From the 6th century AD until 771, the people of the area around modern-day Hastings, identified the territory as that of the Haestingas tribe and a kingdom separate from the surrounding kingdoms of Suth Saxe ("South Saxons", i.e. It worked to retain its separate cultural identity until the 11th century.The kingdom was probably a sub-kingdom, the object of a disputed overlordship by the two powerful neighbouring kingdoms: when King Wihtred of Kent settled a dispute with King Ine of Sussex & Wessex in 694, it is probable that he seceded the overlordship of Haestingas to Ine as part of the treaty.The Sussex coast has always suffered from occasional violent storms; with the additional hazard of longshore drift (the eastward movement of shingle along the coast), the coastline has been frequently changing.The original Roman port could well now be under the sea.William caused a castle to be built at Hastings probably using the earthworks of the existing Saxon castle.Hastings was shown as a borough by the time of the Domesday Book (1086); it had also given its name to the Rape of Hastings, one of the six administrative divisions of Sussex.The start of the Norman Conquest was the Battle of Hastings, fought on 14 October 1066, although the battle itself took place 8 mi (13 km) to the north at Senlac Hill, and William had landed on the coast between Hastings and Eastbourne at Pevensey.
The settlement was already based on the port when the Romans arrived in Britain for the first time in 55 BC.
The first mention of Hastings is found in the late 8th century in the form Hastingas.
This is derived from the Old English tribal name Hæstingas, meaning `the constituency/followers of Hæsta'.
Symeon of Durham records the victory of Offa in 771 over the Hestingorum gens, that is, "the people of the Hastings tribe.", Hastingleigh in Kent was named after that tribe.
The place name Hæstingaceaster is found in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle entry for 1050, and may be an alternative name for Hastings.
Muslim scholar Muhammad al-Idrisi, writing c.1153, described Hastings as "a town of large extent and many inhabitants, flourishing and handsome, having markets, workpeople and rich merchants".