On the trail of King Harold's love

A statue in St Leonards of the fallen King Harold in the arms of his mistress Edith Swan-Neck became the inspiration for an epic walk by Hastings based film-maker Andrew Kotting and writer Iain Sinclair.

Thursday, 15th September 2016, 9:37 am
Updated Thursday, 7th June 2018, 11:38 pm
Andrew Kotting Edith film SUS-160914-110201001
Andrew Kotting Edith film SUS-160914-110201001

It also resulted in a new film and live performance, which can be seen on Saturday September 18 at the Kino Teatr, Norman Road, St Leonards.

The work also cements an evolving partnership between Kotting and Sinclair.

They worked together on the film Swandown, which saw them navigating their way from the beach at Hastings to Hackney in a swan pedalo, and more recently on By Ourselves, which followed the walk by country poet John Clare from an asylum in Epping Forest back to his native Northamptonshire.

Andrew Kotting Edith Film 2 SUS-160914-110215001

Talking about his latest venture Andrew explained: “It started off as a very small project commissioned by the Root 1066 festival.

Ian became involved and insisted we walk from Waltham Abbey 104 miles back to the statue in St Leonards.”

Waltham Abbey is where King Harold is alleged to have been given a Christian burial.

Edith is remembered in history and folklore chiefly because it was she who identified Harold’s body after the Battle of Hastings.

Edith by Andrew Kotting SUS-160914-121514001

During the walk Edith was represented by local singer Claudia Barton. Drummer David Aylward and musician and former Pogues member Jem Finer also made the journey.

They will be joining Andrew and Iain for the live performance at the Kino on Saturday.

Andrew first rose to prominence as a film-maker with Gallivant, a film which chronicled a journey around the coast of Britain accompanied by his grandmother and daughter Eden, who was aged seven at the time.

The work won him the Channel 4 Best New Director prize.

Iain Sinclair is arguably one of Britain’s greatest living writers, with key works such as Downriver and London Orbital.

An exhibition of pin-hole photographs, taken during the 104 mile walk by Anonymous Bosch, is currently on display at the Black Shed Gallery in Robertsbridge, until October 1.

The Edith performance at The Kino starts at 8pm. Tickets are £10, bookable at kino-teatr.co.uk.

Local artist Bob Humm will be showing a condensed, five minute version of the film in his two-seater flat-packed cinema at Grosvenor Gardens, St Leonards on Sunday September 18, between 11am and 4pm. It is free, just come along.

For more details of the ongoing Root 1066 Festival visit www.1066contemporary.com.

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