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Chennells Brook Farm, North Horsham

Also known as, or recorded in historical documents as;
Channellsbrook Farm; Channelsbrook

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

OS Map Grid Reference: TQ18803335
Latitude 51.08627° Longitude -0.30517°

Chennells Brook Farm, North Horsham has been described as a probable Timber Castle.

There are earthwork remains.

This site is a scheduled monument protected by law.


North of Little Haven, near Chennell's Brook Farm are what seem to be the remains of a Norman castle of the mount and bailey type. The greatest diameter of the site E - W is 113 yds. The width 50 yds. The actual motte measures 22 by 13 yds. A probing of the surface of this revealed of floor of thin red tiles about 1 ft. below the turf (Winbolt).
About 200 yds. north of Channellsbrook Farm is the site of a late 11th century castle. A remarkable feature is that it has been at some period converted to water defence. The hill-side to the west and south of the mound has been excavated and a dam constructed to form a pool into which the stream has been diverted so as to improve the defences on the uphill side of the motte. The bailey ditches were at the same time recut, and now show the broad square sections of a water-holding ditch instead of the usual v-shaped section of the ordinary Norman dry ditch. The entrance of the castle was apparently at the point where the line of the dam meets the ditch of the bailey, and the present entrance to the bailey appears to be modern (Braun).
A motte and bailey, apparently later converted to a moated homestead site as described by Braun. In fair condition, under pasture (F1 ASP 03-MAY-71). (PastScape)

The castle near Chennells Brook Farm survives well despite some alteration of its form by changes in the course of the Chennells Brook after the castle's abandonment. It retains considerable potential for the recovery of evidence for the nature and date of occupation of the castle both from the motte and bailey areas and from the moats. The castle remains exemplify the diversity of form of this class of monument and the adaptability of such castles to suit a range of locations in the landscape rather than just hilltops.
The monument includes the earthworks of a motte and bailey castle dating from the Norman period. The castle features a central mound, or motte, which has been raised up to 2.2m above the level of the surrounding land to form an originally circular summit which would usually have been the site of a wooden keep. Around the motte was dug a broad moat averaging 10m across, the western and southern arms of which are occupied by the present Chennells Brook, the eastern side surviving as a marked dry ditch. West of the motte is the bailey area, a quadrangular courtyard 75m long by 25m-55m wide, which is again defended by an outer ditch, in this case some 7m wide. The whole area would originally have been surrounded by water channelled from the stream. On the south side of the bailey ditch is a causeway which may represent the original entrance to the castle. In addition to these earthworks, the former stream channel, which was altered when the castle was constructed, survives on the northern, western and southern sides. The former stream was incorporated into the castle design by creating a marshy area for additional defence. The castle was approached by a causeway from the dry ground to the south. The present course of the Chennells Brook dates from after the castle's abandonment and crosses the earthworks in several places, including the approach causeway at the southern edge of the castle area. The motte has also been altered to its present kidney-shaped summit as a result of erosion by the stream. (Scheduling Report)

This is a rare example of an acknowledged motte and bailey later converted into a moated site. It appears to have been converted into a modest homestead moat which may be the reason that so little damage was done to the original motte and bailey. It may be that many low building platform type mottes were converted into homestead moats and rather grander moated fortified manor houses by people who could spend more money on achieving the fashionable form and, as such, may not be obvious and might only be found by careful excavation.
Links to archaeological and architectural databases, mapping and other online resources

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This record last updated 26/07/2017 09:21:01

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