Possible routes taken by Duke William's men in 1066AD
To get to Pevensey Castle and Hastings
as described in the 'Roman de Rou' by Master Wace

Anglo Saxon History

saxonhistory.co.uk
Map Position

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

Map Logic

This map shows possible routes the Normans may have taken to get to the old Roman Fort at Pevensey and the Saxon Burh fort at Hastings as suggested 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.


 
Icon Key:
Not Effected < 20 people
Not Effected 20‑40 people
Not Effected 40‑80 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
Wasted 80‑120 people
Norman Fort
Roman Bloomery
 

References to Pevensey:-

Bayeux Tapestry - 'to(towards) Pevensey'

Chronicles of Battle Abbey
The duke, therefore, with a prodigious army, and attended by the divine favour, arrived safely near the castle called Pevensey.

Anglo Saxon Chronicles
Meantime Earl William came up from Normandy into Pevensey on the eve of St. Michael's mass; and soon after his landing was effected, they constructed a castle at the port of Hastings.

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 details of the march to Pevensey.


Soldiers ride off to gather food
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 day after landing.
' 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 march to Pevensey.

The description is that it took more than a day to get to Pevensey, this is in keeping with the distance of 28 miles shown in blue which follows old and proposed Roman roads around the area. The troops sent were probably a small detachment with their associated squires and foragers.
As you can see from the yellow dots there was damage done to the villages along the downs from Pevensey to Lewes, but they weren't destroyed, so is consistent with the foraging description by the Normans. This provides more proof that Master Wace's text was reasonably accurate.

Master Wace doesn't mention Hastings in the context of the Landing, however it is mentioned three times in his writing.

'They arrived near Hastings, and there each ship ranged by the other's side.'
So it would seem that it was not at Hastings but nearby.

'Harold returned rejoicing and triumphing, bearing himself right proudly, when news met him that put other thoughts in his mind ; for lo ! the knight is come who set out from Hastings. ' The Normans,' he cried, ' are come ! they have landed at Hastings ! thy land will they wrest from thee, if thou canst not defend thyself well ; they have enclosed a fort, and strengthened it round about with palisades and a fosse.''
The knight who went to Harold came from the Hastings area, so would describe the location to Harold as Hastings as it was the nearest place he would know to the landing.

'The duke placed a guard in Hastings, from the best of his knights, so as to garrison the castle well, and went thence to Romenel, to destroy it utterly, because some of his people had arrived there, I know not by what accident, and the false and traitorous had killed them by felony. On that account he was very wroth against them, and grievously punished them for it.'
Right at the end of the writing, after the battle Wace says that the Normans garrisoned the castle at Hastings. A small wooden fort would have needed more defenses, so garrisoning implies that the castle was already there and larger, therefore more likely to be the Burghal Hidage fort described by Alfred the Great.

Assuming the translation is correct, Wace describes the prefab defenses as a fort not a castle as in the last paragraph. The word castle is only mentioned above and when describing the Roman fort at Pevensey, so implying a large already constructed defense.



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 - 2018
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Author: Simon M       Document Created: 2018-01-24
Data is derived from a number or sources including the Ordnance Survey Gazetter data overlayed onto Google Maps