Pevensey Castle-The Beginning of the End for Saxon England

Entrance to Pevensey Castle.

Pevensey Castle is near the English Channel on the south coast of England, about 12 miles from Hastings and about 90 miles from London’s Heathrow airport. Pevensey was the landing spot for Duke William of Normandy, on 28 September 1066. William earned the title ‘William the Conqueror’ in the famous Battle of Hastings just 17 days later. The Saxon king, Harold, was in northern England at the time of the landing, and raced with his army south to meet William. His army fought valiantly and at one point appeared to have carried the day, but in the end Harold was killed and the course of English history changed forever. The famous battle took place near Battle Abbey (see my post on Battle for more information), which is actually north of Hastings and about 11 miles from Pevensey.

A view of the exterior and moat of Pevensey Castle.

Interior grounds of Pevensey Castle.

Roman Walls (1,700 years old) still guard the entrance to Pevensey Castle.

Pevensey has been a strategic location since Roman times, when a fort called Anderita was built here in 290 AD—parts of the original Roman walls remain. It was a defensive post against early Saxon raids. The castle was built inside the original Roman walls in the 12thcentury. Pevensey was also further fortified in 1588 in case of invasion by the Spanish Armada. In 1940 ‘pill boxes’ (gun emplacements) were added to the castle to defend against a possible German invasion. These are still visible.

Pill box is visible in top center of picture–narrow slit for WWII guns. Medieval projectiles stacked below.

While Pevensey Castle is very ruined, it is interesting to visit the site since it has such strong historical connections. It is part of the English Heritage system, and individual tickets are £4.90. It is a favorite area for walkers from Pevensey village.

St. Nicolas Church in the village of Pevensey. 13th century.

Pevensey Castle is close to several other interesting sights in this part of southern England, including Battle, Herstmonceux Castle and Penhurst Place Manor House. I visited all these sights in a day trip after arriving at Heathrow airport from the U.S. early on a Sunday morning.

References: Signs posted on castle grounds.

Locations of sights near Pevensey Castle, England.


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