Hastings Castle

Hastings Castle lies in the town of the same name, in the county of East Sussex in England.

In September 1066, England was invaded by the Duke of Normandy; William II. Shortly after landing at Pevensey Bay, William moved on east to Hastings were he had a wooden motte-and-bailey castle built on a cliff next to the sea, maybe using a pre-existing promontory fort. Later that same year William defeated the English army under the Anglo-Saxon king Harold Godwinson during the Battle of Hastings, which was fought some 10 kms north of the castle. In December 1066 William was crowned King of England and became known as William the Conqueror.

William left Hastings Castle in the charge of one of his top commanders; Humphrey de Tilleul. Around 1069, he gave the castle and the town of Hastings to Robert, Count of Eu, and ordered the castle to be rebuilt in stone. In 1094 William the Conqueror's son King William II stayed at the castle and during the reign of Henry II much building work was carried out.

King John feared invasion from France in 1216 and ordered the castle to be dismantled, rather than fall into French hands. Only around a short decade later, his son Henry III had the castle refortified in a period where he was restoring his royal authority. In 1242, Henry III bestowed rule of the castle and its lands to his wife's uncle, Peter of Savoy.

Violent storms battered the coast for several months in 1287 and part of the sandstone cliff upon which Hastings Castle was built collapsed, taking with it part of the castle. The harbour of the town was also destroyed which caused the port to loose its military importance. During the 14th century the town declined into a fishing village, the damaged castle fell into decay and further erosion of the cliff meant gradually more of the castle was lost to the sea. At present less than half of the original castle site remains.

A collegiate church, founded within the castle walls in 1070, remained in service until the mid-16th century, when Henry VIII ordered the Dissolution of the Monasteries. In 1591 the remaining ruins of Hastings Castle were purchased by the Pelham family. Afterwards the site was used for farming for centuries, the ruins overgrown and almost forgotten.

In 1824 the 6th Earl of Chichester, Thomas Pelham, carried out a full excavation of the castle and during Victorian times it became a tourist attraction.

During World War II, an anti-aircraft gun was placed alongside the castle and the steep cliffs were used as a training area for commandos. The castle also recieved more damage as a result of bombing raids. In 1951 the castle site was sold by the Pelhams after which the ruins were consolidated and opened up to the public.

At present Hastings Castle can be visited for a fee between March and October. A nice castle ruin on a beautiful location. I also liked the Norman rock-cut tunnels and storage chambers.


Gallery

Hastings Castle

Hastings Castle lies in the town of the same name, in the county of East Sussex in England.

In September 1066, England was invaded by the Duke of Normandy; William II. Shortly after landing at Pevensey Bay, William moved on east to Hastings were he had a wooden motte-and-bailey castle built on a cliff next to the sea, maybe using a pre-existing promontory fort. Later that same year William defeated the English army under the Anglo-Saxon king Harold Godwinson during the Battle of Hastings, which was fought some 10 kms north of the castle. In December 1066 William was crowned King of England and became known as William the Conqueror.

William left Hastings Castle in the charge of one of his top commanders; Humphrey de Tilleul. Around 1069, he gave the castle and the town of Hastings to Robert, Count of Eu, and ordered the castle to be rebuilt in stone. In 1094 William the Conqueror's son King William II stayed at the castle and during the reign of Henry II much building work was carried out.

King John feared invasion from France in 1216 and ordered the castle to be dismantled, rather than fall into French hands. Only around a short decade later, his son Henry III had the castle refortified in a period where he was restoring his royal authority. In 1242, Henry III bestowed rule of the castle and its lands to his wife's uncle, Peter of Savoy.

Violent storms battered the coast for several months in 1287 and part of the sandstone cliff upon which Hastings Castle was built collapsed, taking with it part of the castle. The harbour of the town was also destroyed which caused the port to loose its military importance. During the 14th century the town declined into a fishing village, the damaged castle fell into decay and further erosion of the cliff meant gradually more of the castle was lost to the sea. At present less than half of the original castle site remains.

A collegiate church, founded within the castle walls in 1070, remained in service until the mid-16th century, when Henry VIII ordered the Dissolution of the Monasteries. In 1591 the remaining ruins of Hastings Castle were purchased by the Pelham family. Afterwards the site was used for farming for centuries, the ruins overgrown and almost forgotten.

In 1824 the 6th Earl of Chichester, Thomas Pelham, carried out a full excavation of the castle and during Victorian times it became a tourist attraction.

During World War II, an anti-aircraft gun was placed alongside the castle and the steep cliffs were used as a training area for commandos. The castle also recieved more damage as a result of bombing raids. In 1951 the castle site was sold by the Pelhams after which the ruins were consolidated and opened up to the public.

At present Hastings Castle can be visited for a fee between March and October. A nice castle ruin on a beautiful location. I also liked the Norman rock-cut tunnels and storage chambers.


Gallery