Burlough Castle


Heritage Category:
Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:


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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

East Sussex
Wealden (District Authority)
Long Man
National Park:
National Grid Reference:
TQ 53027 04200


A motte and bailey castle known as Burlough Castle, 150m NNW of Burlow Cottages.

Reasons for Designation

Motte and bailey 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 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. 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of time, motte castles continued to be built and occupied from the 11th to the 13th centuries, after which they were superseded by other types of castle.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 some disturbance in the past, the motte and bailey castle known as Burlough Castle survives well. The earthworks of the castle form a prominent feature in the landscape. The site will contain archaeological evidence and environmental information relating to the construction, use and history of the castle and the landscape in which it was constructed.


See Details.


This record was the subject of a minor enhancement on 27 November 2014. The record has been generated from an "old county number" (OCN) scheduling record. These are monuments that were not reviewed under the Monuments Protection Programme and are some of our oldest designation records.

The monument includes a motte and bailey castle, known as Burlough Castle, which survives as earthworks and below-ground archaeological remains. It is situated on a chalk hill, east of Cuckmere River, which is bounded on the west side by a steeply scarped and wooded cliff. It commands the entrance to the river valley near Alfriston on the north-eastern edge of the South Downs. The remaining earthworks of the castle include escarpments on the north, east and south sides forming a broadly D-shaped fortified area on which foundations of walls originally stood. According to documentary sources, these were robbed out after 1824 and used for the construction of nearby barns. The traces of a flint wall or revetment have been identified on the south-east escarpment. Fieldwalking in the area has recovered pieces of 12th and 13th century pottery. Other finds have included Prehistoric flints, axes and a pick as well as Iron Age or Romano-British potsherds. The original mount or motte is thought to have been sited at the northern part of the castle bailey. In 1996, a geophysical survey was carried out on the site, which indicated possible buried remains but provided no conclusive evidence.


The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

Legacy System number:
ES 114
Legacy System:


East Sussex HER MES2763. NMR TQ50SW21. PastScape 408670


This monument is scheduled under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979 as amended as it appears to the Secretary of State to be of national importance. This entry is a copy, the original is held by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.

End of official listing

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