A Thousand Years of Anglo-Normandy Relations Celebrated in Cross Channel Expos

affiche_arch-expo_frA thousand years of cross channel relations between Normandy and the south of England is currently being celebrated at an exhibition in Rouen.

It tells the story of relations between the department of Seine Maritime in Upper Normandy and East Sussex in particular but with broader information on the whole Anglo-Normandy relationship.

The exhibition at the Grammont Cultural Centre, explains how the two areas have repeatedly been brought together by history, most notably by William the Conqueror who landed in East Sussex in 1066.

It explains the trade and tourism and cultural exchanges using documents and artefacts which have not been shown to the public before from the departmental archives in Normandy and includes one of the very few original seals of William the Conqueror.

It is divided into three parts: the territories linked by history, maritime and commercial relations; and the development of tourism and cultural influences, and is on until 25 January.

A parallel exhibition is running a the Hastings Museum in East Sussex called the French Connnection which looks at the Battle of Hastings, the First World War, and also smuggling and piracy. It uses archives from the East Sussex Records Office which has documents dating back to the 12th century.

‘Facing the sea, the department of Seine-Maritime has always had a special relationship with southern England including the County of East Sussex. The Channel keeps this link alive between our two countries,’ said Didier Marie, president of the department.

‘Linked by history, our two communities have wanted to be partners since 2007 to revive this common past. In this context, a Franco-British documentary fund was provided, training materials were created on both sides and a dedicated bilingual internet site created along with this double exhibition,’ he explained.

‘It is the result of intensive research that enables us to rediscover the most iconic pieces of a thousand years of history and relationships nurtured between our territories. It is the history of humans, of economic exchanges, where cultural influences have ignored borders and have greatly contributed to shaping our identity in Seine-Maritime,’ he added.

Becky Shaw, chief executive of East Sussex County Council, said that with just the English Channel between them, East Sussex and Normandy have long had links, both hostile and peaceful. ‘Some of those connections, such as the Norman Conquest at the Battle of Hastings and the First and Second World Wars, and are well known. Others such as the sheltering of religious refugees, piracy and smuggling, the exchange of ideas and the growth of the cross Channel tourist industry are perhaps less so,’ she explained.

‘To these have been added the links provided by membership of the European Union, which has provided the opportunity and impetus for joint working between East Sussex and Seine-Maritime both on this project and in the future and to showcase both the historical links between the two counties and their fabulous archive collections,’ she added.

About Ray Clancy

Ray Clancy has 20 years experience in journalism including contributing articles to print and on-line publications such as PropertyWire.com, Property World Middle East and websites for estate agents. She has also written for the Daily Telegraph and Mail on Sunday.

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