders to break the English battle lines had little effect, therefore the Normans adopted the tactic of pretending to flee in panic and then turning on their pursuers. Harold’s death, probably near the end of the battle, led to the retreat and defeat of most of his army. After further marching and some skirmishes, William was crowned as king on Christmas Day 1066.
Although there continued to be rebellions and resistance to William’s rule, Hastings effectively marked the culmination of William’s conquest of England. Casualty figures are hard to come by, but some historians estimate that 2000 invaders died along with about twice that number of Englishmen. William founded a monastery at the site of the battle, the high altar of the abbey church supposedly placed at the spot where Harold died. (Wikipedia)
There is of recent years an increasing acceptance that the Battle of Hastings was not fought at Battle, the established traditional site.
Doubts have arisen because of the absence of found artifacts and because the putative battlefield is not as described in the primary sources
Established historian John Grehan is currently publishing a book called “An Uncomfortable Truth”, making this very claim.The only evidence quoted by the defenders of the traditional thesis is that the abbey is there, and the abbey was built on the battlefield according to the Norman battlefield oath. However,there is now firm evidence that shows the abbey was moved from the battlefield, as a result there are now absolutely no grounds at all for claiming Battle Abbey as the battlefield.
The question therefore arises where was the Battle of Hastings fought?
According to Nick Austin, another historian, there is only one site which resolves all the inconsistencies in the documents, and has all the features that are mentioned in them, and that is the Great Field at Crowhurst. It runs from sea level at the northern inlet of the Combe Haven to the top of the ridge at Telham, about two miles south of the traditional site. It is a massive hill, rising 120 meters over a mile in length, compared to the one on the Battle Abbey site, which rises a mere 15 meters. ………the jury is still out! “Bunk, Debunk, Re-bunk!”