Westham in East Sussex is a small village built on the west side of Pevensey
castle walls, and its history is tied in with the Castle.
The main village was formed on the small hill, and was
the chief source of food and fuel for the fortress.
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
a small Island ( see Pevensey ), and was known as Anderida.
The fyrd of Alfred the Great were based in this defensive
position in the 900's to defend from the marauding Vikings.
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
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 the manor of Renching,
which appeared to be untouched by the Conquerors men during
The Norman church is one of the first to be built in England,
and its tower was added during the late 1200's.
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
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
|From the castle looking south, you can see some of the
Martello Towers built along the coastline in the early
1800's as defence 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.
|Westham in East Sussex itself has a few local village services, mostly
Further services are available at Pevensey on the other side
of the castle.
The main shopping centre is at Eastbourne about 3 miles
Trains can be caught in the village with a regular service
from Hastings to Eastbourne .
|Westham is shown as the red symbol on the map.|
(click on symbol to see the village page)
||(Peaceful Saxon Village)||6.16 miles|
||(Teasles and Badgers)||5.04 miles|
||(Home of the Railway Children)||6.36 miles|
||(Ropes and Napoleon)||4.54 miles|
||(The Haunt of Smugglers)||5.15 miles|
||(Smugglers and Churchill Tanks)||5.06 miles|
||(Last Invasion in 1066)||3.18 miles|
||(Ancient Roman Fortification)||0.79 miles|
||(Fishing and Martello Towers)||0.84 miles|
||(Fine old Tower Mill)||3.56 miles|
||(World War II defence centre)||3.38 miles|
||(The Long Man)||5.81 miles|