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This fort is believed to be the later of the two forts adjoining each end of the Town Wall. As with the East Fort, there was an area of open ground to the seaward side of both forts known as the Gun Garden.
Due to many of the old records having disappeared, little is known about the early defensive preparations of the town, but a return to a 1496 muster ordered by the Lord Warden (Cinque Ports) shows that Hastings had "30 archers well and sufficiently armed for war and 30 men with bills and other defences sufficiently harnessed, with 100 men not sufficiently armed."
"The Defence of Sussex and the South Coast of England from Invasion, considered by Queen Elizabeth's Privy Councillors, AD 1596", by W. H. Blaauw, M.A., F.S.A., published 1859 in Sussex Archæological Collections (vol. 11, article, pp.147-170) gives the following detail of the town's fortifications in the late 16th century :-
”At Bulver Hyde Point, being a place fit for landing, there should be “a rampier, to bere one demiculverin and one sacre.”
“Hastings town is furnished with three Portugall bases of brasse, with four chambers of bras to each, one culverin of iron unmounted, two sacres, two minions, and one robinet mounted, three quartre slinges stocked, and powdre and shott sufficient; the town is strongly seated, and easily to be fortified.”