BATTLE ABBEY, England – Thousands of history buffs, many in full costume, marked the 950th anniversary of the 1066 Battle of Hastings with a dramatic reenactment Saturday that commemorated one of the most important events in British history.

The battlefield in southern England seemed to erupt as more than 1,000 soldiers in period dress clashed with swords, swung their maces and shot arrows across the fields.

The re-enactment was part of a weekend of festivities to commemorate the landmark battle. Tickets have long been sold out.

Some of the participants, dressed as warriors, had walked or traveled on horseback roughly 300 miles from York in northern England to the Battle Abbey in East Sussex in southern England to recreate a march that preceded the battle.

They stayed along the way in Saxon-style encampments during the three-week trek, drawing stares from onlookers surprised by the contrast between present day England and 1066.

The battle between William the Conqueror and Anglo-Saxon King Harold ended in the latter’s death.

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