Sunday 18th June 2017 Eastbourne.
Not being able to sail, due to no wind and no batteries we decided to explore the area and discover a bit about William the Conqueror and the Norman invasion. Our first top was Norman’s Bay and Cooden Bay. However despite the name it would appear that no Normans landed at Norman’s Bay. This is because at the time the coastline went to Pevensey and Pevensey Castle was in fact a harbour!
Next day we visited Pevensey Castle. It was here that William, the then Duke of Normandy actually landed with his fleet in early September after being delayed at Dives on the Normandy coast due to bad weather in the Channel. At the time Pevensey was a major port surrounded by a 1000 year old Roman curtain wall! By then they were not in great condition but did provide some defensive position for his troops so he made it his base.
The castle itself was really interesting. It was build by one of William’s relatives and incorporated much of the Roman walls. It has all the usual castle-ly refinements, moat and gatehouse with portcullis and hole for pouring boiling hot oil. It also includes two dungeons! One of which was half full of water, not realising this I promptly stepped into it right up to my middle in true Dr Foster style!
The castle was besieged 4 times – lost two and won two, the last and successful defence was by the Mistress of the house while the Lord had gone off on a jaunt somewhere! The castle is absolutely stuffed full of stone Trebuchet ammunition – every nook and cranny seems to have these things fished out of the moat – testifying to lots of vigorous beseigings!
The castle keep was unusual as it has 7 towers and could be argued that it has been used for defensive purposes for almost 1000 years as it became a Pill Box in 1940!
The moat seemed a popular place to dump stuff as they found two cannons in it! one of which is here and one is in the Tower of London. They were made for Elizabeth 1 by the iron foundries on the Sussex Weald which apparently were very good at guns! Apparently these had a range of 2000m with reasonable accuracy.