Battle, East Sussex facts for kids
View along the high street towards the abbey
|Battle shown within East Sussex|
|Area||31.8 km2 (12.3 sq mi)|
|• Density||503/sq mi (194/km2)|
|OS grid reference|
|• London||48 miles (77 km) NNW|
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|Ambulance||South East Coast|
|EU Parliament||South East England|
Battle is a small town and civil parish in the local government district of Rother in East Sussex, England. It lies 55 miles (89 km) south-south-east of London, 32 miles (51 km) east of Brighton and 24 miles (39 km) east of Lewes. Also nearby are Hastings to the south-east and Bexhill-on-Sea to the south. It was the site of the Battle of Hastings, where William, Duke of Normandy, defeated King Harold II to become William I in 1066. It is situated in the heart in the designated High Weald Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The parish population was 6,048 according to the 2001 census, increasing to 6,673 with the 2011 Census. It has two senior schools: Claverham Community College and Battle Abbey.
Battle Abbey was founded to commemorate the battle, and dedicated in 1095. The high altar of the Abbey church was reputedly on the spot where Harold died. The Abbey gateway is still the dominant feature of the south end of the main street, although little remains of the rest of the Abbey buildings. The remaining cloisters, part of the west range, were leased to Battle Abbey School shortly after World War I, and the school remains in occupancy to this day.
The abbey at Battle has been known for centuries as Battle Abbey. It and the abbey church were initially dedicated to St Martin, sometimes known as the "Apostle of the Gauls".
The town of Battle was gradually built around the Abbey, and later developed a reputation for the quality of the gunpowder produced in the area. In the mid-18th century, the town supported five watchmakers in the High Street. Today, Battle is known as a tourist destination.
The local Battel Bonfire Boyes is claimed to be the oldest of the Sussex Bonfire Societies. The importance of Bonfire Night in Battle is that it is located in the wooded Weald of Sussex. Most of the area was heavily wooded, which provided oak and other timbers for Navy shipyards, power for making cannons (shipped to Portsmouth or Chatham), cannonballs and gunpowder.
Battle was the birthplace in 1799 of Eliza Acton, author of the pioneering Modern Cookery for Private Families (1845) This continued to sell well for the rest of the century. Its lists of ingredients, cooking times and other innovations provided a model for the cookery section of the best-selling Mrs Beeton's Book of Household Management (1861).
Battle was a refuge in World War I, and tunnels still exist, leading from various fields and cellars to Battle Abbey itself. However, they are deemed unsafe and are now closed.
The first gunpowder mill in Battle was built in 1676 when John Hammond was granted permission to build a mill on land owned by the Abbey. A gunpowder works was located in Powdermill Lane – the remains of which have been converted into a hotel. In 1722 Daniel Defoe described the town as being "remarkable for little now, but for making the finest gun-powder, and the best perhaps in Europe". The Duke of Cleveland refused to renew the licence in 1847 after many mishaps, including one occasion in 1798 on which more than 15 tonnes of gunpowder were left in the oven for too long and exploded.
Telham Hill is about one mile (1.6 km) south-east of Senlac Hill, in East Sussex, England. It was from Telham Hill that William the Conqueror's army first caught sight of the English army forming up on Senlac Hill, for the battle of Hastings, 14 October 1066.
There are three Sites of Special Scientific Interest within the parish.
Hemingfold Meadow is a site of biological interest consisting of two meadows with nationally rare grassland species.
Darwell Wood is partially within the parish which is another site of biological importance as an example of hornbeam coppice with oak standards.
Battle is linked to Hastings and London by the A2100 (A21). This section of the A2100 was the original A21.
Battle railway station (designed by William Tress) lies on the Hastings Line, north of Crowhurst and south of Robertsbridge. There was once a station known as Mountfield Halt between Battle and Robertsbridge but this closed on 6 October 1969.
The station is managed by and the services are provided by Southeastern.
In popular culture
In Anthony Burgess' novel "Earthly Powers", Battle is the hometown of its main character, Kenneth Toomey, where Toomey's father has a dental surgery.
Three members of the alternative rock band Keane – Tom Chaplin, Tim Rice-Oxley and Richard Hughes grew up in Battle. In a song called Sovereign Light Cafe from their album Strangeland, places in Battle are mentioned – "down Powdermill Lane and the Battlegrounds". In another earlier song, Snowed Under, the B-side to the famous Somewhere Only We Know, the nearby woods "Manser's Shaw" is mentioned.
Battle is twinned with:
- Saint-Valery-sur-Somme, France
Battle, East Sussex Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.