It was an offer that I could not refuse.
It was all so Anglo-Saxon, recounting tales of battles past at the end of a long march, the ‘fyrd’ sitting together, drinking together and sharing stories of that day’s march from Rochester.
Thirty miles they had marched with the final twenty miles set for today, 13th October,to their camp at Caldbec Hill. As events unfolded, it would prove to be the day before the Battle of Senlac Hill against the Norman horde.
But this was not 950 years ago but last night and I was privileged to be asked to talk to Peter Wheeler’s YOMP1066 on their journey from Stamford Bridge to Caldbec Hill.
Today they will plant an apple tree that they hope will last for 50 years when it will truly be ‘the old hoar apple tree’ on Caldbec Hill and the Anglo-Saxon rallying point for the 1000th Anniversary of the Battle of Hastings 1066.
I stood and talked of all things Harold and as my Saxon Times alter ego, Brother Eadwine of Canterbury, I gave them foresight of things to come, of battle news and sadly the demise of the King. What happened to the King’s body remains a mystery despite the best efforts of the Saxon Times reporters to discover the truth – maybe Lady Gytha is a Peace Weaver after all.
There was of course a cautionary warning that the expected reinforcements for the loyal fyrd had regrettably been delayed – the latest report was that they were lost in the Forest of the Andreasweald after leaving Tonbridge.
It is rumoured that they had received false instructions from Norman sympathisers, collectively known as English Heritage, no doubt hoping for some recognition from Duke William himself.
It was all good fun and I was home for supper.
It was almost ‘The Complete History of 1066 in 66 minutes’.
It was a light hearted look at the events of that tumultuous year through the eyes of Brother Eadwine of Canterbury, the Editor of The Saxon Times.
It was the first talk in the History House programme for Hastings Week and amongst the audience were The Lady Mayor and Deputy Mayor of Hastings, Councillors Judy Rogers and Nigel Sinden in this important year, the 950th Anniversary of the Battle of Hastings.
In between the serious facts, there were a few smiles and ‘Call a council these days’ and Tostig’s master plan of invading the … Isle of Wight’ raised laughs as did the period adverts for such items as St Leonards Carts and Monks Ales.
Regrettably, the question and answer session was devoted solely to publication, issues of which I am not in control, instead of extension questions on the background to 1066.
Questions ranged from ‘why the book ‘The Saxon Times’ was not available for the talk’, publication has been once again delayed, and that ‘searches against ‘The Saxon Times’ on Amazon came up ‘not found’’.
I promised to let the publisher, Rupert Matthews of Bretwalda Books, know of their concerns.
David Clarke – The Speakers List: http://www.thespeakerslist.com/speakers-c-d.html
‘The Saxon Times’
5.30pm, Saturday, 8th October 2016
Hastings History House
21 Courthouse Street, Hastings
It’s World Book Day and it’s amazing that I have something to post!
There would be more to shout about but it appears that there has been interference from those wanting to maintain ‘Anglo-Saxon’ independence in the face of closer ties with Normandy and the rest of Europe.
How The Saxon Times times became embroiled in such politics is a mystery, but the publisher seems to have placed publication on hold for the time being.
My personal view is that it is better that our readers are aware of all the events of 1066 earlier rather than later.
If you agree, please let me know.
Remember, The Saxon Times is the only newspaper that will bring you the news as it happens.
I do hope that you will continue to enjoy reading The Saxon Times in 1066.
Eadwine of Christ Church, Canterbury,
Editor The Saxon Times
3rd March 1066
February 2016 Diary Dates
For more information on History Walks Talks visit:
David Clarke at
Monday 9th November 2015
1066 Harold’s Way
Whitfield Gardener’s Club
Whitfield Village Hall
Sandwich Road, Whitfield
Jim Morley reports:
I was 60 yesterday (Wednesday 27th November) so we decided to celebrate by undertaking my favourite leisure time activity – 1066 HaroldsWay! Exceptionally pleased to note that the Over 60’s Oystercard extends all the way to Dartford!