"HASTINGS CASTLE" United Kingdom Off The Beaten Path Tip by silve64

United Kingdom Off The Beaten Path: 420 reviews and 440 photos


The remains of Hastings castle stand gauntly on top of the West
Hill Cliffs. The crumbling edifice we see today gives little idea of the size and importance of the original building. When William invaded England he came not only as a would-be conqueror but as a landlord, for the Normans owned large areas of Sussex. So sure was William of victory it is believed he carried prefabricated wooden forts in his ships. One of these structures probably became the first Hastings Castle. Early in William's reign he commanded Hastings Castle should be rebuilt in stone, a church was also constructed inside the castle walls.

For the next 200 years the castle continued to be of great importance as a fortification, garrison, church and college. The castle chapel gained a reputation as a site of miracles, attracting pilgrims from near and far.
When the castle was at its most significant and Hastings a thriving port, a sequence of destructive events came about. Fierce and prolonged storms in1287 caused the cliff to collapse into the sea, destroying part of the castle. The coastline changed, the harbour silted up and Hastings life as a port was over. The castle was deserted, only the church and school remained active.

In 1339 and 1377 the French raided Hastings, burning, destroying and looting and plundering the castle, later robbing the church and surrounding
dwellings. The castle was in ruins and Hastings slipped into insignificance.

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  • Written Mar 13, 2003
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