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Name:Clay Hill, Ringmer : medieval motte or hunting platform
HER Ref:MES1901
Type of record:Monument


  • Archaeological Notification Area (1) 426: Clay Hill, Ringmer : medieval motte
  • Scheduled Monument 1013064: MEDIEVAL RINGWORK AT CLAY HILL
  • SHINE: East Of Clayhill House: Brick kiln


Motte and remains of possible bailey

Grid Reference:TQ 4489 1433
Map:Show location on Streetmap

Monument Types

  • ENCLOSURE (Saxon - 410 AD to 1065 AD)
  • RINGWORK (Saxon - 410 AD to 1065 AD)
  • ENCLOSURE (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • RINGWORK (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)


(TQ 44901433) Castle Mount (LB) (1)
Clay Hill Mount: A small enclosure with trees. The horseshoe-shaped crest is caused by the depressed centre and eastern entrance. Though continuous all round, the outer edge of the ditch is not well defined on the N side. A slight excavation of the surface soil over part of the depressed centre yielded one or two sherds of Norman or medieval pottery. A trench was also cut into the middle of the S side of the entrance. It produced no finds, but showed the mound is nearly entirely composed of stiff clay obtained from the surrounding ditch. A pronounced bank with ditch on the S side runs in a W direction from the E hedge halfway across the centre of the field. It is possible that it formed part of an outer bailey. Mound some 40 m in diameter and 2-3 m in height surrounded by a ditch (except on its N side where the ditch may have been destroyedby ploughing) and the remains of a bank 7.5 m across and 0.9 m in height. The mound has the appearance of a castle motte, though its position is not a favourable one for defence. There is a considerable scatter of flint in the ploughed field S of the mound at the point TQ 44921427. There are slight traces of possible `entrance' to the mound on the E side. (2)
Ringwork castle. Rather rectangular in plan. (3)
The mutilated remains of a motte, overgrown with trees and scrub, and situated on a gentle N-facing slope. It measures c 40.0m in diameter and c 3.0m high above outside ground level, surrounded by a ditch, 7.0m across and about 1.5m deep, save on the N side where it is ploughed out. The ditch has been re-cut recently for drainage purposes. The summit is pock-marked by excavation trenches, wartime digging etc, giving the false impression of a bank around the S arc, and leading to the erroneous classification as a ringwork by King and Alcock. The alleged E entrance is probably a result of mutilations. Only about 9.0 m of the bank to the S of the motte remains, the rest having been ploughed out, so it cannot be determined whether this was a bailey. The farmer has not noticed unusual soil marks or crop growth, and no finds are known to have been made. The motte is known locally by the OS descriptive name "Castle Mound". Resurveyed at 1:2500. (4) Excavations carried out in c.1998-2002 by Sussex Archaeological Society (forthcoming). Ten trial trenches excavated in 2007 by ASE in the field to the north of the motte. These recorded a number of features comprising pits and post holes dating to the late 12th to 13th centuries [5]
A survey carried out in 1996 showed that rural sites in East Sussex continued to be damaged or destroyed at the same rate as 1976. The most vulnerable individual sites and site groups were identified and remedial action was suggested. [6]


<2>Serial: Sussex Archaeological Society. 1846. Sussex Archaeological Collections. vol 63 (1922) pg 223-6 plan (H S Toms).
<3>Article in serial: Article in serial. Chateau Gaillard 3 1966 122 (D J C King and L Alcock).
<4>Correspondence: 1952. Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Field Investigators Comment. F1 NKB 10-JUL-72.
<5>Report: Archaeology South-East. no. 2803 (2007) Dawkes, G..
<6>Report: Archaeology South-East. ASE 1996 plough damage survey (1996) Dunkin, D.

Associated Events

  • Plashett Park Farm, Clay Hill, Ringmer: Evaluation (Ref: ASE no. 2803)
  • Field east of Clayhill House, Clayhill,: Geophysical Survey
  • Field east of Clayhill House, Clayhill : Evaluation
  • Field observation on TQ 41 SW 5
  • The East Sussex Plough Damage Survey 1995-1996 : Survey
  • Clay Hill Reservoir, Ringmer : Desk Based Assessment

Associated Monuments - none recorded

Associated Finds - none recorded