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Church Norton; The Mound

Also known as, or recorded in historical documents as;
The Mount; Pagham Harbour

In the civil parish of Selsey.
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: SZ87219568
Latitude 50.75438° Longitude -0.76509°

Church Norton; The Mound has been described as a certain Timber Castle, and also as a certain Masonry Castle, and also as a probable Artillery Fort.

There are earthwork remains.

This site is a scheduled monument protected by law.


Earthwork remains of an C11 ringwork castle; traces of possible Iron Age occupation were found; Neolithic scrapers and other worked flints were found during excavations. Roman tile and pottery may indicate the site of a villa. (PastScape)

The ringwork south of St Wilfred's chapel is well documented archaeologically and still retains considerable archaeological potential despite the limited disturbance caused by the partial excavation and by burials in the churchyard. The significance of the ringwork is considerably enhanced by the possibility of Anglo-Saxon occupation on the same site and by its close association with St Wilfred's Chapel which predated the construction of the ringwork and continued in use throughout its lifetime.
The monument includes a semi-circular earthen bank and outer ditch and the area within the earthworks in which the remains of stone buildings have been located. This area forms the southern half of a Norman ringwork castle, the northern half of which has been incorporated into the churchyard of St Wilfred's chapel. The outer ditch is the most easily visible feature. It defines a semi-circle 90m across and takes the form of a ditch some 12m wide and 1.8-2m deep which is likely to have been water-filled for defence. On the inner edge is a bank which has been disturbed on the SW side but which survives to some 2.5m in height to the SE. A narrow strip of the flat interior area was excavated in 1911, and the foundations located then were explored further in 1965. They were shown to be the remains of a strong stone tower 9.5m square, with a second building 6.5m by 5.5m to the east of the tower which was interpreted as a residence. Other buildings are considered very likely to survive in the interior of the castle. Finds from the excavation showed that the castle had been built soon after the Norman invasion of 1066 and had been occupied for less than a century. They also suggested that the castle had been built on a site which had seen significant activity in the preceding Anglo-Saxon period. (Scheduling Report)

North of the Old Rectory, on the slight rise where the church stands, is an earthwork, at present crescentic in form but perhaps originally extending into the churchyard. It consists of a ditch, about 9 ft. deep, and a vallum, mainly constructed of shingle, rising to 18 ft. above the bottom of the ditch. Some rather desultory and inconclusive excavations (Suss. Arch. Coll. Vol. 55 p. 56-62) in 1911 tended to confirm the local tradition that it was a fortification thrown up in 1587 against the coming of the Spanish Armada. Traces of an earlier massive building, and of Roman occupation were found within the ramparts. (VCH 1953)

Church Norton, on the Selsey peninsula (Sussex), was the centre of the Anglo- Saxon see of Sussex until 1075. A ringwork lies adjacent to the cathedral site, containing the excavated foundations of a substantial tower and chamber associated with mid-11th to mid-12th century pottery. Despite being used as a church belfry in the later medieval period, there is no evidence that it was anything other than a secular tower (Salzman 1912; Aldsworth 1979; Aldsworth and Garnett 1981). The tower was probably part of a pre-1075 episcopal residence rather than a later Norman castle. The secular tenants of the site following the removal of the see to Chichester are too petty to be likely castle-builders (Williams and Martin 2002, 39): the few early Norman castles in the county were each built by wealthy magnates (listed in Jones 2003, 173). (Shapland 2012)
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This record last updated 26/07/2017 09:21:02

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