Motte and bailey castle 240m east of Dean's Mill


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1011776

Date first listed: 19-Dec-1968

Date of most recent amendment: 04-Dec-1991


Ordnance survey map of Motte and bailey castle 240m east of Dean's Mill
© Crown Copyright and database right 2018. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
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This copy shows the entry on 13-Nov-2018 at 18:30:58.


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

County: West Sussex

District: Mid Sussex (District Authority)

Parish: Lindfield Rural

National Grid Reference: TQ 35619 26109


Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.

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 and bailey 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 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of time, motte castles continued to be built and occupied from the 11th to the 13th centuries, after which they were superseded by other types of castle.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 east of Dean's Mill survives well despite the limited disturbance of the motte edge, and illustrates clearly the adaptability of this type of castle to suit the local circumstances - in this case where a marshy area provided a strong yet strategic location for the policing of traffic crossing the Ouse. It also holds considerable archaeological potential for the recovery of evidence of the nature and duration of occupation.


Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.


The monument includes the central mound, or motte, and surrounding earthworks of a small castle dating from the Norman period situated on the floodplain of the River Ouse. The motte at the centre of the castle site measures some 40m north- east/south-west by 30m north-west/south-east at the base, or 15-18m across at the summit, and is raised only 1.5m above the level of the floodplain. Its top is generally flat, although a depression at its northern edge suggests some disturbance or subsidence of the deposits below. The motte was surrounded by a broad moat up to 14m across which was joined to the river through gaps in the outer earthworks on the south-west side and the south corner. To the north-west of the motte is a crescent-shaped courtyard area, or bailey, 45m long and up to 14m wide which is raised by ca.1m above the floodplain. The motte and its bailey were further defended by straight banks to both east and west, each some 10m across and 1m high. On the western side, a ditch outside the bank linked the streams to the north and south and hence enclosed the castle entirely within moats. The line of the ditch has been preserved in the form of a more recent drain. The monument is bounded on the north, south and east by the inner banks of the streams but to the west it includes the drain.

MAP EXTRACT The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract. It includes a 3 metre boundary around the archaeological features, considered to be essential for the monument's support and preservation.


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

Legacy System number: 12865

Legacy System: RSM


Painting in possession of owner,
SMR County Monument No. 3632,

End of official listing