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Battle, Sussex

Historical Description

Battle, an ancient parish and market and union town in Sussex. The town was called by the Saxons Epiton, signifying " heath land," and took its present name from the 114 great battle of the Conquest in 1066, commonly called the battle of Hastings. It stands in a fine valley, three-fourths encircled by wooded hills, 7 miles NW of Hastings, and it has a station on the S.E.R., 55 miles from London, a henil post office, two banks, and two chief inns. The principal street runs up a rising ground, and is confronted at a brief distance by Battle Abbey, standing on the site of King Harold's camp, and on the spot where his standard was taken. This edifice was founded by the Conqueror in commemoration of his victory; it contained his sword, his coronation-robe, and the roll-call of the knights who followed him from Normandy, and it was very richly endowed, and gave its abbots a seat in Parliament. It passed at the dissolution to Sir Anthony Browne, continued with his descendants, the Lords Montacute, till the time of the fourth lord, and was then sold to Sir Thomas Webster in 1891, and is now in possession of the Ducliess of Cleveland. The buildings were converted into a mansion by Sir Anthony Browne; and though still retaining a number of the original apartments, are so greatly changed as to present outwardly very little of their ancient character. The grand gateway still stands, and is chiefly Late Decorated English, of very beautiful workmanship, and a long range to the right of it was used till 1794 as the town-hall, but has been allowed to go to ruin. A spot about ½ a mile distant, on the road to Hastings, commands the best view of the abbey, and at the same time affords a good comprehensive notion of the battlefield of the Conquest. The petty sessions court-house and county police station is a handsome edifice of 1861. The parish church is partly Norman, contains some good brasses and monuments, and was restored in 1869. The living is a vicarage; net value, £301 with residence, in the gift of the Ducliess of Cleveland. The chapel of ease of the Ascension is a structure of brick, erected in 1876. A Roman Catholic church was erected in 1886, and a Congregational chapel in 1882. Tl'.e area is 8221 acres of land and 32 of water; population of the civil parish, 3153; of the ecclesiastical, 2707. There is a workhouse built at a cost of £5000. Extensive powder mills are situated to the SW, and the walk to them, and the walks generally through the environs, are charming. A market is held on the second Tuesday in each month, and fairs are held on 6 Sept. and 22 Nov. The parish contains also the hamlet of Netherfield. The Church of St John the Baptist is a stone building in the Early English style. The living is a vicarage; value, £188, in the gift of the Bishop of Chichester.

Transcribed from The Comprehensive Gazetteer of England & Wales, 1894-5


The following is a list of the administrative units in which this place was either wholly or partly included.

Ancient CountySussex 
Ecclesiastical parishBattle St. Mary 
Poor Law unionBattle 

Any dates in this table should be used as a guide only.

Directories & Gazetteers

We have transcribed the entry for Battle from the following:


Online maps of Battle are available from a number of sites:

Newspapers and Periodicals

The British Newspaper Archive have fully searchable digitised copies of the following Sussex newspapers online:

CountyEast Sussex
RegionSouth East
Postal districtTN33
Post TownBattle