Medieval moated site at Sedgwick Castle


Heritage Category:
Scheduled Monument
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Date first listed:
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Ordnance survey map of Medieval moated site at Sedgwick Castle
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

West Sussex
Horsham (District Authority)
National Grid Reference:
TQ 18002 27014

Reasons for Designation

Around 6,000 moated sites are known in England. They consist of wide ditches, often or seasonally water-filled, partly or completely enclosing one or more islands of dry ground on which stood domestic or religious buildings. In some cases the islands were used for horticulture. The majority of moated sites served as prestigious aristocratic and seigneurial residences with the provision of a moat intended as a status symbol rather than a practical military defence. The peak period during which moated sites were built was between about 1250 and 1350 and by far the greatest concentration lies in central and eastern parts of England. However, moated sites were built throughout the medieval period, are widely scattered throughout England and exhibit a high level of diversity in their forms and sizes. They form a significant class of medieval monument and are important for the understanding of the distribution of wealth and status in the countryside. Many examples provide conditions favourable to the survival of organic remains.

The site at Sedgwick Castle is unusual in form and illustrates the wide diversity of layout of moated sites. Despite the disturbance caused by partial excavation, the site survives well and exhibits a wide variety of component features. It holds considerable archaeological potential for evidence of the development of the manorial buildings, both from the island area and from the ditches.


The monument includes the two concentric ditches, internal areas, ponds and outer enclosure of an unusual moated site which dates from the 12th/13th century and which continued in use into the 16th century. The flat central area has a diameter of some 50m. Within this area are a number of stretches of walling. To the south-west, part of a 13th-century curtain wall survives to a height of 4m and includes the base of an angular turret. To the east are four lengths of walling, one featuring the herringbone tiling of a fireback, which define a late medieval rectangular stone building some 22m long. Partial excavation in 1923 of this inner area revealed the foundations of an earlier stone building 15m by 13m at its centre. Around this inner area is a pair of concentric and steeply-sided ditches 9- 12m across at the top and varying in depth from some 2.5m to 4m. The ditches are separated by up to 30m of flat ground. Causeways, not all of which are original features, cross the ditches at irregular intervals. To the west of the concentric ditches are two ponds dammed at their south ends and with a 2m difference in their heights. The ponds are linked by an overflow channel. The more southerly pond has an earthen retaining bank on its western side. North of the ditches is an area of earthworks and ponds associated with the moated site, including an earthen bank over 50m long and 2.5m high and a rectangular pond some 20m by 10m in the north-east corner. The mechanisms of the Nun's Well and the sluices between the ponds and on the southern margin are excluded from the scheduling along with all above ground structures except those on the central area; all boundary fencing is excluded. However, the ground beneath these areas is included.

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


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

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Books and journals
Winbolt, S, Sedgewick Castle, (1925)


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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