Bosham Harbour in West Sussex


Bosham Harbour and Church

I was commissioned to paint this view of Bosham Harbour. This is a favourite spot for sailors and visitors generally, as well as being beloved by photographers and artists alike.I was given the Contented Donkey commission at the same time, so have been working on them both from time to time. Bosham has been finished first, so will write about that now.

Bosham harbour is used by people who sail now, but historically this was a port for cross-channel traffic. It was used by the Saxons. The church is Saxon, and has a connection with King Cnut. His daughter is buried in the church. If you have heard the apocryphal story of Cnut trying to hold back the waves, because his courtiers had told him that he was that powerful, that was supposed to have happened at Bosham.

Cnut was a Dane, a Viking who was King of England, Denmark and Norway from 1018 to 1035. An important man and a great king, who returned England to prosperity following the Viking raids, his reign is largely obscured by the events of 1066

The power struggle for the throne just before 1066, involved Bosham. Harold Godwinson (and I expect I have spelled that wrongly,) sailed from Bosham to discuss the succession with Duke William of Normandy, and as we know was shipwrecked on the French coast. He was delivered to William as a prisoner, albeit treated as a guest, and during his stay was tricked into swearing on holy relics, that he would support William’s claim to the throne of England.

This gave William’s claim legality. He invaded England and landed at Pevensey, and met Harold in battle on Senlac Hill. The rest as they say, is history

Why was it called the Battle of Hastings when it was nowhere near there?  I’ve never been given a satisfactory answer to that question

The donkey painting will be next on the easel


4 thoughts on “Bosham Harbour in West Sussex

  1. Thoroughly enjoyed the history bits. They’ll come handy for my writing. The painting looks great. It’s a shame I can’t procure one. As for king Harold, I’d read that he was slain when an arrow went straight through one of his eyes. Hastings, I had checked, due to its connection to Warren Hastings, the East India company governor, is somewhere along the south east English coast line. The battle ground, some say was just a few miles from Hastings, and hence the naming.

    Liked by 1 person

    • The story was that Haroid took an arrow in the eye, and the Bayeux tapestry, which is really an embroidery and made in Kent, does show that.. William built an abbey on the site of the battle, and called it Battle Abbey, appropriately enough. The surrounding village which grew up, is also called Battle. Hastings is about 10 kilometres from Battle, so I guess the nearest place name was used, but I still think the Battle of Senlac Hill would have been a more suitable name. But, not that important…..
      Glad you like the painting. The client was delighted, which is good, and soon it will be going to its new home.


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