Historians wage war over site of battle of Barnet
A NEW Battle of Barnet has broken out this week as historians argue over the true site of the historic skirmish.
Amateur historian Martin Reboul has hit out at recent claims that the site of the battle was not at Hadley Green as has always been thought, but in fact at a site near Kitts End.
The claims are based on the research of another local historian Brian Warren, who believes he has found the site by identifying the location of a chapel built for soldiers who died in the battle.
The Battlefields Trust is currently launching an appeal to raise money for an archaeological survey at the new site in Kitts End.
Mr Reboul said: "I am afraid he is just wrong. He is digging up something else but he is convinced it is the chantry (chapel) that was built just after the battle in 1471. If anyone is going to do some digging there, it should be done in the right place. It would be a major project. I have tried Time Team but they are all booked up.
"Unfortunately the crucial thing is he has overlooked a vital map from 1726. I have been looking into this for 20 years and I think I have found out everything that can be known about it. I can't prove anything but nor can he."
Mr Reboul believes a land survey map dating from 1726 of what is now Old Fold Manor golf course holds the key to finding the chapel. The map plots the location of a number of trees in the area, which he believes can be used alongside the contemporary sources to identify the site of the battle.
He said: "It is the most detailed map you have ever seen. It was in a deeds box with some solicitors in Barnet for years, but it has now been published in books. It has got clues on it that show where the chapel was."
But Mr Warren said: "The trees which were surveyed and marked on the 1726 map are nowhere near old enough to be there at the time of the Battle of Barnet.
"You would have to find a vast amount of armour at the site. They found a vast amount of metalwork at Bosworth, so you have to do the same for Barnet.
"As far as I am concerned, I have spent years doing this work. I am not in competition with anyone at all. I am just putting forward my views."
The Hadley Green site was investigated by the BBC programme Two Men in a Trench, but little evidence of the battle's location was found. The Battlefields Trust is holding a historical walk around the area on April 12 to raise money towards a new archaeological dig.