Normans Bay lies on a dead end road off the A27 between Eastbourne and Bexhill. It is signposted off the roundabout just north of Eastbourne where the A27 meets the A259. The place takes its name from the fact that it was here that William the Conqueror first landed when he invaded England in 1066.
As the ships were driven up on to the beach, William was the first man to leap ashore. Unfortunately for him he missed his footing in the surf and fell flat on his face. The massed ranks of his army gasped in alarm - surely this was a bad omen right at the start of the hazardous task of invading England. William was, however, equal to the moment. He sprang to his feet and held up a handful of sand that he had grasped as he fell.
“See”, he called out to his men, “by the splendour of God, I have taken hold of my kingdom, the very earth of England is in my hands.” A knight, his name is not recorded, followed William and ran up the beach to grab some thatch from an abandoned fishing hut.
“Take this,” he said, “as symbol that you won not only the earth of England, but also everything that stands on it.” William accepted.
from PUB AND TEASHOP DRIVES IN SUSSEX by Rupert Matthews.
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