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Lewes Town Wall

Also known as, or recorded in historical documents as;
Laewe; Laewas; Lewis

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

OS Map Grid Reference: TQ415101
Latitude 50.87139° Longitude 0.00683°

Lewes Town Wall has been described as a certain Urban Defence.

There are masonry footings remains.

This site is a scheduled monument protected by law.
This is a Grade 2 listed building protected by law*.


The walls of the town ran north and south of the East Gate (situated some 100 yards west of Lewes Bridge) and then turned westward at the foot of the hill slope. It is probable that at an early date some responsibility for maintaining the town defences fell on the manors or military tenants of the barony. In 1275 Earl John de Warenne was said to have exacted £5 from each knight's fee in the honor of Lewes towards the cost of walling the town. This had probably happened in 1267, in which year the earl specifically released the Abbey of Hyde from all claims for walling the town due for their manors of Southease and Telscombe; and this may be connected with the royal grant of murage for three years made to the bailiffs and good men of Lewes in May 1266 at the request of the earl, possibly influenced by the ease with which the Barons had taken the town after the Battle of Lewes. Another royal grant of murage was made, for five years, in 1334. It is uncertain whether any stone wall existed on the east, where the river protected the approach. On the north the wall encloses an ancient earthwork, occupied by the churchyard of St. John-sub-Castro, and joins the castle defences, from which it climbs the hill to join the West Gate. On the south it takes a straight course, with one exit called Watergate, and turns, east of Keere Street, forming a facing to the Saxon earth wall on the south side of the West Gate. (VCH)

The town wall at Lewes survives in fragmentary form only. Sections stand east of and parallel to Westgate Street, Keere Street and Southover Road, but have been so repeatedly patched and repaired that little is visibly medieval. The lower parts of the northern bastion of West Gate itself and the adjacent wall survive inside, and below the floor of, the Freemasons Hall (148 High Street). The remains, and earlier views and a plan, suggest a 13th-century date. (Harris 2005)
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This record last updated 26/07/2017 09:19:31

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