Bramber Castle

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

There are masonry ruins/remnants remains

NameBramber Castle
Alternative NamesBrenbre; Brembre; Brambre
Historic CountrySussex
Modern AuthorityWest Sussex
1974 AuthorityWest Sussex
Civil ParishBramber

The remains of earthworks and standing ruins of Bramber castle which was occupied almost continuously from circa 1075 to about 1450 by the descendants of the founder, William de Braose. Excavations carried out in 1966-7 indicate how the castle evolved from a 'motte and bailey' type fortification, founded circa 1075, to an 'enclosure' type in the 12th century, with a stone keep, gatehouse and curtain wall. Subsequent alterations and rebuilding were carried out in the 14th century, however large scale subsidence saw the ruin of the castle during the 16th century.

The castle was established as a defensive and administrative centre for the newly established Rape of Bramber (administrative area). The motte was raised nine metres above the level of the mound using marl quarried from an encircling ditch 15-17 metres wide and up to four metres deep. The whole mound, 170 metres north-south by 85 metres east-west, was enclosed within a wall or palisade, and a stone gatehouse guarded the only entrance on the south side. The motte was abandoned in the 12th century and a stone tower keep of three storeys was built over the gatehouse, and the motte ditch was backfilled. An outer ditch, in places 25 metres deep, below the hill top was dug around the hill and on its outer edge a bank was constructed to further strengthen the defences. Around the mound the wall was renewed or replaced in stone and still survives to a height of some three metres on the west side.

The motte and fragments of standing stonework, possibly that of the keep, were mapped from aerial photographs as part of the English Heritage South Downs National Mapping Programme. All that remains of the castle now is the mound on which the castle stood and fragments of masonry of the surrounding wall. (PastScape)

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 ReferenceTQ185107
Latitude50.8838500976563
Longitude-0.316150009632111
Eastings518550
Northings110700
HyperLink HyperLink HyperLink
Copyright Simon Carey and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons license.

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Books

  • Goodall, John, 2011, The English Castle 1066-1650 (Yale University Press) passim
  • Elliot, Julia (ed), 2005, Heritage Unlocked; Guide to free sites in London and the South East (London: English Heritage) p. 60-1
  • Brown, Philip, 2003, Two Norman Castles: Bramber and Hastings (Icon Press)
  • 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. 28-31
  • Pettifer, A., 1995, English Castles, A guide by counties (Woodbridge: Boydell Press) p. 247
  • Brown, R.Allen, 1989, Castles from the Air (Cambridge University Press) p. 57-8
  • Guy, John, 1984, Castles in Sussex (Phillimore) p. 40-3
  • King, D.J.C., 1983, Castellarium Anglicanum (London: Kraus) Vol. 2 p. 470
  • Fry, P.S., 1980, Castles of the British Isles (David and Charles) p. 193-4
  • Hudson T.P. (ed), 1980, 'Castle' in VCH Sussex Bramber Rape (southern part), (Oxford: OUP for the Institute of Historical Research) Vol. 6 Part 1 p. 204–6
  • Drewett P.L. (ed), 1978, Archaeology in Sussex to AD 1500 (CBA Research Report 29) p. 71, 77, 89-90 online copy
  • Renn, D.F., 1973 (2 edn.), Norman Castles of Britain (London: John Baker) p. 115
  • Colvin, H.M., Brown, R.Allen and Taylor, A.J., 1963, The history of the King's Works Vol. 2: the Middle Ages (London: HMSO) p. 575
  • Armitage, Ella, 1912, The Early Norman Castles of the British Isles (London: John Murray) p. 109-110 online copy
  • Harvey, Alfred, 1911, Castles and Walled Towns of England (London: Methuen and Co)
  • Allcroft, A. Hadrian, 1908, Earthwork of England (London) p. 432-3 online copy
  • Clinch, G., 1905, 'Ancient Earthworks' in Page, Wm (ed), VCH Sussex Vol. 1 p. 474-5 online copy
  • Mackenzie, J.D., 1896, Castles of England; their story and structure (New York: Macmillan) Vol. 1 p. 66-8 online copy
  • Clark, G.T., 1884, Mediaeval Military Architecture in England (Wyman and Sons) Vol. 1 p. 264-73 online copy
  • Erredge, H., 1882, The History of Bramber Castle (Brighton)
  • Elwes, Dudley George Cary, 1876, A history of the Castles, Mansions, and Manors of Western Sussex (London: Longmans) p. 45-9 online copy
  • Timbs, J. and Gunn, A., 1872, Abbeys, Castles and Ancient Halls of England and Wales Vol. 1 (London) p. 363-4 online copy
  • Dallaway, James, 1832 (2edn), A History of the Western Division of the County of Sussex Vol. 2 Part 2 p. 172-3
  • Grose, Francis, 1785 (new edn orig 1756), Antiquities of England and Wales (London) Vol. 5 p. 137-40 online copy

Antiquarian

Journals

  • Woodburn, Bill and Guy, Neil, 2005-6, 'Sedgewick Castle' Castle Studies Group Journal Vol 19 p. 79-82
  • 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)
  • Youngs, S.M. et al, 1988 'Medieval Britain and Ireland in 1987' Medieval Archaeology Vol. 32 p. 278 download copy
  • Holden, E.W., 1985, 'Bramber Castle' The Archaeological Journal Vol. 142 p. 27
  • Barton, K.J. and Holden, E.W., 1978, 'Excavations at Bramber Castle, Sussex, 1966-7' The Archaeological Journal Vol. 134 p. 11-79
  • Barton, K.J. and Holden, E.W., 1977, 'Five castle excavations: reports on the Institute's research project into the origins of the castle in England. Excavations at Bramber Castle, Sussex, 1966-67' The Archaeological Journal Vol. 134 p. 11-79
  • 1968, Medieval Archaeology Vol. 12 p. 178 online copy
  • (Barton and Holden), 1967, Medieval Archaeology Vol. 11 p. 285-6 online copy
  • Selkirk, 1967 Nov, Current Archaeology Vol. 5 p. 131-2
  • Barton and Holden, 1966, Sussex notes and queries Vol. 16 p. 256-8
  • 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)
  • Duke, Frank and Curwen, E Cecil, 1927, 'Recent Finds at Bramber Castle.' Sussex Archaeological Collections Vol. 68 p. 241-244
  • Armitage, E., 1904 April, 'The Early Norman Castles of England' English Historical Review Vol. 19 p. 209-245, 417-455 esp. 216-7 online copy
  • 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
  • Clark, G.T., 1876, The Builder Vol. 34 p. 555-7 (reprinted in MMA)
  • Bloxham, M.W., 1864, 'Notes on Places visited at the Annual Meeting, 14th August 1863, The Churches.' Sussex Archaeological Collections Vol. 16 p. 233-246
  • Grantham, Rev D., 1852, 'Historic Notices of Bramber Castle and of the Family of De Braose' Sussex Archaeological Collections Vol. 5 p. 147-154 (history only)

Primary Sources

  • 1086, Domesday Book online copy
  • Round, J.H. (ed), 1899, Calendar of Document preserved in France (HMSO) Vol. 1 p. 396 no. 1112; p. 405 no. 1130 online copy
  • Pipe Rolls 1208-15 (see Pipe Roll Society for published references)
  • Hardy, T.D. (ed), 1833, Rotuli litterarum clausarum in turri Londinensi asservati (Record Commission) Vol. 1 p.142
  • 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. 448-9

Other

  • Shapland, Michael, 2012, Buildings of Secular and Religious Lordship: Anglo-Saxon Tower-nave Churches (PhD Thesis University College London) esp. chapter 7
  • Harris, R.B., August 2004, Bramber Historic Character Assessment Report: Sussex Extensive Urban Survey Download copy