by Victoria Seymour
Every year, thousands of tourists from all over the world visit Battle Abbey to see the field where the famous 1066 Battle of Hastings took place. They learn not only the history of the event but also that of the ancient ruins and buildings overlooking the battlefield.
On 16th July 2002 , a tour of the site was made to re-discover a much more recent history than 1066.
Our guide was Ivor White, who was born on 24th November 1926 in the Abbey Lodge, now known as "South Lodge" the Battle Abbey Estate worker’s cottage, which stands on the brink of the battlefield.
Ivor, whose father and grandfather were employed as gardeners to the estate, grew up with this momentous field and its surrounding slopes and woods as his playground. Ivor’s guests for the tour were Phil Farlow, occasional Big Band and Swing presenter with BBC Southern Counties Radio, his wife Edwina, and Victoria Seymour , writer for www. hastings.uk.net.
"Absolutely stunning" !
Examining Ivor's old booklet of Battle
Ivor told us some of the history of the house, as a family residence, when his father and grandfather worked in the walled gardens and their now demolished green houses, to provide every horticultural need and luxury for their employers, in and out of season. The dairy and ice house are also attractive reminders of the days when great estates were self sufficient.
Most poignant was our visit to Ivor’s childhood home. As we entered the rear gate he told us that it was the first time he has done so since 1946. The old fashioned outhouse cum scullery was where Ivor’s father, Percival, also a very well known local photographer at the time, developed his pictures by candlelight, and still in the corner is the bricked copper, where grandmother did the household laundry. There were few changes to the exterior of the lodge, and Ivor was pleased to see that the front door’s ornate, wrought iron hinges, are still intact.
As Phil stood to reflect, Ivor took a picture that shows that he has not lost his touch for an atmospheric shot.
Ivor's Abbey Tour