Ancient Monuments

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Ringwork south of St Wilfred's Chapel

A Scheduled Monument in Selsey, West Sussex

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Latitude: 50.7544 / 50°45'15"N

Longitude: -0.7648 / 0°45'53"W

OS Eastings: 487224.403258

OS Northings: 95704.017136

OS Grid: SZ872957

Mapcode National: GBR DHR.RFC

Mapcode Global: FRA 9782.ZTN

Entry Name: Ringwork south of St Wilfred's Chapel

Scheduled Date: 15 March 1966

Last Amended: 21 June 1991

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1015982

English Heritage Legacy ID: 12887

County: West Sussex

Civil Parish: Selsey

Traditional County: Sussex

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): West Sussex

Church of England Parish: Selsey St Peter

Church of England Diocese: Chichester


The monument includes a semi-circular earthen bank and outer ditch and the
area within the earthworks in which the remains of stone buildings have been
located. This area forms the southern half of a Norman ringwork castle, the
northern half of which has been incorporated into the churchyard of St
Wilfred's chapel.
The outer ditch is the most easily visible feature. It defines a semi-circle
90m across and takes the form of a ditch some 12m wide and 1.8-2m deep which
is likely to have been water-filled for defence. On the inner edge is a bank
which has been disturbed on the SW side but which survives to some 2.5m in
height to the SE.
A narrow strip of the flat interior area was excavated in 1911, and the
foundations located then were explored further in 1965. They were shown to
be the remains of a strong stone tower 9.5m square, with a second building
6.5m by 5.5m to the east of the tower which was interpreted as a residence.
Other buildings are considered very likely to survive in the interior of the
castle. Finds from the excavation showed that the castle had been built soon
after the Norman invasion of 1066 and had been occupied for less than a
century. They also suggested that the castle had been built on a site which
had seen significant activity in the preceding Anglo-Saxon period.

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

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

Ringworks are medieval fortifications built and occupied from the late
Anglo-Saxon period to the later 12th century. They comprised a small defended
area containing buildings which was surrounded or partly surrounded by a
substantial ditch and a bank surmounted by a timber palisade or, rarely, a
stone wall. Occasionally a more lightly defended embanked enclosure, the
bailey, adjoined the ringwork. Ringworks acted as strongholds for military
operations and in some cases as defended aristocratic or manorial settlements.
They are rare nationally with only 200 recorded examples and less than 60
with baileys. As such, and as one of a limited number and very restricted
range of Anglo-Saxon and Norman fortifications, ringworks are of particular
significance to our understanding of the period.

The ringwork south of St Wilfred's chapel is well documented
archaeologically and still retains considerable archaeological potential
despite the limited disturbance caused by the partial excavation and by
burials in the churchyard. The significance of the ringwork is considerably
enhanced by the possibility of Anglo-Saxon occupation on the same site and
by its close association with St Wilfred's Chapel which predated the
construction of the ringwork and continued in use throughout its lifetime.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Aldsworth, F G, Garnett, E D, Excav. on The Mound at Church Norton, Selsey, in 1911 and 1965, (1981)

Source: Historic England

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