Heritage

Lewes Castle, Lewes

Sat atop an artificial mound, Lewes Castle was originally built a thousand years ago after the Norman invasion. Dominating the landscape, the castle helped to sow control and instil a fear and respect for the new rulers.

Originally an earth and timber construction, in 1100 the motte and bailey castle was converted to stone and a second motte added. Throughout its early life, Lewes Castle experienced a tumultuous existence. Once home to a number of intriguing characters, including Norman barons, royal troops and a treasonous Earl, the latter half of the millennium saw the castle brought into semi-retirement.

During the fifteenth century the castle’s social and political significance dwindled to the point where it was mostly used as a warehouse for wool. Falling into ruin, by the seventeenth century stone was being pilfered from the site and it wasn’t until 200 hundred years or so later that the castle began to be restored once more.

Although the views have indeed changed, if you climb to the top of the mound today you can’t fail to be swept away by the romance of the castle. Rewarded with excellent views over Lewes and the surrounding countryside, visitors can rest a while to take in the scenery.

The daily opening hours allow plenty of opportunity to take in the castle time and time again. In the neighbouring Barbican House you will find the Museum of Sussex Archaeology, and there is a mini-cinema that plays out Lewe’s colourful history. Also home to a gift shop and bookshop selling both new and second-hand books, you will be able to take a piece of Lewes home with you and read all about the castle from the comfort of your sofa.

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Lewes Castle, Bull House, 92 High St, Lewes BN7 1XH | 01273 486290 | www.sussexpast.co.uk/properties-to-discover/lewes-castle

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