New Work – Attack on Cambridge University

Attack on Cambridge University

Evaluation and reflection:

I knew that trying to make photographs at Corpus Christi College in Cambridge would be challenging but it is often more rewarding if there are hurdles to jump! The college itself was closed to the public that day so I could either take a picture of the exterior or try to shoot through the entrance way. In the end I did both. The college building itself looks quite different to the original buildings that were attacked in 1381. Because of this my photographs document visually how the place has been transformed since then. The element of change and transition are key elements in my body of work.

My favourite two photographs below are quite different. The first image has an almost street photography feel about. Because of the long exposure some of the figures in the scene are blurred, it does not matter, in fact I like it. For me it echoes the classic imagery of Atget’s Paris street views. The people are of secondary importance to the buildings. It is almost a reminder of the ephemeral nature of human life and the longevity of structures created by man. After framing the scene in the viewfinder of my camera I had to wait until the people walking through the scene were in the ‘correct’ positions for the image to be balanced. I took many pictures until I felt that I had captured one that I was happy with. I recall from my previous research how Henri Cartier Bresson would frame a scene and wait for people to enter it. This approach requires a lot of patience and a little bit of luck!

The second photograph made while looking through the entrance way captures a frontal view of the college. The strength in this image lies in its symmetry and the early evening light falling on the front wall and windows creating contrast and accentuating the details. I always liked how Walker Evans’ photographed buildings head on. His pictures were nearly always technically perfect and created a strong symmetrical balance that emphasised shapes. I also admire the precision and perfection in the photographs of German photographer Thomas Struth. His photographs of buildings using large format cameras are awe inspiring and I always strive to reach his level of craftsmanship.

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On 15th June 1381, Corpus Christi College in Cambridge was attacked. The college itself was burned and many royal officials were killed (The Peasants Revolt, 1381).

 

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On 15th June 1381, Corpus Christi College in Cambridge was attacked. The college itself was burned and many royal officials were killed. (The Peasants Revolt, 1381)

 

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New Work – The Battle of Tempsford

The Battle of Tempsford

Note for assessors – This post is one of several which discuss and explore my new work. The text in my ‘New Work’ posts demonstrate comprehensive knowledge of professional contexts relevant to my practice. Here is a link to my other ‘New Work’ posts.

https://kwphotography3sustainingyourpractice.wordpress.com/category/new-work/

Evaluation and reflection –

Visiting this historical site in Bedfordshire proved to be both surprising and intriguing. I knew from my research that a small dry island existed with a moat in the location where King Guthrum was killed during a battle. Unfortunately when I arrived the playing field which accesses the site was locked up and closed even though it is a registered heritage site. Luckily I managed to access the site via a field at the back, I just needed to do a little bit of trekking.

Quite often the places I visit retrospectively have no visible signs of the battle or fortifications. But here I was welcomed by quite significant evidence of a fortification. Simon Norfolk often utilised the ruin as a trope in his imagery made in war torn Afganistan and Iraq. His ‘late photographs’ explore in a pictorial way the devastation of war a short time after the event. I on the other hand am visiting this site more than a thousand years later. It left me thinking what do I photograph? Do I try to evidence the ‘ruins’ or should I try something less obvious? I decided to try and capture the aura of the place by studying the early evening light falling on the old oak trees that stand prominently on the island. These trees signified for me the essence and perseverance of nature. In a place where hundreds of men fought and died a quiet calm has now descended onto this location. Knowing the history of the place allowed me to consider what had happened here and the effects on the local area and the whole country. I believe the Vikings defeat here led to to them eventually being evicted from Britain altogether.

After looking through all the images I made here I settled on the one below. I love the light, the details on the oak tree and in the lower third of the picture the edge of the moat can be seen. The composition hints at the pictorialism that Norfolk is so fond of. I like the beauty of the scene as it is in stark contrast to the horrors that once happened here.

KMW_0676Sat5Sharp100Hundreds of Vikings were slaughtered including King Guthrum II (King of the Danes) during the Battle of Tempsford in 917 AD (Britons, Saxons and Vikings).

KMW_071124x20Hundreds of Vikings were slaughtered including King Guthrum II (King of the Danes) during the Battle of Tempsford in 917 AD (Britons, Saxons and Vikings).

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New work – Battle of Wheathampstead

The Battle of Wheathampstead 

Evaluation and reflection –

‘by portraying happenstance marks or subtle features that allude to a violent past or evoke collective memory within the sublime and pastoral character of landscape.
The natural world is both one of beauty and of violence or cruelty, both always there and existing in each other’s shadows’ (Bart Michiels, Brussels). This quote taken from the website of Bart Michiels is an eloquent description of his photographs made for The Course of History project. This quote could also describe some of the images made for my Conflict, Memory and Landscape project. My photograph below shows what remains of an ancient Celtic fortification that was involved in a desisive battle with the Romans more than two thousand years ago. When I arrived at this historical site I contemplated the interaction between these ancient marks and the beautiful surroundings that over the course of two thousand years had changed significantly. It seems quite incredible that any evidence of the bloody battle that occurred here still exist at all!

Although the light was good a thunder storm was brewing. It was quite dark in the late afternoon so I needed the sun shining through the branches of the trees to highlight and emphasis the shape of the trees and the background. I feel that their is an impeding moodiness in the image because of the changing light although this is quite subtle. The trees work as an effective metaphor for the fallen men that fought and died here. One of my favourite things about ‘late photography’ is how the images can be read in various ways by the audience. The artist can introduce motifs and tropes to the images but ultimately the viewer will decipher the picture front of them in their own way. The title plays a huge part in the interpretation of this type of photography. It gives the image meaning and allows the viewer to visualise the bloody battles that happened there. The title that I included is factual and based on my research. The interaction between text and image are vital to communicate in the best way possible my interpretation of this place effected by violence. I hope that by emphasising the beauty found in this location I will grab the attention of the audience. Once I have their attention a deeper interaction with the subject will then take place.

KMW_0573Sat5Sharp100An unknown number of tribesmen were killed during the Battle of Wheathampstead in 54 BC. It’s thought British losses would have been significant as it led to the surrender of the Celtic tribes in Britain to Julius Caesar (Gallic Wars).

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New work – The Siege of Hertford

The Siege of Hertford

Evaluation and reflection –

Hertford Castle is an intriguing place. The original castle walls still exist almost intact. Within the outer walls a much newer ‘castle’ building exists. Because it is in the centre of Hertford it is completely surrounded by new and old houses and flats. This made it very difficult to visualise the site from a distance. I had to photograph from quite close which limited my options slightly. I recalled some of Simon Norfolk’s more abstract images from his Bleed project made after the Balkans War. I think his approach influenced the way I looked at Hertford Castle. Another possible influence for me was Richard Billingham’s Landscapes 2001-2003. In his book several of his photographs are dominated by almost abstact viewpoints of vegetation and foliage. Canopy, 2001 and Hunza Valley, 2001 are exellent examples of this.

Although I made an image that I liked it was not very clear that the subject was actually a castle. I wanted to make another more descriptive photograph that shows the audience what they are actually looking at. This led to the second more obvious image. The light that day was a bit flat but it was perfect to accentuate the details in the gardens that lined the inside walls. I liked how the walls were becoming engulfed with foliage which cleverly evokes the passing of time. It is a distinct reminder of the power of nature and whatever man does to the landscape one day it will revert back to its ‘natural’ state.

Hertford324x20Sat5Vib10Sharp100KMW_0588Sat5Vib10Sharp10024x20An unknown number of soldiers and civilians were killed during the The Siege of Hertford Castle between the 12th November – 6th December 1216 (First Barons War).

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Research – New work – English battlefields

The Battle of Wheathampstead (Gallic Wars, 55 – 54 BC)

Location: Dyke Lane, Wheathampstead, Hertfordshire, England, AL4 8PF. Dyke Lane, just off Marford Road on the east side of Wheathampstead.

Date: 54 BC

Casulties: Unknown although it’s thought British losses would have been significant as it led to the surrender of the Celtic tribes in Britain to Julius Caesar.

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http://www.wheathampsteadheritage.org.uk/history-society-sources.asp

Click to access Battle%20of%20Wstead%20by%20Anthony.pdf

http://www.wheathampsteadheritage.org.uk/wheathampstead-trail-2.asp

https://catuvellauni.wordpress.com/wheathampstead/

 

Battle of Tempsford (Viking Invasions of England, 917 AD)

Location: Tempsford village, Bedfordshire. A Danish burh or fortification once stood close to the river Ouse. Leave at the Tempsford junction on the A1 and stop halfway down Church Street; cross the playing fields to a dry island. It is accessed by a low bridge over what would have been water and marsh.

Date: 917 AD

Casualties: Many were slaughtered including King Guthrum II (King of the Danes). Also noble earls Jarls Toglos and Manna were killed, their followers were taken prisoner.

https://vikinghistorytales.blogspot.com/2013/11/917-aethelflaed-won.html

http://bedsarchives.bedford.gov.uk/CommunityArchives/Bedford/BedfordAndTheVikings.aspx

https://www.modquokka.com/single-post/2018/06/11/Vikings-in-Tempsford-and-Sandy

 

Attack on Corpus Christi College in Cambridge  (The Peasants Revolt, 1381)

Location: Corpus Christi College, Cambridge.

Date: 15th June 1381.

Casualties: The college itself was burned and many royal officials were killed.

 

https://d.lib.rochester.edu/teams/text/dean-medieval-english-political-writings-literature-of-richard-iis-reign-and-the-peasants-revolt-introduction

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Wrawe

 

The Battle of North Walsham (The Peasants Revolt, 1381)

Other battles at Cambridge? Tower of London?

Location: North Walsham Heath, south of the town. Monument to the Peasants Revolt, 1381, Norwich Road, North Walsham. This 14th century “perch” cross standing by Monument Cottage on Norwich Road, is on what was heathland to the south of North Walsham, near the site. The leader of the rebels Geoffrey Litster was found in a corn field nearby and drawn, hung and quartered after the battle.

Date: 25th June 1381.

Casualties: Less of a battle and more a massacre. Hundreds of rebels were slaughtered where they hid and as they retreated to the town. Many barricaded themselves in the church and were killed there.

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https://wikimili.com/en/Battle_of_North_Walsham

Lost in a Landscape: North Walsham – The revolt

https://www.northwalshamarchive.co.uk/photo/the-monument-north-walsham-marking-the-site-of-the-peasant-s-rebellion-1381

https://www.edp24.co.uk/news/alan-partridge-s-bbc-battle-of-north-walsham-1-5921408

https://www.northwalshamguide.co.uk/north-walsham-history-general_142.aspx

Click to access bfm%3A978-1-349-16990-0%2F1.pdf

 

The Siege of Hertford Castle (First Barons War, 1215 – 1217)

Location: Hertford Castle

Date: 12th November to 6th December 1216

Casualties: Unknown number killed and injured.

 

https://www.hertfordshirelife.co.uk/out-about/the-siege-of-hertford-castle-1-4657825

 

The Bombing of London (World War 1, 1914 – 1918)

Zeppelin raids

Date: 7th July 1917 and 8th September 1915

Location: St Bartholomew’s Hospital, London.

First air-raid  by German aeroplanes

Date: 4th September 1917

Location: Embankment, London. Sphinx and Cleopatra’s needle.

Casualties: 667 people killed and 1,936 injured.

https://encyclopedia.1914-1918-online.net/article/london_bombing_of

 

The Battle of Britain (World War 2, 1939 – 1945)

Locations: St Paul Cathedral, V & A Museum, junction at Mansell Street and Chambers Street, St Clement Dane’s in the Strand.

Date: July 1940 to June 1941.

Casualties: 18,413 killed on both sides.

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https://www.britannica.com/event/the-Blitz

 

The Siege of Colchester (English Civil War, 1642 – 1651)

Location: St Marys Church, St Botolph’s Priory, St Martin’s Church, Siege House all in Colchester.

Date: Summer of 1648

Casualties: About 2000 were killed of injured during the siege. Unknown amount of civilians died.

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http://www.historyhouse.co.uk/articles/siege.html

New work – Battle of Maldon

Battle of Maldon

Evaluation and reflection –

I’m not sure why but this photograph reminds me of a photograph by Alec Soth – The Farm, Angola State Prison, Louisiana 2002. I think it’s the rule of thirds thing and the amount of open sky that is visible. In Soth’s image a dirt track leads the eye towards a modern day tragedy. In my image a land bridge leading towards a tiny island recalls a historical event that happened over a thousand years ago. There is something magical about the clouds. I wanted them to be pronounced in my photograph as they look timeless and beautiful. They would have appeared the same in 991 AD.

My photograph made near Maldon in Essex was hard-won. The island was extremely difficult to find. A lack of mobile Internet meant that I had to phone my wife to give me directons by looking at Google earth on the computer at home. Also I wasn’t sure of the exact time of the tides. Luckily I waited around long enough that the tide eventually went out revealing the land bridge which the Vikings used to cross the sea before attacking Maldon. It is interesting to note that this location has hardly changed since those times. A few electricity poles visible in the distance reveal to the viewer that we are looking at a contemporary scene. It was late in the afternoon and I was hoping that the dramatic clouds would add mood to my image. After spending many hours at the location and making lots of photographs from various viewpoints I was happy that I had captured what I wanted. Unfortunately the gate where I had entered had been locked and I was stuck there possibly all night.

 

Maldon24x20Sat5Sharp100NEWNewAn unknown number of men were killed or injured during the Battle of Maldon on 10th August 991 (Britons, Saxons and Vikings).

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New work – Battle of Northampton

Battle of Northampton

Evaluation and reflection –

After studying maps which showed the troop movements on the day of the battle, it seemed that the landscape had changed little since 1460. Despite this I really seemed to struggle at this location to make photographs that I was really happy with. A defensive ditch from the time of the battle is still there and I walked along it trying to find some interesting viewpoints. Eventually I came across the back-lit old oak trees in the first image below. The light was beautiful and I got that gut feeling that I often do, this was my picture! Christian Schwager made a series of beautiful images for his project My Lovely Bosnia: Bljeceva, 2004. In some of his photographs he captures serine looking woodlands. The places he photographs are however hiding a terrible danger, unexploded bombs and mines litter the places that he visits. The horrors of war are still fresh there. My photograph was made in a somewhat safer environment but at the time it was a place of terrible carnage and death.

The second image reminds me of the open fields where the bloody battle took place. Although there seems to be little visual interest my high resolution digital camera shows incredible detail in the grass and trees blowing the wind and the clouds above. It is a subtle image which is made more intense when reading the history of the place. Christoph Schutz made some similar looking images for Gaza 0109, 2009. They rely heavily on strong composition using the rule of thirds. Schutz’s photographs have an almost dreamlike quality about them the daylight really seems to be glowing on the land.

 

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NorthamptonSat5Sharp70More than 3000 men were killed or injured during the Battle of Northampton on 10th July 1460 (Wars of the Roses).

 

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New work – Conflict, Memory and Landscape (research)

New work – Conflict, Memory and Landscape

While researching the genre of ‘late photography’ for Contextual Studies I came across several photographic-artists that used the genre very effectively to photograph places altered by conflict. Bart Michiels, Simon Norfolk and Richard Misrach spring immediately to mind. My body of work so far has concentrated on places effected violent crime. Now I am on the final course of my degree I thought it would be good to start expanding my project to include places altered by conflict (specifically historical battlefields in England). I have always had a keen interest in the history of conflict so it seems only natural to go in this direction for the final leg of my degree. I plan to photograph between 12-14 sites altered by conflict around the UK. I could include battlefields from the Civil War, the Wars of the Roses and even older conflicts with the Norman and Vikings. I have found some very useful websites that give consise information about various battles often including dates, number of combatants casualties and locations. It will be good to do some more practical work after spending a lot of time preparing for assessments at the start of this year. I aim to photograph the locations at roughly the same time that the battles took place, this will allow me to record each site with lighting similar to the day of the battle.

https://www.historic-uk.com/HistoryMagazine/DestinationsUK/The-Battle-of-StowontheWold/

Britishbattles.com

http://www.battlefieldstrust.com/resource-centre/battlefieldsuk/

 

 

Hertfordshire

1st Battle of St Albans – 22nd May 1455 (Wars of the Roses).

Place – Streets of St Albans

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Sopwell Lane barricade

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Victoria Street Barricade

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Time – Mid-morning

Casualties – About 150.

 

2nd Battle of St Albans – 17th February 1461 (Wars of the Roses).

Place – In the town of St Albans and to the north.

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Time – Dawn.

Casualties  – About 2500.

 

Battle of Barnet – 14th April 1471 (Wars of the Roses)

Casualties – around 3000 men were kill or injured.

Time – Battle started at 5am in the morning.

Place – The exact location is Gladmore Heath (now called Hadley Green) in Monken Hadley, to the north of Barnet. An obelisk was built at the exact location of the battlefield to commemorate the decisive battle, but was later moved 300 metres away to he north.

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Essex

Battle of Maldon – 10th August 991 (Britons, Saxons and Vikings).

Time – Battle started when low tide allowed the Vikings to cross the land bridge from the island at about 1pm.

Casualties – unknown.

Place – “The Vikings sailed up to a small island in the river. At low tide, the river leaves a land bridge from this island to the shore; the description seems to have matched the Northey Island causeway at that time. This would place the site of the battle about two miles southeast of Maldon.”

 

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London

Battle of Brentwood – 12th November 1642 (Civil war).

Place – Brentford bridge (over the river Brent) was one of the key locations. Near Kew Gardens.

Casualties – 170 killed and unknown number injured.

Time – Midday and into the afternoon.

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“On earlier reaching London the Earl of Essex had not been idle and had rapidly positioned men on the western approaches to London. One force covered the bridge at Kingston upon Thames while another, to the west, barricaded the small town of Brentford, the main crossing of a tributary to the Thames, concentrating their efforts in the proximity of the bridge that connected Old Brentford to New Brentford and the Bath Road (which passes Colnbrook) to London”.

“The parliamentary pickets at Sir Richard Wynn’s House were cleared by Salisbury’s regiment and the royalists advanced to find the entrance to Brentford blocked by a small barricade, probably at the bridge across the River Brent. A further royalist attack by 1,000 musketeers dislodged the parliamentary troops there in under one hour and forced them to retreat to another defensive barricade, probably located on the crest of the rising ground near the modern day Ferry Lane. This was defended by Lord Brooke’s purple coated regiment of foot and two small pieces of artillery. The royalists seem to have had some difficulty in overcoming this obstacle, assaulting it with six regiments of foot and being forced to outflank the position to make it untenable”.

Battlefield-Trail-Leaflet

http://www.battlefieldstrust.com/brentfordandturnhamgreen/visiting/battlefield-trails.htm

Battle of Turnham Green – 13th November 1642 (Civil war).

Casualties – More of a skirmish with less than 50 casualties on both sides.

Time – The battle lasted all day from morning until evening and concluded with a Royalist retreat.

Place – “The site of the battle was then open fields,[3] but is now urbanised, forming part of the Chiswick area of London. Most of the Turnham Green itself has been lost, with only a small park retaining the name. The Great West Road still runs on almost the same alignment.[7]

The Parliamentary forces were deployed in a line running south from the location of the present-day Turnham Green station, to the grounds of Chiswick House,[7]which had been built in c. 1610 (the current house was built in the 1720s on the same site). The slightly shorter Royalist line started just south of today’s Chiswick Park station and extended southwards to the Great West Road”.

 

Northamptonshire

Battle of Northampton – 10th July 1460 (Wars of the Roses)

Place – Delapre Park, Northampton.

Delapre Park is open to the public and access is possible by footpath across the battlefield, including the golf course, provided recognised footpaths are observed. A battlefield room with interactive displays is located in the Delapre Abbey visitor attraction.

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Time – 2pm

Casualties – More than 3000.

Battle of Edgcote – 26th July 1469 (Wars of the Roses)

Place – “The Battle of Edgecote Moor took place 6 miles (9.7 km) north east of Banbury, Oxfordshire, in what is now the civil parish of Chipping Warden and Edgcote, England on 26 July 1469 during the Wars of the Roses. The site of the battle was actually Danes Moor in Northamptonshire, at a crossing of a tributary of the River Cherwell”.

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Time – Morning

Casualties – Uncertain but thought to be high.

Battle of Naseby – 14th June 1645 (Civil war)

Place – Broad Moor, Naseby.

Time – Morning

Casualties – About 2000 killed. Unusually 100 women found in the Royalist camp were slaughtered after the battle by Parliamentary soldiers.

 

Oxfordshire

Battle of Chalgrove (Field) – 18th June 1643 (Civil war). (Note – near Didcot)

Place – “Chalgrove battlefield remains largely as agricultural land. The World War II airfield to the west covers a substantial area of land but appears not to impinge upon the core of the battlefield. The battlefield lies between the airfield and Warpsgrove Lane, thought the precise area of deployment is the subject of some debate. Cases have been put forward for the Upper Marsh Lane area by the Chalgrove Battlefield Group or closer to the airfield by others. To the east of Warpsgrove Lane there is extensive industrial development”.

“The area is legally protected being a registered battlefield with English Heritage. It is marked by the Hampden Monument,[1] a stone obeliskerected for the battle’s bicentenary in 1843.[29]However it should be noted that the monument does not actually mark the site of the battle. The main focus of the battle was 770 yards north of the monument”.

Warpsgrove Lane passed through a gap in the Great Hedge.

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Time – 9:30am

Casualties – Between 100-200.

Battle of Cropredy Bridge – 29 June 1644 (Civil war). (Note – This is close to Edgcote).

Place – “Access to the battlefield, bridges and fords is good, with a network of public rights of way across much of the area. Only Hay’s bridge and the action in that quarter of the battlefield is more difficult of access, mainly due to the volume and speed of the traffic on the A361, which even lacks a substantial roadside verge. The prospect from the hills near Bourton and near Williamscot are particularly rewarding for an overview of the battlefield. However, despite the fact that the bridge has long since been completely rebuilt, the centrepiece of any visit has to be to Cropredy bridge itself, where an interpretation panel has been erected by the Battlefields Trust”.

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Time – Morning (lasted all day)

Casualties – More than 500.

 

Gloustershire

Battle of Stow on the Wold – 21st March 1646 (Civil war)

Place – One mile north west of the town, concluding with fighting retreat in the town ending at the market Square. A424 near Greenfield Farm.

Time – Early morning.

Casualties – About 2000 killed, injured or taken prisoner.

 

Berkshire

Battle of Newbury I – 20th September 1643 (Civil war)

Battle of Newbury II – 27th October 1644 (Civil war)

 

East Sussex

Battle of Lewes – 14th May 1264 (Medieval)

Place – Offham Hill, North West of Lewes.

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Time – Morning, started at dawn.

Casualties – At least 2700 killed or injured.

Sussex

Battle of Hastings – 14th October 1066 (Britons, Saxons and Vikings)

Place – Senlac Hill, town of Battle, seven miles North of Hastings.

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Time – Morning. Fighting continued all day.

Casualties – About 6000 killed.