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BRAMBER CASTLE

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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.

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