Battle Abbey

Battle Abbey


Location: High St., Battle Map

Found: 1070

Dedicated to: St. Martin

Tel. 01424 775705

Open: Easter- Sep: 10am- 6pm daily

Oct- Easter: 10am- 4pm daily

Closed: 1 Jan, 24- 26 Dec

Official site

Reenactment sites:

Site 1

Site 2


History of Battle Abbey

Battle Abbey

Battle Abbey despite being a  Christian monastery takes its name after the Battle of Hastings where Norman king William the Conqueror defeated king Harold on 14 October 1066. Battle Abbey was build on the very site of the medieval battle that changed the history of United Kingdom. Roman pope Alexander II upon learning about brutality and violence during conquest of England by William the Conqueror, ordered construction of the monastery as a remembrance of all those souls that perished on both sides. Norman king was forced to obey. He found Battle Abbey and dedicated it to St. Martin known sometimes as the Apostle of the Gauls that according to the Church oral tradition visited in antiquity. The altar of the main church was erected on a site where Anglo- Saxon king Harold was killed. William the Conqueror exempted the church of St. Martin from all Episcopal jurisdiction, making it a semi- independent entity. As with many Catholic monasteries in England, Battle Abbey was abandoned on the orders of king Henry VIII who ordered Dissolution of the Monasteries (1536- 42). Unlike other parts of Europe The Reformation had nothing to do with religion or power as much as with king's obsession with male heir to the throne. He didn't get it for his first wife Catherine so he overreacted a bit. Battle Abbey was just one his victims. Monks however did get certain degree of fair treatment. Its abbot John Hamond with prior Richard Salesherst and monks with bachelors in theology (John Henfelde, William Ambrose, Thomas Bede and Thomas Levett) got a pension from a government. Buildings of the old abbey either fell in disrepair or were used for other purposes. Today Battle Abbey along with battle site of Hastings are some of the most visited places in England. Reenactment of the historic battle are held here fairly often.