Hastings Castle, East sussex
~ History ~
1066 - September 27th. Two days after King Harold's victory at Stamford Bridge over the King of Norway and Harold's own brother Tostig, whom are both killed, William Duke of Normandy sets sail for England and lands in Pevensey Bay. He quickly sets up camp on the site of Hastings Castle.
1066 - October 14th. King Harold's tattered and incomplete army, although still comparable in size to William's 14,000 men, is defeated just a few miles from Hastings. On Christmas day he is crowned King William I of England. He gives orders that Humphrey de Tilleul rebuilds Hastings Castle in stone.
1095 - William's son Rufus, stays in the castle for six weeks with a group of friends, waiting in vain for a favourable wind to carry them to Normandy. Their enforced stay coincides with a visit from Archbishop Anselm, who is incensed by the behaviours of the young nobles and so preaches an especially fierce sermon on the subject.
1170's - The rebuilding of the keep in undertaken by orders of Henry II.
1216 - Fearing invasion from France, King John orders all Sussex castles to be dismantled rather than fall into French hands.
1220's - Hastings Castle is re-fortified and garrisoned for Henry III.
1249 - A barbican is added to the North Gate.
1274 - Edward I issues his naval ordinances from the castle.
1287 - Unprecedented storms sweep the South Coast and without warning the cliffs at Hastings give way, destroying the whole southern part of the Castle. The destruction also includes the great Keep. As the storms continue to rage, and the great harbour of Hastings is gradually silted up, it is rendered useless for shipping. As Hastings loses its harbour and with its great Castle in ruins, the Castle soon becomes deserted.
1339 - The French land at Hastings, burning & looting the town. They overrun the castle and plunder the rich houses.
1377 - The French return and again loot and pillage the town. Further damage is done when even more of the coast falls into the sea, taking more of the castle with it.
Castle Hill Road, Hastings
There is evidence of early man on the West Hill of Hastings from Mesolithic times. Traces from the later Iron Age and also from Pagon Saxon times have also been found on the site.
The twin harbour town was sufficiently important for King Athelstan to found a mint for making coins in Hastings in 924 AD.
In 1066 the Normans landed at nearby Pevensey and soon set up camp on the West Hill.
You can just about see some of the castle walls from the Hastings seafront where there is plenty of parking and signposts how to reach the castle.
The views from the castle are quite spectacular, especially at sunset looking out across the English Channel and the town and pier below.