Arundel Castle


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


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

West Sussex
Arun (District Authority)
West Sussex
Arun (District Authority)
South Stoke
National Park:
National Grid Reference:
TQ 01669 07561

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of time, motte castles continued to be built and occupied from the 11th to the 13th centuries, after which they were superseded by other types of castle.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.

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.

Legacy System number:
Legacy System:


Books and journals
Robinson, J M, Arundel Castle
County Monument No. 1959,


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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