Le Souvenir Normande—The Battle of Hastings—Normans and Saxons on the eve—Taillefer—The battle cries—The death of Harold—Harold's body: three stories—The field of blood—Building the Abbey—The Abbot's privileges—Royal visitors—A great feast—The suppression of the Abbey—Present-day Battle—An incredible butler—Ashburnham—The last forge—Ninfield—Crowhurst.
The principal excursion from Hastings is of course to Battle, whither a company of discreetly satisfied Normans—Le Souvenir Normande—recently travelled, to view with tactfully chastened enthusiasm the scene of the triumph of 1066; to erect a memorial; and to perplex the old ladies of Battle who provide tea. Except on one day of the week visitors to Battle must content themselves with tea (of which there is no stint) and a view of the gateway, for the rule of showing the Abbey only on Tuesdays is strictly enforced by the American gentleman who now resides on this historic site. But the gateway could hardly be finer.
The battle-field was half a mile south of the Abbey, on Telham hill, where in Harold's day was a hoary apple tree. We have seen William landing at Pevensey on September 28, 1066: thence he marched to Hastings "to steal food," and thence, after a delay of a fortnight (to some extent spent in fortifying Hastings, and also in burning his boats), he marched to Telham hill. That was on October 13. On the same day Harold reached the neighbourhood, with his horde of soldiers