Pevensey Castle - History and Facts | History Hit

Pevensey Castle

Pevensey, England, United Kingdom

Pevensey Castle is a picturesque ruin of a medieval castle built in the place where William the Conqueror landed in 1066.

Lily Johnson

18 Jun 2021
Image Credit: Shutterstock

About Pevensey Castle

Pevensey Castle is a Norman castle built upon the 4th century Roman fort of Anderida, the substantial remains of which are still visible today.

Pevensey Castle history

The main outer defensive walls of the larger Roman fortification have survived very much intact, forming a wider outer ring within which the main castle now stands. These Roman walls are among the very best Roman remains to have survived in the UK.

Pevensey Castle itself, found within the south-east corner of the Roman walls, mostly dates back to the Norman invasion of 1066. In fact, Pevensey was the site where William the Conqueror landed in Britain on 28 September of that year. There, the Normans found the 4th century Roman fort, upon which they built the first incarnation of Pevensey Castle in timber. Pevensey Castle was actually the very first castle that William built in England!

Later in the 12th century, the timber castle was replaced by a stone structure, which was the start of the Pevensey Castle we see today. With an imposing gatehouse, bailey wall, and square keep, Pevensey Castle was a mighty fortification. So much so that, despite several attempts to breach its walls – most notably in a siege carried out by Simon de Montfort against the sheltering supporters of King Henry III in 1264 – Pevensey Castle survived through medieval period.

Over the centuries, Pevensey Castle would continue to be reinforced several times, including in the 16th century and during the Second World War.

Pevensey Castle today

Now a picturesque ruin under the remit of English Heritage, Pevensey Castle is open to visitors to explore its eminent grounds. Amongst its attractions are the remaining elements of the Roman fort, which includes the majority of the original outer walls and towers, as well as the medieval dungeons.

The exhibition details the castle’s history, including its role as a World War Two observation and command post, with audio tours also available around the site.

Getting to Pevensey Castle

Pevensey Castle is located in Pevensey in East Sussex, just off the A259. The nearest train stations are Pevensey & Weston or Pevensey Bay, both half a mile away, while a number of bus services stop outside or near to the site, including the Stagecoach 55, and the Cuckmere Community Bus service 46.

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