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PEVENSEY, a village in the Eastbourne parliamentary division of Sussex, England, 65 m. S.S.E. from London by the London, Brighton & South Coast railway. Pop. (1901), 468. The village is a member of the Cinque Ports, but the sea has receded a mile from it in historic times. The outer wall, with solid towers, of the celebrated castle, is of Roman construction, and originally enclosed a complete oval; it is generally considered to have enclosed the strong town of Anderida. Within rise the fine ruins, principally of the 13th century, but in part Norman, of the castle proper, with a keep and four massive round towers. The church of St Nicholas, close to the castle, shows beautiful Early English work. It has been supposed that Pevensey was the scene of the landing of Caesar in 55 B.C., but the question is disputed.

The name of Pevensey (Paevenisel, Pevensel, Pevenes, Pemsey) first occurs in a grant of land there by the south Saxon Duke Berthuald to the abbey of St Denis in 795. In later Saxon times, at least by the reign of Edward the Confessor, it was a royal borough and had a harbour and a market. Its early importance was due to its fencible port. It was the landing place of William the Norman on his way to conquer, and was the caput of the rape of Pevensey, which was granted by William to the earl of Mortain and subsequently became the Honour of the Eagle. Some time before the reign of Edward I. the town of Pevensey was made a member of Hastings and shared the liberties of the Cinque Ports, but apart from them it possesses no charter. It was governed by a bailiff and twelve jurats, elected annually, until by an act of 1883 it ceased to exist as a borough. Its seal dates apparently from the reign of Henry III. The gradual decline of Pevensey was complete in the 15th century and was caused by the recession of the sea and consequent loss of the harbour.

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

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