Ancient Monuments

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Motte castle south of Lodsbridge Mill

A Scheduled Monument in Lodsworth, West Sussex

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Latitude: 50.9812 / 50°58'52"N

Longitude: -0.6713 / 0°40'16"W

OS Eastings: 493367.023755

OS Northings: 121037.598033

OS Grid: SU933210

Mapcode National: GBR FGH.K2B

Mapcode Global: FRA 96HJ.09T

Entry Name: Motte castle south of Lodsbridge Mill

Scheduled Date: 7 January 1964

Last Amended: 9 July 1991

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1012257

English Heritage Legacy ID: 12846

County: West Sussex

Civil Parish: Lodsworth

Traditional County: Sussex

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): West Sussex

Church of England Parish: Lodsworth St Peter

Church of England Diocese: Chichester


The monument south of Lodsbridge Mill includes the mound and encircling
ditch of a small motte castle dating from the 13th century which was
abandoned in the same century and subsequently reused in the late 17th/
early 18th century for the site of a windmill.
The motte takes the form of a truncated cone of sandy soil standing nearly
5m above the general ground level. At its base it measures some 40m in
diameter and it narrows to a diameter of 15m at the top. The ditch, present
except to the west of the motte where the natural slope to the river was
sufficient, has been completely infilled and is no longer visible on the
surface. Its former course around the eastern side of the motte is
nevertheless traceable in the curved fenceline and road on this side.
Excavation in 1964 confirmed that the surrounding ditch, some 18m across,
had provided the sand and gravel from which the motte was constructed. After
a short period of use, the motte was heightened by more than 1m and a
palisade of timber posts was erected around the motte top. Pottery found
during the excavation suggested that both of these phases of use were in the
13th century. The castle was abandoned before the end of the century.
Three hundred years of subsequent disuse ended with the erection of a
windmill around 1700, its presence being marked by the characteristic cross-
tree type of support, traces of which were exposed in the excavation. The
windmill appears not to have been used after 1750.
All of the buildings, fences and the metalling of the roads are excluded
from the scheduling although the ground beneath them is included.

The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

Motte castles are medieval fortifications introduced into Britain by the
Normans. They comprised a large conical mound of earth or rubble, the motte,
surmounted by a palisade and a stone or timber tower. In a majority of
examples an embanked enclosure containing additional buildings, the bailey,
adjoined the motte. Motte castles and motte-and-bai1ey castles acted as
garrison forts during offensive military operations, as strongholds, and, in
many cases, as aristocratic residences and as centres of local or royal
administration. Built in towns, villages and open countryside, motte castles
generally occupied strategic positions dominating their immediate locality
and, as a result, are the most visually impressive monuments of the early
post-Conquest period surviving in the modern landscape. Over 600 motte castles
and motte-and-bailey castles are recorded nationally, with examples known from
most regions. Some 100-150 examples do not have baileys and are classified as
motte castles. As one of a restricted range of recognised early post-Conquest
monuments, they are particularly important for the study of Norman Britain and
the development of the feudal system. Although many were occupied for only a
short period of time, motte castles continued to be built and occupied from
the 11th to the 13th centuries, after which they were superseded by other
types of castle.

Despite the limited damage caused to the castle near Lodsbridge Mill by its
reuse for a windmill, the construction of a road over part of the ditch and
by the partial excavation of the motte-top and ditch, much of the
monument retains intact and has significant archaeological potential.
In addition, the monument is well documented archaeologically and its later
history is also well understood.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Holden, E, 'Sussex Arch. Collections' in Excavation Of A Motte At Lodsbridge Mill, , Vol. 105, (1967), 103-23

Source: Historic England

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