Waldron Middle Wood Moat

Has been described as a Possible Timber Castle (Ringwork)

There are earthwork remains

NameWaldron Middle Wood Moat
Alternative Names
Historic CountrySussex
Modern AuthorityEast Sussex
1974 AuthorityEast Sussex
Civil ParishHeathfield And Waldron

Regular circular homestead moat in Middle Wood (VCH).

A nearly circular water-filled homestead moat, 65.0m in overall diameter is situated in a low-lying part of Middle Wood. The ditch is 10.0m in width and up to 2.5m in depth and was supplied with water via a channel cut to it from the NE. There is an outer bank, except for a short stretch on the NW, 5.0m in width and up to 0.7m in height, and there are traces of an inner bank on the W and SE sides of the interior, which is up to 5.0m in width and 0.5m in height. There are no traces of the original access to the island, which is flat and level with the outside ground. Moat in good condition (Field Investigators Comments–First OS Archaeology Field Investigator 28/03/1972). (PastScape)

The example in Middle Wood is one of only two such monuments known in East Sussex. The oral tradition of stone buildings on the interior supports the view that the monument is of high archaeological potential. The presence of such a stronghold is also of considerable importance in the early Post- Conquest geography of this region, which has not hitherto been known as one of significance in the Norman period.

The monument includes a medieval ringwork formerly interpreted as a medieval moated site. It comprises a deep circular ditch with both inner and outer banks, the area within the ditch and an entrance on the NNE side. Ringworks are small strongholds built around the time of the Norman Conquest. The defensive nature of the site is evident from the steepness of the slopes and the depth of the ditch, which measures over 3m from crest to base. The ditch was not intended to be a water-filled moat, however, since no provisions for a water supply appear to have been made. The inner bank is some 6m wide and survives to a height of 1.5m in places. Within this bank is a flat area 30m across within which would have stood domestic buildings and perhaps a chapel (a feature noted in local oral tradition)

No remains of these buildings are visible today. The entrance ramp to the north of the ringwork is 8m wide and slopes gently downwards to the level of the bottom of the surrounding ditch. A bridge is likely to have crossed from the north end of the ramp onto the interior. (Scheduling Report)

Gatehouse Comments

A fine example of the difficulty of identifying earthworks, even well well preserved like this one. Now identified as a ringwork rather than a moated site although in practice this probably means just earlier in date rather than different in function. Like most small castles any military function was very limited. The site is about 500m from church and the prime manorial centre seems to be adjacent to the church so this probably a sub-manorial centre. The small number of paths to the site and the unaltered state of the site would suggest early abandonment as a residential site.

- 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 ReferenceTQ544192
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  • Salter, Mike, 2000, The Castles of Sussex (Malvern: Folly Publications) p. 69
  • King, D.J.C., 1983, Castellarium Anglicanum (London: Kraus) Vol. 2 p. 475 (possible)
  • Clinch, G., 1905, 'Ancient Earthworks' in Page, Wm (ed), VCH Sussex Vol. 1 p. 478 online copy


  • Ley, John, 1860, 'Waldron: its church, its mansion, and its manors' Sussex Archaeological Collections Vol. 13 p. 90 online copy