2016 is set to be a big year for 1066 Country

Battle of Hastings re-enactment at Battle Abbey. Photo by Frank Copper. SUS-151210-072113001
Battle of Hastings re-enactment at Battle Abbey. Photo by Frank Copper. SUS-151210-072113001

The next 12 months will see 1066 Country thrust into the national spotlight as celebrations to mark the 950th anniversary of the Battle of Hastings get underway.

English Heritage, which is responsible for Battle Abbey and the battlefield, has announced that the milestone is one of the major anniversaries it will be marking next year.

Kevin Boorman, manager of 1066 Country Marketing, the private/public sector organisation which markets the area, explained : “One or two people have asked why we’re making such a big thing of a 950th anniversary.

“I can remember the massive celebrations in Hastings in 1966 but, sadly, will be 108 in 2066, so 2016 really is the best opportunity we have in our lifetime to remember what happened on October 14 1066, and the impact it had.

“The Battle of Hastings was, literally, a world-changing event which gave us the English language and our legal system, and it is only right that we commemorate it.

“And we are really delighted that English Heritage has just announced that it tops their list of next year’s most important anniversaries.

“Here in 1066 Country we have a whole series of events to mark the date, including our ROOT1066 International Festival of Contemporary Arts, which will run throughout September and up to the week of the anniversary itself, and of course our Concorde 950 commemoration and Hastings Week celebrations marking the anniversary itself.

“English Heritage will mark the anniversary with a year of activity at Norman castles and abbeys across the country, with a new exhibition opening at Battle Abbey in the summer telling the story of the battle - and visitors will be able to stand on the roof of the abbey’s great gatehouse for the first time.

“And there will of course be a re-enactment of the battle on the actual battlefield over the weekend of October 15-16.

“Our friends in Normandy are also celebrating the anniversary – their victory – at key sites such as Bayeux, Falaise and Caen.

“Indeed their tourism literature next year will bear a special slogan marking the 950th anniversary of the Battle of Hastings, which can only help raise our profile too.

“Next year promises to be incredibly exciting here in 1066 Country, with visitors flocking to the area from around the world.

“And that can only be good news for the visitor economy, and the 12,500 jobs tourism supports locally.”

Over in Battle, the Concorde 1066 group is continuing to develop its plans for Friday October 14.

The group will welcome guests from a number of different countries and local children are expected to play a major part in the celebrations.

Twenty-six local businesses have contributed to the event so far and English Heritage is also involved.

The Hastings and Battle Observers will keep you up-to-date with news of special events held across 1066 Country to mark this milestone.