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Guillaume was recognised by his family as the heir to his father after his death in 1035. Illegitimacy was barred for succession so this was an exception to the rule as Guillaume's mother was the mistress of his father. Guillaume was not of age at the time of his father's death.

The Great Uncle of Guillaume looked after the Duchy until he was older. King Henry I was his overlord and he knighted Guillaume when he was 15.

Rebellion within Normandy was quickly and successfully dealt with by Guillaume. He had a reputation as a very experienced and ruthless military commander, ruler and administrator. He unified Normandy and commanded fear and respect even outside his duchy.

Edward the Confessor, King of England had promised Duke Guillaume the throne when he died. King Edward was a distant cousin of his. Harold II had sworn in 1064 to uphold Guillaume's right to succeed King Edward to the throne.

However, upon King Edward's death, Harold had himself declared King of England and therefore became the 'usurper'.

The Duke had received papal approval and Emperor Henry IV gave him his support to invade England and Conquer it and take back the throne. He took seven months to prepare his invasion force, using some 600 transport ships to carry about 7,000 men which included 2,000 to 3,000 cavalry, across the Channel to Pevensey.

They landed at Pevensey on 28 Sep 1066 unapposed and raised fortifications at Hastings.

(You can read more about this story in the Battle of Hastings)


Pevensey is in the southeastern part of England located in Sussex County. This Roman fort was thought to be built about 290 A.D. At that time it was known as 'Anderida'. Later the Castle was known as 'Pevensy.' Two-thirds of its original walls and towers are still standing.

The Normans erected a wooden building inside these Roman walls after Guillaume Peuerel - The Conqueror landed his army at Pevensy. The walls encompass an area of 10 acres.

The castle was raided by Earl Harold Godwin II in 1042 and 1049. The Castle was occupied by Harol's army during the Spring and Summer of 1066 as they were expecting William the Conqueror and his army to attack.

The Conqueror landed at Pevensy on 28 Sep 1066 unapposed and built fortifcations at the Castle. Harold's army had gone north to fight off the attack of the Norwegion Viking army at the Battle of Stamford Bridge in Yorkshire.

Guillaume gave Robert - County of Mortain, his half-brother, Pevensey for helping in the Battle of Hastings. Pevensey to his half-brother, Robert, Count of Mortain.

The castle was passed down through a succession of owners until the Duke of Devonshire acquired ownership of it. He gave it to the State in 1925.