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(Ancient Roman Fortification)
Domesday Community Limb of the Cinque Ports

Name Derivation

General Details

Pevensey is a small village which was built on the east side of Pevensey Castle walls, its history is tied in very closely with the Castle.

Its name comes from the Saxon 'Pefe Ie' , and translates to the 'Island of Pefe' in time this has degenerated to Pefeie then Pevensey. In Roman times, the sea lapped around the base of the castle, since then the sea has retreated, and is now about 2 miles away at Pevensey Bay .

Pevensey Castle was built by the Romans between 250 and 300AD to defend the coast against the Franks and Alemanni who were attacking the Roman Empire in northern europe. It was built on the Island, and was known as Anderida. During the times of Alfred the Great the fortifications were known as Andredceaster .

When the Roman Legions withdrew from Britain in 408AD, the castle was occupied by the Anglo-Saxons, until it was seized in 491AD by Aella the Saxon. ( see also Ashburnham ) In 1042 and 1049, the castle was raided by Earl Godwine, soon to become Harold II, and during the Spring and Summer of 1066 the castle was occupied by Harold's army, who were expecting William's forces.

Many scholars believe that the Normans landed at Pevensey in October 1066 , but from research we have carried out it seems less likely. However Pevensey was occupied by the Normans in late 1066 .

In the Domesday book it is mentioned as Pevensey, which appeared to be untouched by the Conquerors men during 1066 .

The castle was besieged, probably from the Westham side, as a narrow spit of land joined the castle to the mainland, by William Rufus(1087 - 1100) and King Stephen(1135 - 1141).

Simon De Montfort(1264) on his way from Lewes failed to take the castle, and in 1399 it was again attacked this time by the Yorkists.

Pevensey became part of the Cinque Ports as a 'Limb of Hastings', and from Norman times had its own mint, the old Mint House lies opposite the gates and dates from 1342.

In 1393 Sir John Pelham (one of the knights who it was said captured the King of France at the Battle of Poitiers in 1356) was appointed as the Constable of Pevensey Castle .

Queen Elizabeth I ordered the castle to be demolished, but this was ignored, and then in the Cromwellian period, the castle was sold to a builder for demolition. Luckily only a small amount of stones were removed, before the crown seized it in 1660 after the Restoration.

During the Second World War the castle had its towers reinforced, and camouflaged pill boxes constructed within the castle.


Pevensey itself has a few local village services, but has a museum, some public houses, and restaurants.

Further services are available at Westham on the other side of the castle, including the main line trains with a regular service from Hastings to Eastbourne .

The main shopping centre is at Eastbourne about 3 miles south west.


From the castle looking south, you can see some of the Martello Towers built along the coastline in the early 1800's as defense from Napoleon .

To the west are the magnificent South Downs , and Eastbourne .

To the east are the deserted areas of the Pevensey Levels , where smugglers would bring in their cargoes, when the area was under water. The 1066 Country Walk runs through the village.

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