Pevensey Castle Timeline

The postern gate at Pevensey Castle, leading from the inner ward
By Nilfanion – Wikimedia UK, CC BY-SA 4.0,


Here is the timeline for Pevensey Castle



290 –            The fort was called Anderida. It was built to the shape of the land it stood on and included an enclosure with flanking D-shaped bastions. Was a fort of the Saxon Shore.

c.471 –         The Saxons, led by Ella, massacred the Britons taking shelter in the fort.

792 –            Duke Bertwald granted it to the Abbey of St. Denis near Paris “in return for a miraculous cure wrought of him by the bones of St. Denis himself” (Lower 1870, p. 91).

1066 –         Believed to be the site where William the Conqueror landed in Britain before advancing on to Hastings. His men cut a ditch by the old Roman West Gate for protection.

1066-1071 – The castle was built within the east part of the Roman fort. The site was granted by William I to his brother, the Count of Mortain.

1080 –         The keep was constructed.

1088 –          Robert of Mortain and the Bishop of Odo held the site against William II (William Rufus). William won after 6 weeks of holding out – he starved the garrison.

1100 –          Around: The first stone work began at the site by the Normans which included the Keep – it incorporated part of the east wall of the Roman fort as one of its walls. Later, three more projecting towers were added.

1101-            Held by William, Count of Mortain but he was forced to hand it back to Henry I.

1144 –         Held by Henry fitz Empress (later Henry II). It was entrusted to Gilbert de Clare, but besieged by King Stephen, who eventually starved the garrison in submission.

1147 –         Gilbert de Aquila rebelled against King Stephen – the castle was again starved into submission by Stephen of Penchester.

1153 –         William, Earl of Warenne inherited the Honour when his brother Eustace died.

1154 –         The castle surrendered to Henry II, and he then granted it to Gilbert de Aquila.

1216 –          Slighted. King John ordered William, 6th Earl of Warenne, to surrender the castle after he sided with Louis, Dauphin of France. He had to surrender it to Matthew fitz Herbert, who was then given orders to demolish it.

1220 –          Gatehouse dates to.

1240 –          Gilbert Marshall, Earl of Pembroke surrendered the castle to the Crown.

1243 –          Prior to: William de Manceux was constable of the castle.

1246 –          Henry III granted the castle to Peter de Savoy, Earl of Richmond, who was the Queen’s uncle.

1250 –          A Licence was sought to remove the church from outside of the castle.

1264-1265 – The third siege of the castle when supporters of Henry III were defeated at the Battle of Lewes. The castle was held by Peter de Savoy and the Barons led by Simon de Montfort withdrew after destroying a large area of the wall.

13th C –        Peter de Savoy built the curtain wall dividing the inner and outer baileys. The keep was updated.

1302 –         Part of the old Roman walling collapsed.

1306 –         The steps and the bridge leading to the keep collapsed.

1309 –         A report to Edward II stated the castle was in ruins.

1318 –         Another part of the old Roman walling fell down.

1372 –         The castle was granted to John of Gaunt.

1394 –          The constable was Sir John Pelham.

1399 –           Henry, Duke of Lancaster, son of John of Gaunt, laid claim to the Crown, and Richard Ii laid siege to the castle. Lady Joan was left to defend the castle after her husband, Sir John Pelham, constable of the castle, had gone to join the army of the Duke of Lancaster. She held out until the Duke was able to relieve her.

14th C –        c: The timber floors, roof of the keep and the north tower had fallen and were in disrepair.

15th C –        Early: Due to the poor state of the Roman walling, the north side of the keep was described as ruinous. Prisoners kept at the castle, despite its ruinous state included James I, King of Scotland, and Henry IV’s second wife, Joan of Navarre.

1553 –          Up until: A constable was still installed at the castle.

1587 –           Cannon were installed at the site under the threat of a Spanish attack.

1789-1815 – Napoleonic Wars: The castle was garrisoned.

1906-1908 – Excavated.

1925 –            The owner, the Duke of Devonshire, placed the site in the care of the Office of Works.

1936-1964 – Between: Excavations.

1940 –            WWII – The site was used as a military base. Gun emplacements, machine gun posts and pill boxes were installed. The garrison, consisting of units from the UK, Canada and the USA were installed in the drum towers. The garrison also included part of the Home Guard.

1960 –           Field Investigation.

1973 –            Field Investigation.

1993-1995 – Excavated.

1994 –          Excavated.

1996 –           Scheduled Monument notification.


Pevensey Castle.
By Nilfanion – Wikimedia UK, CC BY-SA 4.0,




References & Bibliography

Allen. J. R. L., & Fulford. M. G. 1999. Fort Building and Military Supply along Britain’s Eastern Channel and North Sea Coasts: The Later Second and Third Centuries. Britannia, 1999, Vol. 30 (1999), pp. 163-184.

Allan. J. R. L. 2010. The “Petit Appareil” Masonry Style in Roman Britain: Geology, Builders, Scale and Proportion. Britannia, 2010, Vol. 41 (2010), pp. 149-173.

Bosworth. G. F. 2012. Sussex. Cambridge University Press.

Bradbury. J. 1998. The Battle of Hastings. Sutton Publishing.

Burnham. B. C., Keppie. L. J. F., Esmonde Cleary. A. S., Hassall. M. W. C., & Tomlin. R. S. O. Roman Britain in 1994. Britannia, 1995, Vol. 26 (1995), pp. 325-390.

Cotterill. J. 1993. Saxon Raiding and the Role of the Late Roman Coastal Forts of Britain. Britannia, 1993, Vol. 24 (1993), pp. 227-239.

Crawford. A. 2001. The Queen’s Council in the Middle Ages. The English Historical Review, Nov., 2001, Vol. 116, No. 469 (Nov., 2001), pp. 1193-1211.

Cruwys. E., & Riffenburgh. B. 1995. Explore Britain’s Castles. AA Publishing.

Finn. C. 2000. Defiant Britain. Archaeology, May/June 2000, Vol. 53, No. 3 (May/June 2000), pp. 42-49.

Fulford. M., & Rippon. S. 2011. Pevensey Castle, Sussex: Excavations in the Roman Fort and Medieval Keep, 1993–95. Salisbury.

Gascoigne. C., & Gascoigne. B. 1992. Castles of Britain. Thames & Hudson.

Goodall. J. 2012. The English Gatehouse. Architectural History, 2012, Vol. 55 (2012), pp. 1-23.

Green. J. 1979. William Rufus, Henry I and the Royal Demesne. History, 1979, Vol. 64, No. 212 (1979), pp. 337-352.

Grehan. J., & Mace. M. 2012. Battleground Sussex. Casemate Publishers.

Guy. J. 1984. Castles in Sussex. Phillimore.

Harfield. C. G. 1991. A Hand-List of Castles Recorded in the Domesday Book. The English Historical Review, Apr., 1991, Vol. 106, No. 419 (Apr., 1991), pp. 371-392.

Jarrett. M. G. 1994. Non-Legionary Troops in Roman Britain: Part One, the Units. Britannia, 1994, Vol. 25 (1994), pp. 35-77.

Johnson. P. 1992. Castles of England and Wales. Wiedenfeld & Nicholson.

Jones. B., & Mattingly. D. 2002. An Atlas of Roman Britain. Oxbow Books.

Keen. M. 1999. Medieval Warfare: A History. Oxford University Press.

Kenyon. J. R. 1978. Castles, Town Defences, and Artillery Fortifications in Britain: A Bibliography, Volume 1. Council for British Archaeology.

Lower. M. A.1853. On Pevensey Castle and the Recent Excavations There. Sussex Archaeological Collections Relating to the History and Antiquities of the County, Vol. 6. Pp. 265-274.

Lower. M. A. 1870. A Compendious History of Sussex: Topographical, Archæological & Anecdotical. Containing an Index to the First Twenty Volumes of the “Sussex Archæological Collections”. G. P. Bacon.

Matarasso. F. 1995. The English Castle. Cassell.

Nelson. T. 1862. Old Castles of England. T. Nelson & Sons.

Pettifer. A. 1995. English Castles: A Guide by County. The Boydell Press.

Renn. D. F. 1970. Pevensey Castle, Sussex. H. M. Stationary Office.

Smith. C. R. 2015. Retrospections, Social and Archaeologica, Vol. 1l. Cambridge University Press.

Somerset Fry. P. 1996. Castles of Britain and Ireland. David & Charles.

Toy. S. 1953. The Castles of Great Britain. William Heinemann.

Walker. S. K. 1991. Letters to the Dukes of Lancaster in 1381 and 1399. The English Historical Review, Jan., 1991, Vol. 106, No. 418 (Jan., 1991), pp. 68- 79.

Warner. P. 2004. Sieges of the Middle Ages. Pen & Sword.

Woolnoth. W. 1823. A Series of Views Of The Most Interesting Remains Of Ancient Castles Of England And Wales; engr. by W. Woolnoth and W. Tombleson, with hist. descriptions by E.W. Brayley. Longman.

Woolnoth. W. 1825. The Ancient Castles of England and Wales. Longman.



The South East View of Pevensey Castle.



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