Dr Rowan Williams, former Archbishop of Canterbury, came to Hadstock to commemorate the 1000 year anniversary of the Battle of Assandun

PUBLISHED: 09:41 18 October 2016 | UPDATED: 10:09 18 October 2016

Dr Williams with the banners made my the community

Dr Williams with the banners made my the community


A former Archbishop of Canterbury held an anniversary service in a Hadstock church to mark 1,000 years since the Battle of Assandun.

Dr Rowan Williams spoke at St Botolph’s to commemorate a millennium since the battle where Cnut beat Edmund Ironside to be crowned king of England.

He reminded people the day was commemorative, not celebratory, looking back on the greed, violence and death on both sides.

During the ceremony tapestry banners designed by Sonja Villiers to show the sequence of events leading to the battle and hand-stitched by the community over the summer were blessed by Dr Williams.

The event, held on Sunday (October 16) was the final in a series of special events to mark the anniversary, which included a re-enactment of the battle in September.

In 1016 on October 18 at the battle a Saxon, Eadric, betrayed his own and helped the Danish Vikings win, which became the final stage in the Danish conquest of England.

There is some disagreement about where the battle took place, but Hadstock is one of the main contenders for the title along with nearby Ashington.

St Botolph’s is believed by some to be the church that was built by Cnut to remember the warriors who fell in the battle, adding weight to the theory that Hadstock was the battle ground.

One reason for this theory is that the church is so big, disproportionately large to the size of the village.

Reverend Paula Griffiths, who helped to organise the events and led the service, said: “It was lovely, it was a very happy day.

“We were privileged to have Dr Rowan Williams preaching for us and he was inspiring. People enjoyed the service, and we had some thoughtful readings.

“It was really a good community pulling together, and the culmination of loads of hard work.”

Dr Williams was the 104th Archbishop of Canterbury until 2012, when he resigned to take up a position at Cambridge University – as a master of Magdalene College.

Before the service, he said: “Many of our parish churches have played an important part in the events which have shaped our national identity, and have nurtured the Christian faith over generations. The themes of conflict and reconciliation are as crucial to our own society as they were 1,000 years ago.”

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