Metal sculptor Leigh Dyer wants to create the Norman longboat sculpture to commemorate the 950th anniversary of the Battle of Hastings.
Plans have now been submitted to Hastings Borough Council to build the sculpture of the prow of a Norman longboat at Hastings Beach, East Sussex. It will be created out of steel or Corten steel and will appear embedded into the beach’s shingle bank.
Artist Leigh Dyer will be working in conjunction with the British Artist Blacksmith Association to build the sculpture. He has released an artist’s impression of the Norman longboat (pictured above).
Dyer says he has tried to subtly move away from the traditional boat shape, and has “drawn in the back and stretched out the rack” of the long boat to “give it a hint of cormorant”, a common bird along the coastline.
The project will be completed in different stages. Initially the main body will be made between now and July before a community forging event will be held in the town as part of the Root 1066 Festival.
During the event parts of the sculpture will be forged before they are taken away to be formed into the final piece. This will then be unveiled in September at the official opening of the Root 1066 Festival.
Dyer, who is based in Hastings and has created other public artwork around the town, says the project will also reflect the importance of the influence of Norman French on modern day English. Local schools are being invited to help write a poem for the event. This will then be forged onto the keel and two gunwales of the Norman longboat.
Plans are also underway to bury a time capsule underneath the sculpture. Members of the community are being invited to write letters to younger family members. These will then be sealed in the capsule and opened in 2066 – 1,000 years after the Battle of Hastings.
The project is being funded by the Hastings Borough Council, although additional money is being raised through crowd funding to help with the pre-building of the sculpture as well as other additional costs.
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