TV5098 : Walls Brow (Site of Medieval Settlement of Poynings Town)

taken 4 years ago, near to Westdean, East Sussex, Great Britain

Walls Brow (Site of Medieval Settlement of Poynings Town)
Walls Brow (Site of Medieval Settlement of Poynings Town)
The current name of the hill though called South Sheep Down on Seaford's 1839 tithe map. The field itself is believed to be the site of Poyning's Town an attempt by the then local landowner, Lord Poynings, to build a new town in the 14th century, possibly as an extension to nearby Chyngton, or as some believe, to replace the decayed port of Seaford, which by the 1360s was suffering from a silted port, and the results of the Black Death and continuous French raids during the Hundred Years War which resulted in many Sussex seaside communities to be burnt to the ground - Exceat on the eastern side of the Cuckmere estuary had been decimated in 1350.

Moving a town was not unknown during the medieval period, Winchelsea to the east had been resited the previous century, and with the depredations caused by the constant raiding French parties during the 14th century, perhaps encouraged Lord Poynings to move the local population to a site which could be better defended and was close enough to the mouth of the Cuckmere for economic activities to continue. However, documentary evidence is scant and the new settlement had disappeared by the end of the medieval period. During the 19th century a local historian, Mark Antony Lower one of the founders of the Sussex Archeological Society, investigated a number of mounds on this hill and found foundations (believed to be the origin of Walls Brow as a name) and masonry some of which was burnt which he believed provided the answer to the settlement's disappearance, namely that it was burnt down possibly by the French.

Lower's historical skills alas were not always accurate, what was found in his excavations were never saved and some of his other conjectures have proved to be largely inaccurate. As such there is still a large mystery as to what the settlement was supposed to be or its fate. The more fanciful suggestion of an attempt to move the port of Seaford has been dismissed in some quarters with most believing the settlement to be linked to the now shrunken settlement of nearby Chyngton, now little more than a farm that has been swallowed up by the eastwards expansion of modern Seaford. The name itself survived on the 1839 as the adjacent down to the west, TV5098 : Poynings Laine and a piece of brookland in the estuary below, see TV5198 : Poynings Mead.

The wood in the distance is Harry's Bush.
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TV5098, 64 images   (more nearby )
Photographer
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Date Taken
Sunday, 29 September, 2013   (more nearby)
Submitted
Sunday, 6 October, 2013
Category
Hillside > Down   (more nearby)
Subject Location
OSGB36: geotagged! TV 5090 9845 [10m precision]
WGS84: 50:45.9613N 0:8.3058E
Camera Location
OSGB36: geotagged! TV 5088 9863
View Direction
SOUTH (about 180 degrees)
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Image classification(about): Geograph
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