'It would put Barnet on the maps of history' - Lottery funding could end historic dispute (From Times Series)
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'It would put Barnet on the maps of history' - Lottery funding could end historic dispute over location of Battle of Barnet
A long-standing argument over the exact location of a medieval battle that helped shape Barnet and modern Britain could soon be over.
For decades, historians and experts have been at loggerheads over exactly where the Battle of Barnet – a key and bloody tussle in the War of the Roses – took place more than 500 years ago.
Little physical evidence has ever been found to pinpoint the battleground, but the Heritage Lottery Fund is now on the verge of deciding whether to award a large sum of money to uncover it.
The search for the site is part of a larger project commissioned by the University of Huddersfield, which, in conjunction with the Battlefields Trust, is looking to identify the locations of up to a dozen War of the Roses battlefields.
Lottery purse holders will sit down and make their decision at the end of January, but the prospect of ending a life-long debate is already whetting the appetite of local enthusiasts.
Nick Jones, chairman of local watchdog and campaign group The Barnet Society said: “It would be tremendous for Barnet and would finally resolve a long-standing dispute among historians as to where this battle took place.
“It was one of the decisive battles in the War of the Roses, yet there is no know or identifiable point where we can say it happened.
“It would be marvellous to put Barnet on the maps of history in this way. Colleges and schools who currently study the battle would have somewhere to send their students.”
The approximate location is argued to be within a mile to a mile-and-a-half north of the borough of Barnet.
Part of the approximate site is now the property of Old Fold Manor Golf Course, which recently received permission from Barnet Council to apply to use some of the grounds for industrial landfill.
It is understood that any digs or excavations on the land would require the owners’ permission - presenting a possible thorn in the side to historians should they receive the funding they need.
But for now, the eyes of local historians, The Barnet Society and Barnet Museum are firmly fixed on the Heritage Lottery Fund and their decision over what would doubtless be a hefty grant to discover a piece of Barnet’s history.
Mr Jones said: “It is an exciting time and we will wait and see what they say.”
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