Pevensey is a small town in East Sussex in southern England on the English Channel, with a population of approximately 3,000. The modern settlement, now known as Pevensey Bay, is a seaside resort. The old village of Pevensey lies two miles to the northeast, on the eastern side of an old fortress now known as Pevensey Castle.

Pevensey was founded as a Roman fort built about A.D. 250 to defend the coast against incursions by the Franks and Alemanni. At that time, the fortress stood on a small island off the shore, which the Romans called "Anderida," but the sea has since retreated, leaving the site well inland.

When the Romans finally abandoned Britain for good in A.D. 408, the Saxons occupied the site, naming it "Pefe Ie," meaning "Pefe Island," from which the modern name "Pevensey" derives.

Historians believe that William the Conqueror landed at Pevensey when he invaded England in 1066. The old Roman fortress was later the site of a large Norman castle, and today ruins of both the Roman and Norman walls can still be found at the site. In the Early Modern Period, Pevensey was a member of the Cinque Ports.

Pevensey is also the last name of Peter, Susan, Edmund and Lucy, the four children who went through the wardrobe to the magical land of Narnia and ruled as Kings and Queens under Aslan from their castle of Cair Paravel.

C. S. Lewis' classic Narnia series is famously (notoriously?) laden with Christian symbolism. Upon recently re-reading it, however, I was most struck by how much there is in the books of the Edwardian, antediluvian "Real England" ideology. Places that are good in the books have rolling hills and green lawns; places that are bad are barren deserts or craggy mountain ranges. Memorable meals and feasts always contain traditionally English dishes such as treacle tarts, fried eggs and bacon or boiled potatoes; bad or evil places ore often flagged by the strangeness of their food. Moreover, everyone who is anyone - of the Good Guys, of course - drinks copious amounts of tea, even while on the run from the White Witch.

This myth of "Decent Old England of the Shires" is not a new or unique concept, and in fact has made many appearances in children's literature, perhaps most famously in the works of Lewis' contemporary Tolkien and the more recent and widely popular Rowling. In all these cases the essential Englishness denotes a tranquil, safe and comforting environment of "Good" which the antagonist or "Evil" attempts to disrupt or destroy. As such I do not believe it to be accidental or insignificant among the other overarching themes in the series, and am inclined to believe that Lewis knew exactly what he was doing when he named his heroes after a historically significant English town.

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