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Historic England Research Records

Rackham Banks

Hob Uid: 393074
Location :
West Sussex
Horsham
Parham, Amberley
Grid Ref : TQ0500012420
Summary : A prehistoric cross dyke and an associated Itford Hill style settlement situated on a chalk ridge which forms part of the Sussex Downs. The NNE-SSW aligned cross dyke runs for circa 250 metres across the ridge and has a large bank up to circa 3.5 metres high and circa 12 metres wide flanked to the south east by a ditch up to circa 16 metres wide and circa 2 metres deep. Two short sections of the earthworks near each end of the monument have been levelled by long-term use of downland tracks, and a third section near the centre of the dyke has been partly levelled by past modern agricultural activity. The north western edge of the bank has also been partly disturbed by modern ploughing. The associated Itford Hill style settlement abuts the central section of the cross dyke on its north western side. It is represented by an east-west aligned, oval enclosure which survives as an hollow measuring circa 40 metres by circa 25 metres, bisected by a low, north-south aligned bank. Records suggest that the enclosure was originally bounded by a bank and external ditch, although these have been levelled by modern ploughing. Analysis of a pottery sherd discovered during part excavation of the enclosure in 1929 has suggested that the settlement was occupied during the Late Bronze Age/Early Iron Age.
More information : (TQ 05051250) RACKHAM BANKS (GT). (1)

An earthwork runs from north to south across the western end of
Rackham Hill. It comprises a bank 42 ft wide and 7 ft high, and a
ditch 640ft long which at each end continues down the slopes
of the hill as a terrace way, apparently formerly connecting
with the courses of ancient roads. A section was cut by Curwen and
Allcroft in 1929, the only find being a fragment of human bone. At
the south-west are remains of a structure resembling a small
motte - and - bailey type work. Excavation of the central mound
of this revealed two post holes and a piece of pottery containing
fragments of flints common in EIA.

Allcroft concluded that these earthworks are "the remains of
one of the siege castles thrown up by Henry I when he reduced Arundel
Castle in 1102 AD". (See AO/LP/63/217 & AO/LP/63/218) (See also
TQ 00 NW 35)

NORTHERN TERRACE WAY

The terrace way that leads off from the northern end of fosse,
down the escarpment, has been used as a bridle road, and is quite
clearly traceable down to the main Storrington to Amberley road
in the direction of Rackham Farm, while a branch sent off halfway
down the escarpment in the direction of Springhead Farm has not been
used as a track in modern times.

SOUTHERN TERRACE WAY

The south end of the ditch is continued as a terrace, 13ft wide,
for 1000 ft along Medley Bottom, and where it is lost in disturbed
ground it is directed towards a point where Medley and Grevitt's
Bottom run into the side of Stoke Bottom. (2-3)

Curwen describes the two "enclosures" adjacent to the cross-ridge
dyke at the S end on the W side as possible 'motte and bailey'
castle (See Authys 2&3). The motte and bailey seems most unlikely.
They are more possibly LBA enclosures much like those at Itford
Hill. (4)

Rackham Bank. 12th c siege-castle (or ringwork). (5)

An extremely strong (much more than usual) cross ridge dyke
with ditch up hill in typical Sussex manner. Utilised in part
by later terraceways that illustrate perfectly that the supposed
connection between cross ridge and spur dykes and terraceways is
quite fortuitous. Here a terraceway makes use of the cross dyke
while it is convenient to do so then cuts through it. There is
nothing about the supposed ringwork at the SW end of the work to
suggest a siege-castle. It may even be nothing more than an old
quarry with the supposed outer ditch representing the gap between
the edge of the overburden and the bottom of the positive lynchet
that has been formed by ploughing above it.

Published 1:2500 resurveyed. (6)

Sources :
Source Number : 1
Source : Ordnance Survey Map (Scale / Date)
Source details : OS 6" 1961
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 2
Source : Sussex archaeological collections : relating to the history and antiquities of the counties of East and West Sussex
Source details :
Page(s) : 169-182
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 73 (1932)
Source Number : 3
Source : Sussex archaeological collections : relating to the history and antiquities of the counties of East and West Sussex
Source details :
Page(s) : 45-8
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 63 (1922)
Source Number : 4
Source : Annotated Record Map
Source details : Correspondents Annotated 6" Sheet (EW Holden, 1962)
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 5
Source : Chateau Gaillard
Source details :
Page(s) : 121
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 3 (1966)
Source Number : 6
Source : Field Investigators Comments
Source details : F1 CFW 07-OCT-70
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 6a
Source : Aerial photograph
Source details : RAF/AP/CPE/UR/1751/3180
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 7
Source : Scheduled Monument Notification
Source details : 11-Jul-97
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number :
Source : Field report on TQ 01 SE 6 - 07-OCT-1970
Source details :
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :

Monument Types:
Monument Period Name : Prehistoric
Display Date : Prehistoric
Monument End Date : 43
Monument Start Date : -500000
Monument Type : Cross Dyke
Evidence : Earthwork

Components and Objects:
Related Records from other datasets:
External Cross Reference Source : Scheduled Monument Legacy (County No.)
External Cross Reference Number : SX 212
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : Scheduled Monument Legacy (County No.)
External Cross Reference Number : WS 212
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : Scheduled Monument Legacy (National No.)
External Cross Reference Number : 29256
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : National Monuments Record Number
External Cross Reference Number : TQ 01 SE 6
External Cross Reference Notes :

Related Warden Records :
Related Activities :
Associated Activities : Primary, RACKHAM BANKS,AMBERLEY
Activity type : EXCAVATION
Start Date : 1929-01-01
End Date : 1929-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, RACKHAM BANK
Activity type : EXCAVATION
Start Date : 1929-01-01
End Date : 1929-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, FIELD OBSERVATION ON TQ 01 SE 6
Activity type : FIELD OBSERVATION (VISUAL ASSESSMENT)
Start Date : 1970-10-07
End Date : 1970-10-07