The Antiquities of Hastings and the Battlefield

From Historical Hastings

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Of Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge,

Honorary Member of the British Archæological Association .

St. Leonards : K A R L B U R G . 1867. [ - ]
Printed by KARL BURG , St. Leonards -on -Sea.
[ - ]To the Rev. THOMAS VORES, M . A ., formerly fellow and Tuton ofWadham College,Oxford ; Perpetual Curate of the Chapel of St. Mary in the Castle, Hastings.

My dear Sir, Encouraged in my attempts to elucidate our early History, by the kind approval of one whose deep interest in all that pertains to Hastings is so well known, I dedicate these pages to you, in slight acknowledgment of this and many other acts of kindness .

I have the honour to be,

My dear Sir ,

your very faithful Servant,


Hastings, June, 1867. [ - ] [ - ]List of some of the Subscribers.

Rev Thomas Vores, M .A. 12
Rev Henry Jarvis, MA 12
P F Robertson , Esq ., MP. .12
F North, Esq., M .A ., J.P
Peter Hastie, Esq.
W W Dyne, Esq.
Miss Fallagar
John Stabb, Esq.
E Field, Esq
Rev. T. L .Kingsbury, M .A.
Gordon M Hills, Esq ., F .S.A.
The Countess Schlippenbach
J. CSavery, Esq
F S Cooper, Esq
C B Garrett, Esq., M .D .
D L Medewe, Esq.
Mr. B Peters
Mr. T Elworthy.
Mr. Bowmer
Rev. G A Foyster, M .A
John Grenside, Esq.
George Moore, Esq ., M .D.
Rev. T Parkin , M .A
J R Mitchell, Esq.
Thos. Spalding, Esq
W B Young, Esq
G Lindridge, Esq.
W D Lucas Shadwell,
J T Penhall, Esq .
Mr. C S Ravenscroft
Thos. Revill, Esq.
The Very Rev. EN .Crake, M .A.
G V Hill, Esq.
J. Lindsell,Esq.
Rev. W H Bray, B.A.
Mrs. W Smith
Mrs. Begbie
Col. Luard
Mrs. Mason
Rev. W W Bradley, M .A.
T Carew Daniel, Esq.
The Archdeacon of Ely
Mr. T. Mann
Mr. Goldsmith
Mr. W Ransom .
Harvey B Combe, Esq., F.S.A.
Mrs. Falconer
Mrs. J Bascombe Lock
E Hayles, Esq
Mr. S Thorpe
Mr. W C Beck
J. P Shorter, Esq.
Capt. Lewis
J. J Bowerbank , L .L .D ., F .R .S
Mr. F Porter
Mr. W Glenister
Mr. G Stanford
G Meadows, Esq
Mr. E Dobell
Mr. A Knight.
Mr. W Amoore, Esq.
Mr. F Beck
Rev. H Stewart .
W A Greenhill, Esq., M .D .
M D Grehl.
W H A Craman , Esq. .
M A .Lower,Esq .,M .A .,F .8.A .,& c.
M Burgires
J. D W Barnard,Esq., M .D
Mrs. Dibley
Duncan Amoore, Esq
Herr Maleski
Rev. H Arnheim
Dr. Jos. Arnheim
W Southall, Esq
Miss Matthews .
M A Murray, Esq.
Miss Hardcastle
Lieut.-Col. Broughton
F K Jacobs, Esq.
Miss Field .
C Murray, Esq. .
Mrs. Arrowsmith
W E Garrett Botfield, Esq. .
J. E L Nowers, Esq.
Mr. C Brown
Miss Sarah Skinner.
G A Keyworth, Esq.
Mr. J. Huggett.
Rev. H Robinson M .A
Mr. H Develin
Mr. S Ballard .
H R Hayden , Esq.
Mr. F Jones
Mr. I. H Barton
Mr. Duke
Mr. Connold
Mr. W C Inskipp

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Rev. Thomas Crosse, L L.D . .
W . P . Beecham , Esq .
Hugh J . C . Beavan, Esq., F .S. A.
Mrs . W . Jones
Miss Green
Mr. George Clements
Mr. W . Jones, jun
G . G . A .Greenhill, Esq.
Mr. H . M . Baker .
F . Bennetts, Esq. .
Mr. G . T . Morris
Rev. C. G . Charlton, M.A.
Mr. W . Foster.
Miss Bessie Wills
Mr. Procter .
J A S Hunt,.Esq., Ph. D ., F.S.A
G . Woolfe, Esq
W . Lovell, jun., Esq .
C. G . Eversfield, Esq.
Mr. G . Parker
Mr. H . G . Parker
W . Ginner, Esq ., J.P .
Miss Paton
A . Wood , Esq
Mr. Wendt .

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The Antiquities of Hastings and The Battlefield

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The Antiquities of Hastings.

CHAP. 3. - SAXON HASTINGS . . . . . 27


The Battlefield .

CHAP. 1. -- INTRODUCTORY . . . . . . 67
CHAP. 2. -- THE VISIT TO THE FIELD . . . . 70
CHAP. 4. -- THE ROMAN DE ROU . . . . . 100
CHAP. 5. -- POSTSCRIPTUM . . . . . . 117

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Part 1 .


[ 4 ] [ 5 ]PREFACE .

THIS little work owes its origin to a request made to the writer, on the occasion of the " British Archaeological Association " holding their Congress at Hastings, that he would draw up some account of the Antiquities of the town. He felt that there were other gentlemen connected with the town more competent than himself from their archaeological researches to perform this duty - but, on their declining, he undertook the task . As the writer grew interested in his subject, the un-connected descriptions of some of our antiquities became gradually woven into a continuous account of our ancient port. On some points the writer differs from those who have preceded him ; and, although he is far from confident that his views are necessarily correct, yet he ventures to believe that they are fairly to be inferred from the existing data.

The paper was read in part at the Congress of the[ 6 ]"British Archaeological Association ," [1] and by request before the " Hastings and St.Leonards Philosophical Society ;" and the members of that society, and many other friends, having expressed a wish that it should be printed , together with a paper read on the Octocentenary of the Battle of Hastings, this little volume is the result.

In Part I., "on Hastings," the possibility of a Roman origin is considered , an attempt has been made to fix the site of the Saxon town, and the passage in Domesday Book relating to Hastings has been investigated with especial reference to the " new Burg " therein mentioned : also some data have been given for determining the date of the grant of the Arms of the Cinque Ports.

The following are the principal authorities that have been consulted on the Antiquities of the town: Domesday Book , or rather the Fac-Simile of the part relating to Sussex, as photozincographed under the direction of Sir H. JAMES, F. R. S.; CAMDEN ;GROSE ; HORSFIELD'S Sussex ; Moss's History of the Town and Antiquities of Hastings; the Journals of the Sussex Archaeological Association, and Miss HOWARD'S Handbook for Hastings. [ 7 ]The notices in CAMDEN and GROSE are rather brief. Moss's History, published 40 years ago, is a very good one, considering the then state of Archaeological Science. The volumes of the Archaeological Association have, since its formation, added yearly to our store of local knowledge, under the excellent editor ship of Mr. LOWER, whose papers are by no means the least important of the collection. Some of the contributions are from gentlemen of Hastings, and in particular from Mr. Ross who has done good service to Archaeology in general by his researches amongst the records of the Cinque Ports. The interesting and valuable information scattered through these volumes has been carefully examined by the accomplished authoress of Brampton Rectory, and made available in her Hand Book, for Hastings and St. Leonards; which is, however, very much more than a Hand Book, being in reality a very able history and description of Hastings and the eastern part of Sussex.

In Part 2 , " On the Battle," the number of authorities that have to be considered is so great, that only a few can be enumerated : of the more ancient - -the Roman de Rou , and the Bayeux Tapestry have been the most adhered to : and LINGARD, PALGRAVE, LOWER , CREASY, THIERRY and LYTTON are among the [ 8 ]moderns to whom reference has more especially been made.

In the course of a careful examination of the Battlefield , the writer was fortunate enough to discover a ravine which corresponds in every respect so exactly with the mal fosse of the Roman de Rou that it seems to him to settle the vexata questio of its position : and this appeared to be the general opinion of those who examined it on the occasion of the late Octocentenary Anniversary .

The visit of the British Archaeological Association , to which so many pleasant memories attach , has already borne fruit, in a more lively zeal for the preservation , and a deeper interest in the study of the remains of an earlier age which abound on all sides : and a practical result will no doubt follow in greater attention being paid to correctness and beauty, in the architecture of the day.

1, Linton Terrace, Hastings. [ 9 ]

Chap. 1

Physical causes which have exerted an influence on the History of Hastings.

THE line of Coast from the chalk cliffs of Beachy Head, to those of Folkestone, consists of Marsh-lands, except in the immediate neighbourhood of Hastings[2], where the great Wealden Ridge terminates in bold cliffs extending some five or six miles along the sea. A glance at the ordnance map will show that this ridge must, in Caesar's times, and for many succeeding centuries, have been the only pass into the interior; -- it [ 10 ]was then bounded on either side by forests and morasses ; it stretches through Battle and Heathfield to Hadley Down, where the Hills forming the watershed of the Rother and the Ouse, by a large arc, connect it with Crowborough Beacon , the highest point in the County,[3] and with Ashdown Forest.[4]

Two Valleys situated at the extremity of this ridge have been held for more than a thousand years by the mariners of Hastings. Of these the most easterly is little more than two miles long, and so narrow that the Bourne by which it is watered , and by which we shall sometimes find it convenient to distinguish it, must have always been an insignificant stream , and KNOCKER relies on this circumstance, as his chief argument against Hastings having been the principal of the Ports : he says, " I have not found any record of its having ever possessed a port or harbour, except what Mr. JEAKE, who wrote his treatise on the ports in 1678,says : " That the present town of Hastings is built between two hills, between which runs a fresh water called the Bourne." The inhabitants appear to have an impression that a port existed in former time, and , I believe, point out the course in which ran a small river, which may be probably the Bourne referred to by JEAKE." [5] [ 11 ]But Mr. KNOCKER entirely overlooks the force of the term " present town," which decidedly implies not only that there was an older town , but also that it was not on exactly the samespot; and, while he gives quotations from Moss, on p . 5 and p. 8 , he omits the extract from JEAKE respecting the incorporation in the time of the CONFESSOR, expressly referring to an older town, given on p. 7, to the following effect:" Whether this or the old town of Hastings be that which was first enfranchised and incorporated with the other ports, I leave as yet uncertain." This ancient town is placed by some a great deal to the South of the present town, but, in the continuation of the same valley. The Priory Valley, as we term that to the west of the Castle, has a much larger basin than the other : of fanlike shape -- it receives the drainage of several thousand acres,and its surrounding hills, when crowned with the trees of the primeval forest -- were the sources of streams ample enough to form a capacious haven for the light barks of Briton and of Saxon . It is here, I venture to believe, we must seek for the original site of the ancient town and port of Hastings, and not in the Bourne Valley according to the generally received opinion . I am at once met with two objections, - 1stly, that no traces of the town are now discoverable, 2ndly -- that Hastings could never have had a harbour. It may be replied generally, that if we only considered the present state of things, these objections would apply [ 12 ]equally to the towns and harbours of old Winchelsea, Pevensey, and Wissant across the sea, all well known to have been ports of great repute in the middle ages, and especially to the last, which is now only represented by a stream , which I stepped across this autumn with ease. But to ascertain the true force of these objections we must enquire into the nature of the change the coastline has undergone, and I think it will be found they are formidable only in appearance ;-- and first with regard to the absence of traces of the ancient town, we must bear in mind that our hills and intermediate valleys once stretched far out to sea ward . The long parallel reefs, to which we give the name of the Castle Rocks, and similar ledges along the shore, formed the bases of cliffs -- it may be within the historic period. This is no mere conjecture, for the remains of trees and hedges are even now continually met with when the tide is out. Again the burial place and remains of the Tower, discovered by Mr. Ross, are at the extremity of the East cliff; but, to suppose that the bones of the dead were deposited at the very edge of the cliff, would be to suppose that they were deposited where the very object of burial would be defeated. The cliff, therefore, must have extended not only much further to the south, but also much further to the west; and the Bourne valley may at a remote period have converged towards the other.[6] At the present time [ 13 ]the Martello Towers along the coast are being successively undermined, and (quite recently ) the road to Pevensey has twice been destroyed ,and had to be diverted further inland. The annual loss of land there has been estimated at 7 feet a year.[7]

On the opposite side of the Channel,within 40 miles of us, we are able to measure with considerable exactness the ravages of the sea. The coast of the Boulonnais, from Cape Grisnez to the mouth of the Somme, has a general resemblance to our own. A long line of Marsh-land (Morini,the ancient name of the inhabitants, may be derived from the Celtic " Mor" or marsh ) extends for some 40 miles, being about the distance of Beachy Head from Shorncliff. This low coast is interrupted by high land and bold cliffs for several miles at Boulogne. There Caligula built, A. D . 51, a huge tower, 240 feet in circumference, a mile from the edge of the cliff. In 1544, being only 200 yards from the edge, it was fortified by the English : ground had thus been lost at the rate of 3 feet a year. In 1644 the sea under mined it to such an extent that it fell, so that in that century the sea gained 6 feet a year, nearly agreeing with the estimate given above. The ruins now stand on the verge : and were but 10 feet more of the cliff to fall, some future explorer might doubt that such a work had ever been erected . It is very certain then that our own cliffs which we see falling away every year, must in the course [ 14 ]of centuries have suffered much from like causes, and . that our valleys must have once extended much further out to sea,and that it would consequently be difficult to discover the traces of a town situated near the mouth of the Priory Valley in Roman or British times, the site of which would now be covered by the waters.

It has been urged and may again be objected , that these valleys could never have harboured powerful fleets : but when the great wood of Anderida spread through Kent and the eastern part of Sussex,where the " hursts" and " fields," the woods and adjoining cleared spaces, the Crowhursts and the Catsfields still mark out its old area : when the Weald was, what its name imports,a forest land, the foliage formed an impervious barrier to the escape of vapour to the air ; the sunshine never visited the swampy glens, the valleys now drained by some slender rivuletwere filled with water from side to side. As centuries rolled on , the woodland has waned before the woodman 's axe, and the land, cleared and drained for the plough , has sent less and less moisture to the sea.

" Before these fields were shorn and tilled,
Full to the brim our rivers flowed,
The melody of waters filled
The fresh and boundless wood.
And torrents dashed and rivulets played ,
And fountains spouted in the shade.
Those grateful sounds are heard no more ,
The springs are silent in the sun ,
The rivers by the blackened shore,
With lessening current run."

[ 15 ]The cascades of Glen Roar and Old Roar, in our immediate neighbourhood, though silent now , bear witness in their names to an era, when the sound of the fall of their waters was heard many a mile away : and when I fully believe our harbour had sufficient water to float the small ships of the Cinque Ports, whose average size may be gathered from the instructions for resisting the Spanish Armada, as quoted by Mr. Cooper, " Hastinges whose members be, and are to finde for the transportation of the King xxi Shippes, of xx tonnes the peece." [8] It may be added that their full complement consisted of 21 men and a boy, paid at the rate of 6d. a day for officers, and 3d. for the men ,and the heaviest tonnage on record is 80 tons.

It should also be noted that these valleys were deeper formerly than they now are ; they have silted up through the continual inning or enclosing of land, and the deposit of matter at the mouth of the streams; and how a harbour may be thus destroyed can be learnt from the report of a Committee of the House of Commons in 1700, respecting the neighbouring harbour of Rye. " The cross walls, stops and flood-gates set up in the river Rother and chanel through Wittersham levell, and inning the said river and chanel, and making land of the same; and likewise inning of sea wastes, which draw a constant influx and efflux to scour the harbour of Rye, have wholly injured the navigation of the said river and chanel, and are the cause of stopping up the said harbour." [ 16 ]The ancient harbours have been affected by another disturbing cause peculiar to this part of the coast : owing to the tidal wave passing from west to east,and the prevalence of south-westerly winds, the loose soil and shingle are continually moving eastward ; being checked at the river-mouth, a considerable portion is deposited south-west of the entrance , and a bank of shingle is formed nearly across the river, which is forced to turn to the east, if not entirely choked up. This effect may be noticed at Limme, Hythe, Romney and Seaford, and is particularly observable in the Priory Brook , a valley in which the stream gradually altered its course till it wound round the base of the Castle Cliff. Its bed -- long filled up -- is, however, easily traceable, as it followed the direction of the existing thoroughfares of York Buildings and Castle Street.

The site of the haven (the present cricket ground ) has within my own memory been several times under water : and I will conclude this portion of my subject with an extract from the Hastings Chronicle of Sept. 26th, 1866. " A flood at the priory is by no means a novelty, for it is an occurrence which even the oldest inhabitant' may associate with the remembrance of early days. Of late years the inundations,which at one time were regarded as periodical events, have diminished both in number and extent, and, therefore, it is not a matter of great surprise that the flood , which came with unusual magnitude on Saturday morning last, found the denizens of the neighbourhood unprepared . Most of our readers are aware that the unpleasant inunda[ 17 ]tions are caused by the large body of water, which descends from the surrounding hills after a long continuance of rain , and flowing down the valley finds a resting-place in the cricket-ground. The gathering of water in the cricket-ground at an early hour was the first sign of the coming flood, and in a comparatively short time the entire surface of the ground was covered ,until the water was several feet in depth . Pleasure skiffs were skimming about over the surface,and during the morning a rowing match might be seen at the spot where, on the previous day, a cricket match was played . The appearance of a cricket-ground has , perhaps, never been more suddenly changed."

Having thus adverted to some of the physical causes which have exerted such an influence on the fortunes of our own town, I will endeavour to sketch briefly its history in the following chapters. [ 18 ]

Chapter 2

British and Roman Times.

Our earliest information as to this part of Britain is confined to what we can gather from Caesar, other writers simply repeating his statements. From him we learn that the South-Eastern districts were inhabited by tribes much more refined than those of the interior; that they were of the same race as the Belgae , across the straits, in many cases bearing the same names -- as for instance the Atrebates -- and that there was a great intercourse between these kindred nations. Indeed, shortly before his time, Divitiacus, a Belgian chieftain, who held the valley of the Somme, had not only become very powerful in Gaul,but had extended his dominion over Britain : and Caesar incidentally shows that the Britons of these parts must have been continually engaged in maritime expeditions, by informing us, as one of the reasons for the invasion of the island, that he had found that, in all his wars they supplied reinforcements to his Gallic enemies. Even the Veneti, though situated on the southern shores of Brittany were assisted in their naval wars by Britons from the coasts opposite the Menapii and Morini, i.e., from Kent and Sussex.

The Veneti, whom we thus see connected with these regions, [ 19 ]by the double tie of kindred and of policy, used sailing vessels instead of galleys for their ships of war, and in times of necessity took refuge in towns[9] placed at the extremities of the lofty cliffs overlooking the harbours in which their ships found shelter.

Just such a town once occupied the summit of the East Cliff, where several British remains have been found,[10] defended on the east by the lofty embankment which constitutes our oldest antiquity, still in a good state of preservation , and on the north by an artificial escarpment of the hill where its natural steepness was not deemed sufficient. Mr. SHARPE, in his paper on the subject, says, it is difficult to trace the line of the embankment, on the west, but that there must have been one. I, however, think that the British town or camp occupied the whole triangular space, and would be amply protected by the precipitous character of the hill. The apex of the triangle was somewhat south west of the point where the discovery of bones was made by Mr. Ross, which from the peculiar mode of burial would seem to be British,[11] unless the iron rivets be [ 20 ]taken to indicate a later date : though this being an iron region , the use of iron may have been known earlier here than elsewhere. The curious Minnis Rocks, almost a unique specimen of an ancient hermitage, half way up the northern slope of the hill, still preserve the tradition of a British settlement, for menys is the old British for a steep ascent, and would not have been an inappropriate name for the town itself.

On the neighbouring Castle Hill was a similar town or camp, also triangular in shape, but much smaller defended towards its base, by the high embankment still discernible on the northern and eastern faces of the Lady's Parlour, and by the natural steepness of the remaining sides ; and this would correspond with what Caesar tells us of the tactics of their Venetan allies : that when forced out of one of their towns, they would pass over in their shipping to another in the immediate vicinity , and that then the siege operations had to be commenced anew.

But it was not on these heights, exposed to the full force of the south-western gales and from which they could have had no easy access to their ships that they were likely to have fixed their permanent abodes. The site of the town, in which in more peaceful times they passed their lives, would be to the right of the Priory Valley ; where they would be sheltered from the storms of the Channel, and where the fleets -- in which these hardy sailors crossed the seas and even navigated the Bay of Biscay -- could be moored in perfect safety: and this lower town must also have had defences raised as much against [ 21 ]the sea as against a human enemy, of the existence of which in some parts of the coast we have contemporary evidence ; for Cicero, whose brother accompanied Caesar on his expedition to this island , and who was in constant correspondence with Caesar himself at the time, uses the following remarkable expression in a letter to Atticus, written while Caesar and his brother were in Britain , and which, I believe, has hitherto escaped the notice of those who have discussed the question of Caesar's landing. " Britannici belli exitus expectatur. Constat enim aditus esse munitos mirificis molibus." (Cic. Ep. ad Atticum . Lib. iv. Ep. 16.) " The end of the British war is expected . For it appears that the approaches to the island are fortified by wonderfully constructed embankments." The term " moles" which I have translated by " embankments" is rarely if ever used of any natural defences, such as our cliffs, of which Caesar himself speaks, but is commonly used in classical writers to designate a "digue" or sea-wall or pier, intended to check the encroachments of the sea , while the term "mirificis," " wonderfully constructed," also points to their artificial nature. I may add that the general tone of Cicero's letters is to the effect that Caesar met a more determined resistance than he had counted on , especially as the Britons would appear to have lost the first line of their defences, by the destruction of their fleets in the previous naval campaign on the coasts of Gaul; and that the results of the expedition were not so satisfactory as had generally been expected. Several dates are given of letters written by Caesar , and Q. [ 22 ]Cicero from Britain, which are exceedingly valuable in assisting to fix the exact period of the great conqueror's sojourn here, to which so much interest has of late attached.

That the Romans on their conquest of the island would neglect a position strong by nature, and so conveniently situated for communication with their province of Gaul, is highly improbable, and the embankment on the East Hill, rudely thrown up by the Britons in the first instance, may owe its height and mathematical exactness to its adaptation by the invaders for the purpose of their own defence.[12] A Roman gold coin, either of Theodosius Magnus, who commanded in these parts in 379, and died in 395, or of his son, [ 23 ]the great emperor of that name, in the 18th year of whose reign , Britain was lost to Rome, was found quite recently towards the southern extremity of the mound : and Mr. Ross has discovered traces of Roman ironworks in the Priory Valley.

Within 300 years of the departure of the Romans we first meet with a notice of the town under its present appellation of Hastings, but always in Saxon times with the significant addition of Chester , and it is in fact so called in the Bayeux tapestry. This term ,I believe, invariably indicates that the town so distinguished occupies the site of a Roman Castra or Camp. Now the Romans assuredly would not merely defend the heights above, but also make use of, and strengthen the British defences of the bay below ,where the inhabitants and ships would most require protection . That the British town became in course of time a Roman one with municipal rights, is further evidenced by the term , Baron or Combaron, which has from time immemorial been used to distinguish our representatives, whether in the Commons House of Parliament or when assembled in Brotherhood and Guestling with the other Ports, and, generally , the free men of the Cinque Ports ; and which we are told on the great legal authority of Coke - indubitably points to a Roman origin of the corporate body in which it is used. That our town was supposed to have been fortified 600 years before the present castle was built, is clear from the celebrated pas sage in the Chronicles of the Dover Monastery : " When Arviragus threw off the Roman yoke, it is likely he fortified [ 24 ]those places which were most convenient for their invasion -viz., Richborough, Walmer, Dover and Hastings." [13]

For here at any rate we find the Dover Monks, writing at a time when the incorporation of Hastings with the other ports was still comparatively recent, yet ascribing to her an existence of several centuries prior to that incorporation, and a like origin with Richborough and Dover, of whose existence as Roman places of strength there has never been any doubt. But, while the monks think it likely that Arviragus was the fortifier of Hastings towards the expiration of the Roman dominion , the circumstance of the times would render it far more probable that Hastings was fortified at least as early as when the Romans placed the south -eastern maritime district under military organization. After their first wars of subjugation were over, they held peaceable possession for three centuries ; but from that time the Barbarian hordes from the North and East, began to harass the empire; and these shores became subject to the periodical attacks of the Saxons, so much so that the whole coast, long before it had any Saxon inhabitants, was known as the Litus Saxonicum or Saxon shore ; in the same way as the borders of England subject to the incursions of the Scotch and Welsh , were called respectively the Scottish and Welsh Marches : and it became neccessary to appoint a governor who had special charge of the Kent and Sussex shore under the name of Comes Tractus Maritimi, Count of the Maritime [ 25 ]District, afterwards exchanged for the title of Comes Saxonici Litoris, Count of the Saxon shore.

Now Kent was well defended by Rutupiae or Richborough Castle near Sandwich , and by Dover ; Romney Marsh, by Lymne and Old Romney ; the neighbourhood of the Downs, by Anderida or Pevensey ; but, unless it be allowed that there was a Roman post here, we are driven to the strange conclusion that they omitted all means of securing the whole line of coast from Romney to Pevensey, from insult and invasion, at the very point where a good harbour and facilities for advancing into the interior of the country were sure to invite the approach of an enterprising foe. These various considerations produce on my own mind, by their cumulative effect,the conviction that this was a Roman municipal town: indeed, I believe, if the town were now known by its earlier designation of Hastings Chester,that the name alone would be accepted as a convincing proof of the truth of my proposition.

It is remarkable that in the earliest list we have of Roman Ports in Britain ,[14] the first name on the list " Othona," has never been satisfactorily identified : although it takes pre cedence of Dover which is second, for the names are not arranged in geographical order, and,therefore,we may fairly presume that they are placed in order of importance. CAM DEN vaguely conjectures that it may be the same as Ithane chester , in Essex, of which nothing but the tradition [ 26 ]of the name remains ; and , even the slight resemblance between Othona and Ithane, on which CAMDEN relies, is diminished, if Mr. KNOCKER's version of the name be correct, for he writes it, Othoma. Now the name of Hastings is plainly of Saxon or Danish origin :- it must, therefore, have supplanted some older Roman name. Can it be that Othona, the chief of the Ports under the Roman Count, was identical with Hastings, the chief of the same Ports under the Saxon Warden.

The Itinerary of Antoninus mentions only three ports, Rutupiae , Dubris, Lemanis : and,as Mr. KNOCKER observes, " probably he was making the journey of Kent only," a very good reason for the omission of Hastings and Anderida ; though he is puzzled to account for the omission of the latter, as he connects it with Newenden in Kent, contrary to the conclusion of most antiquaries. [ 27 ]

Chap. 3.

Saxon Hastings.

WE now enter upon a new era. The Saxons who had so long threatened the country at length made good their footing, and, while their kinsmen, the Jutes, under Hengist and Horsa, subdued Kent, a Saxon chieftain , Aella, reduced this district, which became known as the kingdom of South Saxony or Sussex. He met with a stubborn resistance, and one terrible incident in the war had no doubt a most important bearing on the fortunes of our own place. I mean the taking by storm of the flourishing city of Anderida, in 491, and the putting all the inhabitants to the sword. The ships which for purposes of war and peace had frequented that famous harbour would be obliged to have recourse to the nearest port, and our haven would at once rise into consequence on the downfall and utter destruction of its neighbour and rival: and it is a somewhat singular coincidence that the first mention of our town by name is in association with that of [ 28 ]Pevensey, which had sprung up on the outskirts of the ruined Anderida, and that they both belonged to the same chieftain Bertwald.

As to the origin of the name, there are three hypothesis. One connecting it with that of the river Asten , which, taking its rise in a meadow immediately to the west of the gateway of Battle Abbey, flows through Crowhurst, where there is a bridge still called the Haven bridge,and discharges itself into the sea at Bopeep, just to the west of St. Leonards. Here,sheltered by the heights on the west, it formed a harbour once of importance, known as Bulwer Hythe.

This corrupted into Bull's hide, gave rise to a legend still firmly believed hereabouts, which is an exact travestie of Virgil's Story of Dido's acquiring the site of Carthage.

The second hypothesis refers the name to the Viking Hastings,who, A.D. 930 , spread the terror of his name along the coasts of France and England,and made repeated descents on their regions. The Danish element in our population may be due to one of these incursions. He was won over in his old age to become a Vassal of France by the grant of fair demesnes on the Loire, and did the French good service in their wars with his countrymen, the Normans; and, had his prudent counsels been adopted, the progress of Rollo might have been staid, but the Franks suspected Hasting as a traitor, and soon he mysteriously disappeared from their camp and was heard of no more. The aged warrior may have e more visited our coast, and ending his days here, have perpetuated his name in these vales. [ 29 ]The third and most probable supposition is that the name is derived from a tribe, called the Haestingas,[15] against whom it is recorded that king Offa of Sussex made war: and a charter in Dublet is quoted by Lingard, of the date of A.D . 792,by which ,under the same king,Hastings, with her marshes and Pevensey, are bestowed on the Monastery of St.Denis of Paris. This indicates as intimate a friendship betwixt the kindred nations of Franks and Saxons as had previously subsisted between the Gallic tribes on the opposite sides of the Channel; indeed it is not improbable that then the banks of the Seine were more familiar to our sailors in the days of Charlemagne than now . The Saxon town of Hastings became so important in 924 that King Athelstan established a mint here; and Ruding, in his work on Coinage, speaks of pieces coined here in the reigns of Canute, Edward the Confessor, Harold , William I., William II., and Henry I., and silver pennies were discovered at Alfriston in 1843, apparently struck at Hastings;one, a very rare coin of Hardicanute. Mr. Adet[16] gives a list of coins struck at the Sussex mints, from which I extract those .coined at Hastings in Saxon times:- [ 30 ]


From which it appears that Aelfwerd was master of our mint in the time of Cnut the Great, that Bridd or Brid had the office under Hardicnut and his brother, Edward the Confessor, and that he was succeeded by Dunning.

The Patron Saint of Hastings was and still is St.Michael, and his figure is delineated on the Corporation Seal, and may be seen either in Moss's History of Hastings, p. 131, or as drawn by Lower, Suss. Arch. i. 16 : the motto of the Town is " Draco crudelis Te vincet Vis Micaelis," "Cruel Serpent. Thee the force of Michael shall overcome."

In a parish dedicated to this Saint I should look for the site of the old Saxon Town : such a parish still exists, but of exceedingly limited dimensions; it occupies a very small strip of ground along the brow and at the foot of Cuckoo[17] Hill, about 170 yards long with an average breadth of 60 yards, and may slightly exceed two acres in extent. The remains of St. Michael's Church were discovered in 1834, in cutting down the cliffs near the White Rock . These could hardly have been the original dimensions of the principal parish of the town, and there is little doubt that the extra[ 31 ]parochial district now termed the parish of the Holy Trinity, but which has never appeared as a parish in any of the ancient returns, occupies no inconsiderable part of the Old St. Michael's Parish . It consists of 192 acres, and exactly corresponds to the demesne of the Priory of the Holy Trinity, and the ecclesiastical independence of the Prior may have tended to sever this part of the parish from the rest.

In the recital of the property of the Priory, as quoted by the Rev. G . G . Stonestreet,[18] it is made to consist principally of a farm in the parish of St. Michael. Not only , however , was a great part of St. Michael's absorbed by the Priory, but it also suffered terribly from the incursions of the sea. For it is just where this parish abuts on the sea that at low water may be traced the remains of the forest trees and hedges, alluded to in the earlier part of the paper ; and within the memory of living persons, Cuckoo Hill extended much further to the south , under the name of the White Rock, on which the old church stood. Moss has a good engraving of the rock in his History. I consider, therefore , the Saxons succeeded the Britons and Romans in the occupation of a town on the western slope of the Priory Valley, between the hills and the Brook, which formed its harbour.

When the Saxons established themselves in the land,they had in their turn to guard against foreign invaders, and as soon as their power became consolidated under a single king, an officer with like duties to those of the Count of the Saxon shore, ruled these regions as Guardian of the ports : and in [ 32 ]king Edward the Confessor's reign,the five ports, Hastings, Sandwich, Dover, Hythe and Romney, were formally incorporated under the government of a Lord Warden , with nearly the same privileges which they now possess ; and the Banner of St. Michael of Hastings was adopted as the Banner of the ports. Moreover, Hastings had to contribute the same number of ships as Dover , and more than all the other ports put together. Hastings and Dover, equipping 21 each , and the other three ports 15 : whence it is clear that Hastings was at least equal to Dover in consequence, and much more important than the other towns which only contributed 5 each ; and we may also fairly infer that she had long been associated with them ; for we can scarcely imagine that towns such as Dover, Sandwich (Rutupiae), and Lymne or Hythe, whom we have seen confederated together in Roman times,would allow a port with which they had been previously but little connected, at one bound to assume the precedency.

It is a point not without interest to Archaeologists that the question of the precedence of Hastings amongst the ports is now in course of argument before the Lord Warden : and the statement of the right of precedence of Hastings, compiled by Mr. COOPER and Mr. Ross, as well as the counter statement in favour of Dover , drawn up by Mr. KNOCKER, merit their attentive consideration . Both towns have submitted to the ultimate decision of the Warden, who will be guided by the advice of the [ 33 ]law officers of the Crown.[19] For myself, I somewhat regret this appeal to legal authorities ; on a point of law , I should readily accept their opinion as binding ; but on a point of honour I would rather appeal to them as gentlemen,than refer to them in their legal capacity ;and on a point of Archaeology , I think it would be more satisfactory, if we could carry our cause before a court, formed of eminent members of the great antiquarian societies of England, for instance, of the Society of Antiquaries, of the Archaeological Institute and the Association[20] which I have had the privilege to address.

But whether Hastings were the premier port, or not, she was now in the zenith of her fame, and contributed more than a third of the entire naval force of the kingdom . She also took her part in the civil commotions of the reign . In 1050, we read in the Saxon Chronicle, that the men of Hastings and thereabout, fought two of Godwin's ships with their ships, and slew all the men , and brought the ships to Sandwich to the king : and two years afterwards we find her fighting against the king : for Godwin enticed to him the boatmen (buss-carls) from Hastings, who declared they would die and live with him , and advanced with his fleet to London till he came to Southwark. [ 34 ]Her ancient connection with Paris had been doubtless broken off, when the Normans occupied the lower course of the Seine, and so interrupted the voyage to St. Denis. But the Confessor,half Norman in blood , renewed the connection with the opposite coast, by bestowing Rye, Winchelsea and the Bourne Valley, not then included in Hastings, as de pendencies of the Abbey of Fecamp, in Normandy: and we shall presently see reason to believe that in consequence of the great prosperity of the mother-town, a new Hastings arose on the abbot's land in the valley of the Bourne.

However this be, the Confessor, by placing the keys of Sussex in the hands of an immediate vassal of William , materially assisted the great enterprise of the Duke, who may have been welcomed by the neighbourhood rather as a suzerain than as a foe.[21] The details of the great event which has given Hastings a world -wide fame will be found further on ; suffice now to say that on Edward 's death and Harold's accession to the throne, William assembled a formidable expedition in the vast estuary of the Somme, overlooked by the old town of St. Valeri, that weighing anchor from Noyelles-sur-mer he crossed to Pevensey Bay, and disembarked at Bulverhythe. The stone on which, tradition says, he dined , though I should prefer to think with Mr. J. C . SAVERY that it once [ 35 ]marked the site of Harold's tomb, is still preserved in the Subscription Gardens of St. Leonards. Hastings, it may be, influenced by Remigius of Fechamp, opened her gates, though it would appear that there were some isolated attempts at resistance, and consequent devastation ; as we see in the Bayeux Tapestry, a burning house, close to the Castle Hill, which it is far more natural to suppose was set on fire by the invaders, than to imagine, with Mr. Planche, that the conflagration was the work of a Saxon incendiary. The lines of William 's camp, overlooking the haven, can still be traced in the Step Meadow, and in the fields to the north of Lady Jocelyn's Villa, immediately adjoining St. Michael's Parish . He ordered , to quote the words on the Tapestry, that a Castle should be dug at Hastings Chester, "iste jussit ut castellum foderetur at Hestenga Caestra," and underneath these words is the picture of the Castle on the summit of the hill, where it still stands. The expression fode retur [22] is advisedly used ; witness the deep trench on the landward side of the Castle, and a corresponding trench which existed till some three years ago to the seaward : isolating a small portion of the hill,of a pyramidal shape,having an area of but a few yards at the top ;this has been cut down to about half its former height; there could have been no motive in isolating, by an immense trench , a mere peak from the rest of [ 36 ]the hill, so we have clearly here an indication ,that the peak is a mere remnant of a considerable part of the hill, which at this particular point was not precipitous, but sloped with an easy descent to the sea, and rendered it necessary to defend the castle in this quarter by a ditch: this spot we shall afterwards find specially defined as " infra claustrum ," below the fortified enclosure , or Castle. The ditch is thus described in "A Topographical and Historical Description of the County of Sussex," published (Moss says, writing in 1824) a few years ago. " On the north-west side was another ditch of the like breadth ( 100 feet ) commencing at the cliff opposite to the westernmost angle , and bearing away almost due north, leaving a level intermediate space , which , opposite to the Sally Port, was 180 feet in breadth."[23] The Castle, in the picture,may have been, as Mr. PLANCHE says, one of the wooden castles the Conqueror brought with him : but it was of course only temporary, and was replaced by the massy walls of the present structure, which , as the composition of the mortar, and other details show , must have been commenced about this period. As at Pevensey , the Norman Castle was placed within the area of older works. [ 37 ]

Chap. 4.

The New Burg of Doomsday.

THE Corporation of the Cinque Ports was confirmed anew, with all its former privileges, in the fourth year after the Conquest. Hastings still contributed 21 ships, out of a total of 57; and her varying fortunes may henceforth be noted by the quota actually furnished at different periods. Mr. KNOCKER, in his Court of Shepway, p. 21, says, " Soon after the record of the Doomsday was compiled , in the 4th year after the Conquest, William I. granted a charter to the Cinque Ports." But the record of Doomsday was not commenced till the 14th year, and not finished till the 20th of William. [ 38 ]Fourteen years then after the Conquest, King William ordered an exact account to be taken of all the manors of the kingdom ; this inventory appears to be exhaustive as far as it goes, but such places as were, if I may coin the term " extramanorial," are only incidentally noticed. Amongst such we must reckon Hastings. That no notice should be taken of her as a Cinque Port, though she had been so distinctly recognised ten years before, is certainly very remarkable ; but the Domesday Book is methodically arranged according to counties, and most of the Cinque Ports being in Kent, we find three of the principal Kentish ports grouped together, and their privileges enumerated , Hastings not being described , because not situated in that county. The solitary passage however in which Hastings is mentioned , is one to which Iwish particularly to draw attention ; it reads as follows :- " Land of the Church of Fecamp. In Ghestlinges hundred (Guestling.) The Abbot of Fecamp holds of the King Rameslie : he held it of King Edward , and then was rated for 20 hides,[24] but now for 17½. The land is 35 carucates. In the demesne is one carucate : and 100 villeins less one, have 43 carucates. There are 5 Churches returning 64 shillings. 100 salt pans of 8 pounds and 15 shillings, and [ 39 ]7 acres of meadow , and forest for the feeding of two pigs. In the manor itself is a new " burg," and there are 43 burgesses, returning $8 less 2s. In Hastings, 4 burgesses and 14 bord . return 63s. Of that manor, Robert of Hastings holds 2 hides and a half of the Abbot, and Herolf half a hide. They themselves have 4 villeins and 4 cotters and 2 carucates. The whole manor in the time of K . Edward was worth $30. Now $50 is the value of the demesne of the Abbot, that of the men 44 shillings."

Moss , in speaking of this passage, observes that " Hastings seems to have been closely connected with a place, called Rameslie, but no place in the neighbourhood at least is now in existence." Rameslie, however, is clearly to be identified with the Manor of Brede. A rough estimate of its extent,as described in Domesday, would give about 5000 acres: it must, therefore, have occupied a considerable part of the hundred of Guestling; so does the present manor of Brede: it extended through that part of the hundred bordering on Hastings ; Brede manor extends throughout the valley of the Bourne. The Abbot of Fecamp held the manor of Rameslie, in Guestling, under the Confessor and the Conqueror for several centuries ; the succeeding Abbots have held the manor of Brede, in Guestling -- the change then must have been merely one of name. If we were inclined to be fanciful, wemight hazard the conjecture that the nameof Brede was derived from Brid , the master of the Hastings Mint, a man of consequence in his time, possibly holding a portion of the manor. [ 40 ]Mr. COOPER argues (History of Winchelsea, p . 5) that the New Burg in the manor of Rameslie cannot be Hastings, because Doomsday expressly says that there were four burgesses in Hastings (as distinct from the New Burg) yielding 63 shillings to the said manor ; and that Robert of Hastings held two hides and a half from the abbot of Fecamp, who held Rameslie ; and I quite agree with him that the Hastings of that day was not included in the manor of Rameslie or Brede ; but the present Hastings is included in the manor of Brede ; it consequently must, at some time or other, have actually occupied the position of a New Burg, or town, on the Abbot's land : and if so, can we resist the conclusion that it was the New Burg mentioned in Doomsday Book . And if we adopt this hypothesis, there would then be no inconsistency in burgesses of Old Hastings holding lands in an adjoining suburb ; nay further, the intimate connexion of burgesses of Hastings with this manor, and with no other in the whole of Doomsday, would make it antecedently highly probable that a new town should spring up within this very manor as an offshoot from the parent town. And when would such an occurrence be more likely to take place than when the old town was in its most flourishing state, in the reign of Edward, the exact period in which we first hear of this New Burg ? But Mr. COOPER proceeds to identify the New Burg with his own town of Winchelsea , in which he has been anticipated by Moss : but I cannot understand how he recon[ 41 ]ciles his conjecture with the fact that Rye and Winchelsea were never held by the Abbot in connection with Guestling hundred at all, nor as any part of the manor of Rameslie ; but they were always held and reckoned as part of the manor of Steyning. To prove this, I give the extract from the Charter of Resumption by Henry III., A.D. 1247, witnessed to amongst others by Simon De Montfort, Earl of Leicester, and Richard Earl of Cornwall, afterwards King of the Romans[25].

" By means of Winchelsea and Rye, which are called the more noble members of our Cinque Ports, which the abbot and monks of Fecamp have hitherto possessed , to whom it is not lawful to contend with material arms against the enemies of the realm , irrecoverable loss might happen, and may this never be (quod absit ) to us and to our heirs in time of war , if in such wise they remained without defence in the hands of the abbot and monks. Wherefore under the advice of the nobles of our realm , and with the good will of the said abbot and monks of Fecamp, we have resumed the aforesaid towns of Winchelsea and Rye (de la Rye) with the harbours and advowson of the churches . . . . . as far as the manor of Guestling (feodum ) . . . . . . Giving and by this charter confirming to the same abbot and monks of Fecamp, for us and for our heirs in good and sufficient exchange (escambium ) for the aforesaid towns of Winchelsea and Rye, our manor of Cheltenham in the county of Gloucester . . . . . to be held of us and of our [ 42 ]heirs by the aforesaid abbot and monks for ever, as freely and quietly as they held Winchelsea and Rye, by reason of the gift made to them by St. Edward of happy memory, and of the concessions and confirmations had afterwards from William and Henry, Kings of England, of the land of STEYNING (Staninges) with all its appurtenances amongst which were reckoned Winchelsea and Rye, the liberties of which are set forth in the Charter of King William , in manner following , viz., " That the aforesaid abbot and monks of Fecamp should hold the lands of Steyning' . . . . . for that this is a perfect royal immunity, and is quit of all service, as in the charters of the aforesaid kings, Saint Edward, William and Henry ,more fully is contained." Where then was the " New Burg " in the hundred of Guestling and manor of Rameslie ? It was neither Rye nor Winchelsea, for at that very time we have the above indisputable evidence that they were appurtenances of the hundred of Steyning - Fairlight, Icklesham , or St. Leonards, near Winchelsea , are out of the question. Guestling and Pett, though included in the hundred of Guestling, formed no part of the manor of Rameslie, being referred to inde pendently in Domesday Book ; but in one, and only one corner of Brede or Rameslie, we find a town , forming in fact great part of what we now familiarly understand by Hastings. Its insulated position , in a distinct valley, defended by separate fortifications, (which Mr. ROBERTS, at our recent inspection of the town wall, pronounced to be earlier than the Conquest, i.e., contemporary with the [ 43 ]foundation of the Burg) would sufficiently satisfy the conditions implied in the term Burg ; and if the term involves privileges, they are likely enough to have been conferred on what was substantially a new limb of an ancient port . The limits of this New Burg appear to be defined by the hills on either side, and the existing town wall, which may be still traced , about 15 yards to the north of John and Eastbourne Streets, and very probably was continued along the north of George Street, as far as the Light Steps : as it appears to terminate there in the Corporation Map.

Tenements and lands, held of Brede Manor, occur in every part of the valley ; but the continued practice of enfranchisement (as I learn from my friend Mr. JOHN PHILLIPS ) makes it difficult to mark the exact boundaries, though it seems in general to agree with the limits I have given. Messrs. Ross and COOPER make Bourne Street the eastern boundary of the manor; if it be so, I should imagine that this was once also the boundary of the Burg , as it would then take the line of the Bourne, as far as the Court House, where once stood the massive towers of the Water Gate ; and in that case, the district on the other side of the Bourne (the lower part of All Saints' Street) may have been included in some later extension of the town -- e.g ., when it was rebuilt in 1380. It confirms this view that the gate at the bottom of All Saints' Street was known as the New Gate, and was, indeed, only reached by a flight of steps practicable for foot-passengers, whence may be derived the other name of Pulpit Gate, which Mr. [ 44 ]PHILLIPS tells me it once bore. It is also a corroboration of this view , that as late as 1746, there was no bridge across the Bourne lower than the Court House. The remains of the principal gate of the town, known as the Drawbridge Gate, were discovered at the bottom of High Street, (once called Oak Hill) when the drainage works were carried out about ten years ago.

It may be interesting to my fellow townsmen to know , that the custom of Borough English, or the right by which the youngest inherits the copyhold , to the exclusion of the elder sons (which is almost peculiar to this part of the country) prevails in so much of their town as is included in the Manor of Brede.

Domesday Book informs us that there were five churches in this manor, which Mr. COOPER thus distributes : one to Rye, two to Winchelsea, one to Brede, and the fifth he considers to be St. Leonards, which , though in the liberties of Hastings, is actually situated on the confines of modern Winchelsea . Now, I think, I have shown good reason why the three first churches must be sought for elsewhere than in Winchelsea and Rye, and also that we might expect to meet with them in the Bourne Valley ; but from very ancient times there have been three, and only three churches in that valley : St. Clements, destroyed in 1236, and probably situated near the Light Steps, for the present St. Clements was built in 1286, by the Abbot of Fecamp, on a different site, on land obtained from Alan De Ches mongre, and again rebuilt about 1380. All Saints', men[ 45 ]tioned in 1291, and rebuilt, in all likelihood, shortly before 1436 , when we find it referred to as the new Church ; and St. George, situated on St. George's, or the East Hill, which was destroyed previously to 1380, and never re built. To these three churches I would add the two enumerated by Mr. COOPER -- St. Leonards, near Winchelsea, still within our Corporation bounds; and St. George's, of Brede -- and these all within the precincts of the manor, I confidently believe are the five churches of the Domesday Survey. It may be incidentally remarked , as pointing to the great antiquity of ironworks in this immediate neighbourhood, that with perhaps one exception, the only church in Sussex dedicated to the patron Saint of Ironworkers, is our own St. Clements.

The Abbot's new town had 43 burgesses of sufficient importance to be rated , who would with their families amount to more than 200, and would necessitate the presence of a still larger number of dependents -- but it continued a mere suburb for three centuries. The manor appears to have contained an unusual supply of salt pans, corresponding almost exactly to the number of villeins : while it is singular that it should only have been able to maintain two pigs. [ 46 ]

Chap. 5.

The Castle. -- The Arms of the Cinque Ports.

ONE other passage in Domesday, relates to Hastings, " Land of the Count of Eu. In Bexelei[26] hundred, Osbern holds Bexelei of the Count. In the time of King Edward, Bishop Alric held it, for it is of the Bishopric, and he held it until King William gave to the Count the Governor ship of the Castle of Hastings." The interval thus alluded to, would be the time occupied in building the Castle. On its completion the Count became Governor, and this must have been prior to 1086, when the Domesday survey was finished. [ 47 ]In 1093, William II. staid at Hastings for a month, during which Anselm , Archbishop of Canterbury, and seven other bishops, assisted in the consecration of the Bishop of Lincoln . The ceremony we are told took place in the chapel in the Castle itself. This phrase suggests the idea , that there was either then, or at the time of the writer, another chapel without the Castle, with which the former was in some danger of being confused. This must have been the Chapel of the College of St. Mary, founded by the first Count of Eu, or by one of his immediate descend ants,and which was situated " infra claustrum ," i.e.,on the sloping ground outside the Castle, to the south, as has been already described . In the following year 1095 , William II. was again in our town, on the occasion of the consecration of Battle Abbey . During the reign of his brother Henry I, this was the station for the royal ship , which shews that Hastings at any rate then had a harbour, and that the King must have often visited the town ; which was no doubt much frequented during the union of England and Normandy.

Thus far we have had to treat of Hastings in her prosperity . Her decadence may have commenced in the troubled times of Stephen, as we find no mention of the mint after his predecessor's reign . Under Richard Cour De Lion , a Priory of Austin Friars was founded by Sir Walter Bricet in 1191,dedicated to the Holy Trinity. Its site is marked out by the Priory Farm House, close to which is a pond which was drained about 30 years ago, when a large hole [ 48 ]was found at the bottom near 30 feet in depth, with the remains of a sluice, deep gates, and timbers of prodigious dimensions, relics of works constructed by the monks to protect their habitations, which were washed by the haven , from the ravages of the sea . There were still some relics of the Priory left when this discovery was made, but the stonework has since been used in the construction of the neighbouring barn and farm yard . A large portion of the Old St. Michael's Parish was placed under its jurisdiction . This appropriation of the land to ecclesiastical purposes may have arisen from the haven having become useless for purposes of navigation, and with the view of the monastic brotherhood undertaking the repair of the sea-wall : a course actually adopted in the case of the Castle 45 years afterwards, which was bestowed on the Canons of St. Mary, with the avowed object of their inclosing it against marauders and the sea. At any rate, in nine years from this date , Hastings whose commerce must have received a great check from the loss of Normandy, was only able to furnish six ships, and Winchelsea and Rye were added by John , under the style of 'Ancient Towns to the Cinque Ports, to enable Hastings to furnish her quota of 21 ships (which we must not omit to mention were at this time under the command of Vincent, of Hastings,) by themselves equipping 15 , when the Cinque Ports under their Warden , Hubert De Burgh , obliged Prince Louis of France to withdraw from his invasion of England , by a great naval victory. [ 49 ]A force of 300 French knights, with a great body of soldiers, embarked at Calais in 80 great ships and many smaller ones, commanded by Eustace the Monk, who " had done in his daysmuch mischief to the Englishmen ."[27] With only 40 vessels, great and small, the English commander put to sea on St. Bartholomew 's day; and encountered them , and " by tilting at them with the iron beaks of their galleys, sunk several of the transports with all on board ."[28]

Louis was so disheartened by this reverse, that he was glad to make peace, gave up such strongholds as were in his possession , and returned to France. A remarkable instance occurred some 15 years afterwards of the feeling with which the people regarded this naval victory . Hubert de Burgh[29], who had been Regent of England, and husband of a Queen , fell upon evil days, and was forcibly dragged from the sanctuary where he had taken refuge. The smith who was sent for to rivet his fetters, on learning who he was, said " I will never make iron shackles for him , but will rather die the worst death that is. Is not this Hubert, who restored England to England ?" Speed , 517.

I have dwelt somewhat at length on this incident, because I believe that Hastings had no slight share in this great deliverance of our native land : and I am led to this conclusion by an examination of the arms and seal of Hastings. [ 50 ]The arms are very peculiar ; they may be described in popular language as consisting of three golden lions, on a field of red , whose hinder parts are replaced by the sterns of three silver ships, in a blue sea. These were the arms of Hastings till the year of the Armada, and still are those of the Cinque Ports.

Ships constitute such an appropriate emblem of a port, that there is little doubt the original arms consisted of undivided ships:[30] but the remaining portion of the escutcheon formed , in fact, one half of the Royal Arms of England , from the time of Richard I., who first assumed the three lions, till that of Edward III., who quartered the lions with the lilies of France. This addition to our arms then must have taken place not earlier than 1190, and not later than 1340 ; and we are entitled to assume, that such an honour as that of bearing the royal arms " by dimidiation," could only have been bestowed for some very valiant exploit, and one that must have partaken of a national character , and benefited the whole kingdom.

Now it happens that the battle just described, in which the Cinque Ports are so specially mentioned, and which was fought against such odds, was the only one fought for the protection of England's shores, in all that period of 150 [ 51 ]years ; for the battle of Damme or Sluys, three years before, was simply a surprise of the French fleet, the greater part of which was captured without resistance , in a harbour in which there was no room for manoeuvring, and the fighting principally took place on land ; and although we may be sure the Cinque Ports did their devoir, yet they are not particularly named as taking part in it.

If we turn to the seal of Hastings, we shall be able to narrow the limits within which the distinction was granted , to a period corresponding to the reign of Henry III. ; and shall find all the accessories in harmony with the view that Hastings won her honours under De Burgh. We see in the seals of all the ports figures of ships of war; but on our own seal, we have an unique picture of a naval engagement, one ship ramming another, and cutting her in two, " tilting at her with her iron beak," the very manoeuvre recorded in the description of the fight. Besides the standard of the town, the English ship has the royal standard with its three lions, shewing that the seal itself must, have been executed prior to 1340. The ships which are exactly alike, are of a style intermediate to the Conquest, and the Edwardian era. They have towers in the stern , which those in the Bayeux Tapestry have not but they have no forecastles, such as we see depicted in those of Edward III.'s reign . Mr. LOWER points out that the legend " Sigillum commune Baronum De Hastings is," is in Gothic characters of the 13th century; and that on the reverse side of the seal, the figure of St. Michael holds  [ 52 ]a circular shield , such as was sometimes used during the reign of Henry III. There seems then very strong reason to believe that the men of Hastings so effectually contributed to the safety of England by their prowess. in her time of greatest need, that they acquired these arms as a national reward.

If she, with Winchelsea and Rye, sent a full quota , her aid must indeed have been invaluable; and she may well claim to have borne the brunt of the fray, for more than half the English fleet must have sailed under her flag. Yet she continued to decline. In 11 years, i.e. in 1229, Seaford and Pevensey were incorporated as limbs of Hastings, to assist her in supplying even her diminished number of six ships. Bulverhythe, Hydney, which cannot now be identified , but is known to have been between Eastbourne and Pevensey; Higham , near Pevensey; Beaks bourne, near Canterbury, where the great traveller Dr. Beke dwells in the midst of his ancestral demesne, whose energy and spirit of adventure bespeak him no degenerate descendant of the hardy portsmen of yore ; and Northey[31], near Pevensey Sluice, were added at the same time, but not incorporated.

About this time the Dean and Canons of Hastings petitioned the King to repair the walls of the Castle to secure their chapel,which they stated to be " Sita infra Claustrum predictum : quod per frequentes inundationes maris pro [ 53 ]majore parte, devastatur."[32] This the King is stated to have granted , giving them liberty to inclose the Castle with walls. He permitted them also to build houses ; they would appear to have taken advantage of this permission , and to have abandoned their old chapel, and in its place to have enlarged, or rather to have almost rebuilt, the old Castle Chapel, which thenceforth became known as St. Mary's in the Castle . In 1236 , St. Clements was in like manner destroyed by the sea, and rebuilt elsewhere. Both these ecclesiastical buildings were situated on the verge of the West Hill -- one to the west, and the other to the east -- which accounts for their falling into decay about the same time.

The old town did such good service under De Montfort's banner against Henry III., in defence of the liberties of the kingdom , that its barons, after the disastrous defeat of Leicester at Evesham , found it necessary to excuse them selves in the following quaint terms." [33] " Take notice, that we have up to this time guarded your town of Hastings for your use, and that of your heirs, and at your good pleasure shall guard it for ever , although anything to the contrary may have been suggested to your pious ears by our enemies against us." The Barons of Hastings had also a little private war, on their own account, with Yarmouth , in 1264; and very reluctantly concluded a truce for half a year at the bidding of the King's Council. [ 54 ]

Chap. 6 .

Gradual Abandonment of the Old Site.

WE hear more of the New Burg in 1286 . A new St. Clements was built on the site of the present church ; and we are informed that the Abbot had a house of detention for the safe custody of thieves.[34] This, no doubt, adjoined the Court House ; and if so , our gaol is on the same ground as the Abbot's prison 600 years ago.

The Hastings of that epoch , nevertheless, still centred in St. Michael's; for in the taxation of Pope Nicholas IV., in 1291, St. Michael and St. Peter (the latter a parish of which nothing whatever is known, excepting that it evidently must have lain to the east of St. Michael's,) are returned at £10, and St. Andrew sub Castro, at £4 13s. 4d., or £14 13s. 4d. for the Priory Valley ; while the returns of [ 55 ]St. Clement's at £5, and All Saints' at £5 6s. 8d., give only £10 6s. 8d . for the Valley of the Bourne. In this year, Hastings equipped but three ships ; in 1294 the same number attended the Warden , Edmund, Earl of Lancaster, to Gascony; and Hastings had only one ship in the fleet which accompanied Edward I. on his last inroad into Scotland.

In 1339, the town suffered for the first time on record from a foreign army. The Frenchmen " sore troubled this realm by sea, and landed at Hastings on the feast of Corpus Christi, and there burnt some houses and slew some people."[35] It is a singular coincidence that exactly the same date is assigned for the commencement of the "depopulation of the Priory Valley by reason of the ravages of the sea ;" for we have documentary evidence that up to 1340, the western parishes were comparatively populous, and that Hastings at that period was nearly coextensive with our modern town. In Bishop Prady's register of the date of 1440, we read that within a hundred years, St. Andrews, St. Leonards, St.Michaels, and St. Margaret (which is now known as St. Mary Magdalene, from a hospital so dedicated , the site of which is fixed by the " Chapel" farm on the Bohemia Road ,) had been depopulated and diminished by the inundation of the sea. The obvious inference being, that a century before, which takes us back to 1339 or 1340 , they were in a flourishing condition.

The history of this hundred years is a very melancholy [ 56 ]one, though its commencement forms a brilliant page in our annals ; since in 1340 the Cinque Ports, commanded by the King in person, destroyed a French fleet at Sluys. The French courtiers were afraid to tell King Philip of this disaster, and they deputed his jester to perform the unpleasing duty - who told the King that he thought the French sailors much braver than the English ; and on being asked why, replied, because they leaped out of their ships into the water , and that the English did not attempt to imitate them .

In 1350 the Ports vanquished a Spanish fleet off Winchelsea ; yet in a little while they were unable to defend the coast ; for in 1360, Hastings, which had 14 years before assisted in the siege of Calais with five ships and 96 men, was sacked with many other towns. The success at Calais was fraught with injury to our town, as it tended to make Dover exclusively the channel of inter course with the continent. In 1371, the Parliament took notice of the decay of the navy, as well they might; for next year the whole fleet of the Ports, with the Earl of Pembroke on board , was captured by the Spaniards; and in the following reign, John of Gaunt at the head of a gallant army, had to linger for months at the mouth of the Severn , awaiting the arrival of a Portuguese fleet to convey him to the coasts of Spain , and guard him from the Spaniards. This inefficiency of the English ships may be attributed to the superior size of the Spanish and Portuguese vessels, built to encounter the storms of the Atlantic. In 1377 Hastings was burnt, the French coasting along and [ 57 ]finding the place deserted. (Stowe.) In 1380, ere the town could well have been rebuilt (only we must recollect that the majority of the houses were as easily run up, and as unsubstantial, as the quaint wooden storehouses of the fishermen on our beach,) Hastings was burnt again -- for the fourth time in 40 years. It is probable that the sea defences had been so irretrievably damaged, on the occasion of the first capture, that the townsmen had been unable effectually to renew them , and thus became an easy prey to the foe, whenever they chose to make an attack ; and the sea being once allowed to force its way through the breaches in the ramparts, would , in an inconceivably short time, complete their ruin : indeed, its power would be incredible to any one who has not actually witnessed its effects -- with which we on the coast are only too familiar[36].

On a stormy night, last January , the sea burst through a weak point in our parade wall, and in the morning the huge disjointed fragments of fifty feet of masonry lay scattered on the beach .

It was useless to rebuild the burnt town on a site which had become uninhabitable ; and the inhabitants compelled to quit the lower part of St. Michael's, and the neighbouring parishes, migrated into the " New Burg " of Domes day, hitherto a small suburb on the Bourne, but which thus became the nucleus of a new Hastings, endowed with all the privileges of the old one: just as New Romney succeeded Old Romney. [ 58 ]The churches did not escape the ruthless havoc of these French marauders; and scarcely a stone is left to tell of St. Leonards, St. Margarets, St. Peters, St. Michaels, St. Andrews, and St. George.

It is pretty certain that St. Clements and All Saints met with no better fate ; for they are both "perpendicular," and therefore must have been rebuilt subsequently to 1360, earlier than which no specimens of "perpendicular" are to be found . The Chapel in the Castle would also seem to have been now used as a parish church, in lieu of those that had been ruined , (and more particularly in place of St. Andrew sub Castro, the ruins of which were met with some years ago, just to the north of Wellington Square, within the modern St. Mary 's parish, and a few yards beyond the present boundary of St. Andrew 's parish .) The seafaring population , expelled from their ancient homes, and clustering round the Castle Hill, formed a new quarter or parish ; and on the rebuilding of the town in 1380, it was subdivided into three parishes - St. Clement, All Saints, and St. Mary's in the Castle (Barry 's Guide, 1794,) which latter parish we now hear of for the first time.

In the previous century Old Winchelsea, which stood on low ground, and was dependant on artificial defences against the sea , had its walls destroyed by Prince Edward, when he took it by storm after the battle of Evesham . The consequence was, that within ten years, the town was overwhelmed by the waters ; and the townsmen having made their peace with the Prince, now King Edward I.,he granted them lands on [ 59 ]which they erected New Winchelsea. The circumstances, therefore, under which Old Winchelsea and Old Hastings were transferred to other sites are very similar -- the change in both cases being due to a combination of political and natural causes, and in both cases not a vestige of the original town remains.

The monks of the Holy Trinity still gallantly held their ground ; but in 1410, they too had to succumb to their enemy the sea, and retired to Warbleton, where Sir John Pelham gave them lands in lieu of the inundated Priory. Within 30 years the lower part of the valley was reduced to the condition of a swamp, and utterly abandoned both by burgesses and priests ; a few still lingered in the upper town of St. Michaels, known as "Cuckoo." In a list of dates subsequent to Edward IV.,we find a curious fractional arrangement of the ships - Hastings contributing 3 ships, Romney 31, Sandwich 10 ), Seaford 14 , Pevensey 14, Folkestone half a ship , and Fordwich three-quarters. Under Henry VII. the rents derived by the Abbot of Fecamp from his manor in Hastings were 35s.-4d. a year, of which the Bailiff of Hastings paid 5s. This is no clue to the real value of the manor, which would depend on the amount of fines for the renewal of leases the leases being for a nominal amount.

In Henry VIII.'s reign (Valor Ecclesiasticus) we can test the decay of St. Michael's and increase of St. Clement's. The church of St. Clements returned £23 6s. 9d. ; the chantry in the church £10 5s. 4d .; and in addition this [ 60 ]parish contributed £42 3s. to the new Priory -- in all, £75 15s. 1d. St. Michael's paid £8 2s. 2d. only, or less than one-ninth : 250 years before it was rated at double. In 1544 Henry made Seaford a corporate body, consisting of bailiff and commonalty, to induce that ancient limb of Hastings to furnish somewhat more than five-fourths of a ship. In his charter, he says " the town of Hastings . . . . . one of the greatest of the ancient towns of the Ports aforesaid, and near the sea -- where the entrance of our enemies and rebels may soonest appear, is by the flux and reflux of the sea, and by conflagrations there often committed by such our enemies, not only of lands and tenements, but also of the inhabitants, there so reduced to waste, destruction , and poverty, that the said town, or the barons and honest men of the same, are not sufficient to find their part of such shipping to us, and our heirs, as they ought of their own strength , without their insupportable expenses." [37].

The connection with the Abbot of Fecamp was finally severed on the dissolution of the alien priories. This was a time of change. The discovery of the New World , and the doubling of the Cape of Good Hope, brought into existence ships of much greater burthen, and drawing more water, than those which had hitherto served for commerce and warfare in the narrow seas ; the largest ship of the old navy of the Cinque Ports was but 80 tons-- whereas, from this time, ships of 1000 tons began to be built. The havens which had sufficient depth for such small craft, [ 61 ]could not admit more modern ships of war, and were deserted for the grander harbours of Portsmouth and of Plymouth .

A wooden pier was therefore carried out to sea in a south-easterly direction , admitting large vessels to lay and unload alongside. This pier about the beginning of Elizabeth's reign, was destroyed by a storm .[38]

In the Queen's patent for a new pier, we have another dismal picture of the town " much decayed , the traffic of merchants much decayed, the traffic of merchants thither forsaken, the fishing by reason of the dangerous landing but little used , the rich and wealthy men gone thence, and the poor men yet remaining would gladly do the like, if without offence to our laws they might be elsewhere received, whereby our people are likely to perish , and our said port likely to be subverted , and become desolate."[39]

Hastings, officially reported to be strongly seated, and easy to be fortified, at the time of the Spanish Armada, had 20 ships of from 12 to 42 tons: and I make no doubt that these ships, small as they were, did England good service ; for in that same year, Hastings was raised from a Bailiwick to a Corporation , by the title of the Mayor, Jurats, and Commonalty of the town and port of Hastings.

An increase of dignity in all likelihood conferred for actual services against the dread Armada. The arms of Hastings are nearer to the ancient royal arms than those of any of the other Cinque Ports ; for on [ 62 ]the Mayor's seal, which is as old as Elizabeth's reign , and therefore may be safely dated at 1588, we see a whole lion in the centre of the shield ; and this peculiarity has been observed by Mr. Ross in the seal of the Bailiffs of Hastings affixed to a document of the time of Henry VI. 1456.[40]

This distinction then is at least 400 years old , and may be as old as the original grant of the demi-lions, about 200 years before. Whenever granted, it is a fair presumption, that it was intended to mark the precedency of this over the other ports. In 1595 the pier was begun to be rebuilt, but destroyed in the winter ; in 1597, it was commenced again , and again swept away by a storm , thus graphically described in the Corporation records: -- " Behold when men were most secure, and thought the work to be perpetual, on All Saints' day, 1597, appeared the mighty force of God, who with the finger of His hand, at one great and exceeding high spring-tide, with a S. E . wind overthrew this large work in less than an hour to the great terror and amazement of all beholders."

In 1635 , it was proposed to restore the ancient harbour in the Priory --but the civil wars caused the design to be abandoned. The town was still defended by its wall toward the sea, as the wall was repaired as late as 1667. The remains of the intended pier may be still seen. Long rows of piles shew the direction it ran in . On one occasion , when a succession of south-easterly gales (rather unusual [ 63 ]with us) had swept away the beach opposite the Albion, I distinctly traced the line of piles curving inward, marking that point as the head of the pier : and it was at this same point that the two streams-- the Bourne down George Street, and the Brook down Castle Street, mingled together as they flowed into the sea, and formed the backwater of the new harbour.

All ancient records agree as to the sudden and frequent irregularities of the sea on this part of the coast. Has this any connection with the meeting of the two great tidal streams about the Downs of Deal? Do they ever shift their place of meeting? Pennant says that it is off Fairlight that the northern tide flowing from the German Sea, through the straits of Dover meets with a great rippling, the tide from the vast Atlantic, which is sensibly felt between this place and Boulogne.

To pursue the history of the town any further would be to abandon the demesnes of archaeology, and I, therefore, here conclude what has been to me a most pleasant task. [ 64 ]
[ 65 ]

Part 2


[ 66 ]
[ 67 ]

Chap. 1.


THREE years ago a letter appeared in the Hastings and St. Leonards News, suggesting the desirability of the celebration of the Octocentenary of the Battle of Hastings, and calling upon some townsmen of Hastings by name to undertake the task, (myself and Mr. Savery amongst the number.) I accepted the challenge, observing that we should not merely be celebrating the fatal Battle, fraught with so many consequences to all our race, but should be marking at the self-same time that 800 years of freedom from foreign conquest date from that day.

It has been the annual custom of the Hastings and St. [ 68 ]Leonards Philosophical Society to visit some place of archaeological or geological interest in our neighbourhood. The council willingly adopted my suggestion of visiting Battle in the autumn of 1866,and my energetic collaborateur, Mr. J. C . SAVERY, undertook the details of the organisation. As, however, the event was one of national interest, it was hoped that some of the more important Societies of London and the provinces would take in hand the celebration , the management of which would then devolve upon them . Mr. SAVERY consequently entered into correspondence with the British Arcahaeological Association , which Association actually proposed holding a congress at Hastings, but their arrangements would not allow them to defer their visit till October.[41] The Sussex Archaeological Society were also communicated with , but they had fixed Eastbourne for their annual meeting ; and although the Historical Society of London at one time proposed to join us, yet as the time drew near, it was found that if the anniversary of the Battle was celebrated at all, it must be under the auspices of the Philosophical Society alone.

It became then the duty of the Society to call upon some one to give an account of such incidents of the Battle as were known, and pourtray them on the Battle Field itself. To the thorough performance of this task , three points seemed essential: (1) that he who guided them over the Field should have a taste for Archaeology, and in particular should be well acquainted with the arms and mode of fight[ 69 ]ing of the Mediaeval ages ; (2) that he should be a military man , accustomed to judge of ground, numbers, & c.; (3) that he should be familiar with the actual neighbourhood of Battle. They accordingly addressed themselves to several gentlemen who combined some of these requisites, but were unfortunate in being unable to induce these gentlemen to render the service desired of them.

At the eleventh hour, then, the Council were unprovided with a guide to the field , and Mr. SAVERY appealed to me to take the office on myself, he having all the work of organisation to attend to,and being engaged in preparing a paper on the Bayeux tapestry, to be read on the evening of the same day, illustrated by an enlarged copy of the tapestry; a work requiring much time and labour. I was thus in a manner forced to undertake a duty for which no one knew better than myself how little I was fitted : nevertheless , having undertaken it, I determined to do my best, knowing well that I could rely on the hearty support of my brother secretary Mr. SAVERY, whom I have to thank for his friendly aid , and valuable suggestions; and especially for his well executed model of the ground. By the courtesy of the Duke of Cleveland I was enabled to explore the battle field in every direction , and while so engaged , I received some very useful hints from the Dean of Battle. [ 70 ]

Chap. 2.

The Visit to the Field.

ON THE 15th of October -- for the 14th , the actual anniversary was Sunday -- a large party set out by rail and road for Battle. It was a bright autumnal afternoon, not a cloud to be seen in the clear blue sky, when a company of some three-hundred grouped themselves together on the greensward of the Abbey grounds. Dr. HUNT, a vice president of the society, presided over the assembly , and with the help of Mr. SAVERY marshalled the company from point to point with the greatest order and without any loss of time. As each successive point was reached , an oral explanation of that part of the position was given: these explanations form the substance of the present chapter. [ 71 ]The visitors first gathered together in that part of the field , known as Senlac, sometimes corrupted into Sanguelac, or Lake of Blood , where the central attack was made, still known by the name of Battle Lake.

They then moved until they were nearly opposite the building which MR. GORDON HILLS has shown to be the dormitory of the monks, but which is more familiar to most of us as the Refectory,and which HORACE WALPOLE mistook for the Church itself ; though its position , pointing north and south, should have at once negatived such an idea . To the north -east, (i.e., as we were standing, a little to the right and farther back ) is situated the high altar, where Harold 's standard was placed, and which fixes with exactness the position of the centre of the English army, the ridge on which the abbey stands, extending for about 1100 yards on either side. Harold's best troops were stationed near that roofless dormitory, and the spectators were then on ground a little in advance of William 's central array : between them and the dormitory were small lakes, now dammed up to serve the purpose of fishponds, but which would otherwise be the sources of a stream of running water, following a natural course and offering a considerable obstacle to the onset of William .

The artificial pond before us brought vividly before our minds the fosse which, says WACE, the English made at early morn right across the field. The position was further strengthened by " shield walls," of which there are of course now no traces , since though almost impregnable to the [ 72 ]weapons of that age, yet being made of perishable materials, they would disappear altogether in a very short period.

The position of the Norman army was defined, as resting its left wing on the hill overlooking the powder mills, washed at the base by the Asten ; having its centre near the Battle lake turnpike, and extending its right wing above the railway station, towards Marley Farm , where it would be protected by Bodeherstwood. This position is very distinctly marked out by a roadway from the powder mills till it strikes a path leading towards the railway bridge, thence by another path along the crest of the spur, overlooking the Station.

I then guided our party lower down the slopes of the Abbey grounds, but keeping well to the left hand on the higher ground parallel to the road just named. Here, I said we are gazing on the most open part of the field where cavalry alone could act with effect -- and where tradition has always placed the principal part of the fight. Of the three openings by which alone the Saxon position could be entered we are now opposite the most westerly , -- viz., that on their right: where also the flower of Harold's army, the men of Kent, were posted. Here must have occurred that disastrous repulse of the Normans, which formed the bloodiest incident of that bloody day : and if the Normans gave way in front of the Saxon left, they would fly in disorder right up the slope on which we are now standing : but in the course of their flight, the Normans, we are told , came on a kind of precipice or abyss ;and it is singular that the many writers on this subject have placed this ravine [ 73 ]in almost every quarter of the field , but have overlooked that it could scarcely be elsewhere than to the rear of the ground on which we are. Now it happens that directly in our rear, at a point to which we will now proceed , there is a sudden fall in the ground and I think, I shall be able to prove that there is no ground hereabout which so well answers all the conditions and requirements as that which I am now describing.

We then fell back , leaving the park and crossing the lane and entered a field bearing to the south -east,where we came upon a precipitous descent looking down upon a deep ravine. " This ravine," I remarked , " or deep valley runs parallel to the lane at some distance to its rear, becoming shallower higher up towards the Norman centre, where it can easily be crossed. I identify this ravine with the Mal Fosse or Sevil ditch,' or, as some old writers have termed it, " the great chasm between the two armies ' into which the routed Nor mans fell, man and horse; and accoutred as they were in heavy armour, and coming upon this place without being previously aware of its existence , (as WACE expressly tells us ) 'they must have rolled over in utter confusion, and with no power of recovering themselves."" I asked my auditors to look well at the position, bearing in mind, moreover, that steep as the hill side is now , the effect of eight hundred years would be to make it much less steep than it then was ; for as the soil crumbled from the hill top during the long centuries that had elapsed, it would form a much more easy and gradual slope at the hill foot. With [ 74 ]this observation I left it to my friends around to give their verdict, as to whether my precipice was steep enough. ( A subsequent measurement by Lieut. OTTLEY, R . E ., shows that the ground has a fall of 40 feet.)

The position we had reached gave us an excellent opportunity of examining various points of interest which could not be so well viewed from other parts of the field . To the south -east a little to our right, as we stood, high up on Telham hill was a cottage, where, tradition tells us, William's Standard was planted on the morning of the battle. Here, doubtless, the main army of the Normans armed themselves after their march from the vicinity of the town of Hastings; here, William, in complete armour, vaulted into the saddle, and seated on his horse,addressed his troops and marshalled them in three divisions. That they dared to march un armed until they came in sight of the Saxon position , leads us to the necessary inference that their vanguard must have held in force some strong position lower down, so as to protect the rest of the army from any sudden onslaught of the foe. This must have been between the Mill and Quarry House, the residence of Mr. Carter, which was visible to our left from the spot where we were; and, when the attack commenced , this advanced division -- wheeling towards us round the head of the ravine by which wewere stationed must have marched parallel to it. If in those days its sides were overgrown with trees and underwood , they may have done this without noticing that they had such a dangerous [ 75 ]fosse so near, and their ignorance of its existence would increase their confusion when driven to its verge.

That there were so many non-combatants present, who might have been left behind at Hastings, is, perhaps, in a great measure accounted for by the fact already referred to, that the Normans did not wear their armour on their march ; we may,therefore, infer that they did not carry it themselves, as the most convenient way of carrying it would have been to have worn it. We must,therefore,fall back to the supposition that it was carried for them , and, as no train of waggons is alluded to, (which would involve a great number of beasts of burden,) we may conclude that this office devolved on the varlets : for they would wish to keep their light-armed troops fresh , and therefore would not burden them with the duty.

If, while merely on the march, they found the armour of that day so oppressive that they avoided encumbering them selves with it even for a few miles, we may judge how anxious they must have been to keep to level ground, and how even a gentle declivity would be fatiguing and difficult to ascend in the face of a foe ; while on a steep hill side they would scarcely keep their footing.

The varlets released from their porter's office, but still in charge of the baggage, advanced in rear of the deploying columns to a hill which commanded a view of the battle ; such an eminence would be that on which Quarry House stands, and it happens that nothing intervenes to prevent their having a complete view of anything which might take place here. Supposing then the Mal Fosse to be where I [ 76 ]fixed it, and the varlets on the hill by Mr. Carter's, they could not avoid seeing the disaster,and would in all likelihood become panic-struck as described in the " Roman de Rou :" and this has an important bearing on the question of the position of the Fosse, and to my mind is a strong confirmation of the correctness of my hypothesis,-- for I cannot imagine any other spot on the Battle Field (for there are others, where the routed Normans might come on very awkward ground in the course of their enforced retreat) where the disaster could be seen by camp followers in the rear of the centre of William 's army.

Another point to be borne in mind is that the baggage must have been easily accessible from the army, for we read that Odo, Bishop of Bayeux, William's brother,who was on horseback , observing the disorder of the varlets, rode to them , and after allaying their fears, proceeded to that part of the army that had been discomfited , and strove to rally it. Now , it has always struck me as singular, that at such an important crisis in the battle Odo should have ridden to the rear first, where those in disorder were non -combatants, and only after he had restored order there have directed his attention to what would seem to most a more vital point.

Two solutions of this difficulty suggest themselves to me. One, that he was with the priests, who are expressly named as having ascended a hill close to the varlets, from whence to watch the fight; and then it would be in the natural course of things that he should allay the panic of those, by or through whom he must pass, before setting out for the more [ 77 ]dangerous melee. The other, that a man of his known warlike disposition would hardly coop himself up with brother priests to pray whilst such a field was being fought, but would rather range himself with William 's central host, where we know all William 's kinsmen were; it may be with no direct intention of personally slaying an enemy, but willing to assist his brother with all that coolness, wisdom and energy which he knew so well how to display in times of danger. This being conceded, we should imagine him to be in the immediate rear of the Norman centre. Here he would be only some little distance in advance of the baggage, and would be the first to detect any disorder there; while, at the same time, unable to see the rout of the horsemen on the left, and, therefore, unaware of the cause of the panic behind . But as soon as he rode up the hill, to enquire into the cause of their dismay , he would , while calling on them to halt, witness, with his own eyes, across the valley , the terrible overthrow of the Norman chivalry, and at once regaining the main body, would traverse the rear of the army, till he came to the fatal spot.

Our party was as much taken by surprise at the existence of this Fosse, in this particular part of the field , as the Normans themselves, and after examining it carefully,were fully inclined to endorse my views. In the course of the conversation that ensued , a question was put as to the number of William 's troops. I have entered into this question more fully in the following chapter, but I then stated that I could not bring myself to believe, that more [ 78 ]than 20,000 combatants were present in the field, especially as we must deduct the very numerous crowd of artificers, menial servants, and camp followers of every description, who we know were brought over in great numbers,and who would fill the place of an equal number of armed men on board ship : but are probably included by those who reckon the array as high as 60,000.

We now resorted to the hill overlooking the Asten and the powder mills, and mounted on a pile of wood, I had the gratification of reading the paper contained in the following chapter, to a most attentive audience. My remarks were illustrated by an excellent model of the battle field , kindly executed by Mr. J . C. SAVERY.

On the conclusion of the paper, the party wended their way to the Abbey, descending from the hill by a long narrow lane, on the left of which is a wood covering the slope down to the water side. The ground is overgrown with brushwood, and in one of the retreats it would have been quite possible for the Normans if they bore at all to the westward to come unexpectedly on the banks of the river Asten, which would be hidden from them until they reached it. In some parts the banks are quite precipitous enough to have caused such a catastrophe as that already alluded to, but then it must be remembered that it would be impossible for the " varlets" to have seen it, unless posted on the Camp Hill, and this is so remote from the principal line of march and difficult of access that hardly any of the requisite conditions seem to be satisfied. [ 79 ]It should be observed , however, that no less than four retreats are enumerated in the Roman de Rou as having taken place -- each 'having distinct features of its own : 1st, the disorderly flight of the Mal Fosse, which certainly was unpremeditated on the part of the Normans; but it may be that the loss that the English themselves suffered in regaining their position after inflicting this disaster on the Normans may have suggested to the wily Norman leaders the policy of simulating a similar rout, carefully providing against its being converted into a real defeat by stationing a large force in reserve.

This pretended retreat then was the second, and although we do not gather from the Roman de Rou , that it was at once successful -- as the entrenchments seem still to have been held -- yet it is clear that the very great loss the English suffered when set upon by fresh troops, and hurled back to their defences, so weakened them in point of numbers that they were unable to man their barricades with an adequate force, so that the Normans were at length able to pierce through at a weak and comparatively unguarded point. The Normans having once penetrated in force it became inevitable that the English should fall back upon the heights in their rear, corresponding to some extent with the ground now occupied by the Abbey. These no doubt were also palisaded, and -- being naturally strong -- the Normans formed again just below those heights preparatory to an assault on this last defence. The heights facing the south are so steep that they needed but little artifical strengthening, [ 80 ]but, on the west, the ground slopes more gradually, and doubtless a barricade similar to that which had withstood . the Norman attack for so many hours in the valley below formed the western defence.

It was here that the third retreat occurred, for the Nor mans forced their way on to the plateau : at first in small numbers -- one knight actually reaching the standard near which his body was found after the battle - till at length a large force had made good their footing. Then the men of Kent and Essex drove them off the plateau, and, we are told , William saw his men " coming out" in disorder. The exhausted English were, however, unable to improve their advantage, and almost immediately afterwards gave way and were cut to pieces under the charge of the heavy Norman cavalry . This decided the fate of the day. In this third repulse, inasmuch as the outer line of the English right was everywhere guarded by a ravine or artificial ditch , it is extremely probable, that the Normans in their flight from the inner line of defences may have got entangled in the water courses in their rear. But in every other respect the circumstances of the retreats differ, and especially in this, that the slaughter in the first case was very great, greater than in any other part of the day, whereas in this case - as the English did not follow up the pursuit vigorously -- the Norman loss must have been relatively small.

The fourth and final check which the Normans encountered was after Harold had been slain and his standard taken. After darkness had set in the Normans were pursuing the [ 81 ]English army, disorganised by the loss of its chief leaders, but hardly knowing that it was beaten ; and where the ground was advantageous they turned upon the foe and slew many. In some such position, as Mr. LOWER has pointed out, near Caldbeck hill, this fourth repulse of the Normans may have occurred ; but we cannot identify Man Fosse with the Monk of Battle's Mal Fosse,for the Monk's was between the two hostile armies ; neither can we identify it with WACE's Fosse, for on the morning of the battle, WACE's was between the two armies, and after the Normans had deployed into position, it was in the Norman rear.

As the sun went down, we stood around the spot where 800 years before, almost on that very day and hour, Harold was beaten to the ground. For many years a faithful tradition had been handed down from father to son that Harold's standard had stood here, but it was left to our own generation, by laying bare a portion of the crypt of the Abbey Church , to discover the exact site of its high altar, and so to prove the truth of the old tradition. [ 82 ]

Chap. 3.

The Battle of Hastings.

WE meet to-day on the most interesting spot on English ground -- to call back the memories of 800 years, and in imagination to behold once more that bloody strife from morn to eve on which the destinies of England hung, and which shaped the course for good or ill of all our future story which has left its stamp for ever on England and her wide domains,and, " high mettling" our honest and sturdy Saxon nature with Norman chivalry and enterprise, has raised a race of islanders to be the lords of one sixth part of the lands trodden upon by man, whose flag is planted in every region of the world. [ 83 ]Had we met here but to commemorate the one great disaster of our English annals, we should not be so eager to be here, and should look abashed upon the ground. But we meet here in the proud knowledge that since that fatal Saturday, no foe has lorded it over our peaceful vales. Only when England felt sick to her heart's core, under the tyrant John -- when England kept not true unto herself,did foreign banners flaunt fitfully on English soil. Since then full many a mighty host and fleet have hovered threateningly around our coasts, but never dared to face us on our shores; to meet us,man to man; to listen to an English cheer; or stand the charge of English steel.

We feel so far removed from that sad day, so fraught to us with weal and woe, that we can calmly gaze on these quiet dales, once filled with strife, but hardly listen unmoved to the spirit-stirring tale.

It is not for me to say, what all know so well, how it chanced that the two boldest warriors of that age -- who had each in his own land no other peer, to whose standards victory seemed chained , and who had fought together as brothers in arms-- both claimed to themselves the right to wield the sceptre of this realm . Nor they alone; for, Hardrada, Norway 's giant-king, and Toustain, Harold 's traitor-brother, alike contended for this princely prize.

On the 5th of January, 1066, King Edward the Confessor died ; (and be it observed, that the difference of style would throw all events forward about a week;) on the 6th, the great Thanes of England and the men of London chose [ 84 ]Harold for their king, and crowned him on the morrow . With hound and horn Duke William was starting for the chase when these strange tidings reached him . He left the noisy throng, and passed into his great hall, alone, to ponder over what had been , and that which was to be. The man who had sworn on good and holy relics to aid him to the throne; the brave preserver of his life, whom he himself had knighted on the battle-plain , and to whom his daughter was betrothed, must henceforth be his mortal foe ; must be branded as a perjured traitor in every court of Christendom ; must be pursued to the death , even where he stood most secure. Yet even the bold Harold might blench before the awful power of Rome.

But Harold was framed of different mould . The oath forced upon him by his host -- that host who owed to him his life, he felt it no dishonour to break, and thought it " foul scorn " to submit to an Italian priest. " What earthly name to interrogatories Can task the free breath of a sacred king ?" His stout heart quailed not before the consecrated white banner of the Pope, nor one of the hairs of St. Peter set in a precious ring. All through that spring and summer in northern France was heard the busy din of warlike preparation . From Flanders many a goodly ship came forth , and ships by hundreds were constructed at every point where timber could be found, till twice a thousand barks were moored in [ 85 ]Norman harbours.[42] In the Isle of Wight, some 20 leagues away, Harold took post, and noted with watchful eye this growing force. All summer he was there with such fleets and armies as had never before been seen ; but on the 8th (now 15th of September) the Saxon people were wont to lay up store for the on-coming winter , and " no man could keep them there any longer." His armies melted away, all save his hired soldiers, and many of his ships were lost. The while, the N .E . winds kept the impatient Normans in their ports. Hardly had Harold reached his capital when messengers came posting in , to say Northumbria had submitted to a Norwegian host. In four days Harold was at York, and on the fifth he assaulted Hardrada, who little thought his foe so near,and whose troops were scattered and unarmed . The Norwegians fiercely stood at bay,but Saxon valor broke their iron ring, and Hardrada and Toustain , hard by Stamford Bridge, were slain . Of 500 ships, but 24 revisited their native fiords. Meantime the winds veered round and William 's fleet put out to sea , only to be driven by a storm confusedly into the Somme, and all the shores of Normandy were strewn with the bodies of the drowned. Loudly rejoiced the English people and king Harold , and thought the danger o'er; but this confidence was England's ruin.

William 's fleet had in the main escaped unscathed , and when afterwards the favoring breeze wafted it across, for [ 86 ]the only time in history no fleet was there to guard the land. William with the first ships landed at Bulverhythe , at the mouth of the Asten . We are told that he gave a bishopric to a monk of Fecamp, in exchange for a vessel and twenty men on this occasion ; but surely the monk had done him some weightier service : now all the lands between Hastings and Romney Marsh were owned by the Abbot of Fecamp-- who then so likely as the Abbot's representative to induce the men of Hastings to open their gates to Wil liam ? A course they certainly adopted through some influence or other. The all important possession of their harbour enabled the disembarkation of the stores, horses and famous wooden castles, which must have occupied many days, to be carried on in perfect security . On the East Hill at Hastings is a small rectangular enclosure, about 80 yards long by 50 broad, too small for a permanent fortification, and yet doubtless erected for defence : this may mark the site of one of the wooden castles. The principal earthworks, however, must have abutted on the haven , on the western side of which traces may still be seen ; for[43] William of Poitou speaks of " custodia navium " " protection for ships," and ORDERIC mentions that they threw up fortifications for themselves and their ships, " sibi receptaculo et navibus pro pugnaculo." William , therefore, did not burn his fleet, but took every precaution to preserve it.

Imagine a triangle, with a base of four miles along the coast, its northern side a lofty ridge, extending 5 miles from [ 87 ]Fairlight to Telham , and its western side a line of heights from Crowhurst park , running through Hollington to the sea . Two streamswhich take their rise from opposite sides of the High street of Battle, diverging -- one to the south, the other to the east -- and known as the Asten and the Brede, with the adjoining marshes, cut off all access to this triangle, except by the narrow pass of Battle, and formed vast ditches as it were, to the great natural fortress they enclosed . These heights once occupied by William , his flanks were secured and his armament screened from observation. But at the apex of this triangle (marked by a windmill), the great road to London , dipped , as it still does, with a gentle slope into the valley before Battle. To guard this pass must have been stationed the vanguard under the Count of Boulogne, some thousands strong, encamped along the ridge called Telham ,which faces to the north . And here I differ from those who assert with Professor AIRY that Harold designedly occupied the pass of Battle, on the contrary, I think all accounts show that he was in utter ignorance of the true state of affairs until it was too late ; that he believed that the great expedition he had been watching all the summer months had been irretrievably damaged by a storm that strewed the coast of Normandy with wrecks and drowned bodies ; and that when flushed with victory at York , and learning that William had actually landed with a small body (for the landing was not completed in a day ) he reckoned that he had to do with only a small part of that Armada, and that if he came upon them quickly [ 88 ]with such troops as could keep pace with him , and such levies of the Southern Counties as could be got together, he should drive the Norman invader into the sea with greater ease than he had routed the Norwegians.

The news could hardly have reached him before the 1st, whilst on the 6th he must have been in London , where he remained six days; for the soldiers who had surprised Hardrada by one of the most wonderful marches on record , could hardly repeat such a march some six days later. He had , therefore, to send messengers forth, east and west, and north and south , to summon the southern array. In those six days he would be rejoined by some of his warriors from the north, and at their head , and with such levies as had obeyed his summons, would hurry on like mad ; or, as William 's chaplain has it, Rex furibundus, and as so reported by the Norman horse , sent out by Count Eustace to explore the country , and who retired before the advance of Harold . Many of Harold 's troops, especially the mercenaries, were well armed, but the hastily raised country levies could have added but little to his strength, having only clubs, and picks, and iron forks and stakes. Many were without arms, and all were exhausted with their march, especially the veterans who had come all the way from York . With such a force -- which, from the position it occupied, and the shortness of time for raising it, I judge to have been under 20,000 men -- he emerged from the woods on to the plateau now occupied by the town of Battle and the Abbey lands, never dreaming of halting there longer than was necessary to [ 89 ]refresh his men, but hoping next day to crush the small invading force. That he so deemed it, is shewn by his weakening his own force by many thousands during his stay in London , in order to man the vast fleet which had been lying idle in the Thames, when it was so sorely needed in the channel. But the first upward glance he cast on Telham heights must have shewn him that he had been bitterly deceived . The pennons waving on the opposing ridge, the glittering armour, and the long array of spears told him that many thousand men , at least as valiant as his own, and better armed, and fresh, occupied every coign of vantage ; and if he ventured the attack , a thousand horse-- the elite of Europe -- were ready to be launched upon the flanks of his wearied infantry. Further advance, therefore, was impossible ; nay more, it was perilous for him to linger on that plateau. How many thousands more were hidden behind those hills he could not know , all of whom might be hurled against him . Judging from after the event, his wisest plan would have been at once to have listened to his brother Gurth's advice,and have fallen back towards London , wasting the country as he passed , and gathering up the forces in his rear. But England's royal standard now floated defiantly before the Norman host,and if Harold retired before the foe without striking one blow for freedom , he would lose all the prestige of his northern victory, and his voluntary retreat might be more dispiriting and disastrous than a forced one from being over-matched in stubborn fight. His resolution was quickly taken to defend the ground on which he [ 90 ]stood to the last; and it was singularly adapted to the purpose. Two steep ravines or hollows almost meet in the centre of its rear, being only separated by the narrow ridge along which the High street of Battle runs; and streams flowing from these ravines wind round either flank, where they unite with water-courses flowing from the front. Thus the rear and flanks were almost inaccessible, and the one great danger of the English being out-flanked or taken in the rear was obviated . The dense woods to the rear and on the flanks increased this security. A portion of the forest on the east of this position still remains, under the name of Bathurst or Bodeherste (Great wood.) The post of honour, and of danger -- the right wing -- was claimed, as of custom , by the Kentish men ; the men of London guarded the centre and the standard ; and the worst armed men were stationed on the left, where the wood in their front left them practically unassailable. William 's superiority in numbers as regards disciplined troops, was thus in a great measure neutralised. He had to crowd his troops along a similar extent of ground, for he was hemmed in by Bathurst wood on his right, and by the waters of the Asten on his left. The extreme left of Harold 's position (not far from the present railway station ) could only be annoyed by light armed troops, if any portion of the forest stretched in front of it; and William 's horse and best infantry would therefore of necessity be posted opposite the centre and to the right of the Saxon array.

In suggesting such a disposition of the armies, it will be seen that I do not go with THIERRY in reckoning William 's [ 91 ]array at 60,000 men . I doubt whether he had 20,000 men actually in the field - after deducting the strong garrisons stationed along the coast from Pevensey to Hastings -- the crews of the ships that were not destroyed , the lives that were lost in the storm , and the division cut to pieces at Romney. To form some judgment on this point we must recollect that Harold's plateau measured in its extreme length 2,200 yards, and that the nature of the ground only admits of the position being attacked in front.

We learn from William of Poitou, and Orderic, that the infantry were drawn up in two lines :-- the archers in front, the heavy infantry in the second line ; if we take these to number 10 ,000, and no writer puts them at more, and assume each line to have been in three divisions (Roman de Rou), two deep , the front rank would consist of 2 ,500 men. Now , our rifle drill[44] tells us that 1,000 men would extend over a distance of 700 paces, or nearly 600 yards; 2,500 men would therefore cover a space of about 1,500 yards, and allowing an interval of 350 yards between the centre and the wings, the line would face the whole extent of Harold 's position.

The horse, which we will also take to be 10, 000 in number, was divided , according to WACE, in three unequal divisions ; but other writers allege that William arranged them in five divisions ; this seeming discrepancy disappears, if two of the divisions were stationed as a reserve, one perhaps [ 92 ]on Telham Hill, another on the intermediate ground near the Windmill ; so that only three divisions were actually engaged , at least in the earlier part of the day. The horse were drawn up in rear of the foot (in this all writers agree ); if we deduct two-fifths of their number for the two divisions in reserve, we may suppose the remaining three divisions drawn up immediately in rear of the foot in two lines each, two deep , this would give a line of 1,500 horsemen in front, neglecting intervals between the divisions.

Now, a writer on Mediaeval Warfare, [45] speaking of the battle of Bouvines, observes that 800 horse would occupy about 1,040 paces. Adopting his calculation we shall find 1,500 horse extend along a line of 1,625 yards, or covering very nearly the same ground as the infantry.

These numbers ( 10,000 foot and 10,000 horse ) have been of course only used hypothetically : but I do not think they can be very far from the truth . If to them we add the camp followers;the artificers, the priests, the garrisons of Hastings and Pevensey, the detachments all along the coast, the Nor man force defeated at Romney , the seamen and the large army still in reserve in Normandy, a portion of which joined the Duke some days after the battle, we shall arrive in the aggregate, at something like the figures of William of Poitou, and Orderic. " Virorum sexaginta milia," 60,000 men is the expression of the Poitevin , which does not necessarily infer that they were all soldiers. He elsewhere speaks of 50,000 "milites," or combatants : implying, as I con[ 93 ]jecture, that the rest were non-combatants. The expression of Orderic " quinquaginta milia militum cum copia peditum ," 50,000 combatants with plenty of footmen, points to a similar distinction : Dr. LINGARD,[46] it is true, says that these passages plainly prove that the "milites " fought on horse back ; but the very observation shows that some doubt existed as to whether they did or not,and, if we accept the historian's decision as final, we must conclude that William 's army consisted of 50,000 horse soldiers besides 10,000 foot soldiers. But can we imagine 50,000 horses were transported across the Channel? or that 50,000 horse were drawn upon the uneven ground facing Battle Abbey ? or that forage could be found for 50,000 horses in a country full of forests and morasses? If " miles" be simply a combatant, and the word itself has no other meaning, the whole difficulty vanishes. In the Bayeux Tapestry we read " Willelm Dux alloquitur suis militibus," Duke William addresses his soldiers. " Militibus" surely here does not exclude foot soldiers.

When I first studied the Ordnance map, I was of opinion that the three divisions of William 's army descended from Telham ridge by those separate spurs which can be traced in the model, (Mr. SAVERY'S) but an examination of the ground shews that to have been almost impossible ; and I am persuaded that only light troops could have advanced in such a way. Still the Normans, doubtless, occupied the two western spurs so as to prevent the Saxons advancing by either, though it was along the third and most westerly alone [ 94 ]that the cavalry and heavy infantry must have come down in long successive columns ; and the vanguard, consisting of the splendid horsemen of the Boulonnais, and all William 's Condottieri, under the counts of Montgomery and Boulogne, would , on reaching the brow of the hill, wheel round in front of the Saxon lines,and take up their post on the extreme left, where the ridge terminates abruptly in a hill overlooking the Asten , and is separated by a wide and deep ravine from the Camp Hill. The division of Bretons, under Alan of the Iron Glove, consisting chiefly of infantry, would , by the time the head of their column reached the Tannery, have their rear about the windmill. Then by simply changing their formation from column into line, and slightly bringing their right shoulders forward , they would , after a short descent of the slope,[47] find themselves face to face with Harold 's left, about the same time that the horsemen of Boulogne could be seen on Harold 's right. Meanwhile ,the main body of chosen horse and foot, under William himself, defiling along the high road in the rear of the Breton right,would debouch at Santlache,as it was anciently written,afterwards altered into " Senlac," and now familiarly known as " The Lake." Then filing to the left,they would follow the track of the Count of Montgomery ; and halting a little short of that division,and facing to the right,would occupy a position exactly fronting the royal banner of England , guarded by the Londoners.

The examination of Harold's position confirms me in an [ 95 ]idea I have entertained, that he had a double line of defence, except, perhaps, in the centre ; for, in front of, and at some distance from , the brow of either wing, are water-courses, which , if backed by the enormous wall of shields and wood, would form a very strong first line of defence ; and we distinctly read that, when this line was forced, the English retired up the hill, and the Normans followed them across the valley. Now, if this shield -wall had only been erected on the heights, neither of these circumstances could well have taken place ;at any rate,the Normans,after they had stormed the crest, could not in any sense be said , to have followed across the valley . I take it, therefore, that there was a second enclosure, almost coincident with this crest, and, of course, of much smaller dimensions.

The strength of this position is partly concealed by the clumps of trees which cover it more or less ; but a close inspection will satisfy anyone that it was a formidable defence. Such inspection will also explain how it was that when the Saxons were driven from their lower position , they were yet able for three more hours to withstand the repeated attacks of the Normans. The front line of this interior defence is also well seen within the precincts of the Abbey itself, close to the Dormitory -- that part of the ruins which most of my hearers better know as the Refectory, and whose roofless walls and dilapidated windows stand so prominently out on the opposing ridge. Further on to the east the front of the position crosses the road at about the point where the two roads meet, and its eastern extremity is distinctly marked [ 96 ]by a sudden fall in the ground at about 158 paces along the road leading to Marley Farm , immediately over the railway station. One of the entrances, no doubt, corresponded to the present high road ; and there is a very remarkable gap to the west of the Abbey which appears to me admirably to combine two apparently contradictory requirements facility of egress and security from attack.

It may be noticed that I have suffered the Norman van guard to occupy the left, instead of its usual post, the right. My reasons for placing it there are-- first, that it must have been on one of the wings; secondly, it having consisted of cavalry, it must have been on that wing on which cavalry could act; and, finally it must have been on that wing in which occurred the feigned retreat of the Normans, as both Montgomery and Boulogne are described as having charged the pursuing English. [48] For six hours the Normans, descending into the valley, tried unsuccessfully to force their way through the shield wall, and one repulse was so disastrous that had Harold possessed cavalry, he might have turned such repulse into a complete rout. This incident is described by WACE in the following terms:

"In the plain was a fosse, which the Normans had now behind them , having passed it in the fight without regarding it. But the English charged and drove the Normans before them till they made them fall back upon this fosse, over throwing into it horses and men . Many were to be seen falling therein , rolling one over the other, with their faces [ 97 ]to the earth , and unable to rise. Many of the English,also , whom the Normans drew down with them , died there . At no time during the day 's battle did so many Normans die as perished in that fosse. So those said who saw the dead . The varlets who were set to guard the baggage began to abandon it as they saw the loss of the Frenchmen , when thrown back upon the fosse without power to recover themselves."

This fosse must, therefore, have been visible from the eminence in the rear to which the varlets had retired , and which , as it could not be far from the main road, I take to be identical with the site of Mr. Carter's house. The Nor mans must have also passed it without regarding it ; now this they never could have done if they had crossed it. Thirdly , it was so situated that WACE says the Normans had it at their back .

En la champaigne outun fosse ;
Normanz l'aveient adosse :
En belliant l'orent passe,
Ne l'aveient mie esgarde.

All these particulars seem satisfied by the deep valley or ravine, which ran all along the rear of the Norman left wing, and which , nevertheless, might not have been noticed by them , especially if it was at all concealed by trees ; yet if they were charged home they could hardly fail to be driven to its verge. One particular point of this ravine I am inclined to identify with the Malfosse. In this I also agree with the Chronicon de Bello,translated by Mr. LOWER, [ 98 ]and quoted by him in his able paper, pronounced by Sir F . PALGRAVE to be the only trustworthy and painstaking account of the battle.

"There lay between the hostile armies a certain dreadful precipice, (miserabile precipitium vaste patens,) caused either by a natural chasm of the earth , or by some convulsion of the elements. It was of considerable extent, and being overgrown with bushes or brambles, was not very easily seen , and great numbers of men were suffocated . For, ignorant of the danger, as they were running in a disorderly manner, they fell into the chasm , and were dashed to pieces and slain . And the pit of this deplorable accident is still called Malfosse." The Monk of Battle's Malfosse, then , was situated between the hostile armies, and its position , which was well known in his day, exactly accords with the ravine which I have pointed out; having William 's head-quarters at Telham and Hechland[49] on the one hand, and Battle Abbey, the head-quarters of Harold , on the other. But if we adopt Mr. LOWER's ingenious identification of Manfosse and Malfosse, the Monk's evidence seems to prove too much ; for it amounts to this : that Manfosse, (which Mr. LOWER shows corresponds to Winchester Croft,) though situated to the N . W . of Battle, was yet actually between the two armies. One writer, (William 's Chaplain,) termsit preruptum fossatum . It is interesting to notice how two such independent authorities as WACE and the Bayeux Tapestry corroborate one another. In the tapestry the [ 99 ]incident of the Malfosse is faithfully depicted : with its steep hill side and marshy bottom , and man and horse rolling over.

The Normans, at length , lost heart, but William ordered them to shoot upwards, and he also drew the English into an ambush by a preconcerted flight, by which they were so weakened that their outer line of entrenchments was forced . They fell back to the heights behind, and the Kentish wing probably wheeled round to face the west. Here the fight was renewed , and once more English valor prevailed , the Kentish men driving the Normans before them . But in so doing, they exposed their flank to William 's body-guard of a thousand knights, who rode in and cut them to pieces. The fight now pressed round the standard, and the wounded king was slain , and his banner taken . The left wing of the English , which had been comparatively free from attack throughout the day, (one proof of which ,as LOWER has well remarked, being that no relics of the fight are to be found in the railway cutting which traverses the extreme east of the position of both armies,) was still intact, and it retreated in good order across or skirting the valley upon which the church and deanery look ; and ascending the Caldbeck hill, it might have come upon the victorious Normans who had been pursuing the broken right and centre along High street and Mount street, and have inflicted on them such chastisement as to make Count Eustace doubt whether the day was yet their own,and to induce him to advise the Duke to [ 100 ]draw off the Normans from the pursuit.[50] The pursuit abruptly terminated a little after dark.

I have not entered into details further than are absolutely necessary to explain the ground, as they are so graphically given in the Roman-de-Rou, the substance of which will be found in the following chapter. In conclusion I drew attention to a very interesting model of the surrounding country which had been well executed by Mr. J. C . SAVERY, and which, though done at a minute's notice,gave a very correct idea of the different points we had to consider. [ 101 ]

Chap. 4.

The Roman de Rou.

I HAVE strung together in a very literal er version such portions of the Roman de Rou by ROBERT WACE as have most direct relation to the Battlefield . ROBERT WACE'S grandfather was present in the famous field , and we may imagine him in the following simple narrative delineating the scenes, in which he had himself taken part. I commence with the marshalling of the troops by William : but the exclamations of the English on the night before the battle deserve our attention. In them we recognise the Saxon " wassail" (weissel), " Let him come" (Laticome), the very natural defiance of those who were on their defence . " Drink health " ( Drinckeheil), " Drink to me" (Drintome). [ 102 ]The warcry " OUT," has a remarkable significancy when we reflect how exactly it corresponds with the position of the English, whose great effort would be to keep the Normans " out" of their entrenchments. I have as far as possible retained the Norman words in the translation , when they have still the same or nearly the same signification in modern English ; I have also occasionally given the quaint repetitions of the original. <rule> William sat on his charger ; he summoned Roger, styled De Montgomeri, before him . " Foremost," said he, " in you I trust : you shall assault them from this side, and William the Seneschal, the son of Osbern, a good vassal, shall ride together with you, and shall assault them with you . You shall have the 'men of Boulogne, and of Picardy, and all my (hired ) soldiers. On the other side Alan of the Iron Glove and Aymeri the Valiant shall lead the men of Poitou and the Bretons and all the barons from Maine. And I with all my great people, with my friends and my kinsmen, will combat in the grand press, where the battle is the hottest."

All the barons, and knights,and men -at-arms (gueldon) were in armour. The men on foot were well armed , each one carried bow and sword ; they had caps (chapels) on their heads, and footpads (panels) tied to their feet, and good hides to their waist. Several had put on frocks (gambais), and had girt quivers and bows. The knights have hauberks and brands, boots of iron ,shining helms, shields hanging [ 103 ]from their necks, their lances in their hands ; and all wore cognizances, that Normans might know each other, and that there might be no error ; that one Norman might not strike another ; nor one Frenchman kill another. The foot soldiers marched in front, in serried ranks, bearing their bows. The knights rode close at hand to guard the archers, Horse and foot, just as they had commenced, held on their way, and kept their - step in serried ranks, their step was short, so that one should not outstep another, nor get behind or fall out. All marched proudly in serried ranks.

On both flanks archers were stationed to aim crossways.[51] Harold had sent for his men from castles and cities, from ports, villages and burghs. Counts (contes), barons,and vas sals (vavassors). The villagers (vilain ) were called from the villages, they bear such arms as they find ; they carry maces and great shovels (pels), iron forks and stakes (tinels). The English had fortified a field ; Harold was there with his friends and the barons of the country , whom he had summoned.

Of their freewill had come the men of London (Lundres) and of Kent ; the men of Hertford (Herfort) and of Essex (Essesse ), of Surrey (Suree) and of Sussex (Sussesse) of St. Edmund and of Suffolk (Sufoc), and of Norwich (Norwis), and of Norfolk (Norfoc), of Canterbury (Cantorbiere), and of Stamford (Stanfort) ; and the men of Bedford (Bedefort) came, and those who are of Huntingdon (Hundetone) : the men of Northampton (Northamtone), of York (Eurowic), [ 104 ]and of Buckingham (Bokinkeham ), were come, of Bed:[52] and of Nottingham (Notinkeham ). Such men of Lindsey (Lindesie) and of Lincoln (Nicole) came as knew of the summons. Already from the west[53] (deverz soleil levant) you might see a great many people coming, from Salisbury (Salebierre) and from Dorset (Dorsete), and from Bath (Bat),and Somerset (Sumersete ) ; many of them came from about Gloucester (Glocestre), and from Worcester (Wirecestre), from Winchester (Wincestre ), from Hampshire (Honteshire), and from the county of Berkshire (Bricheshire.) Many came from other countries,which we have not named , we could not name all,nor wish to recount all. All those who could bear arms, and knew the news of the Duke, marched to defend the land from those who wished to take it. From beyond the Humber came not many, for they had other business (affaires). The Danes had damaged them , and Tosti had worsted them.

Harold knew that the Normans would come, and would assault them hand to hand. At dawn he had fortified a field , where he put all his English. At dawn he made them all arm and stand in line of battle ; and he wore armour and apparel such as became so great a lord.

" The Duke who wished to conquer England," he said , " ought to seek him out ; and he who had to defend the land, ought to await him ." He spoke to his people and gave command ; and to his barons counselled that all should [ 105 ]keep together, and defend themselves together. Whoever strayed from that point would be rescued with great difficulty . " The Normans," said he, " are good vassals, valiant on foot, and on horseback ; on horseback they are good horsemen , and accustomed to fight. If they are able to pierce our ranks, nothing will be able to save us. They have long lances and swords, which they have brought from their land ; and you have pointed lances, and great bills well sharpened. Against your arms, which cut well, theirs avail nought. Hew down with all your might, and spare nothing.

Harold had many people and stout, from all parts many had come ; but a multitude is worth little if it wants heavenly virtue. But the Duke had truly more barons and better people : plenty he had of good knights and great plenty of good archers. The English men -at-arms (geldons) carried axes and bills which cut well.

Along their front they had made mantelets [54] (escuz) of ash and other woods, they set them up before them like hurdles joined and wattled,and left no crevice ( jointure): they had made of them a barricade (closture) in front, through which the Normansmust pass who wished to discomfit them . With mantelets and hurdles they surrounded themselves. Here they meant to defend themselves: and if they had kept themselves well in , they had never been vanquished that day. Nor would one Norman force his way in, who would not lose his life, it might be by axe, it might be by bill,or by mace, or by some other arm . They had short and small [ 106 ]hauberks and helms over their garments. King Harold made proclamation as their Lord, that each one should turn his face straight towards the enemy, and that no one should turn from where he was, and that whoever should come there should find them ready. Whatever Norman or another might do, each one was to defend his place well.

Then he ordered those of Kent to march to the point where the Normans were going to charge (joster). For they say that the men of Kent ought to strike the first ; wherever the king should go to war, the first blow ought to be theirs. The Londoners, by right, ought to guard the body of the king, to take their station around him , and guard the standard. These were placed at the standard , which each one was to defend and guard.

When Harold had made all ready, and had commanded what he wished , he came amidst the English , and dis mounted by the standard ; his two brothers Lewine and Gurth were with him . Many a baron was around. Harold was next the banner (gonfanon). The banner was very valuable, of gold and glittering stones. William , after this victory, had it carried to the Pontiff (Apostoile ), to show , and keep in memory ,his great conquest and his great glory.

The English kept themselves in serried ranks, all eager to combat. On one side they made a fosse, which went across the open (champaigne). At times the Normans appeared crossing over from a height where they were ; from a valley and a height issues a column which formed the van. The king Harold saw them from afar. . . [ 107 ]He said to Gurth that they were few to conquer so great a kingdom , that he had in all the land 400,000 armed men. Gurth said all those who came from beyond the sea were much to be feared, they were well armed , well mounted , and had bows and barbed arrows.

Whilst they were speaking of those Normans, whom they were noticing, there issues another column still greater, hard by the first, in close order, which turned to another part of the field , and drew up as the others.

Harold says to Gurth , " Our enemies increase,my heart is in great fear." Gurth replies, " It had been better if you had staid at London , or at Winchester , as I advised you." Harold said , " I was born on a Saturday, and my mother used to say great good would come to me on that day." " Mad is he," said Gurth, " who believes in chance. You say you were born on Saturday, on this day you may be slain ."

Just then there came a company who covered all the open . There was the banner raised, which was brought from Rome: next the ensign marched the Duke : there were the best, there were the most ; there were the good knights, the good vassals, and the good warriors ; there were the gentle barons, the good archers, and the good men -at-arms who had to guard the Duke and march around him.

The boys and the other rabble who had no business in the battle, who guarded the arms in reserve,turned towards a hill. The priests and those in orders also ascended a hill to pray and beseech God , and watch the battle. [ 108 ]Harold saw William coming, and the fields covered with arms, and the Normans separating in three divisions to assail in three parts. He does not know which of them most to fear.

Scarcely could he for the moment speak , " We are," said he, " in evil case,much I fear that we are undone. The Count of Flanders has betrayed me. Very mad have I been to have believed him . For by his letter he sent me word ,and by sure message, that William could never have so many horse," ( si grant chevalerie.) . . . .

Gurth drew near. They placed themselves close to the standard . Each one prays that God will guard him . Around them were their kinsmen, and the barons whom they knew. They have prayed them all to do well. None can retreat. Each one has put on his hauberk , girded his sword, and has his shield at his neck , great axes they held on their shoulders (en lor cols), with which they mean to strike great blows. They were on foot in close order. They held themselves very gallantly. But if they had been able to foresee, they might well have grieved and wept for the dolorous adventure which would bring them much woe, and hard to bear, " Olicrosse !" they cried , and "Gode mite !" shouted oft. " Olicrosse" is in English what " Sainte Croix " (Holy Cross) is in French,and " Godemite" is in French , Dex tot poissant (God Almighty). The Normans had three companies to assault in three parts. In three companies they divided themselves, and three armed companies they formed . The first and the second came, [ 109 ]and then the third , which was the greatest. Here was the Duke with his own people. When they saw the Normans come, you might see the English shudder, rouse their people, and stir themselves. Some redden ,others grow pale, they seize their arms, they lift their shields. The hardy exult, the cowards tremble. From far you could hear the great horns and the shock of lances, and the great blows of maces, and the great clashing of swords. Now , the English rushed on and now turned back, and those from beyond the sea assailed, and very often retreated . The Normans cry " Dex aie ! " (God help us). The English people cry " Ut! " (Out). There you might see between sergeants and men-at-arms of the English and the Normans great contests and melees, strokes of lances and thrusts of swords.

The Normans shout and taunt with words ; and very often each defies the other, but knows not what the other says. The hardy are staunch , the cowards fear. The Nor mans say the English bark , for they understand not their speech. To the assault the Normans push on, and the English well defend themselves. They pierce hauberks and cleave shields. Great blows receive, great blows repay. These go forward ; these retreat. They prove each other in many a way.

In the open was a fosse -- the Normans had their backs to it ; in deploying (belliant) they had passed it by unnoticed ; the English so harassed the Normans, so broke and routed them , that they drove them headlong into the fosse, horses [ 110 ]and men jammed together ; you might see many men fall, turning one over the other, stumble and bite the ground, unable to get up. Many of the English died there, whom the Normans had drawn on with them . In all the day never were so many Normans slain , as perished in the fosse ; so said they who saw the dead.

The varlets, who stood by the arms (herneiz ) and had to guard them , would have abandoned all on account of the loss (damage) of the French , whom they saw falling head long into the fosse, unable to save themselves, when Odo, Bishop of Bayeux, said to them , " Stay ! Stay ! be at peace, do not move ; fear nothing. For, so God please, we will conquer !" They were assured and did not move. Odo came back where the battle was fiercest. On a milk white horse he sat. All the people knew him . A baton he held in his hand. There, where he saw most need, he made the knights turn, and there he made them stop : often he made them assault. From the third hour of the day, [nine o'clock ,] when the battle began, till the ninth hour [three o'clock ,] was passed, the fight swayed this way and that, and none knew which would conquer. The Norman archers aimed many arrows at the English , but they covered themselves with their shields, nor could they do them any harm . They took counsel to aim high ; when the arrows were coming down again they fell upon their heads, and put out the eyes of several. The arrows flew more thickly than rain before the wind. Then it happened that an arrow , which was falling from on high , struck Harold above the [ 111 ]right eye, and destroyed one of his eyes. And Harold , by force, drew it out, threw it away with his hands and broke it ; and because his head was in great pain he rested on his shield . The Normans saw that the English defended them selves well, and were so strong that they could avail little against them . They consulted privately, and arranged among themselves to draw off from the English , and to make a semblance of flight, so that the English should pursue them and scatter through the fields. If they could separate them they could better assail them , and their strength would be much less, and so they would easier dis comfit them . And as they said , so they did , and the English pursued them ; little by little the Normans give way in flight, and the English follow ,the more the Normans drew off, the more nearly the English approached . Through the withdrawal of the French the English thought and said that the men of France were flying, that they never would return .

The feigned flight deceived them , through the flight great harm accrued to them , for if they had not moved , right well they might have defended themselves , and hardly had been vanquished. But like madmen they scattered, like madmen they pursued. You might see with great subtlety, the men of Normandy retreat, retreating they march slowly, to make the English come on . The Normans fly, and English chase ; they couch their lances, they raise their axes ; when they were cheering and scattered over the open , you might have heard the barons [ 112 ]sound the re -call, and cry aloud [55] " Dex aie." The Normans retraced their march , and turned their faces to the foe, then you might see the Normans turn and intermingle with the English . . . . . .

Amongst the Norman warriors are mentioned Roger de Belmont,William Mallet, the Lord of Montfort,William de Vezpont, the Chamberlain of Tankerville , the Lords of Albermarle, of Esterville and Eustace of Abbeville, Old Geoffrey of Maine, and Old Humphrey of Bohun, William de Warenne [from Garenes), Old Hugh de Gournay, and Engerrand de l'Aigle (of the Eagle ), the Viscount of Tours, and the Butler D 'Aubignie,and de Lacie, Tracy, and Rivers and Mohun, Roger Marmion and the Avenels, Bruce, St. John , Lucy, and Montfichet, Hugh Bigod , Hay,Mowbray and Say,Mortimer and Sinclair, Robert de Mortaigne, Hugh de Mortimer and Harcourt, the Count of Eu, and the Lord of St. Valeri. . . . But the Normans had all given up the assault, when Roger de Montgomerie came charging with lowered lance. . . . . There you might hear noises and cries and the splintering of lances. The English were at bay at their barriers, they shore off the (Norman ) lance heads; with bills and hatchets they hewed to pieces them and their lances : and the latter drew their swords, and broke down all the barriers, and the English , in great dejection , retreated to the standard . There were assembled all the mutilated and the hurt. . . . . . . There were many knights [ 113 ]of Chauz [Normandy , east of the Seine), who were accustomed to joust. The English did not joust, nor wear armour on horseback. Axes and bills they held, with such arms they combatted . The man who wishes to strike with an axe has to hold it with his two hands ; he cannot think of covering himself, if he wishes to strike with great force . To strike home and cover at the same time cannot be done, so it seems to me. Upon a height they, the English , took their stand,the Normans placed themselves along the lower ground (val.)

The Normans on foot and on horseback assaulted them like vassals. Then Hugh de Mortimer charged ,and Sinclair overthrew many English . Robert Fitz-Ernest couched his lance, took his shield, reached the standard , fighting with his sword , which was sharp -edged ; he struck an Englishman who was in front, beat him down dead with a single blow , then he drew the weapon back : many a blow he struck the English : he went straight to the standard, for he wished to beat it down, but the English surrounded it, and with their bills slew him , there was he found when search was made, by the standard slain. Count Robert de Mortaigne never kept himself far from the Duke. He was brother to the Duke by his mother : he gave his brother great aid . I do not know how to name all the barons, nor to tell the surnames of all, from Normandy and Bretagne, whom the Duke had in his company. Many were from Maine and Anjou , from Tours and Poitou ,and from Picardy and Boulogne. Great was the people, great the need. [ 114 ]From many a land came (hired) soldiers, some for land, and some for pay (deniers ).

The Duke William himself combats, in the greatest press he fights; and he too who holds his banner, his name was Tostein , son of Rou the Fair, he was born at Bec, close to Fechamp, a knight of prowess and renown, and when the Duke turned , he turned , and when he halted , he halted . The Duke had a very great company of vassals (vavassors) of Normandy, who to protect their lord exposed their bodies to the blow. Alain Iron Glove (Fergant) Count of Bretagne leads a great company of Bretons. Well fought Alain Iron Glove, a knight he was, proved and valiant, he marches leading the Bretons with him ; he does great damage to the English . The Lord of St. Valerie (Galeri) and the Count of Eu struck good blows there ; and Roger de Montgomerie and Viscount Aymeri of Tours. The Duke William splinters his lance against the English : he strives to get to the standard with the great people whom he leads, and takes upon himself to seek out Harold , since through him is all the war. The Normans march , surrounding their lord , and aiming great blows at the English. These are forward to defend themselves and receive their enemies with blows. There, where the press was the thickest,they of Kent and they of Essex fought wondrously well, and routed the Normans and made them retreat below ,but could not do them great harm . The Duke saw his people issuing out again (i.e. driven from the entrenched high ground into which they had found their way) and the English cheering loudly; from [ 115 ]his squires he took his shield , he took a lance (which a var let kept for him ) and laid it in rest, and took post close by his banner. More than a thousand armed men around who formed his grand guard, and fought, wherever he fought, in close order as they ought, moved towards the English . With the shock of the good chargers and with the blows of the knights, they broke the dense mass, and pierced the crowd before them . The good Duke leads the van, many chased and many fled, and you might see many English fall and lie, trampled on by the horses unable to get up. Many of the richest and the highest fell in this rout. The English in some places rally, they slay those they reach, and strive beyond their power , they beat down the men , they kill the horses.

The Normans pushed on so far in front that they reached the standard. Harold was at the standard , he defended himself with all his power, but suffered much on account of the eye that had been destroyed. Whilst he suffered pain from the wound over the eye there came an armed man in the battle who struck Harold on the aventayle and brought him to the ground, and when he tried to raise himself, a knight beat him down again , gashing his thigh right through the bone. [56] Gurth saw the English in disorder, saw that there was no means of rallying, saw his lineage fall ; of saving himself had no hope, he wished to fly but could not, for the press was always increasing : just then the Duke [ 116 ]

Chap. 5

Postscriptum .

I HAD commenced the description of the Battle, which is given in Chap. 3., when MR. SAVERY received a letter from the Rev. SRE. C . WALCOTT, B.D ., Precentor of Chichester ' s Cathedral, stating that though he should be unable to be present on the occasion, he would , if possible, send us a paper : if the promise had been unconditional, I should have been released from a portion of my task , and should simply have endeavored to have familiarised myself with the Field ; but as there was still some uncertainty as to whether the paper would reach us in time, it was thought desirable that I should continue my labors, so that we should be certain of at least having one paper to be read on the appointed day. [ 117 ]fights his way and reaches him -- and with great force pierced his breast. They laid the standard low and slew King Harold and the best of his friends. They took the golden banner. Such eagerness was there to kill Harold that I know not who slew him . The English felt great sorrow for that they had lost king Harold , and that the Duke had vanquished and that the standard was beaten down : still for long they fought, for long defended themselves : so that at the last the day turned to its decline: and then they saw too well that the standard was fallen and the news came and spread that Harold in very sooth was dead, They look for no further succour; from the battle they depart. Those fly who can . Harold was found dead among the dead. William fought well, engaged in many a melee, many a blow he gave,many received, and by his hand many died . Two horses were slain under him . . . . . . The Duke William in his pride, where the standard had stood , ordered his banner to be brought and there he had it raised on high. This was the sign that he had vanquished . . . . . His barons, knights and squires, all said , never did Baron ride or fight so well or do such feats of arms. Since Rowland and since Oliver such a knight had not been in the land. [ 118 ]MR. WALCOTTS' paper, in fact, had not come to hand on Saturday the 13th of October, and we had quite given up any idea of receiving one. All our arrangements for the following Monday, of course had to be completed on the Saturday. It was settled that I should read the descriptive portion of my paper, on the hill near the Asten , and the latter part containing the Roman de Rou, later in the day, within the precincts of the Abbey : but on Sunday morning, we received Mr. WALCOTTS ' paper , and we then determined , as his paper appeared to be based on the Roman de Rou , to substitute it for my own version ,and to reserve mine for the evening meeting. But on the day of celebration, time passed quickly, and our company had lingered so long in the glades of the park , that when we reached the Abbey , we were but able to take a hurried glance at its antique ruins: once more then wehad to change our plans, and I undertook to read MR. WALCOTTS' paper in the evening.

In the evening (after a dinner at the South Saxon Hotel) a numerous gathering met at the Assembly Rooms, St. Leonards: when MR. SAVERY read his paper on the Bayeux Tapestry, all the incidents in which were most minutely examined and explained : and the audience had the rare good fortune, of seeing a very faithful facsimile of the original tapestry unrolled before them , on the same scale as the original, so that they were enabled to follow him throughout the story. The untiring industry, and the artistic taste which had been exercised in successfully completing this laborious undertaking, received the hard-earned [ 119 ]need of unanimous applause : which was no less due to Mr. SAVERY for his excellent organization of the whole proceedings.

It is to be regretted (among many other reasons) that our ancient town possesses no public museum , in which this story of bygone days could be exhibited , so that every casual observer might learn something, not only of the warfare, but of the architecture and of the social habits of these our ancestors. On the conclusion of MR. SAVERY's paper, and a short discussion thereon, I proceeded to read MR. WALCOTT'S, but fatigued with the labors of the day, and exhausted with the unaccustomed and ardous exertion of speaking in the open air, I was very far from being able to do justice to MR. WALCOTTs' flowing periods. In eloquent words he gave the story , agreeing in the main , with the views Imyself had taken. DR. HALE, from the chair, expressed how deeply the Society were indebted to him.

In tracing the outline of the day's proceedings, I am sensible that repetitions will be noticed . I found it, how ever, impossible to avoid these, so long as I adhered to the plan of giving both the oral and the written explanation ; and I hope that though some of the incidents may be found recapitulated , yet that the manner of treating them is not quite identical, and that an opportunity thus has been afforded for introducing fresh illustrations.

In endeavoring in the preceding Chapter to imitate the rude simplicity of ROBERT WACE, I fear I may but have succeeded in clothing him in an uncouth garb . The study of the French language at that stage of its development is [ 120 ]in itself a very interesting and instructive one;and I believe I have rendered his meaning with accuracy. Should, how ever, an imperfect acquaintance with a Norman-French term in any case, have led me into error, I shall be very grateful to have the error pointed out.

References & Notes

  1. It has since been read in full before the Association in London, and appears in the Journal of their transactions for the past Quarter. To Gordon M . HILLS, Esq., F.S. A., who most kindly undertook the reading, the Author has to express his deep obligation.
  2. " From Borne ( Eastbourne ) to Fayrelee ( Fairlight ) Point, there is good landing on the beech ; but they cannot enter into the land, partly from marsh , and high land, butmust of necessity march along the sea." - Report on the arrangements which were made for the Internal Defence of these Kingdoms, when Spain by its Armada projected the invasion and conquest of England. -Grenville Library. -- British Museum .
  3. The line of road following the chord of the arc crosses the Ouse at a place, which though 25 miles up the country, bears the very suggestive name of Hasting ford .
  4. A remnant of the Forest of Anderida, which in the time of the Venerable Bede, when the modern name" Hastings " is first met with , was 120 miles in length by 30 broad.
  5. Court of Shepway p . 22.
  6. This would account for the westerly direction which the Bourne formerly took along John Street and George Street, which is quite an exception to the usual course of our streams.
  7. Redman, Proceedings Institut. Civil Engineers, iii.
  8. Harleian MSS, 168 p . 115 .
  9. " Erant ejusmodi fere situs oppidorum ut posita in extremis promontoriis...."
  10. Suss. Arch., ix. 366, xiii, 308.
  11. "The bodies lay on charcoal 2 inches in thickness, and by the right side of each were what appeared to be iron rivets having a head at each end, about the size of a half -penny with the remains of wood attached . Each body had besides five or six large headed nails roughly made. Under each skull was an oyster-shell, in the hollow of which the skull rested. Three of them differed in the mode of sepulchre : the head resting on a hollow boulder from the sea shore." Extract from a Paper by Mr. Ross, read Aug. 20, 1866, before the Congress of the British Archeological Association at Hastings.
  12. Indeed , this Eastern embankment speaks for itself : the western limit of the Roman Camp which Mr. SHARPE looks for in vain , is, I fancy, clearly marked by a great fall in the ground all across the hill, parallel to and about 1100 feet distant from the first embankment; while the northern side of the Camp is well defined by an artificial escarpment of the hill side. The breadth of the plateau averages 550 feet, giving an area of605,000 sq. feet. From POLYBIUS we learn that a Roman army of 4 legions, that is 16 ,800 foot and 1800 horse, would occupy a Camp whose area would be about 4 ,410,000 sq. feet. Our Camp on the East Hill, in its present state, would be rather less than one seventh of the above area , and would accommodate about 3000 men , which was about the size of a legion in Caesar's time: there is even now a considerable breadth of the cliff existing which I have not taken into account, that at some time or other must have slipped downwards, and forms a gap or undercliff between the Cliff and the sea . How much more has been gradually worn away by the sea's action , can only be matter of conjecture ; it is enough that the present remains indicate a camp at least large enough for one legion - -and it is not probable that more than one legion would be quartered in the same spot. The rectangular enclosure in the centre of the East Hill has an area of little more than 40,000 sq . feet, or only about the hundredth part of POLYBIUS' Camp, and though it may have been thrown up for purposes of defence, yet seems far too small for any legionary encampment. I think, therefore, that Mr. SHARPE is mistaken in imagining it to have anything to do with the Romans. Moreover our Records state it to have been the churchyard of St.George's church , the whole hill having been known as St.George's Hill, and the right of way to the Hill being due to its having been the high road to the Church. The garden is still attached to the living of St. Clements, and on its southern side a few stones and a portion of the wall still mark the site of the Church ,which Moss,writing in 1824 , informs us,stood in a small field on the eastern hill; and that the last inconsiderable remains of it were levelled by the Rector many years ago. It would be very desirable that the foundation of the round tower discovered by Mr. Ross should be minutely examined , for the situation is so exactly adapted to the position the Romans usually chose for a pharos or lighthouse-- that I should not be surprised to find there, evidences of Roman workmanship.
  13. Leland. De rebus Britannicis Collectanea , ii, 50.
  14. Philipotts Villare Cantianum , p . 9. (Notitia of Pancirollus.)
  15. One of the many Saxon clans of which Sussex had more than sixty - a larger proportion than any other county - easily to be recognised by the termination of the patronymic ing. They sprang from scions of renowned families across the seas, whose dependents assumed their name. There were several instances of clans bearing the same name as their continental kindred, and the Viking Hasting may have been a member of a foreign clan , part of which had established itself and introduced its name some hundred years before his era.
  16. Sussex Arch. I., 38 .
  17. " Cuck " or " Cock " signifies in Saxon, Chief, e.g. Cuckmore, Cuckfield : hence Cuckoo may have once been the High Street or Upper Town.
  18. Horsfield' s Sussex, i. 452.
  19. Owing to the statement of Hastings having been submitted to Dover,without any intimation to our authorities that such a step was intended ; which they could not but regard as a breach of faith ; and as this proceeding would necessarily involve replies and counter replies, and so open up the question anew , the resolution to abide by the Warden's decision has been unanimously annulled by the corporation . This question, therefore , still awaits the arbitration of a court of Archaeology.
  20. The British Archeological Association.
  21. Remigius,a monk of Fecamp became afterwards Bishop of Lincoln, and had great influence with the Conqueror, and encouraged him in his design of building Battle Abbey. Walcott's Battle Abbey. 11. After the Conquest William made a prolonged stay at the Abbey of Fecamp.
  22. The Latin imperfect implies the commencement of a work which might and probably did take some years in the accomplishment. The wooden castle would form meantime a temporary defence, and be especially useful for the reception of stores.
  23. Moss, History of Hastings, p . 63
  24. The Saxon " Hide" is of variable extent but may be calculated at 120 acres. The Norman " Carucate " is likewise variable, but in the present instance it may be reckoned at 60 acres, as 35 carucates, we see above,answer to 17½ hides or 2 carucates to a hide.
  25. Holloway's Rye, 278.
  26. Bexel-ci or Bexle island, (Bexhill being an innovation of the last century .) The " ei" which distinguishes so many places in this neighbourhood , has in this instance been dropped.
  27. Southey i, 190.
  28. Charnock i, 332 .
  29. Shakespeare's magic wand has transformed Hubert, a man of almost princely rank and birth , into a common menial: " Out, dung hill, darest thou brave a noble man ?" are the terms in which he is addressed by Lord Bigod in " King John " iv , 3.
  30. Since writing the above, Mr. J. C . Savery has pointed out to me that under the figure of Harold , in the Bayeux Tapestry, appear 5 ships, which correspond with the number of the Cinque Ports, of which Harold was one of the earliest wardens. It is a striking corroboration of the suggestion made in the text; and the difference of the numbers is easily accounted for by the supposition which I owe to Mr. Goldsmid , that the 5 ships were reduced to 3 , to make them correspond to the Royal Lions, when that important augmentation was made.
  31. Northey ceased to be a limb before the time of the Commonwealth .
  32. Burrell quoted by Moss.
  33. Suss. Arch. iv, 110.
  34. Suss. Arch. iv , 112.
  35. Southey's Naval History of England i, 237.
  36. On one occasion which some of our inhabitants well recollect, a great storm washed away the road communicating between Hastings and St. Leonards; when the carriage of our Queen , then Princess Victoria , was dragged by the enthusiastic townsmen over the White Rock.
  37. Horsfield i, 278.
  38. Moss 127.
  39. Handbook for Hastings, 24.
  40. Suss. Arch . xvii. 64.
  41. Their Congress,which was a very interesting one, was held in August.
  42. The number of ships is variously given from seven hundred to three thousand - the number assigned in the " Roman de Rou," is perhaps the most probable - 696.
  43. Lingard, i, 444 .
  44. Field Exercise and Evolutions of Infantry , p .61.
  45. Macmillan's Magazine, December, 1866.
  46. Lingard's History of England, i.,441.
  47. Which is too steep for cavalry.
  48. Lingard places the repulse of the Normans on the left. Hist., 449.
  49. We owe to Mr. Lower the identification of Hechland with Telham
  50. Count Eustace was struck on the back of the head , as he was speaking, and carried bleeding and senseless to the rear.
  51. In the Tapestry the bowmen are placed in great numbers on the flanks.
  52. Bedford has been mentioned . Perhaps the county is here meant.
  53. Geographical exigencies require me to translate as I have done ; but ROBERT Wace would seem to have placed Salisbury in the East.
  54. Palisades," the shield wall."
  55. En halt I take to be the same as en haut- it has, however, been translated " for a halt ."
  56. This incident is minutely delineated in the Tapestry . The felon knight who dealt the blow , was afterwards disgraced by the Conqueror.