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Friday, 13 October, 2000, 13:26 GMT
Normans fight Saxons... and the rain
Two Saxons limber up for the re-enactment
Bryan Betts (left) and Peter Campbell marched 300 miles
A major re-enactment of the Battle of Hastings in 1066, involving 1,000 Normans and Saxons, will go ahead this weekend despite the flooding in East Sussex.

An English Heritage spokeswoman told BBC News Online there were no plans to cancel the event, despite three car parks at Battle Abbey being waterlogged.

She said: "Fortunately the battleground - on Senlac Hill - is high ground and in no danger of flooding."

Much of the railway nearby has been washed away but visitors are being advised to share cars to the event.

But the weather forecast for the weekend is good and the spokeswoman said: "It is safe for both soldiers and horses to perform on and the site is safe for spectators."

Among the warriors on the battlefield will be enthusiasts from as far away as Australia, New Zealand and the US.


Turning point 1066
William, the Duke of Normandy, claimed Harold Godwin promised him the throne of England when Edward The Confessor died.
A week before Hastings, Harold crushed Norwegian King Harald Hardrada's invasion at the Battle of Stamford Bridge.
The Normans named the battlefield Senlac Hill, the "lake of blood".
William started a Norman dynasty on the English throne but his son William Rufus was murdered in the New Forest.
This weekend's clash will re-enact the bloody battle for the English crown.

Norman invader William The Conqueror, later William I, gained the English throne and his rival, Saxon Harold I, was killed by an arrow in the eye.

Most of the re-enactment participants are part of Britain's largest Dark Age re-enactment society, The Vikings.

Meanwhile, a group of five "Saxons" who are re-tracing King Harold's march from Stamford Bridge in Yorkshire to the battlefield are persevering despite heavy rain.

The spokeswoman said they might arrive soaking wet and demoralised, like King Harold's army, but said that did not mean the Saxons were going to lose. "I'm not going to tell you who's going to win," she said.

The intrepid quintet left York two weeks ago and reached London earlier this week.

They are tramping through a sodden Sussex in the hope of getting to the battlefield in time for Saturday's conflict.


Two Saxons at Westminster
Gareth Evans (left) and Bryan Betts are taking on the invaders
Peter Campbell, 48, a former printer from Rochdale, Greater Manchester, said: "We've been following the likely route King Harold took after he was informed William had invaded.

"We've been walking every day except Sundays from 9.30 am until about 5pm and we'll get to Battle Abbey, East Sussex hopefully on Friday afternoon.

"A friend got me into this sort of stuff about 14 years ago. At first I thought it was a bit like cowboys and Indians for grown ups, but now I love taking part in events like this."

The walkers are hoping to raise around 1,500 for children's charity NCH.

This weekend's events also include archery, combat and falconry displays.

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