Anglo Saxon History
Changing Landscape and Language
Sea Levels in AD400(Pevensey)
Sea Levels in AD400(The Wash)
Sea level changes last 2000 years
Andredsweald at Domesday
Where is the Forest Boundary
Where are the Roman Roads
History of the Romney Marsh
The Cinque Ports
First Invasion 55BC
Second Invasion 43AD
Ptolemy Geographica Tribes
MAP-Margary Roman Roads
MAP-Roman Roads South East
MAP-Roman Roads South West
MAP-Roman Roads Wales
MAP-Roman Roads South Midlands
MAP-Roman Roads South Yorkshire
MAP-Roman Locations Norfolk
MAP-Roman Locations Essex
Wealden Bloomeries 1st Century
Wealden Bloomeries 2nd Century
Wealden Bloomeries 3rd Century
Wealden Bloomeries 4th Century
MAP-Antonine Itinery I
Roman Industry in the Brede Valley
Decline in Roman Wealden Ironworking
The Gallic Empire 260AD - 274AD
449AD Hengest & Horsa arrive
455AD Hengest & Horsa defeat Wurtgern
457AD Hengest & Horsa take over Kent
460AD Hæstinga Saxons arrive
485AD Suth Saxons Mercredesburnan
491AD Suth Saxons Pevensey
914AD Burghal Hideage
Locations - 449AD Ebbsfleet
Locations - 455AD Agelesþrep
Locations - 485AD Mearcredesburnan Stede
Locations - 914AD Eorpeburnan
1 Anglo Saxon Chronicles
2 Battle Abbey Chronicles
3 Bayeux Tapestry
4 Carmen Guy d'Amiens
5 Florence of Worcester
6 Henry of Huntingdon
7 Master Wace
8 Orderic Vitalis(Gesta)
9 William of Jumièges(Gesta)
10 William of Malmesbury
11 Quedam Exceptiones
Reference to Locations
Phases of the Events
2 In Normandy
3 Channel Crossing
4 The Landing
5 Feast after Landing
6 Building the Forts
7 Raiding the Area
8 Warning to Harold
9 Stamford Bridge
10 Harold returns to London
11 William is Alerted
12 Exchange of Messages
14 Harold Reconnoitres
16 The Night Before
17 The Battle
18 Harold is Killed
19 The English Rout
20 After the Battle
21 The Malfosse
Warriors, Weapons & Snippets
Saxon - Huscarl
Saxon - Fyrd(Fyrð)
The Hoar Apple Tree
The Shield Wall
Salt Production near Hastings
The Battle of Jengland 851AD
The Time Team view of the Battle
1066AD Landscape Details
1066AD Sailing from Normandy
1066AD Norman Landing
1066AD Possible Fort
1066AD to Pevensey and Hastings
1066AD Manors Wasted
1066AD Manors All
1066AD Warning to Harold
1066AD Harold to Hastings
Boundary of Anderida
Post Domesday Hursts
Domesday Manors Wasted UK
Norfolk Salt Production
Salt Production near Hastings
The Wash at 1086
The Humber estuary at 1086
Domesday County details B
Bedfordshire Domesday Population
Berkshire Domesday Population
Buckinghamshire Domesday Population
Domesday County details C
Cambridgeshire Domesday Population
Cheshire Domesday Population
Cornwall Domesday Population
Domesday County details D
Derbyshire Domesday Population
Devon Domesday Population
Dorset Domesday Population
Domesday County details E
Essex Domesday Population
Domesday County details G
Gloucestershire Domesday Population
Domesday County details H
Hampshire Domesday Population
Herefordshire Domesday Population
Hertfordshire Domesday Population
Huntingdonshire Domesday Population
Domesday County details K
Kent Domesday Population
Domesday County details L
Leicestershire Domesday Population
Lincolnshire Domesday Population
Domesday County details M
Middlesex Domesday Population
Domesday County details N
Norfolk Domesday Population
Northamptonshire Domesday Population
Nottinghamshire Domesday Population
Domesday County details O
Oxfordshire Domesday Population
Domesday County details R
Rutland Domesday Population
Domesday County details S
Shropshire Domesday Population
Somerset Domesday Population
Staffordshire Domesday Population
Suffolk Domesday Population
Surrey Domesday Population
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Domesday County details W
Warwickshire Domesday Population
Wiltshire Domesday Population
Worcestershire Domesday Population
Domesday County details Y
Yorkshire Domesday Population
Translate my Location
Jutish name snippets
Roman name snippets
Saxon name snippets
Viking name snippets
Norman name snippets
Modern name snippets
Villages containing EY/EYE/SEA
Villages containing HAM
Villages containing TON
Villages containing CASTLE
Sussex Locations with ING
Domesday Sussex with ING
Kent Locations with ING
Sussex Locations with HURST
Domesday Sussex with HURST
1. The History of the Romney Marsh in maps(Pre-Roman to Modern times)
basis for our maps
showing current area is close to sea level
Iron Exports 1st to 4th century via Lemanis
Roman Iron Exports 1st
Roman Iron Exports 2nd
Roman Iron Exports 3rd
Roman Iron Exports 4th
740AD most likely after 566AD
A Major storm in the Channel
An Alternate map from the National
Trust museum at Smallhythe
Post 900AD New Romney and Langport
Post 900AD New Romney and
the Rhee Wall
1200AD the Rhee
1287AD the Great Storm
1287AD the Great Storm
Consequences of the Storm
The Knell Dam
The Knell Dam 1332AD
Camber and the
Camber and the Castle
of the Knell Dam
End of the Knell Dam 1636AD
William Dugdales Map
William Dugdales map of Romney Marsh
Royal Military Canal
First 1 inch
Ordnance Survey map 1801AD
Revised 1809AD to include the Royal
- Present Day
The basis for our maps ▲
This drawing illustrates the soil age of the underlying land on the Romney Marsh.
The brown area denotes old marshland, the yellow areas new marshland and the pink areas denote areas of shingle. This
map is taken from a publication from the University of East Anglia.
The "Kent A" cadastre - page 5 -
Our following maps utilise the above soil structure on this map to allow us to generate maps of the land at various
Please note that the majority of the following maps were created using 'Google My Maps'.
Map showing current area is close to sea level ▲
The blue shaded areas on this map show land that would be flooded if the sea rises just 1 metre.
Pre-Roman times ▲
The Celts were extracting and exporting iron across to Gaul along the edge of the vast forest later to be called
Andredsweald, and most likely building ships along the edge of the sea, that reached up the Rother valley to at the very
least Bodiam, but more likely as far as Etchingham at the time.
Tidebrook near Wadhurst appears to show where the tidal reach on the Rother was at the time of the Saxon landings.
The Forest reached the sea all along the coastline from modern Appledore through to Hailsham.(see our Andredsweald page)
The Limen(laemen) a Saxon word meaning earthen (modern Rother another Saxon name meaning Rower) flowed out to the sea at
The Cliffs at Hastings would have been about 2 km further out to sea, and the residues from the cliffs would have been
deposited as a shingle bank stretching from modern Pett at least to modern Camber and probably to Lydd.
Behind the shingle bank would have been the Brede, Tillingham and Rother valleys that merged near to Rye and then at
On the edges of these rivers would have been vast areas of salt marsh.
Roman Iron Exports 1st to 4th century via Lemanis ▲
The Romans probably landed in Sandwich in 43AD and took over the country, the most likely reason was the rich iron
production and the massive forest rich in oak trees that could be used for shipbuilding in the south east of the
The Rother/Limen,the Brede and the Tillingham rivers were used as a main iron export route via Portus Lemanis as the
Rother flowed along the top of the Marsh at this time to arrive at the sea at Hythe.
Behind Burmarsh and Dymchurch was a lagoon that was mostly salt marsh and there is evidence for salt production near
Burmarsh, Snave, Newchurch and St Marys Bay in 100AD.
The fortress of Portus Lemanis was built by Carausius(The Roman Commander of the Classis Britannica who declared British
independence from Rome) to defend the iron production in the Weald from the Romans in about 273AD. When Allectus,
Caurausius’s successor was defeated, iron production was limited by the State to only produce enough iron for
After the Romans left England around 410AD Henghest and Horsa, mercenaries from Jutland, were paid by King Vortigern of
Kent and in 449AD were given land in the South East of the county, probably near the old Roman Fortress at Lemanis.
Roman Iron Exports 1st century ▲
Small bloomeries taken over from the Celts 150tons/annum
Roman Iron Exports 2nd century ▲
Expanded exploration area 700 tons/annum
Roman Iron Exports 3rd century ▲
Major production from less larger bloomeries 450 tons/annum
Roman Iron Exports 4th century ▲
Roman Iron production
43AD - 100AD = 150 tons/year ( 8550 tons)
100AD - 150AD = 700 tons/year (35000 tons)
150AD - 200AD = 750 tons/year (37500 tons)
200AD - 250AD = 750 tons/year (37500 tons)
250AD - 300AD = 200 tons/year (10000 tons)
300AD - 350AD = 200 tons/year (10000 tons)
350AD - 400AD = 50 tons/year ( 2500 tons)
Overall about 141050 tons of smelted iron was exported
Source of this data is the Wealden Iron Research Group.
Pre 740AD most likely after 566AD ▲
Sometime before 740AD when ‘Old’ Romney was first recorded as a port the Rother/Limen changed its course and broke
through to the sea at ‘Old’ Romney
There is a report of a storm in 566AD which hit the South East and effected Hampshire, Sussex and South Kent which most
likely caused this re-routing of the Rother. Sussex Archaeological Collections Relating to the History and ..., Volume
There are also reports of a major storm surge in 586AD in the Thames, which could also have effected this coastline,
howwever the north sea storm surges rarely hit the South Kent and Sussex coasts so this is less likely.
It is probable that one of these events blocked the exit of the Rother/Limen at Hythe forcing the river to break through
to the sea at ‘Old’ Romney.
It is likely that one of these storms also created the shingle banks at Old Winchelsea and Broomhill where the later
villages were founded.
A Major storm in the Channel 566AD ▲
The following map is an alternate view of the Marsh from an undated map at the National Trust Smallhythe Place, it
doesn’t match with the age of the land from the University of East Anglia map(at the top of this page), but has been
used as a basis for a lot of subsequent maps of the Romney Marsh.
I believed it was worth showing what others had thought of the early Marshes.
An Alternate map from the National Trust museum at Smallhythe ▲
An undated map from the National Trust Ellen
Terry museum at Smallhythe Kent.
Post 900AD New Romney and Langport ▲
The slow moving Rother now silted up the area around Old Romney, and the port had to be moved to modern New Romney in
late 900AD, where it was known as Langport.
In 1066AD the Normans sacked New Romney as it was claimed that some ships landed prior to the battle most likely due to
taking on water and sinking. The Portsmen killed all the Normans onboard and suffered as a consequence.
A couple of refernces to this even are found from the following Chroniclers.
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
William of Jumièges
After providing for the decent interment of the dead the duke marched to Romney, and taking it by assault, revenged the
slaughter of a party of his troops, who, having landed there by mistake, were fiercely attacked by the in- habitants and
cruelly butchered, after great loss on both sides.
There is also a possibility that the English sailors from Langport were attacking the French Fleet as it passed by on
its way to Pevensey/Hastings but the Chroniclers(mostly Norman) wouldn’t have wanted it known that the English had any
Post 900AD New Romney and Langport ▲
1200AD the Rhee Wall ▲
As time passed the Rother started to silt up its entrance to the sea producing a delta, this made the Port of Old Romney
in turn silt up.
This was seriously effecting old Romney and the Langport at New Romney, so that in the early 1200’s a channel was cut
from Appledore to Old Romney via Snargate, called the ae (meaning watercourse – now called the Rhee) this most likely
became the course of the Rother once it was built.
A great gate at Snargate was made to hold the water from the Rhee back as the tide lowered which could then be released
so that it flushed the silt from Langport into the sea.
Over the next few years as the Rother deposited silt further out to sea making the new harbour less deep so in 1250AD
the Rhee was extended to New Romney.
The new channel in turn allowed the area behind Dymchurch to dry out producing the rich farmlands of today.
1200AD the Rhee ▲
1287AD the Great Storm ▲
In February 1287AD a great storm hit the south coast effecting Kent and Sussex, the marsh suffered extreme damage and
Old Winchelsea (offshore from current Winchelsea) and Proomhill(Bromhill) were completely washed away and about 1 metre
of shingle swept over New Romney effectively blocking the exit of the Rother.
The Rother broke its banks near to Old Winchelsea and the Rother flowed south of the Isle of Oxney to the sea at Rye.
The Rhee channel, now a redundant waterway overtime became filled in and is now turned into a road. The banks are now
known as the Rhee Wall due to the protection they brings to the below sea level land near Newchurch.
This storm also seriously damaged Hastings (probably sealing its port) and most of the other ‘Cinque Ports’,
requiring the main ports to attach Limbs(smaller ports) and Antient towns to provide the 57 ships and crew required by
the king for 15 days a year and hence keep their independent rights.
1287AD the Great Storm ▲
Consequences of the Storm ▲
New Romney was now a member of the Cinque Ports in title only, as they had no harbour, and over time it lost its power.
The Cinque ports had a major problem now as Hastings, New Romney and Sandwich harbours had been effectively blocked by
shingle banks, so Limbs(additional ports) were added to the 5 main ports.
Rye and Winchelsea soon overtook the Hastings and New Romney as major hubs of the Cinque Ports.
On the marshes various Archbishops of Canterbury now extended their lands by ‘inning’ (surrounding the marshy areas
with walls and then draining the marsh) between the Rhee Wall and modern Camber. Inning was a cheap way to increase
their landholding without paying tax, and so made the church wealthier.
The Knell Dam 1332AD ▲
The rerouting of the Rother south of the Isle of Oxney allowed the sea tides to flow right up the Rother valley as far
as Bodiam. Marshland which had previously been valuable as summer pastures to provide food for an increasing population
was no longer available.
By 1330 the flooding had become worse, and in 1332 two local landowners, Isabella Aucher who lived near Newenden on the
Kent side, and Geoffrey de Knelle who lived in Sussex, petitioned the king for permission to make a wall at a place
called Knellesflete. This was granted, and in the next few years the Knelle Dam was built.
There were other Dams built around this time, the Sea Wall across the southern edge of the Wittersham level and the
Thorn Wall between Appledore and the marsh.
The Dams/Walls thus diverted the river waters and numerous tides round the north side of Oxney, there it promoted
harbours at Maytham, Small Hythe, Reading Street and Appledore. These were small but of national importance to Henry V
in 1415 and even to Henry VII in 1517 for warship construction.After the storm, and possibly before, the land on the
Newchurch side of the Rhee was drained and turned into rich farmland.
The Knell Dam 1332AD ▲
Camber and the Castle 1512AD ▲
Camber is a new name and was used to describe the protected sea area between modern Camber, Camber Castle and Rye which
was used to harbour the fleet (originally provided by the Cinque Ports but which became the Royal Navy in 1546) from the
weather in the channel, it is derived from the French ‘la Chambre’ meaning the chamber.
Camber Castle also known as Winchelsea Castle was built by Henry VIII to defend the western entrance to the Camber and
to protect Winchelsea and Rye, and the main wealden shipyards at Maytham, Smallhythe and Reading(Street) on the Rother
near modern Tenterden.
The Castle was completed between 1512
and 1514 but was badly built and required expensive modifications in 1542/3 to make it effective, but became obsolete by
the silt from the Rother and longshore shingle drift from the Fairlight Cliffs moved the coastline further towards
This increased the distance from the castle to the sea of the 28 brass and iron guns mounted on the turrets, hence
making them ineffective.
Camber and the Castle 1512AD ▲
1636AD End of the Knell Dam ▲
The Wittersham levels had been drained since the Knell Dam was built, but this had caused the area around Newenden to
flood and remain flooded.
In 1600 “or thereabouts” a breach occurred in the Knell Dam(Maytham Wall). The Newenden levels emptied into the
Wittersham level and "within 10 days" all the Drowned Lands(area between Newenden and Appledore) were drained.
The Commissioners for the Newenden levels thereupon made 3 successive proposals to Wittersham to allow the breach to
stay open for drainage, but were turned down and the Dam was rebuilt.
The Rother continued to silt up the north of the Isle of Oxney, until By 1636AD the Rother had deposited a great deal
of silt to the north of the Isle of Oxney, and the harbour at Rye was under threat of closure as the Rother had slowed.
So a channel was proposed through the Wittersham Levels to enable the flooded Newenden Levels and Rother to flow faster
to the sea and clear Rye harbour.
An agreement was reached in 1663AD to carry out the making of a channel through the Wittersham levels, but a storm in
late 1633AD broke through the dam and flooded the Wittersham Levels, a channel was then cut through the area and the
Rother now flowed south of the Isle of Oxney, and still does.
End of the Knell Dam 1636AD ▲
1662AD William Dugdales Map ▲
In 1662AD a detailed map was published by William Dugdale showing all the waterways and channels of the Romney Marsh
This map shows the ‘Sea Wall’ between Iden and the Isle of Oxney, the ‘Thorn Wall’ near Appledore and the
‘Knell Dam/Wall’ all standing, hence the survey of the map must have taken place pre 1636AD as that was when the
Knell Dam failed and the Rother started flowing south of Oxney.
The map was titled:
"The Description of Romney Marsh, Walland Marsh, Denge Marsh, and Guildford Marsh, with the Divisions of their
Waterings, their Heads, principal Sewers, and their Guts, for the sewing of the Fresh Waters that fall into the same:
And also the Levels of Wittersham, Sherley Moor, and the surrounded Marshes, from Appledoure, Chanell, lying to the
River of Rotherbridge, up to Newenden, Sandhurst, and Bodiam; together with the Harbours of Rye and Winchelsea, with the
and comes from:
‘The history of imbanking and drayning of divers fenns and marshes, both in forein parts and in this kingdom, and of
the improvements thereby extracted from records, manuscripts, and other authentick testimonies’ / by William Dugdale.
Dugdale, William, Sir, 1605-1686.
London: Printed by Alice Warren, 1662.
Refer to Cap XI
William Dugdales map of Romney Marsh in 1662 ▲
Royal Military Canal 1804AD-1809AD ▲
The ‘Royal Military Canal’ is a canal running for 28 miles (45 km) between Seabrook near Folkestone and Cliff End
near Hastings, following the old cliff line bordering Romney Marsh, which was constructed as a defence against the
possible invasion of England during the Napoleonic Wars.
As you can see it follows much of the original course or the river Rother/Limen in Roman times.
The Canal has help the draining of the land and the reclamation of the remaining marshy areas, this means that the
Romney Marsh and Rother Valley is mostly rich fertile farmland.
Royal Military Canal 1804AD-1809AD ▲
First 1 inch Ordnance Survey map 1801AD ▲
The origins of the Ordnance Survey lie in the aftermath of the Jacobite rising of 1745. Prince William, Duke of
Cumberland realised that the British Army did not have a good map of the Scottish Highlands to locate Jacobite
dissenters such as Simon Fraser, 11th Lord Lovat so that they could be put on trial.
In 1747, Lieutenant-Colonel David Watson proposed the compilation of a map of the Highlands to help to subjugate the
In response, King George II charged Watson with making a military survey of the Highlands under the command of the Duke
of Cumberland. The survey was produced at a scale of 1 inch to 1,000.
In 1801, the first one-inch-to-the-mile (1:63,360 scale) map was published, detailing the county of Kent, with Essex
following shortly afterwards. The Kent map was published privately and stopped at the county border, while the Essex
maps were published by the Ordnance Survey and ignored the county border, setting the trend for future Ordnance Survey
Above details are from the Wikipedia article
Revised 1809AD to include the Royal Military Canal ▲
Present day ▲
Since the publication of Dugdales map the Rother has silted up more, the Environment Agency has a sea lock at Rye that
protects the Rother Valley from sea water incursion however flooding in the Rother valley still takes place due to high
volumes of run off from the local hills. The map below is from https://floodassist.co.uk and shows the extent of a
flood warning from 05-Nov-2023
The Ness at Dungeness has grown bigger as the Hastings cliffs fall into the sea and New Romney is now a long way inland.
Between 1966 and 1980 an improvement scheme was installed. The river banks were raised throughoutmost of its length to
increase storage and avoid overtopping .
Romney Marsh - Present Day ▲
This is today and also shows the difference to Dugdales map.
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