Lewes, East Sussex, England
Situated 8 miles from Brighton, Lewes Castle sits on a chalk mound at the highest point of the town overlooking the valley of the River Ouse on the edge of the South Downs
Much of the castle site has been lost due the developing town, but parts of the oval bailey, two mottes, barbican and keep survive.
The castle is open daily is open daily from 10 am until 5.30pm Tuesday to Saturday and from 11am Sunday and Monday (closed Monday’s in January)
The castle site and the adjacent Barbican House are run by the Sussex Archaeological Society, together they offer visitors interactive models, a visitor pavilion at the foot of the castle with photographs and information on the history of the castle and town and a new walkway to the top of the castle with seats along the way so visitors can stop and admire the view.
The original wooden keep was rebuilt in stone by William, Earl of Surrey in 1087. The design was unusual because it had two mottes; one of only two castles with this feature remaining in the country.
Around 150 years later two semi octagonal towers and a range of other buildings including a gate tower were added to the original shell keep. The Earl of Surrey, John de Warenne was responsible for adding the barbican and on his death in 1347 the castle was left to decay.
The castle became a source of building material for local houses. By the 17th century what remained of the domestic buildings were demolished and during the 18th century the keep converted to a summer house.
Since 1846 the castle has been owned by Sussex Past another name for the Sussex Archaeological Society.
Other Castles in the Area
Bramber Castle, West Sussex
Herstmonceux Castle, East Sussex
Pevensey Castle, East Sussex