Ringmer; The Mount

Has been described as a Certain Timber Castle (Motte)

There are earthwork remains

NameRingmer; The Mount
Alternative NamesClay Hill
Historic CountrySussex
Modern AuthorityEast Sussex
1974 AuthorityEast Sussex
Civil ParishRingmer

The mutilated remains of a motte, overgrown with trees and scrub, and situated on a gentle N-facing slope. It measures c 40.0m in diameter and c 3.0m high above outside ground level, surrounded by a ditch, 7.0m across and about 1.5m deep, save on the N side where it is ploughed out. The ditch has been re-cut recently for drainage purposes. The summit is pock-marked by excavation trenches, wartime digging etc, giving the false impression of a bank around the S arc, and leading to the erroneous classification as a ringwork by King and Alcock. The alleged E entrance is probably a result of mutilations. Only about 9.0 m of the bank to the S of the motte remains, the rest having been ploughed out, so it cannot be determined whether this was a bailey. The farmer has not noticed unusual soil marks or crop growth, and no finds are known to have been made. (PastScape ref.–Field Investigators Comments–F1 NKB 10-JUL-72)

Despite the disturbance caused by excavation and wartime digging, the monument survives well and retains considerable archaeological potential. It is one of only a dozen known examples in the South-East.

The earthwork east of Clay Hill is a ringwork dating to the late Anglo- Saxon/early Norman period. The monument includes a ditch of varying depth and up to 7m across, the earth from which was used to create a mound some 2.5m high and 40m in diameter. The top of the mound was strengthened further by a 1.5m high bank around its edge, and in all likelihood by a wooden palisade. The small area within the bank provided the site for buildings and perhaps a watchtower. Access was gained through an entrance on the eastern side, represented by a 7m gap in the bank, beyond which the remains of a wooden bridge can be expected to survive. Small-scale excavations at the site in 1922 recovered Norman or early medieval pottery

A plan completed at the same time shows that the bank on the top of the mound was formerly continuous apart from at the entrance. It also demonstrates the existence of the ditch around the northern side of the mound. Wartime emplacements and more recent ploughing have partially obscured these features. (Scheduling Report)

Gatehouse Comments

The site was excavated by Dr R. Jones for the Sussex Archaeological Society around 2000. The excavation reports were, for a while, published online but seem now to have been removed. They may be available from 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 ReferenceTQ449143
HyperLink HyperLink HyperLink

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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
  • Cooper, Nicholas, 1999, Houses of the Gentry, 1480-1680 (Yale University Press) p. 196
  • Guy, John, 1984, Castles in Sussex (Phillimore) p. 136
  • King, D.J.C., 1983, Castellarium Anglicanum (London: Kraus) Vol. 2 p. 474


  • King, D.J.C. and Alcock, L., 1969, 'Ringworks in England and Wales' Château Gaillard Vol. 3 p. 90-127
  • Toms, Herbert S, 1922, 'Mounts at Lewes and Ringmer' Sussex Archaeological Collections Vol. 63 p. 223-226


  • Millum, D.H., 2012, Mapping the Archaeology of Ringmer Parish to AD 1349 p. 78-9 online copy