Lewes Castle

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Lewes Castle stands at the highest point of Lewes, East Sussex, England on an artificial mound constructed with chalk blocks. It was originally called Bray Castle.


The first fortification on the site was a wooden keep, later converted to stone. It is unusual for a motte and bailey construction in that it has two mottes. It is one of only two such remaining in the country, the other being Lincoln. The Barbican is a particularly fine example of its type.

It was built in 1069 by William de Warenne, 1st Earl of Surrey, the brother-in-Law of William the Conqueror. William de Warenne and his descendants also had estates and built castles in Reigate, Surrey (Reigate Castle) and in Yorkshire (Sandal Castle and Conisbrough Castle). When the last of the Warennes John, the 7th Earl died without issue in 1347, he was buried in Lewes Priory. His title passed to his nephew Richard Fitzalan who was also Earl of Arundel.

Present day

The castle has been owned by Sussex Past, an operational name for the Sussex Archaeological Society, since 1846. Tickets are sold from Barbican House which is just opposite the entrance gate, and include access to the Barbican House Museum of Sussex archaeology and the Town Model, both located there. Barbican House also has a gift shop, bookshop and library for members of the archaeological society. Various events take place at the castle, including two plays annually, children's parties and weddings. It is a prominent feature of the town, situated...
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