Pulborough Park Mount

Has been described as a Certain Timber Castle (Motte)

There are earthwork remains

NamePulborough Park Mount
Alternative NamesPuleberg; Puleburge
Historic CountrySussex
Modern AuthorityWest Sussex
1974 AuthorityWest Sussex
Civil ParishPulborough

Park Mound, a typical motte and bailey castle of the immediately post-conquest type, is situated upon a natural sand ridge which slopes percipitously on the NW to the River Arun. The ridge was artifically heightened at its NE end to form the mound which is about 100 ft high and which is enclosed on the E, S and W by a dry ditch about 6 ft deep, with an outer bank to it. The mound has been cut into by quarrying on the W side, destroying part of the summit, but the level area must always have been small, about 100 ft in diameter, and could only have carried a small tower. To the W, upon the ridge, is a small bailey, defended on the NW by the natural slopes and enclosed to the S by a ditch cutting across the ridge top and continuing on the S side to join the ditch of the motte thus forming a kidney-shaped enclosure (Murray).

Park Mount. Mutilated mound with a bailey W of mound 250 x 200 ft. Fosse of enclosure on E, S and W sides, that on S continuous with that of mound. The N side is scarped away to the precipitous side of the hill. The mound is 60'-80' high, too covered with trees, bushes and bracken for careful examination. (Annotated Record Map–E W Holden 1960).

There is an original causewayed entrance in the SW side of the bailey close to the steep, natural slopes. A large sunken hollow occupying most of the internal area of the bailey, opens out through the slopes on the S side and may have been caused by natural erosion, the soil being soft sand, or by sand quarrying. The site is largely wooded and is in fairly good condition apart from minor mutilations and the quarrying mentioned above (Field Investigators Comments–F1 ASP 01-FEB-71). (PastScape)

The example in Pulborough Park survives well despite some disturbance of the motte through subsidence and quarrying

In contrast to many such castles, it did not develop after the Norman period of use, is therefore unaltered from its original form and hence provides one of the best examples of its type in the South East. The castle holds considerable archaeological potential for the recovery of evidence not only of its organisation and period of use but also of the land use prior to its construction through traces sealed beneath the motte.

The monument includes the mound, or motte, and adjoining courtyard or bailey, each with enclosing ditches, of a castle dating from the early Norman period. The castle occupies a naturally-defended and strategic position above the River Arun. The motte is circular in plan and measures some 75m across at its base. It stands to an impressive 25m in height. The flat top originally measured 30m in diameter, but it has been disturbed by subsidence and quarrying to leave a horseshoe-shaped area within which evidence of the wooden tower and enclosing palisade is considered likely to survive. The bailey extends westwards from the motte and is separated from it by a 20m-wide ditch surviving to a depth of 2-2.5m. This courtyard area measures some 65m east-west by 50m north-south and provided a protected area for domestic buildings as well as quarters and stables, workshops and storage space for the holder of the castle and his retinue. Access was gained via a causeway in the north-east corner of the bailey. The whole of the castle was enclosed within a defensive ditch, except on the north side where steep slopes made such additional defence unnecessary. This ditch is typically 12-20m wide and is now at most 2.5m deep having been partly infilled by eroded soil from the bank on its inner edge. At the south-west corner the ditch has been infilled to allow a track to cross. (Scheduling Report)

Gatehouse Comments

Suggested by Allcroft as playing a part in the siege of Arundel in 1102. Purton rejects this suggestion. This may be the site of the 'houses and buildings ... in the manor of Pulberg (which) were lately burned by accident' in 1251, belonging to Alard de Flemeng and described as being in his park and the place where his ancestors used formerly to dwell, for which Alard was given permission to rebuild, without crenellating.

- 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 ReferenceTQ037189
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  • Jones, R., 2003, 'Hastings to Herstmonceux: the castles of Sussex' in Rudling, D. (ed) The archaeology of Sussex to AD2000 (Great Dunham: Heritage Marketing and Publications) p. 171-8
  • Salter, Mike, 2000, The Castles of Sussex (Malvern: Folly Publications) p. 64
  • Guy, John, 1984, Castles in Sussex (Phillimore) p. 131-2
  • King, D.J.C., 1983, Castellarium Anglicanum (London: Kraus) Vol. 2 p. 473
  • Allcroft, A.H., 1930, Waters of the Arun (London)
  • Clinch, G., 1905, 'Ancient Earthworks' in Page, Wm (ed), VCH Sussex Vol. 1 p. 472-3 online copy


  • Woodburn, Bill and Guy, Neil, 2005-6, 'Park Mound, Pulborough' Castle Studies Group Journal Vol 19 p. 48
  • Purton, Peter, 1998, 'The siege castles at Arundel' Postern Vol. 8 p. 13-4
  • Murray, K.M.E., 1960, 'Park Mound Pulborough' Sussex notes and queries Vol. 15 p. 145-7
  • Blaauw, William Henry, 1861, ' Royal Licenses to Fortify Towns and Houses in Sussex' Sussex Archaeological Collections Vol. 13 p. 106 online copy

Primary Sources

  • Maxwell Lyte, H.C. (ed), 1908, Calendar of Patent Rolls Henry III (1247-58) Vol. 4 p. 134 online copy


  • Historic England, 2016, Heritage at Risk South East Register 2016 (London: Historic England) p. 87 online copy
  • Historic England, 2015, Heritage at Risk South East Register 2015 (London: Historic England) p. 91 online copy
  • English Heritage, 2014, Heritage at Risk Register 2014 South East (London: English Heritage) p. 96 online copy
  • English Heritage, 2013, Heritage at Risk Register 2013 South East (London: English Heritage) p. 89 online copy
  • English Heritage, 2012, Heritage at Risk Register 2012 South East (London: English Heritage) p. 92 online copy
  • English Heritage, 2011, Heritage at Risk Register 2011 South East (London: English Heritage) p. 88 online copy
  • English Heritage, 2010, Heritage at Risk Register 2010 South East (London: English Heritage) p. 83 online copy
  • English Heritage, 2009, Heritage at Risk Register 2009 South East (London: English Heritage) p. 85 online copy
  • Harris, R.B., Oct 2004, Pulborough Historic Character Assessment Report: Sussex Extensive Urban Survey Download copy