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Sedgwick Castle

Also known as, or recorded in historical documents as;
Sedgewick; Seggewik

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

OS Map Grid Reference: TQ18012698
Latitude 51.03008° Longitude -0.31849°

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

There are uncertain remains.

This site is a scheduled monument protected by law.

Description

It seems likely that some of the walls of which foundations were excavated at Sedgewick in 1923-4 may have been erected between 1066 and 1200. Sedgewick Castle was possibly built during the period 1135-1154. In 1258 the earlier buildings were encircled by two concentric moats and a curtain wall, and protected by a keep of which remains are extant. The Tudor hall and buildings, of which there are remains on the east part of the site, were probably erected c. 1498. Sedgwick Lodge was built c 1600, on the site of the present house and the castle largely demolished in 1612. Bone objects found at Sedgwick, thought to be possibly Saxon draughtsmen, are in Devizes Museum (Winbolt, 1925).
Sedgwick Castle comprises fragmentary stretches of walling of mortared rough-coursed Horsham stone, 0.6m thick, standing to 2.0m height, within a curtain wall, of which the SW side remains again of Horsham stone but of better workmanship, 1.7m thick, and standing to 4.0m height. There is evidence everywhere of excavation, now overgrown, but no further building remains are now visible.
The site is enclosed by a double concentric moat, now largely dry or marshy. The inner moat is 70.0m in diameter and is up to 3.0m deep and has a low, outer bank on the W side. The outer moat is 140.0m in diameter, and is up to 3.5 in deep, and has an outer bank on the N side and inner and outer banks on the S side.
To the W in Rushetts Gill are two embayed supply ponds, one above the other, waterfilled and in good condition. The N arm of the outer moat opens out onto the upper pond and the S arm onto the lower pond, whilst the inner moat is fed by a narrow channel from the lower pond.
Causewayed entrances lead from the castle site to N and S. That to the N gives access to an outer enclosure contained by a rampart on the N side and by remains of a bank on the E side. Within, is a fishpond still waterfilled, formerly fed from a spring (St Marn's or Nun's well) and issuing out into the upper supply pond to the W.
A causewayed entrance on the E side is probably modern. W of the lower pond is a bank 80.0m in length, probably a spoil heap as no retaining bank is necessary on this side. N of it is a pondbay quarry. The upper pondbay is 45.0m long 2.0m high and has an overspill with modern weirs around the W end within the old quarry.
The lower pondbay is 60.0m long, 3.5m high. with a private road upon it, and with a modern sluice at the W end.
The site is contained within Castle Wood and, apart from paths, is much obscured by undergrowth (Field Investigators Comments–F1 ASP 17-JUL-71). (PastScape)

The site at Sedgwick Castle is unusual in form and illustrates the wide diversity of layout of moated sites. Despite the disturbance caused by partial excavation, the site survives well and exhibits a wide variety of component features. It holds considerable archaeological potential for evidence of the development of the manorial buildings, both from the island area and from the ditches.
The monument includes the two concentric ditches, internal areas, ponds and outer enclosure of an unusual moated site which dates from the 12th/13th century and which continued in use into the 16th century. The flat central area has a diameter of some 50m. Within this area are a number of stretches of walling. To the south-west, part of a 13th-century curtain wall survives to a height of 4m and includes the base of an angular turret. To the east are four lengths of walling, one featuring the herringbone tiling of a fireback, which define a late medieval rectangular stone building some 22m long. Partial excavation in 1923 of this inner area revealed the foundations of an earlier stone building 15m by 13m at its centre. Around this inner area is a pair of concentric and steeply-sided ditches 9- 12m across at the top and varying in depth from some 2.5m to 4m. The ditches are separated by up to 30m of flat ground. Causeways, not all of which are original features, cross the ditches at irregular intervals. To the west of the concentric ditches are two ponds dammed at their south ends and with a 2m difference in their heights. The ponds are linked by an overflow channel. The more southerly pond has an earthen retaining bank on its western side. North of the ditches is an area of earthworks and ponds associated with the moated site, including an earthen bank over 50m long and 2.5m high and a rectangular pond some 20m by 10m in the north-east corner. (Scheduling Report)

A Royal licence to crenellate was granted in 1258 Nov 4 (Click on the date for details of this licence.).
A Royal licence to crenellate was granted in 1262 March 15.

Comments

The dating to the reign of King Stephen reflects received wisdom of the 1920's and not archaeological or historical evidence. The find of a Saxon chess piece might implies a high status Saxon site here before the Conquest something support by the finds of Saxon settlement in the area but not by Domesday which suggests this was woodland. The site is within a deer park and the VCH suggest the site was built, as a hunting lodge, before 1200 but, presumably, after 1086. Licences to crenellate were granted in 1258 and 1262, Coulson suggest the repeat, and possibly the original licence, were required because the work caused trouble locally. Gatehouse suspects the trouble was about the perceived threat the new work would have had on hunting and poaching in what may have been common woodland (High status neighbours may have been accustomed to hunting in this park).
Links to archaeological and architectural databases, mapping and other online resources

Data >
PastScape   County HER   Scheduling        
Maps >
Streetmap   NLS maps   Where's the path   Old-Maps      
Data/Maps > 
Magic   V. O. B.   Geology   LIDAR   Open Domesday  
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Sources of information, references and further reading
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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.
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This record last updated 30/11/2016 10:16:03

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