Built by William de Warenne, one of William the Conqueror's most distinguished followers, Lewes castle is one of only two castles in England with two mottes.
One was on high ground overlooking the River Ouse and the second more imposing one linked by a ditch and fence to the town wall. Part of the shell keep built on the second mound survives and dates from about 1080. A magnificent barbican was added in the 14th century and today this is the best preserved part of the castle.
In 1347, as John de Warenne, 8th Earl of Surrey had no legitimate heir, the castle became untenanted as part of the property of the earls of Arundel.
The castle was damaged in a riot of 1382 and thereafter it was plundered as a source of building material. In 1620 much of it was pulled down and the flints sold off by the load.
In 1733 the property was granted to Thomas Friend and in 1774 the keep was converted into a summer house.
In the 20th century the keep became property of the Sussex Archeological Society.
All year: 10:00-17:30pm (or dusk if earlier). Sun, Mon and bank holidays opens at 11:00. Closed Mon in Jan.
Tel: 01273 486290 Lewes Castle Website