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Chichester Castle

Also known as, or recorded in historical documents as;
Cisseceastre; Ciceastre; Cheechester; Cicestriae; Priory Park

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

OS Map Grid Reference: SU863052
Latitude 50.83981° Longitude -0.77580°

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

There are cropmark/slight earthwork remains.

This site is a scheduled monument protected by law.


Very early motte castle, probably did not receive masonry defences. The Earl of Sussex built the castle shortly after the Conquest to overawe the township and Rape of Chichester in the North of the Roman military settlement. It then passed to the Earls of Arundel. In 1217 the King ordered its destruction. The site then came into possession of the Greyfriars for use as a friary. The much eroded motte remains in a corner of the town walls. (Derived from PastScape)

the site of the castle, of the mount and bailey type of the Norman period. It was probably commenced by Roger de Montgomery, and we may imagine he threw up the keep mount which still exists in a fragmentary form. We have no reference to a stone keep, which, in order to allow for the settlement of the earth, could not have been built for many years after his time. Perhaps nothing but the original timber keep was ever erected. There was a chapel in the castle as early as 1142. Apparently it was against John, who attempted to seize the Crown during the captivity of Richard I, that in 1193 the castle was victualled with barley, beans, bacon, etc., the usual stores for a siege, and in the following year payment was made to five knights who garrisoned the castle for 24 days. We do not know whether John's forces besieged the castle, but in 1194 and 1195 we have accounts for the works of the castle and the repairs of the houses and chapel. In 1198 a gaol was built there. The castle was put in charge of William Marshal, Earl of Pembroke and sheriff of Sussex in 1195, and he continued constable until 1208, when Richard de Mucegros succeeded him. The citizens were ordered in 1215 to carry out the instructions of Matthew Fitz Herbert, the sheriff, for fortifying their city. The castle was probably never of any great strength and John, fearing it might fall into Louis' hands, ordered its destruction in 1216. The order was not carried out before the death of John, and it surrendered to Louis. Early in 1217, however, the castle was retaken and Philip de Albini was commanded without delay to throw it down and destroy it to its foundations. There is nothing now left but the keep mount to mark the place where it stood. (VCH 1935)
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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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