290 CE (around)
The Romans built a fort at Anderida (Pevensey). It offered natural defences being situated on a peninsula which jutted into the English Channel. It was surrounded by marshland on three sides.
410 CE (around)
477 CE (during)
The Saxon leader Aelle
, and his sons, landed on the south coast at Cymensora (possibly Selsey).
491 CE (during)
The Saxon leader Aelle and his son Cissa lay siege to the fort at Anderida (Pevensey). The fort fell and Aelle killed all those inside.
A community of Saxons moved into the fort.
1066 (28th September)
William Duke of Normandy
was angry that Harold Godwinson had taken the English throne in January 1066. He had amassed an invasion force and now sailed across the Channel and landed at Pevensey in the morning. He had chosen Pevensey because he knew that if he could take the Roman fort he would have a good defensive position. When he landed he was surprised that there was no army waiting to attack. He immediately built a wooden castle inside the Roman fort.
1066 (30th September)
William of Normandy decided to move the Norman army to Hastings as there was insufficient food in Pevensey to feed the army for more than a few days. Hastings also offered better defence and a more direct route to London. Two weeks later he defeated the Anglo-Saxons at the Battle of Hastings
and was crowned King William I of England on 25th December.
King William I went to Pevensey before he sailed back to Normandy to oversee his lands. While in Pevensey he gave the castle to his half-brother Robert, Count of Mortain.
Work began to fortify the wooden castle inside the Roman fort using timber and earth. The walls of the Roman fort were repaired.
1087 (9th September)
King William I died and was succeeded by his son, William II
Robert, Count of Mortain and Odo of Bayeux
believed that William’s elder brother, Robert Curthose
should have been crowned King of England and rebelled against William II. The rebels made their base at Pevensey Castle but William successfully lay siege to the castle and the rebellion was put down. Odo was banished to Normandy but Robert Count of Mortain was allowed to keep the castle.
Robert, Count of Mortain died and his son William inherited Pevensey Castle.
1100 (2nd August)
William of Mortain did not like his cousin, Henry I. William told Henry that he deserved more land. Henry responded by stripping him of his assets including Pevensey Castle. William went to Normandy where he joined forces with Robert Curthose.
Pevensey Castle was given to Gilbert Laigle.
King Henry I spent the summer at Pevensey, which had been fortified in case of attack from Robert Curthose.
King Henry I died. Although the nobles had sworn to accept Henry’s daughter Matilda
as queen, he was succeeded by his nephew Stephen of Blois
1136 (21st July)
Matilda’s half-brother, Robert of Gloucester, rebelled against Stephen in favour of Matilda beginning a period of civil war known as The Anarchy.
Pevensey Castle was repossessed from the Laigle family and given to Gilbert de Clare, Earl of Pembroke.
Gilbert de Clare rebelled against King Stephen who placed the castle under siege until de Clare surrendered. Pevensey Castle was given to Stephen’s son, Eustace.
1153 (17th August)
Eustace of Boulogne died. Pevensey Castle passed to his brother William.
1154 (25th October)
King Stephen died. He was succeeded by Henry Plantagene
t as King Henry II. Stephen’s son, William gave Pevensey Castle to the new King. Henry II then gave the castle back to Gilbert Laigle who had owned the castle in 1136 but had been dispossessed by King Stephen.
Further repairs were made to the castle and the Roman walls.
The first stone walls were built inside the Roman walls.
was facing increased demands from his barons for a greater say in government. Gilbert Laigle sided with the barons and John seized Pevensey Castle.
King John was facing the threat of a French invasion. He did not have sufficient armed forces to garrison Pevensey Castle. Instead he ordered it to be laid waste so that it would be useless to the French if they invaded. It is not known whether his orders were carried out.
1230 (27th October)
King Henry III
made peace with France and returned Pevensey Castle to Gilbert Laigle.
Gilbert Laigle died and Pevensey Castle reverted to the Crown.
King Henry III gave the Castle to Peter de Rivallis.
Peter de Rivallis was instructed to give Pevensey Castle to Humphrey de Bohun, 2nd Earl of Hereford.
Pevensey Castle was transferred to Gilbert Marshal, Earl of Pembroke.
Gilbert Marshal, Earl of Pembroke, returned Pevensey Castle to the crown.
King Henry III, granted the castle to Peter of Savoy, Earl of Richmond, his wife’s uncle. The earl began replacing what remained of the timber and earth castle with stone.
Pevensey Castle now had a stone keep, a chapel, a great hall, a bailey and a well as well as its outside stone walls.
The Barons wanted more power in Britain and rose under the leadership of Simon de Montfort, Earl of Leicester. Peter of Savoy, owner of Pevensey Castle sided with the Barons initially but then sided with Henry III.
Peter of Savoy went to Savoy, France. His nephew, Boniface, Count of Savoy had died and Peter inherited the title. He left Pevensey Castle in the care of the Constable of Pevensey.
1264 (15th May)
Battle of Lewes
A rebel army led by Simon de Montfort defeated the army of King Henry III and his son, Edward at Lewes about 17 miles from Pevensey.
Simon de Montfort demanded the surrender of Pevensey Castle. When the Constable of Pevensey refused, the castle was placed under siege.
Pevensey Castle had held out against de Montfort who now lifted the siege to go to the aid of his father.
1265 (4th August)
Battle of Evesham
King Henry III defeated the rebel forces and de Montfort was killed.
1265 (after 4th August)
Pevensey Castle was returned to the care of Peter of Savoy.
1268 (15th May)
Peter of Savoy died and Pevensey Castle was inherited by his niece, Eleanor of Provence, Henry III’s queen.
Some repairs were made to the castle including work to the Queen’s chamber and the stables.
The Constable of Pevensey, Roger de Levelande, was accused of breaking up the wooden bridge over the moat and selling the timber. The Castle was reported as being in a ruinous condition in this year.
Charge of Pevensey Castle was granted to Robert de Sapy.
1324 (30th August)
Extensive repairs were made to the keep.
Henry Romyn was appointed Constable of the Castle after Robert de Sapy died.
Sir John St Clare was given charge of the Castle which he held until his death four years later.
John of Gaunt
, Duke of Lancaster, son of King Edward III became the owner of Pevensey Castle. He appointed John Colepepper as Constable of Pevensey.
England had been at war with France for 40 years and there was a danger of a French attack. John of Gaunt refused to station soldiers in the castle. This did not go down well with the local people who felt they were unprotected.
The people had revolted against a new poll tax that had been introduced. A group of rioters broke into the castle and burnt court records that were held in the castle.
John of Gaunt appointed Sir John Pelham as Constable of Pevensey.
1399 (19th August)
1399 (30th September)
Henry Bolingbroke took the throne as King Henry IV.
1399 (after 30th September)
King Henry IV gave Pevensey Castle to John Pelham in recognition of his support.
John Pelham became a member of King Henry IV’s council.
John Pelham reported that the keep of Pevensey Castle was in a bad state of repair. Work began immediately to restore the keep. At this time the Castle was used as a prison and Edward, Duke of York was a prisoner.
King James I of Scotland, was a prisoner in Pevensey Castle under the care of John Pelham.
Joan of Navarre
, second wife of King Henry IV, was accused of using witchcraft to try to poison her stepson, King Henry V
. She was imprisoned in Pevensey Castle and her possessions confiscated.
An enquiry blamed John Pelham for allowing parts of the castle to become ruinous.
Further repairs were made to the castle.
Repairs were made to a number of buildings in the castle.
Lord Gray, Constable of the castle oversaw more repairs.
1485 (22nd August)
Pevensey Castle was uninhabited during the Tudor period
and began to fall into disrepair again.
Records show that the castle and its buildings were in a state of ruin.
Two cannons were stationed at Pevensey Castle as part of a defensive measure against the Spanish Armada
Pevensey Castle was sold to John Warr of Westminster who planned to use the stone from the castle for new buildings. For some reason he did not take much stone.
The castle became Crown property again.
The castle was restored to the Pelham family.
Spencer Compton, Earl of Wilmington, became owner of the castle. It later passed to the Cavendish family.
The 10th Duke of Devonshire, Edward William Spencer Cavendish owner of the Castle, donated it to the State as a historic monument. Some repairs were undertaken.
1940 (25th June)
France fell to Nazi Germany
during World War Two
. There was a danger that the Nazis would invade the south of England. Pevensey Castle was fortified , observation posts and pillboxes were built. Timber roofs were put in the ruined rooms to offer shelter for the British and Canadian soldiers that were stationed there.
1945 (8th May)
After the end of the war in Europe, the alterations made to accommodate soldiers and artillery was left in place and can be seen to this day.
Repairs were made to the outer Roman walls.