Battle and District
                 Historical Society

 Published 2020



A prequel to Keith’s co-authored ‘1066 and the Battle of Hastings – Preludes, Events and Postscripts’ and that book’s sequel ‘Conquest to Dissolution 1067-1538’, which he authored solo, this book covers pre-history, the Roman, Anglo-Saxon and early English history – mainly as it affected eastern Sussex, but in a national context. It completes an historical trilogy about early eastern Sussex and the Battle area, but always in a national, even international,  context, from the ‘Dawn of Time’ through the so called Dark Ages and the development of England until early1066. There is also a further critical look at  the succession intrigues and relationship, up until the death of Edward the Confessor, between William and Harold.


This book is the 1st in the ‘Early History Trilogy of Battle and Eastern Sussex’



Before 1066 eastern Sussex, aka Hæstingas, was shaped by its geology and its geography, with the English Channel to the south, the dark Andreadsweald forest to the north, and large embayments to both its east and west. It may have looked more towards Kent than Sussex for much of its early existence.


The area has clearly been in continuous occupation with periods of intense early industrial activity. Recent archaeological work confirms this, and exciting finds continue to be made. It is quite rich in Bronze Age history, and Britons and then Romans made iron here. Romans built a giant shore fort but following their withdrawal Hæstingas probably became pagan again ‒ until King Offa of the Mercians gave the resources to create minster churches.


Ever open to the sea and potential maritime raiders it slowly grew. It was never rich, but the people became skilled sailors, in demand by earls and kings. King Alfred protected it with a new fort (or two). Its harbours provided ships for trade and war and royal interest in it grew. Salt was produced in very large quantities and salted the fish to go to market. The local social and political environments and the foundation of the precursor of the Cinque Ports are described.


The succession intrigues and relationship, up until the death of Edward the Confessor, between William and Harold which led to the Battle of Hastings are reviewed afresh, using the most modern sources, as advised by Professor David Bates


176 pages Metric Crown Quarto   ISBN 978-1-903099-06-3


£14 (25% discount to members of BDHS when bought directly from the Society)

Click here to order online


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