Rain stopped play

By | Category: Travel rumblings

tower of london

the Tower of london we wouldn't have!

Yesterday was the 946th anniversary of the Battle of Hastings. For many years the local tourist organisation has waged a two day festival culminating in a re-enactment. But not yesterday. Health and safety concerns caused its cancellation due to unremitting rain.
I couldn’t help but think what if God had decreed to William I and Harold II all those centuries ago that they couldn’t continue the battle because someone might slip in the mud and get hurt? All right a lot of people died on both sides in the original battle but health and safety officers don’t really concern themselves with war – just accidents and I can’t really say that stoving a chap’s skull in with a double handed axe would be considered an accident. That sort of thing is pretty intentional.
So if God had persuaded them to hold off until any weather conditions improved there might have been a different result. Harold might have won. And then what would have happened? The town of Battle might not have its abbey or its tourist visitors because it would be another case of enemies being seen off by the winners. After all there is no tourism to speak of at Stamford Bridge in Yorkshire where Harold defeated his brother and the Norwegian king in September of 1066. (Not to be confused with confrontations that have taken place at a similarly named battlefield site in west London) It was only two years ago that the church in nearby Scrayingham was shown to have remaining Anglo-Saxon features. Maybe it was built to give thanks for Harold’s victory. There isn’t much around to recod a battle that largely signifies the end of Viking influence in England.
So no William the Conqueror would have meant no Norman castles, no Tower of London and maybe no Norman-French influence. And where would that leave out tourist industries? We would still be speaking a version of Anglo-Saxon and we would be called unpronounceable names like Frithugyth, Æthelheard and Ethelred. We would have had a different heritage for the tourist people to promote but what? The Anglo-Saxons didn’t have stone castles but might have copied European ones later on. We might just have earthworks to visit instead. There is a little bit of Westminster Abbey that is still Anglo-saxon but not much else. Where would schools take children to when they needed a day out from learning Anglo-Saxon?
But then some people say that the word “tourist” comes from Anglo-Saxon “turn” meaning to go away and then come back. Or maybe they are getting confused with commuting? Having given the world tourism we would be ardent fans. We’d just have to abroad to see all that heritage we didn’t have because rain stopped play at the Battle of Hastings!

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