Motte castle south of Lodsbridge Mill


Heritage Category:
Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:
Date of most recent amendment:


Ordnance survey map of Motte castle south of Lodsbridge Mill
© Crown Copyright and database right 2019. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

West Sussex
Chichester (District Authority)
West Sussex
Chichester (District Authority)
National Park:
National Grid Reference:
SU 93367 21038

Reasons for Designation

Motte 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-bai1ey 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. Some 100-150 examples do not have baileys and are classified as motte castles. 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of time, motte castles continued to be built and occupied from the 11th to the 13th centuries, after which they were superseded by other types of castle.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 the limited damage caused to the castle near Lodsbridge Mill by its reuse for a windmill, the construction of a road over part of the ditch and by the partial excavation of the motte-top and ditch, much of the monument retains intact and has significant archaeological potential. In addition, the monument is well documented archaeologically and its later history is also well understood.


The monument south of Lodsbridge Mill includes the mound and encircling ditch of a small motte castle dating from the 13th century which was abandoned in the same century and subsequently reused in the late 17th/ early 18th century for the site of a windmill. The motte takes the form of a truncated cone of sandy soil standing nearly 5m above the general ground level. At its base it measures some 40m in diameter and it narrows to a diameter of 15m at the top. The ditch, present except to the west of the motte where the natural slope to the river was sufficient, has been completely infilled and is no longer visible on the surface. Its former course around the eastern side of the motte is nevertheless traceable in the curved fenceline and road on this side. Excavation in 1964 confirmed that the surrounding ditch, some 18m across, had provided the sand and gravel from which the motte was constructed. After a short period of use, the motte was heightened by more than 1m and a palisade of timber posts was erected around the motte top. Pottery found during the excavation suggested that both of these phases of use were in the 13th century. The castle was abandoned before the end of the century. Three hundred years of subsequent disuse ended with the erection of a windmill around 1700, its presence being marked by the characteristic cross- tree type of support, traces of which were exposed in the excavation. The windmill appears not to have been used after 1750. All of the buildings, fences and the metalling of the roads are excluded from the scheduling although the ground beneath them 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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Legacy System:


Books and journals
Holden, E, 'Sussex Arch. Collections' in Excavation Of A Motte At Lodsbridge Mill, , Vol. 105, (1967), 103-23


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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