An Early Norman Castle Site near Horsham
a 900 year old fortified hunting lodge
You are standing near a 900 year old castle.
Today it is just bumps in the ground. Back then it was the home for the Lords who owned Horsham to go out hunting. It had a wooden tower and a moat or ditch. They hunted for deer, wild pigs (boar), hares and birds to eat. It only lasted for around 50 years.
In nearby Horsham, a small thriving hamlet, the recently arrived Norman lords, the De Braose family, settled in to their manor house at Chesworth.
Their main home was Bramber Castle, but they liked this area for its hunting, a sport that the Norman aristocracy were passionate about. So either William, or his son Phillip, decided to build a hunting lodge circa 1110. However, this was no normal lodge; it was fortified, possibly to dominate the recently conquered land. It is believed that the castle was occupied by William's nephew, William de Chernella, whose name has been retained in the brook and farm.
This site was discovered in 1935 by Hugh Braun who saw it from the train. Ii is unusual in that it follows a continental design, hardly found elsewhere in Britain. The castle was made from timber with a dry moat. Later a stream would be diverted to fill
the moat, though the walls remained timber rather than changed to stone.
By 1160 the castle had been deliberately destroyed. This could be linked to the Treaty of Wallingford in 1154 when, in order to obtain peace in the civil war between King Stephen and the Empress Matilda, a number of smaller castles were destroyed. Soon after this a farmhouse was built near the site of the castle, still exists today.