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Battle, East Sussex derives its name from the Battle of Hastings, which was fought between Harold the Saxon King and William the Conqueror in 1066. The battle was so significant it changed the course of English history. The town grew up around the Abbey of St Martin which was built by William the Conqueror after the battle.
Battle has some notable Georgian buildings along its High Street. The cottages and houses near the Abbey date from around 1700. The parish church of St Mary was built in Norman times and for the most part is the 12th century in construction. It offers the visitor rare 14th-century wall paintings and a Norman font amongst other things. At the Northern end of the High Street can be found the Almonry which was built in 1090 and now houses the Town Council and the Battle Museum of Local History.
Set within the beautiful, originally Elizabethan, walled gardens of The Almonry, Battle Museum of Local History has its roots in the community. It arose from the 1951 Festival of Britain when the people of the town contributed historic objects for an exhibition which eventually led to the creation of the Museum itself. The Museum has worked in the community ever since.
The Museum has experts, exhibits and archives which bring out heritage for local organisations. In recent years the Museum has supported Battle Town Council, the Battle Arts and Music Festival, the Library, St Mary's Church and other leading organisations with their need for advice about local history and for exhibitions about the history of the town.
The countryside surrounding Battle is a real hidden gem. Easily accessible directly from the high street, it attracts both serious and recreational walkers who are supported and encouraged by a number of local walking groups including the Battle Ramblers and The Conservation Volunteers.
Staffed by volunteers and with free entry this is a must visit in historic Battle. This compact museum covers local history with exhibits including a saxon war axe, the gunpowder industry, the oldest Guy in the world and much more. The custodians are well informed which is more than can be said for those at the more famous and expensive Battle Abbey down the road. Go and also enjoy the Almonry gardens in which it is located.
We all know the saying - good things come in small packages. This little museum is a fine example of that. Nicely laid out exhibits and friendly staff. An interesting introduction to the area and its history - and as others have indicated, not just about 1066. And free.
Facilities & information
13th century buildings (or older)
Arrival information & directions