It has always been a mystery as to why Chapel Field exists next to the manor house at Wilting and the Normans are reported to have set up their chapels in the field overlooking the battlefield on the night of the battle, when William was also reported to be in his camp at the port of Hastings (Wace, Poitiers et all). No remains of any chapel have ever been recorded at the site yet the name infers it.
Chapel Field is now being part excavated by Oxford Archaeology and we can see the massive archaeological investment in that field of foundations to various structures which will be written into a report by Oxford Archaeology in the course of time and hopefully provide some logical explaination as to what these structures are. More recent images can be found using Google here.
Tony Peak kindly forwarded these observations to me after looking at the aerial suveys of the site quite early in the investigation and they appear in my view to have merit worthy of further investigation and so I have informed the County Archaeologist and asked him to forward these obesrvations to the archaeologists working on the site:
“To start with well done in your work concerning the Norman invasion of England, This is an extremely difficult subject as very little information is available. I feel you have to look again at the chapel field site especially the google earth pictures you have included on your web site. The reason being I believe that they have discovered is the missing church of Filsham manor (doomsday book chapter 9;14). Originally a Roman building, built on the site of early Roman foundary. look closely and the footprint of 2 horseshoe shaped furnaces are clearly visible. It is highly likely the Romans leveled the site while extracting the local sandstone for buildings in the area. If as i believe this is Filsham church then there would be a connection to Hastings as this church would predate st Mary in the castle by around 34 years and would be the only church in this area for the Normans to worship God (excluding Bexhill). As we both know the saxons were fond of building their Burhs close to ports, but an important aspect of a burh was a church with a bell tower. I hope this helps you with your work and please carry on, as i feel you might be on to something.”
Thank you Tony.
Example of early horseshoe furnace and locations connected to Wilting by network of known Roman tracks plus others: