Europe, British Isles, South-East England, East Sussex, Pevensey [Map]

Pevensey is in East Sussex.

1066 Battle of Hastings

1101 Treaty of Alton

Anglo-Saxon Chronicle. 1049. Whilst Earl Godwin (age 48) and Earl Beorn lay at Pevensey [Map] with their ships, came Earl Sweyne (age 28), and with a pretence requested of Earl Beorn, who was his uncle's son, that he would be his companion to the king at Sandwich, Kent [Map], and better his condition with him; adding, that he would swear oaths to him, and be faithful to him. Whereupon Beorn concluded, that he would not for their relationship betray him. He therefore took three companions with him, and they rode to Bosham, where his63 ships lay, as though they should proceed to Sandwich, Kent [Map]; but they suddenly bound him, and led him to the ships, and went thence with him to Dartmouth, Devon, where they ordered him to be slain and buried deep. He was afterwards found, and Harold (age 27) his cousin fetched him thence, and led him to Winchester, to the old minster, where he buried him with King Knute, his uncle.

Note 63. i.e. The ships of Sweyne (age 28), who had retired thither, as before described.

John of Worcester. 1049. During these occurrences earl Sweyn (age 28) went to Pevensey [Map], and perfidiously requested earl Beorn, his cousin, to go with him to the port of Sandwich, Kent [Map], and make his peace with the king (age 46), according to promise. Beorn, relying on his relationship, accompanied him with only three attendants; but Sweyn (age 28) conducted him to Bosham, where his ships lay, and, taking him on board one of them, ordered him to be bound with thongs, and kept him on board until they reached the mouth of the river Dart. There they slew him, and threw him into a deep trench, and covered him with earth. They then sent away six of the ships, two of which were soon afterwards taken by the men of Hastings, who, having killed all on board, carried them to Sandwich, Kent [Map] and presented them to the king (age 46). Sweyn (age 28), however, escaped to Flanders with two ships, and remained there until he was brought back by Aldred, bishop of Worcester, who reconciled him with the king.

John of Worcester. 1049. Earl Beorn, son of his uncle Ulf, a Danish earl, who was son of Spracing, who was son of Urso, and brother of Sweyn (age 30), king of Denmark, promised him to obtain from the king the restoration of his earldom Earl Baldwin having made peace with the emperor, the earls Godwin (age 48) and Beorn, by the king's permission, came to Pevensey [Map] with forty-two ships; but he ordered the rest of the fleet to return home, with the exception of a few ships which he retained there. When, however, he was informed that Osgod Clapa lay at Wulpe65 with twenty-nine ships, he recalled as many as possible of the ships he had sent away. But Osgod, taking with him his wife whom he had left for safety at Bruges, returned to Denmark with six ships; the rest sailed over to Essex, and returned with no small plunder, which they carried off from the neighbourhood of Eadulfs Ness; however, a violent tempest overtook and sunk all except two, which were captured at sea, and all on board perished.

Note 65. A village on the coast of Flanders, N.W. of Sluys.

Anglo-Saxon Chronicle. 1049. [Note 62] This year the emperor gathered an innumerable army against Baldwin of Bruges (age 36), because he had destroyed the palace of Nimeguen, and because of many other ungracious acts that he did against him. The army was immense that he had collected together. There was Leo, the Pope of Rome, and the patriarch, and many other great men of several provinces. He sent also to King Edward (age 46), and requested of him naval aid, that he might not permit him to escape from him by water. Whereupon he went to Sandwich, Kent [Map], and lay there with a large naval armament, until the emperor had all that he wished of Baldwin (age 36). Thither also came back again Earl Sweyne (age 28), who had gone from this land to Denmark, and there ruined his cause with the Danes. He came hither with a pretence, saying that he would again submit to the king, and be his man; and he requested Earl Beorn to be of assistance to him, and give him land to feed him on. But Harold (age 27), his brother, and Earl Beorn resisted, and would give him nothing of that which the king had given them. The king also refused him everything. Whereupon Sweyne (age 28) retired to his ships at Bosham. Then, after the settlement between the emperor and Baldwin (age 36), many ships went home, and the king remained behind Sandwich, Kent [Map] with a few ships. Earl Godwin (age 48) also sailed forty-two ships from Sandwich, Kent [Map] to Pevensey [Map], and Earl Beorn went with him.

Note 62. So Florence of Worcester, whose authority we here follow for the sake of perspicuity, though some of these events are placed in the MSS. to very different years; as the story of Beorn.

Anglo-Saxon Chronicle. After 05 Mar 1052. Meanwhile Harold (age 30) had gone out from Ireland with nine ships, and came up at Porlock, Somerset with his ships to the mouth of the Severn, near the boundaries of Somerset and Devonshire, and there plundered much. The land-folk collected against him, both from Somerset and from Devonshire: but he put them to flight, and slew there more than thirty good thanes, besides others; and went soon after about Penwithstert [Note. Possibly Plymouth, Devon [Map]], where was much people gathered against him; but he spared not to provide himself with meat, and went up and slew on the spot a great number of the people-seizing in cattle, in men, and in money, whatever he could. Then went he eastward to his father; and they went both together eastward71 until they came to the Isle of Wight [Map], where they seized whatever had been left them before. Thence they went to Pevensey [Map], and got out with them as many ships as had gone in there, and so proceeded forth till they came to the Ness;72 getting all the ships that were at Romney, and at Hithe, and at Folkstone. Then ordered King Edward (age 49) to fit out forty smacks that lay at Sandwich, Kent [Map] many weeks, to watch Earl Godwin (age 51), who was at Bruges [Map] during the winter; but he nevertheless came hither first to land, so as to escape their notice. And whilst he abode in this land, he enticed to him all the Kentish men, and all the boatmen from Hastings, and everywhere thereabout by the sea-coast, and all the men of Essex and Sussex and Surrey, and many others besides. Then said they all that they would with him live or die. When the fleet that lay at Sandwich, Kent [Map] had intelligence about Godwin's expedition, they set sail after him; but he escaped them, and betook himself wherever he might: and the fleet returned to Sandwich, Kent [Map], and so homeward to London. When Godwin understood that the fleet that lay at Sandwich, Kent [Map] was gone home, then went he back again to the Isle of Wight, and lay thereabout by the sea-coast so long that they came together-he and his son Earl Harold. But they did no great harm after they came together; save that they took meat, and enticed to them all the land-folk by the sea-coast and also upward in the land. And they proceeded toward Sandwich, Kent [Map], ever alluring forth with them all the boatmen that they met; and to Sandwich, Kent [Map] they came with an increasing army. They then steered eastward round to Dover, and landing there, took as many ships and hostages as they chose, and so returned to Sandwich, Kent [Map], where they did the same; and men everywhere gave them hostages and provisions, wherever they required them.

Note 70 i.e. Earl Godwin and his crew.

Note 71 i.e. from the Isle of Portland; where Godwin had landed after the plunder of the Isle of Wight.

Note 72 i.e. Dungeness; where they collected all the ships stationed in the great bay formed by the ports of Romney, Hithe, and Folkstone.

Anglo-Saxon Chronicle. 1052. In the same year advised the king and his council, that ships should be sent out to Sandwich, Kent [Map], and that Earl Ralph and Earl Odda (age 59) should be appointed headmen thereto. Then went Earl Godwin (age 51) out from Bruges [Map] with his ships to Ysendyck; and sailed forth one day before midsummer-eve, till he came to the Ness that is to the south of Romney. When it came to the knowledge of the earls out at Sandwich, Kent [Map], they went out after the other ships; and a land-force was also ordered out against the ships. Meanwhile Earl Godwin (age 51) had warning, and betook himself into Pevensey [Map]: and the weather was so boisterous, that the earls could not learn what had become of Earl Godwin. But Earl Godwin then went out again until he came back to Bruges [Map]; and the other ships returned back again to Sandwich, Kent [Map]. Then it was advised that the ships should go back again to London, and that other earls and other pilots should be appointed over them. But it was delayed so long that the marine army all deserted; and they all betook themselves home. When Earl Godwin (age 51) understood that, he drew up his sail and his ship: and they70 went west at once to the Isle of Wight [Map]; and landing there, they plundered so long that the people gave them as much as they required of them. Then proceeded they westward until they came to Portland, where they landed and did as much harm as they could possibly do.

Battle of Hastings

Anglo-Saxon Chronicle. 1066. Meantime Earl William (age 38) came up from Normandy into Pevensey [Map] on the eve of St. Michael's mass; and soon after his landing was effected, they constructed a castle at the port of Hastings. This was then told to King Harold (age 44); and he gathered a large force, and came to meet him at the estuary of Appledore. William, however, came against him unawares, ere his army was collected; but the king, nevertheless, very hardly encountered him with the men that would support him: and there was a great slaughter made on either side. There was slain King Harold (age 44), and Leofwin (age 31) his brother, and Earl Girth (age 34) his brother, with many good men: and the Frenchmen gained the field of battle, as God granted them for the sins of the nation. Archbishop Aldred and the corporation of London were then desirous of having child Edgar (age 15) to king, as he was quite natural to them; and Edwin and Morkar promised them that they would fight with them. But the more prompt the business should ever be, so was it from day to day the later and worse; as in the end it all fared. This battle was fought on the day of Pope Calixtus: and Earl William returned to Hastings, and waited there to know whether the people would submit to him. But when he found that they would not come to him, he went up with all his force that was left and that came since to him from over sea, and ravaged all the country that he overran, until he came to Berkhampstead; where Archbishop Aldred came to meet him, with child Edgar, and Earls (age 15) Edwin and Morkar, and all the best men from London; who submitted then for need, when the most harm was done. It was very ill-advised that they did not so before, seeing that God would not better things for our sins. And they gave him hostages and took oaths: and he promised them that he would be a faithful lord to them; though in the midst of this they plundered wherever they went.

John of Worcester. Sep 1066. While these events were passing, and when the king (age 44) might have supposed that all his enemies were quelled, he received intelligence of the arrival of William (age 38), earl of Normandy, with an innumerable host of horsemen, slingers, archers, and foot soldiers, having taken into his pay auxiliary forces of great bravery from all parts of France; and that he had moored his fleet at a place called Pevensey [Map]. Thereupon the king (age 44) led his army towards London by forced marches; and, although he was very sensible that some of the bravest men in England had fallen in the two [recent] battles, and that one half of his troops was not yet assembled, he did not hesitate to meet the enemy in Sussex, without loss of time; and on Saturday, the eleventh of the calends of November [22nd October], before a third of his army was in fighting order, he gave them battle at a place nine miles from Hastings, where they had built a fort. The English being crowded in a confused position, many of them left their ranks, and few stood by him with resolute hearts: nevertheless he made a stout resistance from the third hour of the day until nightfall, and defended himself with such courage and obstinacy, that the enemy almost despaired of taking his life. When, however, numbers had fallen on both sides, he, alas! fell at twilight. There fell, also, his brothers, the earls Gurth (age 34) and Leofric (age 31), and almost all the English nobles. Earl William (age 38) led his army back to Hastings.

Treaty of Alton

Anglo-Saxon Chronicle. Jun 1101. Then at midsummer went the king (age 33) out to Pevensey [Map] with all his force against his brother (age 50), and there awaited him. But in the meantime came the Earl Robert (age 50) up at Portsmouth, Hampshire [Map] twelve nights before Lammas; and the king (age 33) with all his force came against him. But the chief men interceded between them, and settled the brothers on the condition, "that the king (age 33) should forego all that he held by main strength in Normandy against the earl (age 50); and that all then in England should have their lands again, who had lost it before through the earl (age 50), and Earl Eustace also all his patrimony in this land; and that the Earl Robert (age 50) every year should receive from England three thousand marks of silver; and particularly, that whichever of the brothers should survive the other, he should be heir of all England and also of Normandy, except the deceased left an heir by lawful wedlock." And this twelve men of the highest rank on either side then confirmed with an oath. And the earl (age 50) afterwards remained in this land till after Michaelmas; and his men did much harm wherever they went, the while that the earl continued in this land.

Europe, British Isles, South-East England, East Sussex, Pevensey Castle [Map]

On 07 Dec 1393 John Pelham (age 38) was appointed Constable of Pevensey Castle for life.

Thomas Walsingham Chronicon Angliæ 1419. 1419. This year the step-mother of the King, Queen Joanna (age 49), defamed by some for a crime, which would have been invented to hurt the King, having removed all her servants, was placed in the custody of John Pelham (age 64) who brought her to Pevensey Castle [Map], where she remained under his control.

Hoc anno noverca Regis, Anna Regina (age 49), per quosdam infamata de quodam maleficio, quod in læsionem Regis commentata fuisset, amotis cunctis suis famulis, commendata est custodiæ Pellam (age 64); qui, adhibitis sibi1 novem servientibus, introduxit eam in castrum de Pereneseye [Map], sub ejus providentia gubermandam.

Note 1. nomen in orig.; corrected from the printed texts.

In 1550 Robert Oxenbridge (age 42) was appointed Constable of Pevensey Castle.