|Location||Bramber, West Sussex, England (Google Maps)|
|Open for visitors||Yes|
|Owned by||English Heritage, National Trust|
Constructed not long after the Norman Conquest to protect William I’s newly won territories, Bramber Castle was the Sussex seat of the de Braose family. The remains of this Norman castle are roosted on a high natural knoll overlooking the River Adur. The castle is well known for its ghostly apparitions and phantom white ghostly horse.
History of Bramber Castle
Norman noblemen William de Braose, who fought alongside William the Conqueror at the Battle of Hastings, was successful in invading Saxon England. As a sign of appreciation, William compensated De Braose’s help by rewarding him with enormous plots of land, including the region around Bramber. De Braose immediately built a castle at Bramber to safeguard his region, and the first simple motte and bailey fortress, Bramber Castle, came into existence before 1073.
The castle stayed in possession of the De Braose family for over two centuries, yet by the mid-thirteenth century, they had become excessively influential for the liking of King John. In 1208, the king ordered the De Braose family to be thrown into jail, where most of them perished.
The later Middle Ages did not demand a defensive fortification, and Bramber Castle was left alone, turning it into the picturesque ruin we see today.
Before the end of the eleventh century, Bramber Castle was encompassed by a trench, and a stone wall was raised, with a gatehouse pointing towards the south. The gatehouse was extended in the late twelfth century under the orders of Philip de Braose. The new design stood 3-storeys high and was constructed from a blend of chalk, rock, limestone, and imported Caen stone. The tower is one of the most well-preserved parts of the castle today, which still stands almost its full height; a window and floor joist holes are clearly visible.
Towards the north of the gatehouse is the first palace motte, its earthen hill ascending to a height somewhere in the range of 30 ft. A little church is situated close to the entry, initially built for the palace’s occupants. It remains in use today.
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