Burlough Castle

Has been described as a Questionable Timber Castle (Motte), and also as a Questionable Masonry Castle

There are earthwork remains

NameBurlough Castle
Alternative NamesBurghlow; Middleton; Milton; Burlow
Historic CountrySussex
Modern AuthorityEast Sussex
1974 AuthorityEast Sussex
Civil ParishArlington

A "fortified area"(Annotated Record Map E Curwen 1949) on which foundations of walls of indeterminate shape and form were visible pre-1824 (Horsfield 1824), but which had been excavated by 1835 and two large barns built of the materials (Horsfield 1835). Similar informations from Allcroft, who states that the area is "sown with coins" (Allcroft 1922).

Described by Clinch as Burghlow Castle (Class 'E' earthwork) a mount and bailey castle, the mount occupying the N part of the castle which has no outer rampart (Sussex Views 1951).

A view of the "Ruins of Burlow Castle" by S F Grimm (1770-80) is in the collection of Sir William Burrell at the British Museum (Sussex Views). (A copy in Sx Rec Soc Jubilee Volume " Sussex Views" shows only the plateau and no building ruins).

(Centred TQ530044) Dr Wards map of c 1618 is annotated "The ruins of the Castle of Burlow" (Ward's map is more of a sketch so position is only accurate to c 100-200.0m).

Shoosmith (1933) suggests it may have been a 12th c adulterine castle, but Evans (1933) indicates that there is no historical evidence and digging has produced absolutely no finds.

Musson, summarising the evidence, suggests that the name be removed from OS maps and C W Phillips agrees.

The name Burlow Castle (verified locally) refers to a natual hillock, bounded on the W by a steep river cliff, and elsewhere by slopes forming an excellent natural defence, though there is no trace of artificial defences or building foundations.

In 1972, the occupants of Milton House found IA/RB potsherds and Me worked flints on the site after ploughing, but no finds of post-Conquest period are known to have been made.

Field examination and local enquiries have failed to substantiate or deny the former existence of a "castle" (F1 NKB 31-AUG-72).

The East Sussex Archaeology Project field-walked the site under the supervision of Paul Smith, discovering 12th to 13th century pottery

An antiquarian print held at Barbican House Museum, Lewes, apparently shows the ruins of walls at the site.

Also from thee vicinity are a Mesolithic tranchet axe "BURLOW 1884" and Neolithic finds of an axe "BURLOW 1835", and a pick, "BURLOW 1882". (Holden) (PastScape)

Gatehouse Comments

Supposedly earthworks of motte and bailey, which sometime said to have some stonework at sometime. This site is rejected by King as entirely natural and the VCH description being of Arlington Rookery. Not now an obvious manorial centre but there is a Milton Court Farm 330m SW so possibly was a manorial centre. However Milton Court farm is much closer to Arlington Rookery. It does appear that there is considerable confusion between this site and the very nearby site of Arlington. The Burlough Castle site (as marked on OS map) is scheduled but that is an old scheduling record from before 1988 and may be overdue for reconsideration. Where descriptions are of this site and not Arlington Rookery Gatehouse (slightly mislocated) wonders if the 'castle' field name and some vaguely suggesting natural scarping have lead to soem fanciful reporting.

- Philip Davis

This site is a scheduled monument protected by law

Not Listed

Historic England (PastScape) Defra or Monument number(s)
County Historic Environment Record
OS Map Grid ReferenceTQ530041
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  • Guy, John, 1984, Castles in Sussex (Phillimore) p. 126
  • King, D.J.C., 1983, Castellarium Anglicanum (London: Kraus) Vol. 2 p. 475 (reject)
  • Godfrey, W.H., Salzman, L.F. (eds), 1951, Sussex Views selected from the Burrell Collection. Being the Jubilee volume of the Sussex record Society (Sussex rcord Society)
  • Allcroft, A.H., 1922, Downland Pathways (Methuen) p. 72-3
  • Clinch, G., 1905, 'Ancient Earthworks' in Page, Wm (ed), VCH Sussex Vol. 1 p. 475-6 (where description is actually that of Arlington) online copy
  • Horsfield, T.W., 1835, The History, Antiquities, and Topography of the County of Sussex Vol. 1 p. 320 online copy
  • Horsfield, T.W., 1824, The History and Antiquities of Lewes and Its Vicinity Vol. 2 p. 8 online copy


  • Dr Ward's Map of Cuckmere Valley, c 1618. (2-3" - 1 mile)


  • Burleigh, G.R., 1974, ' Medieval Earthworks at Arlington, Sussex' Sussex Archaeological Collections Vol. 112 p. 80-84
  • Holden, E.W., 1974, Sussex Archaeological Collections Vol. 112 p. 6
  • Renn, D.F., 1959, 'Mottes: a classification' Antiquity Vol. 33 p. 106-12
  • Musson, R., 1954-7, Sussex notes and queries p. 19-22
  • Evans, 1933, Sussex County Magazine Vol. 7 p. 685
  • Shoosmith, E., 1933, Sussex County Magazine Vol. 7 p. 615-6