Restore statues to former glory

I AGREE wholeheartedly with Josette Vaughan about the need to have some kind of a centrepiece put back in the town centre.

The statue of Prince Albert still exists, as should some funds from the original insurance payout to repair the Albert Memorial, and from the fundraising organised by Cllrs Graeme White and Maureen Charlesworth in the 1990s, to reinstate the memorial.

Members of Hastings Local History Group, and a number of other people, have been trying to ensure that Hastings Borough Council preserves the statues of Hastings. Some are in a parlous condition, including King Harold and Edith at West Marina Gardens. This statue was designed to be displayed indoors, in the Brassey Institute (the library).

I also agree with her that the Hastings Embroidery should be put back on display - this will happen as part of my plans for a 1066 Centre, if Hastings Borough Council decides to back the scheme.

Currently, it wants to revamp the castle for 2016 first; although the two projects could be combined, this would take longer. The centre would also house a replica of the Bayeux Tapestry, which would be made locally. Further details may be seen on the Bohemia Village Voice website (www.bohemiavillage.com).

However, I disagree with her views re: William the Conqueror’s Stone exists, on the seafront opposite the Royal Victoria Hotel.

William richly deserved his name of ‘the Bastard’: his army’s actions resulted in the deaths of roughly one-fifth of the native English population, and even by the lower standards of the time, his actions counted as a war crime, for which the Pope imposed penances, after an investigation. William came close to destroying England as a country - we had an advanced currency, administration and culture, and a high level of literacy.

William probably couldn’t even read, and he soon gave up on his attempt to learn to speak English; Harold was multilingual and owned a library.

Alfred the Great should be considered the founder of England; although he was only ever King of Wessex, his marriage alliances resulted in his grandson Edmund I being the first King of a united England, more than 200 years before William invaded.

Alfred was a sophisticated thinker who, as well as pushing back the Vikings, founded burhs (the origin of many towns) as strongpoints to which the population could flee when attacked, started the Anglo-Saxon Chronicles as an official history, had books translated into English, and encouraged all his thegns to learn to read and write.

HEATHER GRIEF

Honorary Secretary

Hastings Local History Group

Tower Road West

St Leonards