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Arundel Castle

Also known as, or recorded in historical documents as;
Harundel; Arundelle

In the civil parish of Arundel.
In the historic county of Sussex.
Modern Authority of West Sussex.
1974 county of West Sussex.
Medieval County of Sussex (Rape of Arundel).

OS Map Grid Reference: TQ01850735
Latitude 50.85678° Longitude -0.55456°

Arundel Castle has been described as a certain Timber Castle, and also as a certain Masonry Castle.

There are major building remains.

This site is a scheduled monument protected by law.
This is a Grade 1 listed building protected by law*.


Motte and two baileys dating from 1068. Besieged for 3 months in 1102. Shell keep of Caen stone dates from circa 1138. Also remains a gatehouse and a C13 barbican and curtain wall. The castle was subjected to a 'unfeeling' rebuild in 1791-1815, which replaced sections destroyed in the civil war and altered many of the surviving buildings. Lower part of gatehouse possibly late C11, built for Roger de Montgomery, who was granted Arundel by William the Conqueror. Middle stage of gatehouse, keep, and cellars under south-east range appear (stylistically) to date from late C12; possibly from tenure of Earl William de Albini. Barbican, upper stage of gatehouse, north-west buttress, and well tower to keep, appear (stylistically) to date from late C13, possibly from time of Richard, 1st Earl of Arundel, who received the grant of a fair to help repair the castle. Curtain and towers round north end also mediaeval, but of uncertain date, and restored in late C19. (Listing report)

Arundel Castle survives well despite the slighting and rebuilding of some of the castle buildings after the Civil War. It is of an unusual twin bailey plan, illustrating the wide range of possible forms of this class of monument. The castle is well documented historically and the long history of its use and adaptation is well illustrated by a wide range of surviving features such as the Norman gatehouse and keep, the curtain wall, outer bailey and Civil War defences. These features also considerably enhance the castle's significance because they provide important information on a number of key stages in the history of defensive fortification.
The monument includes a motte and bailey castle at its centre, the outer bailey area to the north-east, the square earthwork known as the bowling green and the fishponds on the eastern side of the castle grounds. The buildings around the quadrangle are not included in the scheduling, having been extensively altered in the 19th and early 20th century and currently listed Grade I. The ground beneath them, however, is included. All other modern structures such as the building at St Mary's Gate, the pavilion and the surfaces of all roads and paths are similarly excluded, the ground beneath is however included. The reservoir to the north is excluded from the scheduling. The first castle comprised a central mound, or motte, some 75m across at its base and 20m high, and two courtyards, or baileys, one on each side of the motte. The shell keep on top of the motte, which measures 20m by 18m across and has walls 9m high, is a 12th century replacement of the first timber keep erected by Roger de Montgomery before 1070. To the north-east of the original castle is a nearly-square outer bailey some 350m across, originally with strong earthworks on all sides except the NE where steep slopes provided sufficient defence. On the northern side the bank and ditch together measure 35m across. The lower levels of a stone gatehouse survive at the gap in this northern earthwork. A slighter bank and infilled ditch extends westwards between Park Gates and the London Road for additional defence. This and the 35m square 'bowling green' are likely to have been used to strengthen the castle during the Civil War. The three fishponds to the E, up to 63m long and 15m wide, provided fish for the table during the early use of the castle. (Scheduling Report)

"Arundel Castle is a great disappointment". A late 11th century castle with subsequent additions and modifications including "silly spirited Gothic additions of 1791-1815" and "an almost complete rebuilding in an unfeeling Windsor Castle style which neither amuses nor convinces". (PastScape–ref. Pevesner)

Remains a large and important noble house with a large park to the north. The standing medieval remains are important and the shell keep is a fine example of the type. Visitors should not feel compelled to follow Pevesner's opinion of the castle.
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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This record last updated 26/07/2017 09:21:02

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