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Battle Abbey, East Sussex - Framed Picture - 11" x 14"


Battle Abbey East Sussex - Framed Picture - 11" x 14"

Battle Abbey is a partially ruined Benedictine abbey in Battle, East Sussex. The abbey was built on the site of the Battle of Hastings and dedicated to St Martin of Tours.

In 1070, Pope Alexander II ordered the Normans to do penance for killing so many people during their conquest of England. In response, William the Conqueror vowed to build an abbey where the Battle of Hastings had taken place, with the high altar of its church on the supposed spot where King Harold fell in that battle on Saturday, 14 October 1066. He started building it, dedicating it to St. Martin, sometimes known as "the Apostle of the Gauls," though William died before it was completed. Its church was finished in about 1094 and consecrated during the reign of his son William known as Rufus. William I had ruled that the church of St Martin of Battle was to be exempted from all episcopal jurisdiction, putting it on the level of Canterbury.

It was remodelled in the late 13th century but virtually destroyed during the Dissolution of the Monasteries in 1538 under King Henry VIII. At the dissolution, the displaced monks of Battle Abbey were provided with pensions, including the abbot John Hamond and the prior Richard Salesherst, as well as monks John Henfelde, William Ambrose, Thomas Bede and Thomas Levett, all bachelors in theology.

The abbey and much of its land was given by Henry VIII to his friend and Master of the Horse, Sir Anthony Browne, who demolished the church and parts of the cloister and turned the abbot's quarters into a country house.

All that is left of the abbey church itself today is its outline on the ground, but parts of some of the abbey's buildings are still standing: those built between the 13th and 16th century. These are still in use as the independent Battle Abbey School.

The church's high altar reputedly stood on the spot where Harold died. This is now marked by a plaque on the ground, and nearby is a monument to Harold erected by the people of Normandy in 1903.

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