Thursday 29 September 2016

Twitter offers modern twist on 1066 and all that

Published 13/01/2016 | 18:01

The tweets are part of a social media campaign by English Heritage
The tweets are part of a social media campaign by English Heritage

Key players in the struggle for the English throne in 1066 have taken to Twitter to tell their side of the story.

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People may be surprised to see William of Normandy tweeting: "What? Edward has died and @King_Harold66 is king? My dear wife @Matilda_1066, pray help me unravel these treacherous reports," or a Norman knight telling his followers: "I've been spending the last few years seeking riches in Italy, but what of England? They tell me King Edward is ill".

But it is all part of a social media campaign by English Heritage to tell the story of the most famous date in England's history in an innovative way.

As the 950th anniversary of 1066 began, it was revealed that many younger people knew more of the characters fighting for the Iron Throne in the fictional Game Of Thrones than those embroiled in the 11th century battle for the English crown.

Christian Bace, social media executive at English Heritage, said: "We're telling the story of 1066 in many different ways, throughout the year, both at sites such as Battle Abbey and online.

"With the People of 1066 Campaign, we really wanted to tell the story that year in a way that's a bit more personal and evocative.

"People are familiar with a lot of the names of 1066, but they're often just names on a piece of paper, in something that happened a thousand years ago."

Tweets were so quick, he said, that they were a way of driving home the story, adding that they were based on sound historical understanding and were as accurate as they could be.

Along with the major players, such as the last Saxon king Harold Godwinson, and eventual victor in the struggle for the English throne, William of Normandy, the point of view of key women including William's wife Matilda of Flanders and ordinary people such as soldiers and farmers are also being represented.

The heritage charity has also launched an online resource looking at 1066 and the Norman Conquest at www.english-heritage.org.uk/1066.

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