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Last Updated: Sunday, 15 October 2006, 09:36 GMT 10:36 UK
Capacity crowds watch 1066 battle
Performer preparing for the re-enactment
Re-enactments are staged each year at Battle Abbey
A crowd of 11,000 watched 3,000 people re-enact the Battle of Hastings in Sussex on Saturday, with the same number expected to attend on Sunday.

Rebecca Milton, from English Heritage, said 8,000 places were pre-booked for Sunday and urged people to arrive early for the remaining 3,000 tickets.

Latecomers had to be turned away on Saturday for safety reasons, she said.

Re-enactors from across the world have helped to restage the battle that was a defining moment in English history.

Performers have lived on the site in 11th Century-style encampments during the weekend of the battle.

Re-enactments on the actual battlefield in Hastings take place every year, but the charity said this was the largest restaging attempted so far.

"Never before has English Heritage recreated the battle on this scale," its website said.

"William and Harold will face each other on the field of battle supported by 100 mounted troops and fearsome foot soldiers as they clash swords for the crown of England."

Arrow in the eye

Edward the Confessor's death in January 1066 left an unstable country and three contenders for the throne - Earl Harold of Wessex, who was named King, Duke William of Normandy, and King Harald Hardrada of Norway.

When Harald Hardrada landed in the north of England to claim his throne, King Harold marched north to face him and defeated him at a battle at Stamford Bridge, near York.

But then the Normans invaded and the Saxon army raced back south, arriving at Battle, in East Sussex, on the evening of Friday 13 October.

The engagement began the next day and resulted in King Harold's death, believed to be the result of being shot in the eye with an arrow.

Duke William won the battle and was crowned King William I in Westminster Abbey on 25 December that year.


SEE ALSO
King Harold and William square up
14 Oct 06 |  Southern Counties
Re-enactment on 1066 battlefield
14 Aug 04 |  Southern Counties

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