Possible fort sites for Duke William's landing in 1066AD
as described in the 'Roman de Rou' by Master Wace

Anglo Saxon
History
Map Position

This map shows the position of locations containing 'FortAD1066, anderida' centered on Westfield in Sussex.

Map Logic

This map shows two possible fort locations as described by Master Wace in the 'Roman de Rou' which describes the Norman Conquest of Britain in 1066AD.. The black lines show known Roman Roads, the Red ones ancient trackways(Ivan D Margary), with the purple ones showing implied Roman roads provided by place names.


 
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The 'Roman de Rou' by Master Wace is a text describing the reign of William Duke of Normandy, the piece we are interested in is the details of the Battle of Hastings, and on this page specifically the fort that was erected once the Normans had landed near Pevensey.


The Motte and Bailey Fort is constructed and the villages destroyed
please click the image to go to the bayeuxtapestry.org.uk for further details.

Please Note:- The area shaded in blue is a much more detailed plot using the 5 meter contour line to show the extent of the shoreline in this area.

The details that Wace provides includes the following mentions of the fort.
'The carpenters, who came after, had great axes in their hands, and planes and adzes hung at their sides. When they had reached the spot where the archers stood, and the knights were assembled, they consulted together, and sought for a good spot to place a strong fort upon. Then they cast out of the ships the materials, and drew them to land, all shaped framed and pierced to receive the pins which they had brought, cut and ready in large barrels ; so that before evening had well set in, they had finished a fort.'

This implies that the fort was a 'flat pack' fort that was build near to the landing place.

'He saw the carpenters with their axes, and the host of people and troops. He saw the men- throw the materials for the fort out of the ships. He saw them build up and enclose the fort, and dig the fosse(ditch or trench)'

So we now have the wooden fort with a ditch(moat), where in the area is there anything like this?

Possible Fort location:- Medieval moated site, Cooden
'The moated(fosse) site at Cooden includes a nearly square moat with arms 50-60m long and 12-14m wide which surrounds an island 30m square. Also included is a low earthen causeway at the centre of the north-eastern arm of the moat which provided access to the moat island. Historical records suggest that the moated site was the manor of the de Codyinge family, of local prominence in the 13th and 14th centuries. A house stood on the moat island until the 19th century, but it is not known whether this was an original or later structure.'
please note this is a small quote from https://historicengland.org.uk/listing/the-list/list-entry/1012918

If this is the location, then the digging of the fosse and the movement of the excavated soil into the centre to show a mott would give an ideal grounding for the wooden castle(which appears to have been shown in the Bayeux tapestry). This could be the original location of the fort as it was occupied in the 1200's, not that much later than the Battle of Hastings. The old fort site could easily have been modified to allow a Norman family to live in relative safety without any additional work, but at this moment there is no proof. However there do not seem to be any further locations anywhere nearby that show any possibility of being a fort with a moat/ditch.

Possible Fort location:- Medieval moated site, Snailham near Winchelsea.
This location is in the Brede valley and is protected as described in the Carmen, this possible fort is shown as earthworks on the OS maps. Currently I have no further details of this site.



External References in no particular order :-
Original Manuscripts of the Anglo Saxon Chronicles
Online Anglo Saxon dictionary
Online Etymology dictionary
Open Domesday Book - The first free online copy of the Domesday Book
The Ermine Street Guard Roman re-enactment and research Society
The "Kent A" cadastre - page 5 - Peterson 2002
Archaeologia Cantiana Online
Romney Marsh Research Trust
Romney Marsh the Fifth Continent
VillageNet the reference guide to villages in Kent & Sussex
Global warming Flood Maps
The Anglo Saxon Chronicles
Google Maps - the core of the system
GeoPlaner - Useful site for plotting map data
Julius Caesar's Gallic Wars 55BC(Books 4 & 5)
Wikipedia - Caesar's invasions of Britain
Wikipedia - Portus Istus
The Geography of Claudius Ptolemy (Bill Thayers)
Roman Britain.org
Runetree Beowulf
Bayeux Tapestry Online
The Secrets of the Norman Invasion
Chronicles of John of Worcester
Battle Historic Society
Binsted village website(Mearcredesburnan Steðe)

 

Copyright saxonhistory.co.uk 2013 - 2017
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Author: Simon M       Document Created: 2017-10-25
Data is derived from a number or sources including the Ordnance Survey Gazetter data overlayed onto Google Maps