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the 11th to the 13th centuries, after which they were superseded by other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.
Arundel Castle survives well despite the slighting and rebuilding of some of
the castle buildings after the Civil War. It is of an unusual twin bailey
plan, illustrating the wide range of possible forms of this class of monument.
The castle is well documented historically and the long history of its use and
adaptation is well illustrated by a wide range of surviving features such as
the Norman gatehouse and keep, the curtain wall, outer bailey and Civil War
defences. These features also considerably enhance the castle's significance
because they provide important information on a number of key stages in the
history of defensive fortification.
The monument includes a motte and bailey castle at its centre, the outer
bailey area to the north-east, the square earthwork known as the bowling green
and the fishponds on the eastern side of the castle grounds. The buildings
around the quadrangle are not included in the scheduling, having been
extensively altered in the 19th and early 20th century and currently listed
Grade I. The ground beneath them, however, is included. All other modern
structures such as the building at St Mary's Gate, the pavilion and the
surfaces of all roads and paths are similarly excluded, the ground beneath is
however included. The reservoir to the north is excluded from the scheduling.
The first castle comprised a central mound, or motte, some 75m across at its
base and 20m high, and two courtyards, or baileys, one on each side of the
motte. The shell keep on top of the motte, which measures 20m by 18m across
and has walls 9m high, is a 12th century replacement of the first timber keep
erected by Roger de Montgomery before 1070.
To the north-east of the original castle is a nearly-square outer bailey some
350m across, originally with strong earthworks on all sides except the NE
where steep slopes provided sufficient defence. On the northern side the bank
and ditch together measure 35m across. The lower levels of a stone gatehouse
survive at the gap in this northern earthwork.
A slighter bank and infilled ditch extends westwards between Park Gates and
the London Road for additional defence. This and the 35m square 'bowling
green' are likely to have been used to strengthen the castle during the Civil
War. The three fishponds to the E, up to 63m long and 15m wide, provided fish
for the table during the early use of the castle.
The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.