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Richard Clegg

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The history boys [May. 17th, 2010|02:49 pm]
Richard Clegg
Sometimes you need to clear your head and get out into some vague approximation of countryside and just kind of wander about a bit. Yesterday, childeric led _abby_ and I around a 26km trail from Pevensey Bay to Battle.

Now, when I set off I quite clearly knew that in 1066 the Normans (led by William) landed at Pevensey and went to Hastings and had a battle where King Arthur [EDIT: should be Harold, and the worst thing is, that wasn't even deliberate] was shot in the eye. This led to William becoming king of England. Then there was a bit of a break followed by the industrial revolution I think but that's another story. Our walk was to follow the route they took from Pevensey Bay to Battle.

The point is that childeric would enliven the walk with tales from history. The problem is that, really, having a historian around is not that much use. I mean, for a start, whatever is being asked it "isn't their period" (I think they must be allocated one year each by some central historical body and you're only really allowed to ask them about that year). Even if it quite clearly is their period then historians always introduce elements of doubt and uncertainty into the subject.

Now, after the walk I know that the Normans might or might not have landed at Pevensey (which is inland so, IMHO, makes it pretty bloody unlikely). They quite probably hung around a bit setting fire to things and then may have gone towards Hastings. They probably did not walk along the 1066 trail to Battle despite it being quite clearly signposted. There was quite likely a battle at Battle which is only near Hastings (apparently the Battle of Hastings was fought at Battle not Hastings at all). At Battle (not Hastings) Harold may or may not have been shot by an arrow in what may or may not have been his eye. I feel like I've had knowledge extracted from my brain and replaced by woolly, nuanced fluff. How am I expected to know things about the past when it keeps changing? I think I shall revert to my previous historical policy of impenetrable ignorance.

Still, it was a jolly nice walk and it does me good to doze lightly on a hillside instead of over a keyboard.
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Comments:
[User Picture]From: capt_prickle
2010-05-17 02:00 pm (UTC)
I think I shall revert to my previous historical policy of impenetrable ignorance.
I find it easier to take that view on most things....
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[User Picture]From: steer
2010-05-17 04:30 pm (UTC)
Hooray -- we shall all be ignorant together.
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[User Picture]From: rich_r
2010-05-17 02:09 pm (UTC)
Until the 13th Century, Pevensey was on the coast. The marshes around it were drained at a later date...
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[User Picture]From: steer
2010-05-17 04:31 pm (UTC)
Hah... Dr T started talking about continental plates shifting. I said I found that explanation most unconvincing and really if it was happening that fast we should be bracing for collision with france any moment.
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[User Picture]From: drdoug
2010-05-17 02:12 pm (UTC)
Glad it was a nice walk and so wasn't a wasted journey. Would've been a shame had Richard Of York Gone to Battle In Vain.
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[User Picture]From: nmg
2010-05-17 02:15 pm (UTC)
People have been shot for less.
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[User Picture]From: nmg
2010-05-17 02:14 pm (UTC)
the Normans might or might not have landed at Pevensey (which is inland so, IMHO, makes it pretty bloody unlikely)

At the time, however, Pevensey was on the coast (as was Rye).

As for the 'shooting in the eye' bit[1], the altar at Battle Abbey is allegedly on the site of Harold's demise,


[1] This always puts me in mind of A Christmas Story:

Harold Godwinson: I want an Official William the Bastard Stirrup-Action Two-Hundred-Shot Range Model Crossbow!

Gytha Thorkelsdóttir: You'll shoot your eye out, son.
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[User Picture]From: mammadibiba
2010-05-17 02:22 pm (UTC)
Ah, Rye. I like Rye.
All I can remember of Pevensey is that they have a bypass, which is probably the reason why I have never been to Pevensey.
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[User Picture]From: valkyriekaren
2010-05-17 02:23 pm (UTC)
Oh, you should have visited d_floorlandmine's parents, they live in Battle.
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[User Picture]From: steer
2010-05-17 04:58 pm (UTC)
I'm not sure they count as a historic attraction.
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[User Picture]From: childeric
2010-05-17 02:38 pm (UTC)
Oh tush, think of the difficulty you have in recalling what you were doing this time four months ago. Now multiply that by 3000 and throw in the fact that you can't just fall back on your Google diary and instead have to use an old and heavily reworked embroidery as one of your aides-memoire, and is it wholly surprising that a certain amount of circumspection might be counselled in making any very firm assertions as to what was going on?
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[User Picture]From: steer
2010-05-17 04:59 pm (UTC)
Oh tush, think of the difficulty you have in recalling what you were doing this time four months ago

I was working in UCL. Duh!

So all this problem is caused by historical figures failing to sync with google calender?
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[User Picture]From: foxy76
2010-05-17 03:13 pm (UTC)
'had a battle where King Arthur was shot in the eye.'

I don't think Arthur was ever shot in the eye. And he was definitely a different period. One that Simon might know about :-)
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[User Picture]From: mister_ed
2010-05-17 03:25 pm (UTC)
Indeed.. Arthur was shot in the nads by the Lady of the Leak after throwing his gourd into a pond. At least, something like that.. ;)
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[User Picture]From: foxy76
2010-05-17 04:24 pm (UTC)
I am disturbed by your icon.

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[User Picture]From: swisstone
2010-05-17 03:55 pm (UTC)
I feel like I've had knowledge extracted from my brain and replaced by woolly, nuanced fluff.

Congratulations, you have taken your first step towards being a historian!
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[User Picture]From: kissmeforlonger
2010-05-17 04:00 pm (UTC)
Exactly!
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[User Picture]From: ms_siobhan
2010-05-17 04:08 pm (UTC)
You see the Bayeux Tapestry is in fact a warning about the dangers of embroidery. RSI, pinpricks on fingers, bloody great big needles in your eye - anything can happen in the wild and wacky world of sewing and Norman expansion.
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[User Picture]From: steer
2010-05-17 05:01 pm (UTC)
You think king Harold died in an embroidering action?

Maybe that section of the tapestry was a desperate cry for help?
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[User Picture]From: kixie
2010-05-18 04:00 pm (UTC)
I was going to say, isn't that a bit late for Simon? I've been reading around that time period recently, actually. Well interesting - must've been a cool walk.
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[User Picture]From: steer
2010-05-18 04:46 pm (UTC)
Yes, he's only really allowed to do history on one specific year sometime around 710 I think. He's vague on exactly which year because it might turn out something happened during it that people could ask questions about.
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