Ancient Monuments

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'The Rookery' medieval hythe and associated earthworks at Milton Court

A Scheduled Monument in Long Man, East Sussex

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Latitude: 50.8148 / 50°48'53"N

Longitude: 0.167 / 0°10'1"E

OS Eastings: 552754.817504

OS Northings: 103932.316869

OS Grid: TQ527039

Mapcode National: GBR MTJ.T6S

Mapcode Global: FRA C67Y.8WP

Entry Name: 'The Rookery' medieval hythe and associated earthworks at Milton Court

Scheduled Date: 17 January 1966

Last Amended: 22 May 1991

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1015979

English Heritage Legacy ID: 12782

County: East Sussex

Civil Parish: Long Man

Traditional County: Sussex

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): East Sussex

Church of England Parish: Wilmington St Mary and St Peter

Church of England Diocese: Chichester


The monument includes a medieval hythe, or small landing place, associated
earthworks including salt pans and "The Rookery" -- a natural outcrop of chalk
which has resisted erosion and has been left upstanding -- which has been
interpreted in the past as an unusual motte-and-bailey castle.
The basin which formed the focus of the hythe measures 100m by 30m. It was
supplied by a leat (now partially infilled) at the eastern end and was
protected from floodwaters by a long earthen bank up to 1m high on this side.
In the interior is a pair of flat-topped islands each some 32m by 12m in size
which provided wharfage. The basin was drained through a leat at its north-
western end.
A causeway 7m wide separates the basin from a group of shallow ponds or salt
pans on its western side. These 3 ponds together measure some 60m in length
and 30m in width, and connect through leats with the old river channel. To
the south of the ponds is a building platform 40m by 15m on which a storage
building is considered likely to have stood. Nearby is a trackway which
joined the hythe with the former manorial buildings of Milton Court.
Limited excavation in 1952, both on "The Rookery" itself and in the area of
the hythe, failed to reveal the date of the monument, but it is considered
likely to date from the late medieval period, around 1300-1550, when trade
goods from France would have formed an important component of the hythe's
traffic as well as goods from other areas of England. The monument should be
seen in conjunction with the former manorial complex of Milton Court. The
fencing around the site is excluded from the scheduling.

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

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

The hythe and associated earthworks are a rare survival of a once more common
riverside phenomenon. In the late medieval period, prior to the development
of roads, rivers formed the main means of transport and of long distance
trade. Ships needed wharfage to load and unload cargoes without damaging their
keels, and a basin cut alongside the former course of the river at the
landward limit of tidal influence was one way of providing shelter and a
steady water level, while at the same time minimising the overland transport
distances for traded goods.
The survival of this example of a riverside port presents an opportunity to
understand the organisation of such a monument and the means by which water-
flow was managed. That the earthworks around the hythe have also survived
adds to the diversity and potential of the monument. Evidence of the date-
span of the monument and of the nature of the trade which passed through the
hythe is considered likely to survive amongst the earthworks, along with the
remains of warehousing and other structures. Finally, the presence of three
salt pans adds a further dimension to this already complex group of earthworks
by illustrating some of the economic diversity of the region during the late
medieval period.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Musson, R, 'Sussex Notes and Queries' in Sussex Notes and Queries, (1954)
TQ 50 SW 22,

Source: Historic England

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