Saxons head through Gainsborough in re-enactment of 1066 march

The group make their way into Gainsborough. Supplied by KD Pictures
The group make their way into Gainsborough. Supplied by KD Pictures
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There was an unusual site in Gainsborough as a group of intrepid re-enactors passed through as part of an epic 300 mile journey inspired by the one taken by King Harold to the Battle of Hastings, 950 years ago.

Organised by English Heritage as part of its programme marking the anniversary of the Norman Conquest, re-enactors on foot and horseback visited Gainsborough as they travelled south from York to Battle over three weeks, before arriving at the East Sussex battlefield on Friday. October 14, the exact date in 1066 when the forces of Harold and Duke William of Normandy met in arguably the most famous and important battle in English history.

The group set off from Cliffords Tower in York on Sunday, September 25, the anniversary of King Harold’s victory over a Viking army at the Battle of Stamford Bridge.

They arrived in Gainsborough after journeying through Yorkshire and into the East Midlands. The marchers made their way along the River Trent from Walkerith before arriving at English Heritage’s Gainsborough Old Hall where they rested for lunch.

Emily Sewell, Head of Events for English Heritage, said; “Throughout 2016 English Heritage has been marking the anniversary of 1066, one of the most famous battles and most transformative years in English history, at sites and events across the country. This march and our re-enactment weekend are the culmination of this year of activity and a great opportunity for people to find out more about these dramatic events.

Nigel Amos, who is leading the 1066 march on behalf of English Heritage, said; “I have been involved in re-enactment for many years and for me this is a once in a lifetime opportunity.

“We do as much as we can to research the details of the history we re-enact, but there’s nothing like a personal experience like this to understand what it was like and offer an even more authentic window on that world to inspire and inform others.

“The legacy of the Norman Conquest is all around us and for me, this march is a great way of highlighting the enormity of what the people involved in the campaigns of 1066 undertook, as well as appreciating the richness of our country’s heritage, from magnificent churches and castles to Roman roads and Saxon villages hiding in plain sight.”

For more information about the 1066 March, visit www.english-heritage.org.uk/1066.