Battlefield of 1066 to provide road to new estate.
The line of the last great shieldwall battle fought on English soil is to provide the access road to a 700 house development. This rescheduled announcement was made on 10th May by the Minster for Communities and Local Government and follows a public inquiry which took place in York last summer.
The battle at Fulford was fought on Wednesday 20 September 1066. It was the first of the three great battles that culminated in the defeat of Anglo-Saxon England at Hastings on 14 October. The access road was approved even though all parties at the inquiry agreed that the line of the proposed road was probably the ditch across which the two armies fought.
The finds from the site have been substantial. The exciting evidence suggests that damaged weapons were being recycled by the victorious Norse invaders after the battle. The material survived because the metal workers probably abandoned the material and their tools when king Harold arrived from the south where his army had been guarding against the expected attack from Normandy.
‘It is so very sad that we dispose of our heritage so lightly. All the guidance set out in national planning policy evidently counts for nothing’ said Chas Jones who has led the community project. ‘It is particularly distressing because this decision means that the developers have got away with frustrating our hunt for evidence. It cannot be right to claim that we have not produced enough evidence without criticising the way the developers have denied us access to the places where we have made our discoveries. The archaeological work should have been completed before this decision was made.’
No battlefield archaeological work has yet been done on the English side of the ditch.
The access road follow the line of the ditch as is to be buried to a depth of approximately 4 m to lift it clear of the floods.
There is a mass of information about the battle, the seven year’s research work plus the whole planning process on the website, www.battleoffulford.org.uk
13 May 2007