This year, we are acknowledging the 956 years since the Battle of Hastings by recognising the businesses in East Sussex that have used the event to their advantage!
After the Earl of Wessex – Harold Godwinson – was crowned King of England, the Norwegians successfully invaded England in early September of 1066, with an army of around 10,000 men. By the 25th of September, Harold’s army fought back the Norwegian invaders and defeated them.
Three days later, William of Normandy crossed the Channel, whilst Harold’s army marched 25 miles per day to the South of England. It is estimated that both armies had 10,000 men to fight and at 9am on the 14th of October, the battle began on Senlac Hill – just seven miles from Hastings.
Whilst it is not known exactly how many people were killed in the battle, it is suspected that around 4,000 Englishmen and 2,000 Normans lost their lives during the battle, including Harold who is widely thought to have been killed by an arrow through the eye.
William of Normandy – now known as William the Conqueror – won the invasion and after the victory, he was expecting to be declared as the new king; however, the English declared Edgar the Atheling king at just 15 years old. Before the new king could be crowned, William marched to London to claim the throne, making this the last successful invasion of England, and marking the end of the Dark Ages and the beginning of the Middle Ages.
Whilst the battle took place almost a millennium ago, the coastal area of East Sussex is still widely known for this piece of history, which many businesses in the area utilise within their business name. Here are just a few we found:
1066 Bakery – Hastings & Bexhill
The family-owned bakery originally opened in Hastings as a small local bakery in 1950, situated on Castlehill Road with the shop above. Since then, it has been passed down, with the fourth generation of the family entering in 2014. The bakery expanded in the 70s and moved into a new shop in Hastings Arcade and in the 90s, it was further expanded, moving into a custom-built premises in St Leonards. As of this year, there are multiple premises in both the Hastings and Bexhill areas.
William the Concreter – Battle
Specialising in supplying small loads of concrete to save wastage, William the Concreter provide Ordinary Portland Cement suitable for foundations, pavements, and structural projects. Whilst they are located in Battle (the town in which the battle took place), they cover all areas within East Sussex.
The Bottle of Hastings – St Leonards
The Bottle of Hastings is a wine shop located in St Leonards on Queens Road. They are a family-owned business that not only sells a selection of seasonal wine but also hold events such as wine & cheese tasting. The wines they have to offer are produced by a variety of small, family run vineyards and wineries, ranging from Champagnes, to Rosé, to Prosecco.
White Rock Theatre – Hastings
The medium-scale receiving house, White Rock Theatre, is situated on the seafront of Hastings, in front of the white rocks which was part of where the invasion occurred. Since the beginning, it has been owned by Hastings Borough Council. What was once originally East Sussex Hospital, it was replaced by the theatre in April 1927. Up until 2019, the capacity of the theatre used to be 1066 to honour the Battle of Hastings but was increased to allow more flexibility to the venue.
1066 Gymnastics – Bexhill
Opened back in April 2009 by retired British artistic gymnast, Beth Tweddle, 1066 Gymnastics are a charity-based gymnastics club operating in Bexhill for toddlers, children, teens, and adults. The gym is both used for recreation and competitive use. A few years after opening, the gym introduced freestyle gymnastics classes known as ‘FreeG’ which provides the opportunity to learn “street tricks” in a safe environment.
Whilst these are only a selection of businesses that we have highlighted, there are many others that within East Sussex and from a variety of industries that you can check out too!