Collecting the folklore and uses of plants

Commemoration of King Harold II – 2

Harold Godwinson, King Harold II, died on 14 October 1066 at the Battle of Hastings, it is claimed that his body was interred in the Abbey Church which he rebuilt in 1060, at Waltham Abbey, Essex.  What is thought to be the site of his tomb is now in the churchyard, behind the church’s high altar.  On a Saturday near 14 October a ceremony is held during which flowers are placed on the site. In 2022 this was 15 October, but on the previous day, on the anniversary of his death, a group of people from Crowhurst, East Sussex, visited and placed a cross, composed mainly of evergreens, with a card reading ‘In memory of King Harold, last Saxon King of England, from those in Sussex who remember him’, on the tombstone.  It is said that these people are ‘influenced by the Greek Orthodox’, and some Orthodox people believe Harold to be a saint (some regard England as being an Orthodox country before the Norman conquest).

At about 11.30 on Saturday morning about 60, mostly rather elderly, people, some wearing appropriate costumes, gathered near the site of the tomb, accounts of Harold’s life were read, and flowers laid on behalf of a number of organizations.

Later in the day there was a song recital in, and a guided tour of, the church.

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