'The Rookery' medieval hythe and associated earthworks at Milton Court
- Heritage Category:
- Scheduled Monument
- List Entry Number:
- Date first listed:
- Date of most recent amendment:
The above map is for quick reference purposes only and may not be to scale. For a copy of the full scale map, please see the attached PDF - 1015979 .pdf
The PDF will be generated from our live systems and may take a few minutes to download depending on how busy our servers are. We apologise for this delay.
This copy shows the entry on 22-Sep-2019 at 03:04:04.
The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.
- East Sussex
- Wealden (District Authority)
- Long Man
- National Park:
- SOUTH DOWNS
- National Grid Reference:
- TQ 52771 03940
Reasons for Designation
The hythe and associated earthworks are a rare survival of a once more common riverside phenomenon. In the late medieval period, prior to the development of roads, rivers formed the main means of transport and of long distance trade. Ships needed wharfage to load and unload cargoes without damaging their keels, and a basin cut alongside the former course of the river at the landward limit of tidal influence was one way of providing shelter and a steady water level, while at the same time minimising the overland transport distances for traded goods. The survival of this example of a riverside port presents an opportunity to understand the organisation of such a monument and the means by which water- flow was managed. That the earthworks around the hythe have also survived adds to the diversity and potential of the monument. Evidence of the date- span of the monument and of the nature of the trade which passed through the hythe is considered likely to survive amongst the earthworks, along with the remains of warehousing and other structures. Finally, the presence of three salt pans adds a further dimension to this already complex group of earthworks by illustrating some of the economic diversity of the region during the late medieval period.
The monument includes a medieval hythe, or small landing place, associated
earthworks including salt pans and "The Rookery" -- a natural outcrop of chalk
which has resisted erosion and has been left upstanding -- which has been
interpreted in the past as an unusual motte-and-bailey castle.
The basin which formed the focus of the hythe measures 100m by 30m. It was
supplied by a leat (now partially infilled) at the eastern end and was
protected from floodwaters by a long earthen bank up to 1m high on this side.
In the interior is a pair of flat-topped islands each some 32m by 12m in size
which provided wharfage. The basin was drained through a leat at its north-
A causeway 7m wide separates the basin from a group of shallow ponds or salt
pans on its western side. These 3 ponds together measure some 60m in length
and 30m in width, and connect through leats with the old river channel. To
the south of the ponds is a building platform 40m by 15m on which a storage
building is considered likely to have stood. Nearby is a trackway which
joined the hythe with the former manorial buildings of Milton Court.
Limited excavation in 1952, both on "The Rookery" itself and in the area of
the hythe, failed to reveal the date of the monument, but it is considered
likely to date from the late medieval period, around 1300-1550, when trade
goods from France would have formed an important component of the hythe's
traffic as well as goods from other areas of England. The monument should be
seen in conjunction with the former manorial complex of Milton Court. The
fencing around the site is excluded from the scheduling.
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
Musson, R, 'Sussex Notes and Queries' in Sussex Notes and Queries, (1954)
TQ 50 SW 22,
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