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Historic England Research Records

Hastings Castle

Hob Uid: 417208
Location :
East Sussex
Hastings
Non Civil Parish
Grid Ref : TQ8200009400
Summary : Castle and Collegiate Church. Castle built circa 1170, ruined by 1399. The church was founded circa 1090, dissolved in 1547. Foundations of church, North and East curtain walls and East gate of the castle are visible. Probably built on an Iron Age enclosure. There is documentary evidence that a collegiate foundation existed in Hastings in the reign of Edward the Confessor, but it is not documented as so in the Domesday Survey.
More information : (TQ 820 094) Castle (NR) (Remains of) (1)

Hastings Castle stands on a rocky promontory, and the first
artificial work on the site was probably an Iron Age enclosure or fort. It has been proved by excavation that the main bank of the 'Ladies Parlour' (the outer bailey) is partly Iron Age work (4) and Dawson is of the opinion that the whole promontory was an Iron Age site (2).

The castle itself started as a Motte with wooden keep erected by William immediately after landing (as shown on the Bayeux tapestry), but the mound in its present state is 13 or 14 c with the original motte contained within it (4). The stone works were mainly erected 1171-4, 1182-3 and 1190-91 (3). The castle suffered from encroachments by the sea and 14th century raids, and by 1399 had apparenly been allowed to fall into decay (3).

The Collegiate Church of St Mary within the precinct is thought to have been founded in c 1090 (5) but it may have existed before the Conquest (6). It also was damaged in French raids in 1399. In 1470 an unsuccessful attempt was made to turn it into an alien Benedictine cell, and it was dissolved in 1546 (5).

See attached Guide and Archaeology Division Map diagram with field notes. (3-8)

The remains are generally as described in the Guide and and Map Diagram and have been revised on 1:1250 plan. The Road ditch or hollow on the eastern side (TQ8226 0949 - 8217 0962) may have continued along Castle Hill Road and formed an outer boundary to the whole complex. (9)

C11 and C13 ruins, principally of the collegiate Church of St Mary and the North and East curtain walls with East gate and bastions. The Castle built circa 1070. The church was started afterwards but before 1094. More building work in early 1170s to 1190s including the keep in 1172. Repairs of 1216 and afterwards progressive ruin. The walls are stone rubble, and as it exists now there are ruined walls and foundations of the church which had a central tower the western arch of which has been rebuilt, there are remains of a square tower at the west end of the nave. There remains the curtain walling along the North, North-west, North and North-east with the gatehouse on the North-east side with 2 rounded towers. Outside the walls on the north side are store-rooms (known as the Dungeons) in the form of narrow tunnel-vaulted passages. The keep and other buildings no longer exist. AM. (10)

There is documentary evidence that a collegiate foundation existed in Hastings in the reign of Edward the Confessor, but it is not documented as so in the Domesday Survey. (11)

A motte was erected at Hastings as soon as William landed there in 1066, but there is no evidence that it was on the same site as the later castle. However, the prsent castle site was utilised dhortly after the conquest and remained in royal hands until 1331, after which it fell into decay. (12)

Sources :
Source Number : 1
Source : Ordnance Survey Map (Scale / Date)
Source details : OS 6" 1962
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Source Number : 2
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : Hastings Castle 2 1909 513 plans (C Dawson)
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Source Number : 11
Source : Medieval religious houses in England and Wales
Source details :
Page(s) : 427,474
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Source Number : 12
Source : The history of the King's Works, volume 2 : the Middle Ages
Source details :
Page(s) : 669-670
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Source Number : 3
Source : The Victoria history of the county of Sussex: volume nine: the Rape of Hastings
Source details :
Page(s) : 14-19
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Source Number : 4
Source : The Archaeological Journal
Source details : PA Barker and N J Baxter
Page(s) : 303-5
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Vol(s) : 125, 1968
Source Number : 5
Source : Medieval religious houses : England and Wales
Source details :
Page(s) : 330
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Source Number : 6
Source : Chateau Gaillard, 3. Conference at Battle, Sussex, 19-24 September 1966
Source details : AJ Taylor
Page(s) : 144-9
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Source Number : 7
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : Hastings, Castle Guide (WH Dyer)
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Source Number : 8
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : Map Diagram OS Arch Div 1952 (FK Bush and A Clarke)
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Source Number : 9
Source : Field Investigators Comments
Source details : F1 PAS 18-JAN-73
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Source Number : 10
Source : List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest
Source details : DOE(HHR)Boro of Hastings E Sussex, Sept 1976, 32
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Monument Types:
Monument Period Name : Iron Age
Display Date : Iron Age
Monument End Date : 43
Monument Start Date : -800
Monument Type : Enclosure
Evidence : Earthwork
Monument Period Name : Early Medieval
Display Date : Extant in Edward's reign
Monument End Date : 1065
Monument Start Date : 1042
Monument Type : College Of Secular Priests, Collegiate Church
Evidence : Documentary Evidence
Monument Period Name : Medieval
Display Date : Extant
Monument End Date : 1399
Monument Start Date : 1066
Monument Type : Castle, Motte, Curtain Wall, Gatehouse, Keep
Evidence : Ruined Building, Documentary Evidence
Monument Period Name : Medieval
Display Date : Founded or refounded 1090
Monument End Date : 1090
Monument Start Date : 1090
Monument Type : Collegiate Church, College Of Secular Priests
Evidence : Ruined Building
Monument Period Name : Post Medieval
Display Date : Extant
Monument End Date : 1547
Monument Start Date : 1540
Monument Type : Collegiate Church, College Of Secular Priests
Evidence : Ruined Building

Components and Objects:
Related Records from other datasets:
External Cross Reference Source : Unified Designation System UID
External Cross Reference Number : 1017539
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : Scheduled Monument Legacy (County No.)
External Cross Reference Number : ES 4
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : Scheduled Monument Legacy (National No.)
External Cross Reference Number : 12869
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : Listed Building List Entry Legacy Uid
External Cross Reference Number : 203726
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : Unified Designation System UID
External Cross Reference Number : 1043759
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : National Monuments Record Number
External Cross Reference Number : TQ 80 NW 2
External Cross Reference Notes :

Related Warden Records :
Related Activities :
Associated Activities : Primary, HASTINGS CASTLE
Activity type : EXCAVATION
Start Date : 1824-01-01
End Date : 1824-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, HASTINGS CASTLE
Activity type : EXCAVATION
Start Date : 1894-01-01
End Date : 1894-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, HASTINGS CASTLE
Activity type : EXCAVATION
Start Date : 1968-01-01
End Date : 1968-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, HASTINGS CASTLE
Activity type : EXCAVATION
Start Date : 1970-01-01
End Date : 1970-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, FIELD OBSERVATION ON TQ 80 NW 2
Activity type : FIELD OBSERVATION (VISUAL ASSESSMENT)
Start Date : 1973-01-18
End Date : 1973-01-18
Associated Activities : Primary, HASTINGS CASTLE
Activity type : EXCAVATION
Start Date : 1985-01-01
End Date : 1985-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, HASTINGS CASTLE
Activity type : EVALUATION
Start Date : 1988-01-01
End Date : 1988-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, HASTINGS CASTLE WATER PIPELINE
Activity type : WATCHING BRIEF
Start Date : 2008-01-01
End Date : 2008-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, HASTINGS HISTORIC CHARACTER
Activity type : DESK BASED ASSESSMENT
Start Date : 2010-01-01
End Date : 2010-12-31