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Crowhurst Manor House

Also known as, or recorded in historical documents as;
Croherste; Crauherste; Crawehurst

In the civil parish of Crowhurst.
In the historic county of Sussex.
Modern Authority of East Sussex.
1974 county of East Sussex.
Medieval County of Sussex (Rape of Hastings).

OS Map Grid Reference: TQ75711231
Latitude 50.88354° Longitude 0.49656°

Crowhurst Manor House has been described as a Fortified Manor House although is doubtful that it was such.

There are masonry ruins/remnants remains.

This site is a scheduled monument protected by law.
This is a Grade 2 listed building protected by law*.


Remains of a small medieval manor house built by Walter de Scotney in 1250. Stone rubble overgrown with ivy. The main portion consists of a gable end with 2 trefoil- headed windows, a pointed doorway and large pointed window above this with the remains of cusping for tracery. There are also other smaller pieces of masonry. (Listed Building Report)

The old manor house, described by Walford in 1854 when the walls appear to have been in much the same condition as at present. He attributed the building to Walter de Scotney who held the manor temp Henry III and was executed in 1259. It was apparently rebuilt or enlarged by John, Earl of Richmond between 1357 and 1360.
The remains apparently comprised the N cross-wing and E porch of a building with a great hall extending to the S, and probably another wing. Walford considered the existing plan to be that of the complete building but it seems improbable that the well constructed and solid porch could have been the adjunct of a timber framed building or led merely to an open space.
The eastern wall, containing a great pointed window, of Decorated type, remains standing to the height of the original roof-ridge,
about 11 or 12 metres. There are the remains of a small square vaulted chamber, now roofless, at the S of this wall, and it indicates that some additional part of the building was adjoining the room on its E side. The north wall of the large hall or chapel is fragmentary. It is mainly represented by an isolated portion about 4 metres high and covered by ivy. Fragments of the W and S walls still stand covered by ivy and are higher. The walls average 1.2m in thickness and are ragstone built with sandstone and include some ashlar work in places (F1 GWR 29-MAY-52).
The Manor House (name verified) is as described by F1, though the remains have been cleared of ivy (F2 PAS 07-MAR-73). (PastScape)

1360.–John, Earl of Richmond, Lord of the Rape of Hasting, had permission to take as many carpenters, and masons, and other workmen, as might be necessary for repairing the houses, walls, and other buildings of his manors of Crawehurst and Burgherssh' (Blauuw 1861).

The building was probably rebuilt between 1358, when Walter Prynkel and Richard Durbarre were appointed for one year 'to take carpenters, hewers of stone, masons, tilers and other workmen for repairs which the earl proposes to carry out to the houses walls and other buildings of the manor of Crawehurst' (CPR p. 119) and 1360, when it is recorded 'Appointment, for one year, of Walter Prynkele, bailiff of the king's son John, earl of Richmond, of the rape of Hastynges, to hire carpenters, hewers of stone, masons, tilers and other workmen for repairs which the earl purposes to carry out in the houses, walls and buildings, of his manors of Crawehurst and Burgherssh, co. Sussex (CPR p. 331).

Included by Blauuw in his list of Sussex fortified houses where he seems to be viewing the appointment and instructions given to Walter Prynkele as an enforcement power to distrain workers although the calendar of 1911 translates the roll rather differently from Blauuw. Mackenzie writes this was 'once a defensible house' but no other castle studies authority has consider this as a fortified house. Despite the comments in the PastScape record it may well be that major parts of the original building were timber. There is nothing to suggest that the site was even moated.
Nick Austin, an amateur historian, in exposition of his personal theories on the Norman Conquest, appears to suggesting this was the site of the Abbey built by William I on the site of the battle of Hastings. Gatehouse is of the opinion that this theory is utter nonsense and I will not be raising the profile of this theory by giving a link to any web resource suggesting it. I find Mr Austin particularly irksome in his dismissal of professional opinions and his cherry picking of evidence. As an amateur historian I worry that individuals like Mr Austin will sour the relationship of professionals (who have had their valuable time wasted by him) with amateurs, like myself, who merely wish to aid and support understanding.
Links to archaeological and architectural databases, mapping and other online resources

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Sources of information, references and further reading
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*The listed building may not be the actual medieval building, but a building on the site of, or incorporating fragments of, the described site.
This record last updated 26/07/2017 09:19:31

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