Knepp Castle

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The fragmentary remains of Knepp Castle as the stand today

The medieval Knepp Castle is to the west of the village of West Grinstead, West Sussex, England near the River Adur and the A24 (grid reference TQ163209). The name is thought to come from the Old English word "cnæp", referring to the mound on which it stands.[1]


The castle was originally a motte and bailey fortress, built in the 12th century by William de Braose. It was rebuilt as a stone castle with a two-storey keep in 1214 by King John. In addition to John the castle had a succession of royal visitors, including Henry III in 1218, Edward II in 1324 and Richard II in 1384. Subsequently, it fell into decline and deteriorated. The bulk of it had been destroyed by the 1720s. In the early 19th century the remnants were reinforced and fenced in by Sir Charles Burrell to protect them from further deterioration.

The castle stands on an oval mound, modelled from a natural feature, surrounded by a ditch and ramparts. The ditch, fed from a nearby pond, formed a moat which still contained water at the beginning of the eighteenth century.[1]

The surviving remains of the castle consist of a single wall 11 metres high, 9.5 metres long, and 2.5 metres thick, with a doorway and another opening above it. This wall apparently formed the north end of the west wall of a tower or keep.[1]

The name Knepp Castle is also applied to the castellated Gothic Revival mansion built nearby in the early nineteenth century by Sir Charles Merrik Burrell, to the designs of John Nash.[2]


  1. ^ a b c A P Baggs; C R J Currie; C R Elrington; S M Keeling; A M Rowland (1986). T P Hudson (ed.). "Shipley: Knepp Castle". A History of the County of Sussex: Volume 6 Part 2: Bramber Rape (North-Western Part) including Horsham. Institute of Historical Research. Retrieved 28 July 2011.
  2. ^ Historic England. "Details from listed building database (1354214)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 28 July 2011.

Coordinates: 50°58′33″N 0°20′41″W / 50.97578°N 0.34482°W / 50.97578; -0.34482