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 

Tottingworth Enclosure

In the civil parish of Heathfield And Waldron.
In the historic county of Sussex.
Modern Authority of East Sussex.
1974 county of East Sussex.
Medieval County of Sussex (Rape of Pevensey).

OS Map Grid Reference: TQ614224
Latitude 50.97839° Longitude 0.29777°

Tottingworth Enclosure has been described as a Timber Castle although is doubtful that it was such.

There are cropmark/slight earthwork remains.


At Tottingworth is the site of a very early (probably pre-Roman) encampment. It is a univallate earthwork with outer ditch, oval in shape, 140' x 102'. Very little now remains as it was deliberately destroyed some years ago, but not before detailed measurements had been taken (VCH 1905; Dawson 1901 {attributed to a J. Lewis and Vol. 17.3})
The siting was supplied to the OS (on request in 1908) by Charles Dawson in a letter accompanied by a very bad sketch (both in ONB). All that can really be got from these is that a 'Camp' of the dimensions given in VCH and Dawson was at somewhere about the published position, that the drive cut through it, that it was 'shown' (presumably undescribed) on OS 25", and that a large tree stood on its SW side.
The ONB does not explain how the OS was able to publish the site, let alone its outline, from the information given, and no pre-1908 25" or 6" shows either 'Camp' or any shape approximating to the post-1908 outline. Therefore while the siting is probably about right, the outline is more than suspect, particularly as it accords neither with the dimensions nor the orientation given by Dawson (Revision ONB Sussex 42 NW 1908).
This site occupies a position half-way down the slope of a fairly steep clay spur. It is cut through by a drive, and an ancient beech tree stands on a mound beside it, so it is almost certainly the spot intended by Dawson. The mound shows that the whole of the area of the 'camp' has been lowered by about 1.0m. The slopes shown on the OS 25" as part of the 'camp' are in fact part natural, part spill, resulting from this. The area above the site is now the playing field of Tottingworth Park School but a depression at the NE fringe is said by the gardeners to be the result of digging soil for the greenhouses when the house was a private residence.
The earthwork could hardly have been a defensive one and it is impossible to say what it represented (F1 CFW 23-APR-70).
Excavation in 1992 has dated the earthwork to the Medieval period, probably 13th to 14th century. No evidence as to its function was discovered however (Gardiner) (PastScape)

Record by Jones (2003) as a fortification but there seems no reason to think this slight and ambiguous earthwork is any such thing. Is in an area called Tottingworth Park and may be a park feature of some sort. C. Dawson was Charles Dawson the Piltdown forger and amateur archaeologist who seems to have an entirely undeserved reputation and who's entire body of work should be suspect.
Links to archaeological and architectural databases, mapping and other online resources

Data >
PastScape   County HER            
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 09:19:31

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