The site of the Battle of Hastings is to be formally reviewed following a legal challenge.

English Heritage has launched an official investigation into claims the real site of the 1066 battle is three miles away from where it is currently recognised.

The reviewfollows a legal challenge by retired Bexhill teacher Michael Bernard who claims the actual battle site was in Crowhurst.

The claim could have serious repercussions on the future of the Hastings- Bexhill link road which would cut through the site where Mr Bernard claims William the Conqueror and his 8,000 men camped prior to the battle.

Traditionally the high altar of Battle Abbey is believed to mark the spot where Saxon king Harold II was killed after being hit in the eye with an arrow.

But a letter sent from Mr Bernard’s lawyer and drawing on evidence collected over 27 years by amateur historian Nick Austin claims that the original altar marking the spot was in Crowhurst and that monks later moved the abbey.

A new survey indicates evidence of an ancient building covering more than an acre around the site of Crowhurst Manor.

The Argus:

The challenge claims that primary sources recalling the battle site match more closely the site at Crowhurst than Battle because of a much greater slope.

Mr Bernard said he was pleased with the review decision and said he hoped that English Heritage, East Sussex County Council and Oxford Archaeology, which is carrying out studies on behalf of the local authority, would look at any evidence with an open mind.

He said he hoped Oxford Archaeology’s current survey work,which runs until October,would uncover more evidence.

He added: “Everything keeps coming back to the Upper Wilting site.

“While the battlefield itself is not threatened, the historical integrity of the Norman encampment is and the whole 1066 theatre of war is.

“This road has shown up just some of the archaeological and historical richness of the area.”

Despite ordering the review, it is understood that English Heritage remains confident that Battle marks the correct spot.

A spokesman said: “There is no significant evidence to prove the battle was fought at Crowhurst.

“The balance of evidence strongly indicates the battle site is correctly identified with Senlac Hill at Battle.”

East Sussex County Council member for transport CarlMaynard said he could not comment at the time of The Argus going to print.

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