Herstmonseux Castle, Sussex
Wartling Road, Hailsham
Herstmonseux Castle was originally the location of a manor house until it was replaced in the 15th century by a brick built castle. Today this unusual and beautiful castle is among one of the oldest and rarest brick built buildings in England.
The castlesits at the mouth of a small valley facing south over the Pevensey Levels towards the sea. During the Roman period through to the Norman invasion, these marshes meant the sea flooded all the way up to the the site of the castle. Over time the marshes silted up and was accelerated by the draining of the marshes.
One of William The Conqueror's closest supporters granted the tenancy of the manor at Herst to a man named 'Wilbert'.
By the end of the twelfth century, the family at the manor house at Herst had acquired considerable status. The lady Idonea de Herst married a Norman nobleman named Ingelram de Monceux. The manor began to be called the "Herst of the Monceux", a name that eventually became Herstmonceux.
Despite moat, battlements, and turrets, the castle is more of a defensible country home rather than a true castle.
~ History ~
1441 ~ Flemish builders begin the construction of a palatial castle for Sir Roger Fiennes, treasurer to King Henry VI.
Sir Roger had been knighted By King Henry V and had fought beside him at the Battle of Agincourt twenty-six years earlier.
The spoils of the hundred years war paid for the £3,800 construction costs.
1449 ~ Sir Ralph dies. Construction contines under his son, Lord Dacre.
1541 ~ Sir Thomas Fiennes, Lord Dacre, is tried for murder and robbery of the King's deer after his poaching exploits on a neighbours estated results in the death of a gamekeeper. He is convicted andhanged as a commoner. His estate is temporarily confiscated by King Henry VIII,
1708 ~ The Fiennes family are forced to sell Herstmonseux. George Naylor, a London Lawyer purchases the estate.
1777 ~ Following the demolishing of the castle's interior on the insistance of Robert Hare-Naylor's second wife, Henrietta Henckell, the remainder of the castle is dismantled, leaving just the exterior walls standing as a picturesque ruin.