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
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|
|Villagers ||4468|| |
|Cottagers ||265|| Thegns|
|Freemen ||26|| Potential Fyrd|
|Burgesses ||809|| Thegns|
|Plough Land ||2155|| acres|
|Meadows ||3223|| acres|
|Woodlands ||2074|| acres|
|No Animal details recorded in Domesday|