Having thus suggested by example the impolicy of resistance, a march of fifteen miles between the Kentish downs and the sea brought William to the greatest port and strongest fortress in south England, the harbour and castle of Dover. The foundation of the castle had probably been the work of Harold while earl of Wessex, and, standing on the very edge of the famous cliffs overhanging the sea, the fortress occupied a site which to Englishmen seemed impregnable, and which was regarded as very formidable by the Norman witnesses of this campaign. The castle was packed with fugitives from the surrounding country, but its garrison did not wait for a formal demand for its surrender. Very probably impressed by what had happened on the previous day at Romney, they met William half way with the keys of the castle, and the surrender was duly completed when the army arrived at Dover. --Stenton

Return to Main Index