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Warningcamp siege castle

Also known as, or recorded in historical documents as;
Batworth Park

In the civil parish of Lyminster.
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: TQ03020680
Latitude 50.85155° Longitude -0.53787°

Warningcamp siege castle has been described as a Timber Castle although is doubtful that it was such, and also as a certain Siege Work.

There are earthwork remains.

This site is a scheduled monument protected by law.


A small earthwork 300 yds from the river and just outside Batworth Park, consists of a raised mound surrounded by vallum and fosse which are preserved to the NE where the entrance is. Over a wide area to the west the bank and ditch have disappeared. Nothing has been found to indicate the date of the earthwork but it is suggested that it is one of Henry I's siege castles. (PastScape ref. Curwen)

The example near Batworthpark House survives comparatively well despite having been damaged for part of its circuit. It therefore retains considerable archaeological potential for the recovery of dating evidence, of evidence of structures in the interior and of evidence sealed beneath its banks of the land use prior to its construction.
The monument includes the ditch, bank and interior area of a circular earthwork situated just above the floodplain of the River Arun. The earthwork, which has an internal diameter of some 32m, survives best for a length of 60m on the north and east sides, where the bank is 8m wide and rises to 1.5m above the level of the interior. The bank is breached by an original entrance some 3m wide. Elsewhere it is still clearly visible, although often standing only 0.4m high, despite having been pushed both outwards into the surrounding ditch and inwards into the interior. The surrounding ditch is also best preserved on the north side, where its outer edge is marked by the curving field boundary. Here the ditch is 6m wide and some 2m deep, creating a total drop from bank top to ditch bottom of 3.5m to form an impressive barrier. Even on the south and south-east sides, where it has been largely infilled using earth from the bank, the ditch survives to a depth of 0.3m. The earthwork has been identified as a short-lived ringwork of the very early Norman period, dating from the period immediately after the Conquest and before the foundation of the nearby castle at Arundel in 1069/70. It is only coincidentally linked with the later chalk or flint quarry on the south side. (Scheduling Report)

On gently rising ground, it rises some 6-7 feet, with a diameter of 200 feet, with remains of a ditch and vallum on the NE side. (Purton)

Most usually suggested as siegework to Arundel sieges of 1102 and/or 1138 and has a form smilar to known C12 siege castle, such as Danes Castle, Exeter. Quite by whom the suggestion this was a ringwork built before 1069, mentioned in the scheduling report, comes from is quite unclear. Gatehouse is of the opinion that the fortification of the Normans in this first conquest phase tend to be within existing fortifications and tend to be fairly large in size, since they represent the camps of significant numbers of mounted troops (the best archaeologically examined examples being Pevensey Castle and Castle Neroche. Otherwise early castle sites, of the occupation phase of Norman rule, are usually re-fashionings of existing Saxon manor sites, occasionally moot sites and urban castles establish in existing towns. This site is clearly not an example of any of these. Unlike some other suggested sites of siege castles of Arundel this does actual have sight of Arundel Castle and it is difficult to see any other function for this earthwork. Intervisible with another suggested siege camp at Lyminster. The small size of this site shows the besieging force in 1102 was probably small. See record for Arundel siege castles for further discussion and references.
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This record last updated 26/07/2017 09:21:02

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