Here's our coaches outside the hotel where we stayed, right on the seafront in Eastbourne, on the first morning, waiting to take us on our first excursion.
Here I am on the short walk down to the seafront right opposite the hotel.
Pevensey Bay was where William the Conquerer invaded England in 1066. King Harold and his army were fighting further north when the invasion took place, as soon as word got through Harold and his army headed south to meet the invaders who were marching north. They met at a place called Battle. Contrary to popular belief the Battle of Hastings did not actually take place in Hastings but in Battle!
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 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. Unfortunately we couldn't go in the Abbey as it was closed to the public until the end of March.
Battle is a lovely little town with quaint buildings,
St. Mary the Virgin, which has been at the centre of Christian life in Battle for nearly 900 years. This beautiful Parish Church was founded by Abbot Ralph circa. A.D.1115. The Benedictine Abbey of St. Martin was built on the battlefield of the Norman conquest and established St. Mary's to serve the community which had grown up around the monastery. The church is a haven of peace and worship built on the battlefield where in 1066 both Norman and Saxon died and history was made.
As you can see from the photos it was a lovely day weatherwise, we headed back towards where the coaches were parked having a cup of coffee at a nearby cafe before enjoying the sunshine in a small square,
Royal Tunbridge Wells for lunch. The town came into being as a spa in Georgian times and had its heyday as a tourist resort under Beau Nash when the Pantiles, a Georgian colonnade formerly known as The Walks and the (Royal) Parade, it leads from the well that gave the town its name. The area was created following the discovery of a chalybeate spring in the early 17th century and is now a popular tourist attraction. Chalybeate water was said to have health-giving properties and many people have promoted its qualities. Dudley North, 3rd Baron North discovered the chalybeate spring at Tunbridge Wells in 1606. Dudley North's physician claimed that the waters contained 'vitriol' and the waters of Tunbridge Wells could cure:
- "the colic, the melancholy, and the vapours; it made the lean fat, the fat lean; it killed flat worms in the belly, loosened the clammy humours of the body, and dried the over-moist brain."
- "These waters youth in age renew
- Strength to the weak and sickly add
- Give the pale cheek a rosy hue
- And cheerful spirits to the sad."
The above photo was taken as we walked back through the Pantiles after walking the length of the main street in the town and having lunch. I don't know why but we didn't take any more photos in Tunbridge, there were lots of antique shops in the Pantiles and little cafes and restaurants, and a pub which we just had to call in to sample the beer!
Unfortunately it was time to board our coach to go back to the hotel to get ready for dinner. I hope you enjoyed reading about our venture into Battle, join me next time for Eastbourne Part 2 to see the legendary Beachy Head.