The Sussex Coast - online book

A Literary & Historical travel guide to the Sussex Coast

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by W. H. Stevenson to be almost certainly forged.
There is some reason for believing the original town with its harbour to have been south of the present one, the site having been washed away by the sea. The New Burgh mentioned in Domesday in the opinion of Professor Montagu Burrows (Cinque Ports) absorbed and succeeded this older town; it was granted with Winchelsea and Rye to the Abbey of Fecamp by the Confessor, for that monarch, always extremely Norman in his sympathies, desired by every means in his power to forge links of connection with the Duchy that he loved. The Bayeux Tapestry depicts for us the invaders under the orders of William the Conqueror, digging and getimbering the original castle on a bluff where the uplands of the Forest Ridge form cliffs fronting the Channel. The site of this defence may probably have been the highest land within the limits of the present castle,* the old inner court enclosed between the curtain wall and the edge of the cliff. It is separated by what a rough plan of 1781 correctly describes as "an uncommon deep ditch " from extensive and rather baffling earthworks (some probably pre-Roman) that formed an outer protection. The ruins are of two main periods—Norman buildings erected at different times during more than a century after the Conquest, and repairs made shortly after the destruction of the place by King John in 1216. The fall of the cliff has largely reduced the area of the court, and the site of the great square keep tower, erected by Henry II. about 1172, has almost
* A very full history of it has been written by Charles Dawson in two volumes, to which the present writer is indebted. His account of the church is particularly good.
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