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Pevensey, Sussex

Historical Description

Pevensey, a village and a parish in Sussex. The village stands on the river Ashburn, and has a station on the L.B. & S.C.R., 60 miles from London, 5 SE of Hailsham, and 1½ mile NW of the shore of Pevensey Bay. It occupies the 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, which afterwards 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, in connection with a famous castle adjacent to it; fell into decay soon after the time of Henry III.; is now a small place; gives the title of Viscount to the Earl of Sheffield; and has a post, money order, and telegraph office under Hastings, two hotels, a court-house, and a fortnightly cattle-market on Thursdays from the latter part of June till the beginning of Nov. The castle stands on an eminence; was built by the Romans, and rebuilt soon 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 designated the "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 represented by extensive and picturesque remains. The outer walls enclose an area of nearly 10 acres, are about 12 feet thick and 30 high, and include many Roman bricks; and a mediaeval 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 bank overlooking the S wall.

The parish comprises 4392 acres; population, 437. There is a parish council consisting of five members and a chairman. Pevensey Level extends northward into adjacent parishes. Pevensey Bay may be said to extend 5 miles from point to point, but makes comparatively little encurvature on the land, and it affords some shelter for shipping and was formerly defended by a number of martello towers, now all disused. Pevensey Point is at its E extremity, and Pevensey Shoal, with from 2 to 3½ fathoms water, lies off that point. The living is a vicarage in the diocese of Chichester; net value, £400 with residence. Patron, the Bishop of Chichester. The church is Early English, and has a handsome N tower with six bells; the whole building was thoroughly and faithfully restored in 1879.

Transcribed from The Comprehensive Gazetteer of England & Wales, 1894-5


The following is a list of the administrative units in which this place was either wholly or partly included.

Ancient CountySussex 
Ecclesiastical parishPevensey St. Nicholas 
Poor Law unionEastbourne 

Any dates in this table should be used as a guide only.

Directories & Gazetteers

We have transcribed the entry for Pevensey from the following:


Online maps of Pevensey are available from a number of sites:

Newspapers and Periodicals

The British Newspaper Archive have fully searchable digitised copies of the following Sussex newspapers online:

CountyEast Sussex
RegionSouth East
Postal districtBN24
Post TownPevensey