Saxon Seaxe Anglo Saxon History
Map Position
This map shows the position of domesday locations containing 'FortAD1066, anderida' centered on Westfield in Sussex.
Map Logic
This map shows the relative population size and damage suffered by villages near Battle in Sussex after the Norman Conquest in 1066AD. The data is derived from the Open Domesday Book(links provided at the bottom of the page). 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.
Icon Key:
Not Effected < 20 people
Not Effected 20‑40 people
Not Effected 40‑80 people
Not Effected 80‑120 people
Not Effected > 120 people
Damaged < 20 people
Damaged 20‑40 people
Damaged 40‑80 people
Damaged 80‑120 people
Damaged > 120 people
Wasted < 20 people
Wasted 20‑40 people
Roman Major Fort
Wasted 80‑120 people
Norman Fort

All the manors near to Duke William's landing place in 1066AD


This map is designed to show the relative population size and the damage caused to the villages around the Hastings area in 1066AD.

Looking at the map it would seem that the majority of the 'Wasted' villages start in the Filsham valley then spread out toward the extremeties of the Hastings peninsular following the old Roman Roads/Trackways.
'Wasted' is a term used in the Domesday Book to describe villages that were totally destroyed by the invasion in 1066AD.

Looking to the West, it can be seen that only a couple of small villages near Pevensey were 'wasted' which implies that the main landing didn't take place on the Pevensey side of the Estuary, although there was some damage caused to the villages along the old Roman Road from Pevensey to Lewes. This does implying that the Normans landed some troops or at least had transported some of their horseman across the Pevensey Levels to the old Roman fort in Pevensey, but most likely significantly fewer numbers than those in the Hastings area.

The following is found in the The Carmen de Triumpho Normannico which may explain this.
You restore the forts that were long since destroyed

And from the 'Roman du rou' by Master Wace.
The first day they held their course along the seashore; and on the morrow came to a castle called Penevesel. The squires and foragers, and those who looked out for booty, seized all the clothing and provisions they could find, lest what had been brought by the ships should fail them ; and the English were to be seen fleeing before them, driving off their cattle, and quitting their houses. All took shelter in the cemeteries , and even there they were in grievous alarm.

The implication of this map is that the main Norman landing occurred along the coast between Normans Bay and Bexhill. It is also likely as the Normans must have known about the safe harbour at Hastings(Filsham Valley) due to imports/exports along the Sussex coast.

It may nowadays seem unlikely that this was the old Hastings harbour as its a long way from modern Hastings, however the valley was used by the Romans to export pig iron to Gaul so it must have been a deep water harbour then, and until the storm in 1286AD which blocked the Rother at New Romney, and probably sea access to the Filsham valley it is likely that this was the main port of Hastings.

As you can see, Rye to the east plus its local villages seems to have been uneffected by the invasion so if the landing was in the Brede/Tillingham valley area it seems to have had no effect on the local villages, so again is unlikely.

So it looks like William destroyed most of the nearby villages to his landing point, then set his horsemen to scout the land within the area of the Hastings peninsular.

The Rother valley appears to have been scouted as Salehurst, Drigsell and Higham were wasted, this means that William knew about the old Roman road to Gravesend, which in turn means that if Harold had been travelling down this road that the Norman scouts would have easily been able to watch his progress and the Battle would most likely have been fought in the Sedlescombe area with the Saxons having to fight uphill.

Because of the above argument it would seem likely that Harold would have come down the London to Lewes road, cut through the forest of Andredsweald via the old ridgeway track from Crowborough to Netherfield, which would have made it more difficult for William to track his progress.

The lack of damage to one settlement near Bexhill does beg the question as to 'why Cortesley(between Bexhill and Filsham) was left intact', unless they had invited the Normans to land there(possibly due to their trade links with Northern France).

Total Population(ex slaves) of the 220 Domesday Villages in 1086AD shown is 7574
This would equate to a Fyrd(national service) of approximately 454 soldiers.

Please Note that the estimate for the Fyrd is based on 6% of the
population(excluding Priests and Slaves) being eligible for military duties.

Summary of Domesday information for this map

Population Overview
Villagers 4468 
Cottagers 265 Thegns
Smallholders 1997
Slaves 191
Freemen 26 Potential Fyrd
Priests 9
Burgesses 809 Thegns

Occupation Overview
Churches 81
Mills 97
Fisheries 24
Salthouses 315
Ploughs 2422

Land Overview
Plough Land 2155 acres
Meadows 3223 acres
Woodlands 2074 acres

Animals Overview
No Animal details recorded in Domesday

Value(geld) 23972412

External References in no particular order :-
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)
Runetree Beowulf
Bayeux Tapestry Online
The Secrets of the Norman Invasion
Chronicles of John of Worcester
Battle Historic Society
Binsted village website(Mearcredesburnan Steðe)
The Spears of Andred
Find British Archaelogical Sites
Wealden Iron Research Group
Topographic Map of the UK


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Author: Simon M - Last Updated: 13/03/2024 13:12
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Data is derived from a number or sources including the Ordnance Survey Gazetter data overlayed onto Google Maps