Arundel Castle

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

There are major building remains

NameArundel Castle
Alternative NamesHarundel; Arundelle
Historic CountrySussex
Modern AuthorityWest Sussex
1974 AuthorityWest Sussex
Civil ParishArundel

Motte and two baileys dating from 1068. Besieged for 3 months in 1102. Shell keep of Caen stone dates from circa 1138. Also remains a gatehouse and a C13 barbican and curtain wall. The castle was subjected to a 'unfeeling' rebuild in 1791-1815, which replaced sections destroyed in the civil war and altered many of the surviving buildings. Lower part of gatehouse possibly late C11, built for Roger de Montgomery, who was granted Arundel by William the Conqueror. Middle stage of gatehouse, keep, and cellars under south-east range appear (stylistically) to date from late C12; possibly from tenure of Earl William de Albini. Barbican, upper stage of gatehouse, north-west buttress, and well tower to keep, appear (stylistically) to date from late C13, possibly from time of Richard, 1st Earl of Arundel, who received the grant of a fair to help repair the castle. Curtain and towers round north end also mediaeval, but of uncertain date, and restored in late C19. (Listing report)

Arundel Castle survives well despite the slighting and rebuilding of some of the castle buildings after the Civil War. It is of an unusual twin bailey plan, illustrating the wide range of possible forms of this class of monument. The castle is well documented historically and the long history of its use and adaptation is well illustrated by a wide range of surviving features such as the Norman gatehouse and keep, the curtain wall, outer bailey and Civil War defences. These features also considerably enhance the castle's significance because they provide important information on a number of key stages in the history of defensive fortification.

The monument includes a motte and bailey castle at its centre, the outer bailey area to the north-east, the square earthwork known as the bowling green and the fishponds on the eastern side of the castle grounds

The buildings around the quadrangle are not included in the scheduling, having been extensively altered in the 19th and early 20th century and currently listed Grade I. The ground beneath them, however, is included. All other modern structures such as the building at St Mary's Gate, the pavilion and the surfaces of all roads and paths are similarly excluded, the ground beneath is however included. The reservoir to the north is excluded from the scheduling. The first castle comprised a central mound, or motte, some 75m across at its base and 20m high, and two courtyards, or baileys, one on each side of the motte. The shell keep on top of the motte, which measures 20m by 18m across and has walls 9m high, is a 12th century replacement of the first timber keep erected by Roger de Montgomery before 1070. To the north-east of the original castle is a nearly-square outer bailey some 350m across, originally with strong earthworks on all sides except the NE where steep slopes provided sufficient defence. On the northern side the bank and ditch together measure 35m across. The lower levels of a stone gatehouse survive at the gap in this northern earthwork. A slighter bank and infilled ditch extends westwards between Park Gates and the London Road for additional defence. This and the 35m square 'bowling green' are likely to have been used to strengthen the castle during the Civil War. The three fishponds to the E, up to 63m long and 15m wide, provided fish for the table during the early use of the castle. (Scheduling Report)

"Arundel Castle is a great disappointment". A late 11th century castle with subsequent additions and modifications including "silly spirited Gothic additions of 1791-1815" and "an almost complete rebuilding in an unfeeling Windsor Castle style which neither amuses nor convinces". (PastScape–ref. Pevesner)

Gatehouse Comments

Remains a large and important noble house with a large park to the north. The standing medieval remains are important and the shell keep is a fine example of the type. Visitors should not feel compelled to follow Pevesner's opinion of the castle.

- Philip Davis

This site is a scheduled monument protected by law

This is a Grade 1 listed building protected by law

Historic England Scheduled Monument Number
Historic England Listed Building number(s)
Images Of England
Historic England (PastScape) Defra or Monument number(s)
County Historic Environment Record
OS Map Grid ReferenceTQ018073
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Photograph by Andrew Herrett. All rights reserved
Photograph by Andrew Herrett. All rights reserved
Photograph by Andrew Herrett. All rights reserved
Photograph by Andrew Herrett. All rights reserved
Photograph by Andrew Herrett. All rights reserved
Photograph by Andrew Herrett. All rights reserved

Most of the sites or buildings recorded in this web site are NOT open to the public and permission to visit a site must always be sought from the landowner or tenant.

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  • Tierney, M.A., 1834, The History and Antiquities of the Castle and Town of Arundel (London: G. and W. Nichol) Vol. 1 p. 30-100 online copy
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  • Grose, Francis, 1787, Antiquities of England and Wales (London) Vol. 5 p. 119-22 online copy
  • Buck, Samuel and Nathaniel, 1774, Buck's Antiquities (London) Vol. 2 p. 286
  • Caraccioli, C., 1766, The Antiquities of Arundel online copy



  • Neil Guy, 2015-16, 'The Portcullis - design and development' Castle Studies Group Journal Vol. 29 p. 132-201
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  • Woodburn, Bill and Guy, Neil, 2005-6, 'Arundel Castle' Castle Studies Group Journal Vol 19 p. 9-24 online copy
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  • Harfield, C.G., 1991, 'A Hand-list of Castles Recorded in the Domesday Book' English Historical Review Vol. 106 p. 371-392 view online copy (subscription required)
  • Thompson, M.W., 1986, 'Associated monasteries and castles in the Middle Ages: a tentative list' The Archaeological Journal Vol. 143 p. 308, 318
  • Steer, F., 1978, 'Arundel Castle and its owners' Connoisseur Vol. 197 p. 155-61
  • King, D.J.Cathcart, 1972, 'The Field Archaeology of mottes; Eine kurze übersicht' Château Gaillard Vol. 5 p. 101-112
  • Renn, D.F., 1964, 'The first Norman Castles in England 1051-1071' Château Gaillard Vol. 1 p. 125-132
  • Brown, R. Allen, 1959, 'A List of Castles, 1154–1216' English Historical Review Vol. 74 p. 249-280 (Reprinted in Brown, R. Allen, 1989, Castles, conquest and charters: collected papers (Woodbridge: Boydell Press) p. 90-121) view online copy (subscription required)
  • Brown, R. Allen, 1955, 'Royal Castle-building in England 1154-1216' English Historical Review Vol. 70 (Reprinted in Brown, R. Allen, 1989, Castles, conquest and charters: collected papers (Woodbridge: Boydell Press)) p. 19-64
  • 1936, The Archaeological Journal Vol. 92 p. 402-3 (slight) online copy
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  • Johnson, P.M., 1914 Dec, Country Life Vol. 36 p. 746-54, 782-90, 814-22 (reprinted in Tipping)
  • Armitage, E., 1904 April, 'The Early Norman Castles of England' English Historical Review Vol. 19 p. 209-245, 417-455 esp. 212-4 online copy
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  • Clark, G.T., 1889, 'Contribution towards a complete list of moated mounds or burhs' The Archaeological Journal Vol. 46 p. 197-217 esp. 212 online copy
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Guide Books

  • Robinson, J.M., 1994, Arundel Castle: a short history and guide (Chichester: Phillimore)

Primary Sources

  • 1086, Domesday Book online copy
  • Chibnall, Majorie (ed), 1978, Orderic Vitalis, Historia Ecclesiastica book XI (Oxford: Clarendon Press) Vol. 6 p. 20 (1102 siege) online copy
  • Ingram, James, (ed) 1912, The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle (Everyman Press, London) (1102 siege) view online transcription (Ingram's translation and notes date from 1823. More recent translations of the Anglo-Saxon Chronicles should be consulted for serious study)
  • Sewell, R.C. (ed), 1846, Gesta Stephani Regis Anglorum et Ducis Normannorum p. 56-7 (1138 siege) online copy (The newer edition and translation by Potter, K.R. (ed), 1976 (2edn), Gesta Stephani (Oxford University Press) should be consulted for serious study. See also Speight, S., 2000, 'Castle Warfare in the Gesta Stephani' , Château Gaillard Vol. 19 [see online transcription >])
  • Pipe Rolls 1129-30, 1176-88 (see Pipe Roll Society for published references)
  • Stubbs, W. (ed), 1880, The Minor Works comprising the Gesta regum with its continuation, the Actus pontificum, and the Mappa mundi, by Gervase, the Monk of Canterbury (London: Longman Rolls Series 73) Vol. 2 p. 419 online copy
  • Rickard, John, 2002, The Castle Community. The Personnel of English and Welsh Castles, 1272-1422 (Boydell Press) (lists sources for 1272-1422) p. 446-7
  • Martin, M.T. (ed), 1911 for 1909, The Percy Chartulary (Surtees Society 117) passim online copy


  • Harris, R.B., March 2009, Arundel Historic Character Assessment Report: Sussex Extensive Urban Survey Download copy