The comprehensive gazetteer and bibliography of the medieval castles, fortifications and palaces of England, Wales, the Islands.
The listings
Other Info
Print Page 
Next Record 
Previous Record 
Back to list 

Thunderfield Castle, Horley

Also known as, or recorded in historical documents as;
Horne; Thunderford; Herewoldeslea; Haroldslea

In the civil parish of Horley.
In the historic county of Surrey.
Modern Authority of Surrey.
1974 county of Surrey.
Medieval County of Surrey.

OS Map Grid Reference: TQ30004257
Latitude 51.16761° Longitude -0.14199°

Thunderfield Castle, Horley has been described as a probable Timber Castle, and also as a certain Fortified Manor House.

There are earthwork remains.

This site is a scheduled monument protected by law.


Thunderfield Castle, a Ring and Bailey castle generally well preserved, though the entire site is over grown with trees and undergrowth. Thunderfield Castle is thought to be an early C12 foundation and was of timber construction there being no traces of masonry. It was a ring type castle abandoned early probably due to flooding of the ditches by the River Mole. The barbican, of later date than the castle, is of a higher level and can be mistaken for a motte. The ditches were originally dry, an outer ditch, dug early in C13 formed a small outer bailey beyond the barbican. Excavations in the centre area by Hart and Winbolt in 1936, uncovered the hearth of a bloomery, and C13, C14 and C15 pottery was found nearby. No trace of buildings was found. The castle may have been erected by Gilbert de Clare (died 1132). (SHHER)

Thunderfield, with its diversity of component parts including a double circuit of moats, is one of a very small number of complex moated sites in the South East. The large expanses of undeveloped land within the moats makes the monument of high archaeological potential, especially in the light of the small scale excavations which have demonstrated that archaeological remains do survive in the interior. In addition, historical research has revealed a considerable quantity of information on the former importance of the manor centred here. Thunderfield Castle, a name applied to the monument only since the 17th century, is the site of a medieval moated manor house. The original manor name of Herewoldsle or Harrowsley is preserved in many of the local placenames. The monument includes a central rectangular moat island 55m by 40m, a moat 7-8m across with a semi-circular extension on the northern side, an intermediate bank of earth up to 1.2m high and 8m wide, and an outer moat averaging 6m across. Small-scale excavation in 1936 confirmed the occupation of the site during the 13th-15th centuries. At Thunderfield, the central island is likely to have provided the site for the main house, while ancillary structures such as stables, storehouses etc are likely to have stood nearby. The semi-circular extension to the inner moat is best seen as marking the site of a gatehouse and original approach to the island. The outer moat appears to have been stream-fed from the south, unlike the inner moat which was spring-fed. An overflow channel, now infilled, carried water from the inner moat at its north-west corner. (Scheduling Report)

May have been the site of a manor court recorded in the early C13 as 'Herewoldeslea' (Haroldslea) (Information from Peter Cox who references documents in the British Library (ADD Charters 5932 & 7599))
Links to archaeological and architectural databases, mapping and other online resources

Data >
PastScape   County HER   Scheduling        
Maps >
Streetmap   NLS maps   Where's the path   Old-Maps      
Data/Maps > 
Magic   V. O. B.   Geology   LiDAR   Open Domesday  
Air Photos > 
Bing Maps   Google Maps   Getmapping   ZoomEarth      
Photos >
CastleFacts   Geograph   Flickr   Panoramio      

Sources of information, references and further reading
Most of the sites or buildings recorded in this web site are NOT open to the public and permission to visit a site must always be sought from the landowner or tenant.
It is an offence to disturb a Scheduled Monument without consent. It is a destruction of everyone's heritage to remove archaeological evidence from ANY site without proper recording and reporting.
Don't use metal detectors on historic sites without authorisation.
The information on this web page may be derived from information compiled by and/or copyright of Historic England, County Historic Environment Records and other individuals and organisations. It may also contain information licensed under the Open Government Licence. All the sources given should be consulted to identify the original copyright holder and permission obtained from them before use of the information on this site for commercial purposes.
The author and compiler of Gatehouse does not receive any income from the site and funds it himself. The information within this site is provided freely for educational purposes only.
The bibliography owes much to various bibliographies produced by John Kenyon for the Council for British Archaeology, the Castle Studies Group and others.
Suggestions for finding online and/or hard copies of bibliographical sources can be seen at this link.
Minor archaeological investigations, such as watching brief reports, and some other 'grey' literature is most likely to be held by H.E.R.s but is often poorly referenced and is unlikely to be recorded here, or elsewhere, but some suggestions can be found here.
The possible site or monument is represented on maps as a point location. This is a guide only. It should be noted that OS grid references defines an area, not a point location. In practice this means the actual center of the site or monument may often, but not always, be to the North East of the point shown. Locations derived from OS grid references and from latitude longitiude may differ by a small distance.
Further information on mapping and location can be seen at this link.
Please help to make this as useful a resource as possible by contacting Gatehouse if you see errors, can add information or have suggestions for improvements in functality and design.
Help is acknowledged.
This record last updated 26/07/2017 09:21:01

Home | Books | Links | Fortifications and Castles | Other Information | Help | Downloads | Author Information | Contact