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Hastings heart of 1066 country
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Hastings and St Leonards
Hastings heart of 1066 country

The Hastings area was a centre for ironworking even before Roman times. After the Romans invaded Britain around 40AD the Classis Britannica (Roman Fleet) developed the industry and had bloomeries throughout the area. Their main settlement at current day Beauport exported by itself 30,000 tons of iron into the Roman Empire, most of this was sent via the harbour at current day Pebsham / Bulverhythe . The Romans left Britain around 406AD and left a power vacuum, which was initially controlled by the Romano British until the Saxons arrived.

The name Hastings or more correctly Hasting is derived from a Saxon warlord whose name was Haesta ( Hasting meaning the fort of Haesta ) who took over the area around 475AD. Haesta and his decendants also oversaw the export of iron, which made Hastings rich and even though they were defeated by King Offa of Mercia in 771AD ( Symeon of Durham ) the area remained quite independant and isolated. There is limited evidence of Hasting before this time as it is likely that any written records were destroyed by King Offa .

Hastings remained an important area as Hastingsceastre is mentioned in the Burghal Hideage of 890AD which is a list of King Alfred forts. Hastings is described as 500 hides which would provide a defensive wall about 2000 feet long. This fort is likely to have been eroded away many years ago from the East Cliffs . Aethelstan recorded that a mint was at Hastings in 924AD so the area must have remained quite important.

Hastings can be found at the heart of 1066 country, and it is recorded that it was the nearest large settlement to the Battlefield at the current town of Battle . The Normans landed near here possibly at Bulverhythe or Crowhurst before their march to Hooe , Ninfield and finally Battle where they defeated King Harold on October 14th 1066AD .

Hastings Old Town is the center of this Historic Cinque Port which hasn't changed for many years so giving the feel of an ancient maritime port. The fishing fleet still goes off into the channel to fish and this harvest is available to both locals and tourists . The old black painted net shops which were used to dry the nets before nylon was invented are still kept which adds a great deal to the feel of Hastings Harbour .

Tourists are well catered for by the amusements that are found on the Stade , and numerous eating places and restaurants providing for their culinary needs. The pier is currently not accessible to the general public, but plans are afoot to renovate this outstanding attraction.

St Leonards was created in the 1850s when the railways came to Hastings, and providing an escape to a gentile resort for those people working in London and its surrounds.


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