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Two views of Hastings

This is a view of the West Hill, Hastings. The prominence on the left is called ‘Ladies Parlour’ a flatish piece of ground that sits on top of sandstone cliffs that drop away to the sea. This ground was possibly part of the original Norman castle that was built as a motte and bailey in 1066 then rebuilt in stone in 1070. It is now separated from the castle by a ditch, which was apparently dug during the castle redevelopment in 1220. Since then the castle has been burnt by the French and bombed by the Germans. We have punished those crimes by charging their descendents (who visit the town in droves) exorbitant fees to visit the castle.

This picture has been taken from Ladies Parlour looking towards Hastings ‘new’ town and Beachy Head. The new town is actually the site of the former harbour, now long silted up. The castle is best pictured from the town, however this view does show what a commanding  postition it had. It remains one of the key visual features of the town.

4 responses to “Two views of Hastings”

  1. Mick Pelling avatar
    Mick Pelling

    The coastline has changed since 1066, there is little doubt that William the Conquerer was in the Hastings area prior to the Battle in 1066, he would have seen the potential of building a castle to protect the port.

    When the castle was finished it projected out into the sea, built on the top of cliffs, and the port itself would have been used by William to travel back and forth to Normandy.

    The port would have nestled below the castle, around where the shopping centre is now.

    Strangely, the Archbishop of Fecamp,Normandy was given a large part of this area,The Manor of Rameslie, by King Canute in 1031, this is because Canute was considered responsible for the death of St Olaf, who before being made a Saint, was a violent king of Norway, he plundered France, England,he sacked Canterbury and murdered the Archbishop Alphege,

    He was made a Saint when, following his own conversion to christianity, he converted the peoples of Norway from paganism to christianity, perhaps pointing out the alternative was death.

    The pope at the time,summoned Canute to Rome, accused him of the murder of Olaf, and Canutes own brother in law, and was forced to give Rameslie to Fecamp.Rameslie included the Brede valley, Rye Winchelsea and Hastings.

    Hence perhaps the reason why William landed near here, he was after all on Norman soil.

    Subsequently Hastings was big enough to be a Cinque Port, in return for various rights and privileges, they had to provide ships for the King, for coastal protection, or invasions of France.

    All of this came to and end when some massive storms ,culminating in 1287, bought the cliffs down, and sending a large part of the castle into the sea.
    The port was blocked as well ,and the community moved along to what is now known as Hastings old town

  2. michaeltuuk avatar

    You’ll probably find this odd, but ever since watching Foyle’s War I’ve wanted to visit Hastings 🙂

  3. compellingphotography avatar

    Thats not odd Michael, what is odd is that I’ve never watched Foyle’s War!

  4. […] may have looked like when it was first built. I’ve written some more about it’s history in a previous post. (Click to […]

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