Anglo Saxon Chronicles
These are the relevent extracts from the Anglo Saxon Chronicles
AD477. This year Aelle, and his three sons, Cymen, and Wlencing, and Cissa, came to the land of Britain with
three ships, at a place which is named Cymenes-ora, and there slew many Welsh, and some they drove in flight into
the wood that is named Andreds-lea.
AD 893. This year went the large army, that we before spoke about, back from the eastern district westward to
Bologne; and there were shipped; so that they transported themselves over at one time with their horses withal. And
they came up with two hundred and fifty ships into the mouth of the Limne, which is in East-Kent, at the east end of the
vast wood that we call Andred. This wood is in length, east and west, one hundred and twenty miles, or longer, and
thirty miles broad. The river that we before spoke about lieth out of the weald. On this river they towed up their ships
as far as the weald, four miles from the mouth outwards; and there destroyed a fort within the fen, whereon sat a few
churls, and which was hastily wrought. Soon after this came Hasten up with eighty ships into the mouth of the Thames,
and wrought him there a work at Milton, and the other army at Appledore.
So we have a large forest 120 miles long by 30 miles wide covering the area.
Lets look at the Saxon word 'hyrst' which is commonly explained as meaning 'A hurst, copse, wood.' however as these
hurst appear in forested areas it is more likely to mean 'a clearing in the forest', and as you can see from the green
outline on the map it does seem to show the extent of the forest of Andredsweald.
As an aside, the majority of hursts appear to be in forested areas such as Andredsweald in the south east and along the
North Wales, English border
A plot of all the Domesday Records for the area shows a very
sparsely populated area, which corresponds quite closely to the outline shown using 'hursts'.
However the term Hurst only seemed to come into major use after the Normans created the Domesday Book in 1086AD as
this map of the Domesday villages containing hurst shows.
A significant proportion of the 'hursts' have churches from the late 1200's to the 1400's so showing that they were
founded after 1066 and before 1300.
The only influence of Population migration between those dates was the Norman Invasion, as the next major influencer
was the Black Death which didn't really appear till the mid 1300's.
The hursts were most likely founded by the local fyrd bringing their families into the forest to escape persecution or
by Saxons being displaced by having their land confiscated..
The Domesday villages that are named hurst are all near Hastings and its
iron workings, and could be interpreted as the home of foreign mercenaries paid by the Haestingas to defend the
valuable resources in the area.
Total Locations shown on this map is 388