Friday 9th June 2018
The weather has been very kind to us for our stay in Hastings. Our last full day was one of glorious sunshine and little breeze making for a pleasant morning walk and ideal conditions for visiting Battle, the site of the Battle of Hastings.
We set of by 11 am for the 20 minute drive to the site and took the audio guide tour of the historic grounds. Further money was saved again today thanks to our Heritage Pass; 13 GBP each for entry and 3 GBP on the parking!
The Battle of Hastings was one of the most significant events of English history and occurred on October 14th, 1066. This also marks the last successful invasion of England. William the Conqueror, from Normandy, thought he was the legitimate heir to the throne of England following the death of Edward the Confessor. The self-appointed King Harold had other ideas though and, hence, the monumental and pivotal battle at this site marking the end of Anglo Saxon England. William was victorious in this Battle and went on to build a Benedictine Abbey in 1070 to commemorate the many fallen with the Abbey Church built over the site where King Harold was believed to have fallen for the last time. However, the Abbey Church was later destroyed by King Henry VIII during the 16th century Reformation and all that remains today is an outline of the Church with a stone marking the site of the original Altar and site where Harold fell. A co-educational school now occupies part of the original Abbey grounds; Battle Abbey School, and this is located in what was the Abbot’s private quarters and it was lovely to see the students playing outside during their lunch break. Ramsgate and Hastings don’t seem to have many young folk, or few that we’ve seen anyway, and so it was lovely to see the gathering of young students. This absence of youth is especially pronounced for us given our home location is disproportionately represented by this cohort.
It was about 1.30 pm by the time we finished our visit and we headed across the road to the very pretty Abbey Hotel and shared a Ploughman’s platter for lunch. We then walked up and down a section of the High Street which is a narrow but pretty thoroughfare lined with properties dating back to the 1700s. The mix of shops here were more interesting and upmarket than Hastings but we feared going in as the prices on many items were rather steep! I spied a nice jacket for Mark but it translated to around $400 AUD! So we headed home to rest up a bit before dinner which was booked for 7 pm at an West African / Caribbean restaurant in at St Leonards.
It was such a beautiful afternoon that we decided to set out for once last Hastings walk before dinner and what better place could we walk to than another pub for Mark. We had spied a sign advertising a new craft beer venture called Brewing Brothers and so that’s where we set off to. It took 40 minutes of uphill and down dale to get there and, whilst the pub itself was nice, it was set in the boondocks and on a busy intersection; busy for Hastings that is. The only question that I could keep asking was: why would they set up here? We could teach them a few other lessons too and Mark did broach one idea with them; that is, the idea of using paddles to serve samples of their beer. Mark had a couple of beers and then we set off for the 35 minute walk to dinner at Mamma Putts. Mark enjoyed his meal but I found it all too spicy and rather disappointing. Despite the cloth napkins and nice setting, this is not a place I’d return to.