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
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.