Archaeologists Dig Up Medieval Arrow Head At Battle Abbey

By David Prudames | 02 August 2004
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Shows a photograph of the exterior of the Great Gatehouse at Battle Abbey. The large stone building is framed by trees and shadow.

Photo: the Great Gatehouse at Battle Abbey, Battle, East Sussex. © English Heritage.

Archaeologists working at Battle Abbey in East Sussex have made a series of discoveries that shed new light on the history of the ancient building and its grounds.

The works, taking place ahead of an extension of Battle Abbey School’s classroom facilities, have revealed the remains of a medieval monastery, a Victorian fountain and a medieval arrowhead.

Discovered by experts from Archaeology South East, the finds have now been recorded and analysed and are already extending our knowledge of a well-known site.

"We are delighted to have discovered more of the abbey’s history during the course of this project," said Paul Roberts, English Heritage Inspector of Ancient Monuments. "It makes one wonder how much more awaits discovery."

Shows a painting depicting an artist's impression of the Battle of Hastings.

Photo: The Battle of Hastings (1820) by Frank W. Wilkin. © English Heritage.

It was at Battle that one of the most famous and decisive incidents in English history took place, when William the Conqueror defeated King Harold at the Battle of Hastings in 1066.

Shortly afterwards, William had a church consecrated on the site and it is the west end of this monastery church that archaeologists believe they have found. This builds on the discovery two years ago of the church’s inner walls.

A medieval arrowhead was also unearthed nearby and dates back to sometime between the 11th and 14th centuries. It is thought that it may have been used for hunting at the site.

On a larger scale, archaeologists believe the remains of a large circular fountain may have formed the centrepiece of a formal garden planted by the Duchess of Cleveland who lived at Battle Abbey between 1857 and 1901.

Shows a photograph of the exterior of Battle Abbey. It is a large stone building with a central gatehouse. There is a road in front of it.

Photo: Battle Abbey. Photo: Jonathan Bailey. © English Heritage.

Although many of the abbey’s buildings were destroyed during the Reformation, the Abbot’s house survived and passed into private hands.

Battle Abbey School was founded in 1922 and has occupied a number of buildings dating back to the 12th century ever since.

"English Heritage endeavours to find modern uses for historic buildings and ancient monuments that enable us to preserve them for future generations," added Paul Roberts.

"We are pleased to work with Battle Abbey School which is aware of the importance of extending its facilities within the context of its historical significance."

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