Embroiderers fight rerun of 1066's 'other' battle

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It may be nearly 1,000 years late but campaigners are pinning their hopes on a preface to the Bayeux Tapestry to win the second Battle of Fulford - the "forgotten" clash of 1066.

The battle is considerably less well known than the clash between King Harold and William the Conqueror, and it even lags behind the Saxon encounter with Harald Hardrada at Stamford Bridge just before Hastings.

However, historians believe that Fulford played a key role in the struggle for the English throne, since Saxon forces were tired and depleted at a time when they needed to be at their strongest to deal with William.

The precise location of the field of battle is in some doubt, but members of the Fulford Battlefield Society believe it must lie beside the Ouse to the south of York.

Nearly 1,000 years after the Saxons were routed, the enthusiasts find themselves ranged against developers wanting to build an estate of 700 houses.

Chas Jones, the society's chairman, describes the development as "cultural vandalism''. He is demanding that the site be preserved as an educational and tourist attraction.

The developer, Persimmon, insist that despite spending £350,000 on independent surveys it has not found a shred of evidence of a battle in the 11th century.

Objectors have until Friday to make submissions to the inquiry that will decide the issue. In their very modern battle, the society's campaigners have commissioned a preface to tell the story of Fulford in the same style as the Bayeux Tapestry.

It is hoped the embroidery will be completed in time for the 940th anniversary of the battle in September.

"We hope it will help raise awareness," said Mr Jones. "As in William's time, we are using local women who have skills in sewing and embroidery.

"They are all volunteers and we have given them training in the same techniques used in the original."

The Battle of Fulford is known to have taken place on Sept 20, 1066 - less than a month before Hastings.

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