Glossary of Terms


The yard surrounded by the outside walls of a castle, which often contained the living quarters.


A tower or projection built in the wall of a castle. The bastion sticks out allowing the troops to see along the face of the wall.

Civil War

The war between the Royalists (supporters of King Charles I) and the Parliamentarians (supporters of the Government) that took place from 1642 to 1651 in the British Isles.


To add a wall with regular gaps along the top of a castle or battlement. Soldiers are able to protect themselves behind the wall and fire through the gaps.

Curtain Wall

The wall running between towers in a castle that is a major part of the buildings defences.

Decorated Period

Running between 1280 and 1380, the Decorated period saw additional decorative elements introduced. Complex curves replaced the simple geometric shapes of the Early English period. Flying buttresses were enhanced, allowing walls to get thinner and windows to get bigger. Carvings in stone got more elaborate and the period saw the use of highly coloured stained glass.

Dissolution of the Monasteries

Fuelled by the Popes refusal to allow him to divorce Catherine of Aragon, Henry VIII created the Church of England. Monastic houses in England and Wales were dissolved by successive acts of Parliament between 1536 and 1539, with ownership for land, goods and buildings passing to the Crown. Monasteries were closed and churches defaced or demolished.

Early English Architecture

Part of the English Gothic style of architecture, the period covers between 1180 and 1275. Pointed arches were introduced, as were quadripartite ribbed vaults, lancet windows, narrow piers and flying buttresses. Simple lines were preferred and designers emphasised height – the buildings appeared to reach for the sky. The pointed arches distributed the weight better than the Norman round arches and this encouraged the use of stained glass.

Gothic Architecture

The style of architecture in England starting in 1180, which saw the use of, amongst other things, pointed windows and more pronounced buttresses. Contained the distinct styles of Early English, Decorated and Perpendicular.

Iron Age

The Iron Age in Sussex covers the period between the Bronze Age (2500 - 700BC) and the time the Romans arrived (AD43). This era saw the use of iron replace bronze and is divided into three distinct intervals - early, middle and late.

Magna Carta

A document written by King John in 1215, in which he granted the English people certain liberties. These included freedom from the Crown for the church, plus statements regarding law and justice.

Martello Towers

Consisting of a circular brick tower and a single cannon on the roof, 74 were built along the South Coast between 1804 and 1810 to defend the country from invasion from the French. The idea came from a similar tower at Mortella Point in Corsica – whether the change in name is a mistake or not is unknown.


Buildings or art dating from the Middle Ages (i.e. 1000AD to 1500AD). Architectural periods from this time include Romanesque and Gothic.

Middle Ages

Generally agreed to be the period from 1000AD to 1500AD (although some suggest that the Middle Ages should include the time from 600AD).


A man-made mound on which fortifications were built. The surrounding area could be better observed and the fortification became more difficult to attack.

Napoleonic Wars

A series of battles between 1800 and 1815, where Napoleon and France became the controlling force in mainland Europe. Napoleon's attempts to take over Britain however failed due to the actions of the powerful British navy. The Napoleonic Wars were concluded at the Battle of Waterloo when British, Russian, Prussian and Austrian troops defeated the French army.

Penny Black

The Worlds first postage stamp.

Perpendicular Architecture

This style of architecture made heavy use of strong vertical lines used in windows, wall panelling and roof vaulting. Running from the late fourteenth century to the early sixteenth century, fan vaulting and hammerbeam roofs are also key features, and flying buttresses were now adorned with knobs, pinnacles and crockets.

Prince Regent

Later becoming King George IV, it was by act of Parliament in 1811 that George became Regent (to rule when the King or Queen is too ill or absent) due to the insanity of his father (George III). Prince Regent was uncle to Queen Victoria.

Restoration of the Monarchy

After a period of parliamentary rule by Cromwell, the exiled King Charles II was returned to the throne in 1660.

Spanish Armada

A fleet of war galleons sent in 1588 by Philip II of Spain to capture the English thrown.


The sails on a windmill that provided the power to turn the grinding stones.

The Battle Of Hastings

The famous battle on 14th October 1066, where King Harold was defeated by the Norman leader, William the Conqueror (who became William I).

The Belgae Invaders

Originating from Gaul (now France with parts of Belgium, western Germany and northern Italy), they came to Britain in the first half of the first century BC.

The Bronze Age

The Bronze Age, 2500 to 700BC, saw material use change from pottery to metal.

The Cinque Ports

First associated between 1042 and 1066 during the reign of Edward the Confessor, five ports (Hastings and the Kent towns of New Romney, Hythe, Dover and Sandwich) were designated to provide men and ships during times of war, especially against the French. After the Norman invasion in 1066, Hastings became the key one of the five, as William the Conqueror had his headquarters here. In 1229, Seaford was added as a 'limb' to Hastings and in 1346 the ports of Rye and Winchelsea were also added. The Cinque Ports were granted extra rights, including the entitlement to have two members of parliament, the ability to levy taxes on goods imported or sold and to hold their own law courts.

The Domesday Book

William the Conqueror ordered a survey of the land soon after the Norman Conquest. This was completed in 1086 and was called the Domesday Book (also known as the Doomsday Book).

The Norman Conquest

The famous Battle of Hastings was the conquest of the Normans over King Harold II, who ruled for only nine months in 1066 prior to his death at the battle.

The Normans

Conquered England at the Battle of Hastings in 1066. Originally descended from Vikings who settled in Normandy, Northern France.

The Romans

The Romans invaded Britain in AD43, bringing with them peace and prosperity. They came for the iron that the Celts had previously exported to Europe and it is probable that some of the invading troops landed at Chichester. A number of large country houses (called villas) were built in the Sussex area and the iron industry prospered. The decline of the Roman’s in Sussex started towards the end of the fourth century and by the early fifth century the Anglo-Saxons had replaced them.

The Saxons

It was in 406AD that the Roman armies left Britain in order to defend other parts of their empire. A time of unrest followed with wars across the country. Saxon mercenaries were asked to help defend Britain and in about 450AD a number of ships carrying Saxon warriors arrived, with more following soon afterwards. By 458, a Saxon uprising had started and battles between Britons and Saxons continued for several years. After a heavy defeat in 465, the Saxons activity was at a low for a while. Then in 477, an army led by Saxon chieftain Aella landed in Sussex, taking Pevensey Castle soon afterwards; Saxon rule of the area followed.

Transitional Style

A term used to refer to the architectural styles between late Norman and Early English (1170 to 1200).


A traditional Sussex wooden basket used by gardeners or as items of decoration around the home.


Established by Henry Tudor (Henry VII) in 1485 (died 1509) and ending with Elizabeth I who ruled from 1558 and died in 1603. Other Tudor rulers were Henry VIII, who ruled from 1509 to 1547, Edward VI, who ruled 1547 to 1553, Jane I who ruled in 1553, and Mary I, who ruled from 1553 to 1558.

William Penn

William Penn was born in 1644 in England. He joined the Quakers after being sent to Ireland in 1666 and was soon at the receiving end of persecution for his beliefs. Having written a number of books relating to the Quaker religion, Penn was imprisoned several times. In 1681 he obtained the rights to a vast amount of land in America from Charles II, in return for cancelling the debt the King had with Penn’s father. It was to become Pennsylvania, named in memory of his father who had died several years earlier. Late in 1682, William Penn sailed for America.

William the Conqueror

It was Duke William of Normandy who came ashore at Hastings, defeating King Harold at the famous battle of 1066 to become King William I. He was known as William the Conqueror.