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Motte and bailey castle in Pulborough Park

A Scheduled Monument in Pulborough, West Sussex

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Coordinates

Latitude: 50.9603 / 50°57'37"N

Longitude: -0.5247 / 0°31'29"W

OS Eastings: 503703.363568

OS Northings: 118915.277658

OS Grid: TQ037189

Mapcode National: GBR GJ7.L67

Mapcode Global: FRA 96SK.WYX

Entry Name: Motte and bailey castle in Pulborough Park

Scheduled Date: 4 January 1962

Last Amended: 19 July 1991

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1017547

English Heritage Legacy ID: 12864

County: West Sussex

Civil Parish: Pulborough

Traditional County: Sussex

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): West Sussex

Church of England Parish: Pulborough St Mary

Church of England Diocese: Chichester

Details

The monument includes the mound, or motte, and adjoining courtyard or
bailey, each with enclosing ditches, of a castle dating from the early
Norman period. The castle occupies a naturally-defended and strategic
position above the River Arun.
The motte is circular in plan and measures some 75m across at its base. It
stands to an impressive 25m in height. The flat top originally measured 30m
in diameter, but it has been disturbed by subsidence and quarrying to leave
a horseshoe-shaped area within which evidence of the wooden tower and
enclosing palisade is considered likely to survive.
The bailey extends westwards from the motte and is separated from it by a
20m-wide ditch surviving to a depth of 2-2.5m. This courtyard area measures
some 65m east-west by 50m north-south and provided a protected area for
domestic buidings as well as quarters and stables, workshops and storage
space for the holder of the castle and his retinue. Access was gained via a
causeway in the north-east corner of the bailey.
The whole of the castle was enclosed within a defensive ditch, except on the
north side where steep slopes made such additional defence unnecessary. This
ditch is typically 12-20m wide and is now at most 2.5m deep having been
partly infilled by eroded soil from the bank on its inner edge. At the
south-west corner the ditch has been infilled to allow a track to cross.

MAP EXTRACT
The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.
It includes a 5 metre boundary around the archaeological features,
considered to be essential for the monument's support and preservation.

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-bailey castles acted as
garrison forts during offensive military operations, as strongholds, and, in
many cases, as aristocratic residences and the centre 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 or motte-and-bailey castles are recorded nationally, with examples
known from most regions. As such, and 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.

The example in Pulborough Park survives well despite some disturbance of the
motte through subsidence and quarrying. In contrast to many such castles, it
did not develop after the Norman period of use, is therefore unaltered from
its original form and hence provides one of the best examples of its type in
the South East. The castle holds considerable archaeological potential for
the recovery of evidence not only of its organisation and period of use but
also of the land use prior to its construction through traces sealed beneath
the motte.

Source: Historic England

Sources

Other
Leach, P.E., MPP Single Monument Class Descriptions - Motte & Bailey Castles, (1988)
Motte & bailey castle Pulborough Park, County monument no 2310,

Source: Historic England

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