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Pevensey Town Defences

Also known as, or recorded in historical documents as;
Pefenesea; Pevensye; Anderida; Anderitum

In the civil parish of Pevensey.
In the historic county of Sussex.
Modern Authority of East Sussex.
1974 county of East Sussex.
Medieval County of Sussex (Rape of Pevensey).

OS Map Grid Reference: TQ64450480
Latitude 50.81894° Longitude 0.33236°

Pevensey Town Defences has been described as a Urban Defence although is doubtful that it was such.

There are uncertain remains.

This site is a scheduled monument protected by law.


Pevesney town occupied the Roman fort before the building of the castle and may have done so after. (King)

Domesday Book records that when Robert, Count of Mortain acquired Pevensey (possibly in the spring of 1067), the 52 burgesses of the pre-Conquest town had been reduced to 27, but evidently this was temporary (and possibly the result of the immediate impact of the Norman invasion and use of Pevensey as a military base), as by 1086 the town had expanded to 110 burgesses, tolls had risen to £4, and there was a mint. The mint had been established in 1077 and ceased operation in the 1150s. It was one of only seven mints operating in the Norman period in Sussex (the others were at Arundel, Bramber, Chichester, Hastings, Lewes, Rye and Steyning). This rapid growth evidently reflects the adoption of the Roman fort as the castle and administrative centre of the rape, and conscious promotion of the town by Robert of Mortain. (Harris 2008)

Whilst discovery of Saxon material within the fort and immediately outside the west gate provides reasonable grounds for concluding that the Roman fort was occupied during this period, post-Conquest finds need not relate to anything other than re-use of the fort as a castle. Nor does the decline in occupational debris in the castle in the late 12th and early 13th centuries imply that this was when the town relocated to its present site, as Lyne suggests despite the fact that much of the evidence comes from parts of the Roman fort unambiguously in Norman military use (e.g. the concentration of trenches around and near the east gate – within the Norman inner bailey – and in and around the defences in the west gate area). In short, nothing excavated within the castle has shown that civilian use continued after Conquest. (Harris 2008)

The location of village, including the parish church, is now outside the East gate of the castle and the evidence for medieval settlement within the Roman walls is not great. It may well be that there was no town within the Roman walls after the foundation of the castle although, clearly, the large enclosure could have been used as a place of safe retreat by the locals and their livestock, in emergencies. Pre-Conquest settlement within the walls may be more possible.
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This record last updated 26/07/2017 09:19:31

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