Descriptive Gazetteer Entry for PEVENSEY

PEVENSEY, a village, a parish, a liberty, and a rape, in Sussex. The village stands on the river Ashburn, and on the South Coast railway, 1½ mile N W of theshore of Pevensey bay, and 5 S E of Hailsham; occupiesthe site of the Roman Anderida on Ermine-street; was known to the Saxons as Pewenesea and Pefensea; was anciently a port, almost surrounded by the sea, whichafterwards receded from it; appears, when a port, to have been a place of considerable note; was given in 792, by Bervald, a general of Offa, to St. Denis' abbey at Paris; was ravaged by Earl Godwin; was the landing-place of William the Conqueror; figured in subsequent events, inconnexion with a famous castle adjacent to it; fell intodecay soon after the time of Henry III.; is now a smallplace; gives the title of Viscount to the Earl of Sheffield; and has a post-office under Eastbourne, a railway station with telegraph, two hotels, a court-house, and a fortnightly cattle-market, on Thursdays, from the latterpart of June till the beginning of Nov. The castle stands on an eminence; was built by the Romans, and rebuiltsoon after the Norman conquest; was besieged in 1088, by William Rufus, in 1265, by Simon de Montfort, and, in 1399, by the partisans of Richard II.; belonged, for a time, to the Earls of Mortaigne; went to Gilbert de Aquila, from whom the barony around it was designatedthe "honour of the Eagle; " passed to, John of Gaunt, the Pelhams, the Comptons, and the Cavendishes; belongs now to the Duke of Devonshire; and is representedby extensive and picturesque remains. The outer wallsenclose an area of nearly 10 acres, are about 12 feet thick and 30 feet high, and include many Roman bricks; and a mediæval structure, stands inward from the E wall, is quadrangular, massive, and grand, is surmounted, round the court, by five towers, is moated on the N and the W, and was formerly entered by a drawbridge. Roman coins and other Roman relics have been found; and two culverins of the 16th century are on the bankoverlooking the S wall.

The parish comprises 4, 351 acres of land, and 235 ofwater. Real property, £10, 625. Pop., 385. Houses, 78. The property is much subdivided. Pevensey levelextends northward into adjacent parishes. Pevenseybay may be said to extend 5 miles from point to point, but makes comparatively little incurvature on the land; and it affords some shelter for shipping, and is defendedby a number of martello towers. P. Point is at its Eextremity; and P. shoal, with from 2 to 3½ fathomswater, lies off that point. The living is a vicarage in the diocese of Chichester. Value, £1, 100. Patron, the Bishop of Chichester. The church is early English, and has a low N tower. There are alms-houses with £100 a year, and a national school The liberty includes also Westham parish.: bears the name of Lower Pevensey; and is a borough by prescription. Acres, 9, 574. Pop., 1, 218. Houses, 257. The rape contains also the hundreds of Alciston, Bishopstone, Danehill-Horsted, Dill, Eastbourne, East Grinstead, Flexborough, Hartfield, Lind field-Burleigh-Arches, Longbridge, Loxfield-Camden, Loxfield-Dorset, Ringmer, Rotherfield, Rushmonden, Shiplake, Totnore, and Willingdon. Acres, 232, 153. Pop. in 1851, 55, 365; in 1861, 56, 922. Houses, 10, 795.


(John Marius Wilson, Imperial Gazetteer of England and Wales (1870-72))

Linked entities:
Feature Description: "a village, a parish, a liberty, and a rape"   (ADL Feature Type: "populated places")
Administrative units: Pevensey CP/AP       Sussex AncC
Place names: PEFENSEA     |     PEVENSEY     |     PEWENESEA
Place: Pevensey

Go to the linked place page for a location map, and for access to other historical writing about the place. Pages for linked administrative units may contain historical statistics and information on boundaries.