The castle at Lewes is unusual in having two mottes, one on either side
of the bailey. Lincoln
castle also has two mottes, but these are closer
together. Possibly this denotes a twin lordship, with a motte
for each lord. Certainly such twin mottes seem to be early
Both mottes and the bailey in between support some surviving Norman
walling and vaults. The Norman castle was built for William
Warenne shortly after the Norman Conquest of 1066. The
bailey, some 440 feet by 330, had a continuous flint wall with towers
at intervals and a rectangular gatehouse, of which only the E wall
survives. This was built of herringbone masonry - a style
that was popular from the Roman era until the Norman age.
That the remaining towers are internal to the curtain wall suggests an
early date for their construction. Angular towers were added
to the shell keep on the SW motte and in the 14th century the
impressive round-turreted outer entrance, or barbican, was built to
strengthen the early rectangular gatehouse.
Excavations on the SW motte in 1985-88 revealed a hall, kitchen and
chapel set around the shell keep. There are still fragmentary
remains of the town walls built after a murage grant of 1266.
Similar shell keeps still exist at Totnes, Tremarton, Restormal, Windsor, Berkeley, Lincoln and to a lesser degree, Wigmore castles.
For more detailed descriptions of the castle see British History
Paul Martin Remfry