The postern gate is located in the south-east corner of Pevensey Castle. It was constructed adjacent to the Roman wall, and it opened onto the base of one of the Roman bastions. The sign is mounted on the floor of the gate, as in the entrance to the Roman fort.
Battle Abbey was established on the top of the hill that formed a central part of the Battle of Hastings in 1066. The battlefield is now an integral part of the English Heritage site and visitors are able to walk the slopes where interpretation boards help to explain the different stages of the engagement.
Sir Charles Peers prepared the post-war guidebook to Pevensey Castle in 1952. The monument incorporates part of the Roman Saxon Shore fort. The guidebook contains a history followed by a description. A foldout plan is placed inside the back cover. A number of black and white photographs are included.
Peers’ guide continued to be published through the 1960s. The pictures were placed as a block rather than slotted through the text.
A souvenir guide was prepared by Derek F. Renn in 1970. He had previously prepared a similar souvenir guide for three shell keeps in the west country. Renn later wrote the official guidebooks to a number of sites in England and Wales.
The English Heritage guidebook is prepared by John Goodall. This starts with a tour and description, and then a section on the history. There is a special section on the Second World War defences. A colour plan is provided inside the back cover.
In the late Anglo-Saxon period North Elmham was a focal point for the Bishops of East Anglia. The bishopric was moved to Thetford in 1071.
Bishop Herbert de Losinga [ODNB] founded a church, after 1091, on the site of the earlier Anglo-Saxon cathedral. At some point after 1388 Bishop Henry le Despencer turned the former chapel into a castle. Part of the walls within the inner moat can be seen to the right of the chapel’s apse.
The chapel is now in the care of English Heritage.
Pevensey Castle was given to the Office of Works by the Duke of Devonshire in 1925. It became one of the front line defences of Britain in 1940.
Pevensey Castle was one of the Saxon Shore forts and was later reused as a medieval castle.
For guidebooks to the fort and castle see here.
The castle at Castle Hedingham in Essex was constructed around 1140. The keep was built by Aubrey de Vere, and is likely to have shared the same architect as that at Rochester Castle in Kent. The exterior stone used for the construction came from Northamptonshire.
Hedingham Castle is a member of the Historic Houses Association.
There is a new guidebook to Colchester Castle by Tom Hodgson and Philip Wise (Jarrold Publishing and Colchester Castle, 2015). This beautifully designed and colour illustrated book of 72 pp follows the history of Colchester through the collections displayed in the Colchester Museum.
The castle itself is built on the foundations of the Temple of the Divine Claudius destroyed during the Boudican revolt.
The main sections are:
a. Iron Age (including the Sheepen Cauldron dating to 1275-1140 BC; the Mount Bures Firedog; the Augustus Medallion from the Lexden Tumulus)
b. Roman Invasion (including tombstones of veterans from the colony; the Fenwick Treasure perhaps deposited during the Boudican destruction)
c. Roman Heyday (including slave rings; ‘the Colchester Vase’ showing gladiatorial combat, dating to AD 175-200; lead curse tablets; the Colchester Sphinx excavated on the site of the Essex County Hospital in 1821)
d. Roman Decline (including Christianity in Roman Colchester; jet bear)
e. Saxons and Normans (including St Botolph’s Priory; the Town Charter)
f. Medieval (including Medieval painting)
g. Post Medieval (including the Colchester Martyrs; the Siege of Colchester in the Civil War)
h. Modern (including the formation of the museum collection; Colchester Castle in wartime including an exhibition in 1944)
Inside the back cover is a plan of Colchester pointing visitors to key locations around the town.
I have two other guides to the collection: Colchester Castle: a history, description and guide (Colchester Borough council, 4th edition, 1978). This includes plans of the castle and a more detailed history. There is also a section drawing showing how the castle included the Roman temple in its foundations.
The second guide is Roman Colchester by M.R. Hull (Colchester Town Council, 1947). This was prepared ‘in response to a great demand among visitors to Colchester Museum for a Guide to Roman Colchester’. The sections are:
1. Colchester before the Romans
2. The beginnings of Roman Colchester
3. The colonia
5. The visible remains of the Roman town
6. Civic organisation and administration
7. The Middle Empire
8. The legend of King Coel
9. The end of Roman Colchester
There is a particularly useful foldout paper plan inside the back cover.
One of the earliest guides is Dr J. Horace Round’s The History and Antiquities of Colchester Castle (1882).