|West Sussex, England|
Part of the remains of Bramber Castle
Bramber Castle is a Norman motte-and-bailey castle formerly the caput of the large feudal barony of Bramber long held by the Braose family. It is situated in the village of Bramber, West Sussex overlooking the River Adur.
William De Braose, 1st feudal baron, constructed the castle in about 1070, along with the Norman church, on a natural mound. Most of the surviving masonry dates from this time. Except for a period of confiscation during the reign of King John (1199–1216), Bramber Castle remained in the ownership of the de Braose family until the male line died out in 1326. Little is known of Bramber Castle's history. Records dating from the Civil War mention a 'skirmish' fought in the village in about 1642. The church suffered badly as a result of Roundhead guns being set up in the transepts, where they afforded a better vantage point to fire on Bramber Castle.
During Norman times the coastline would have been much further inland, and at high tide the water would have reached the castle walls. Despite very little surviving of the structure, the basic layout of some areas of Bramber Castle can still be identified. The most prominent feature is a large, rugged lump of stone masonry, all that remains of the Gatehouse tower. Still standing to almost its full height, a single window, and some floor joist holes, are clearly visible within the structure. Beyond the Gatehouse are the existing foundations of what is believed to have been the living quarters and a guardhouse. The dressed pillars of an entrance can be identified, but the bulk of the remaining walls now consist of only the basic rough stone infill, the better quality dressing stone having long since been robbed away for use elsewhere. Situated to the north of the gatehouse is the original castle motte, its earthen mound rising to a height of some 30 ft (10 m). A short distance away is a section of the curtain wall which survives to a height up to 10 ft (3 m) in places. There is also a small church, still in use today as the parish church, located directly next to the castle's entrance, which used to be a chapel for the castle's inhabitants.
- Fry, Plantagenet Somerset, The David & Charles Book of Castles, David & Charles, 1980. ISBN 0-7153-7976-3
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