Chichester 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.

West Sussex
Chichester (District Authority)
National Grid Reference:
SU 86300 05188


Motte and Bailey Castle, 135m ENE of Priory Park Lodge.

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of time, motte castles continued to be built and occupied from the 11th to the 13th centuries, after which they were superseded by other types of castle.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 by landscaping in the past, the motte and bailey castle at Chichester survives relatively well. It will contain archaeological and environmental information relating to the castle, its occupants, and the landscape in which it was constructed. As a monument accessible to the public it also forms an important educational and recreational resource.


See Details.


This record was the subject of a minor enhancement on 29 October 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 surviving as earthworks and below-ground archaeological remains. It is situated in Priory Park in the north-east corner of the old town of Chichester, partly enclosed by the city wall.

The remains of the motte survive as a roughly oval shaped artificially raised mound in a recreation park. The remains of a surrounding dry moat and a bailey are likely to survive as in-filled or buried archaeological features. The keep and the castle walls are thought to have originally been of timber construction. The castle was built shortly after the Norman Conquest by order of Roger de Montgomery. It is later thought to have passed to the Earl of Sussex and then the Crown. Documentary sources record that there was a chapel in the castle in 1142.

The castle briefly surrendered to the French in 1216 but was demolished by the order of Henry III the following year. Between about 1222 and 1269, the site was given to the Greyfriars to build a new friary.

The site has been re-landscaped as a park but the castle mound or motte survives as an earthwork.

Further archaeological remains survive within the vicinity of this monument. Some such as a nearby Franciscan Friary church are scheduled, but others are not because they have not been formally assessed.


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

Legacy System number:
WS 103
Legacy System:


Chichester District Council: ‘Castle’ article, accessed 26-JUN-2009 from
West Sussex HER 4725 - MWS4319. NMR SU80NE118. PastScape 1386089


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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