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Lindfield Pims Lock

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

OS Map Grid Reference: TQ35642610
Latitude 51.01829° Longitude -0.06755°

Lindfield Pims Lock has been described as a probable Timber Castle.

There are cropmark/slight earthwork remains.

This site is a scheduled monument protected by law.


Earthwork of a motte and bailey at Pim's Lock. A nunnery is traditionally associated with Lindfield, and there appears to have been printed evidence of its existence. The traditional site is probably the site of a devolved motte and bailey at Pim's Lock. (PastScape)
The "circular mound" noted by Tebbutt, occurs on the flood plain of the River Ouse at TQ 3564 2610, at the alleged "site of priory" shown on the Tithe Map of 1848. The mound appears to be artificial, measuring c 40.0m by 30.0m and 1.5m high, but is too small to accommodate the nunnery as illustrated in 1601. Its purpose cannot be ascertained. The alleged moat may be an old natural watercourse in existence before the Ouse was canalised. There is evidence of a bay upstream from the mound (Field Investigators Comments–F2 NKB 07-FEB-72).(PastScape)

Lindfield (TQ 356 261) C. F. Tebbutt has discovered a devolved motte and bailey between the confluence of two streams at Pim's Lock, near Dean's Mill (TQ 32 NE 10). The mound is only 2 to 3 feet high and is surrounded by a shallow ditch. Two hollows between the streams may mark the extent of the bailey (Med. Arch., 1969).

The example east of Dean's Mill survives well despite the limited disturbance of the motte edge, and illustrates clearly the adaptability of this type of castle to suit the local circumstances - in this case where a marshy area provided a strong yet strategic location for the policing of traffic crossing the Ouse. It also holds considerable archaeological potential for the recovery of evidence of the nature and duration of occupation.
The monument includes the central mound, or motte, and surrounding earthworks of a small castle dating from the Norman period situated on the floodplain of the River Ouse. The motte at the centre of the castle site measures some 40m north- east/south-west by 30m north-west/south-east at the base, or 15-18m across at the summit, and is raised only 1.5m above the level of the floodplain. Its top is generally flat, although a depression at its northern edge suggests some disturbance or subsidence of the deposits below. The motte was surrounded by a broad moat up to 14m across which was joined to the river through gaps in the outer earthworks on the south-west side and the south corner. To the north-west of the motte is a crescent-shaped courtyard area, or bailey, 45m long and up to 14m wide which is raised by ca.1m above the floodplain. The motte and its bailey were further defended by straight banks to both east and west, each some 10m across and 1m high. On the western side, a ditch outside the bank linked the streams to the north and south and hence enclosed the castle entirely within moats. The line of the ditch has been preserved in the form of a more recent drain. The monument is bounded on the north, south and east by the inner banks of the streams but to the west it includes the drain. (Scheduling Report)

The evidence this is a castle site is incredibly weak. The 'ditches' may well be an old water course, and the 'mound' spoil from canalising the Ouse. Fred Trebutt was a professional archaeologist but not a castle studies specialist. King calls this 'possible' which, in his terms, means doubtful and he may well only have mentioned this site out of respect for Trebutt. Not a manorial centre and not an old crossing point of the river. Is this, in fact, the site of a water mill?
However, because the site is scheduled as a motte and bailey and marked as such on the OS map recorded as a 'probable' site although Gatehouse is of the opinion there is significant doubt as to this site being a motte and bailey castle.
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This record last updated 26/07/2017 09:21:01

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