Description: Amberley Castle
Date Listed: 15 March 1955
English Heritage Building ID: 298221
OS Grid Reference: TQ0271913192
OS Grid Coordinates: 502719, 113192
Latitude/Longitude: 50.9091, -0.5404
This building is also a scheduled monument.
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AMBERLEY CHURCH STREET
1. (south side)
TQ 0213 21/624 15.3.55
Mainly C14, altered in the C16 and 1927 but also incorporating regains of an
earlier stone manor house of the Bishops of Chichester dating from 1140, 1200
and 1330 in the south-east corner of the castle. In 1377, Bishop William Rede
(1368-1385) obtained a licence to crenellate and erected the present building
between that date and at least 1382.
The building consists of a parallelogram with walls of ashlar 42 ft high, which
on the north and west sides stand upon sand rock between 10 and 20 ft high.
In the angles of the parallelogram were square towers not projecting, of which
only those in the north-west and south-east angles survive, the latter dating
more or less entirely from before Bishop Rede's rebuilding. In the centre
of the north wall is a small rectangular projection, which was used for garderobes,
and to the east of this a large rectangular projection which was the kitchen.
In the centre of the south wall are 2 semi-circular towers 58 ft high flanking
the gateway with castellated parapets over them. The gateway comprises a four-centred
carriage arch with chamfered jambs and a portcullis groove. On the inner side
buttresses flank the arch. Above is a room with a castellated parapet over
it. Outside the south gate and walls of the Castle is a dry moat which never
had a draw-bridge. The south walls have no ws. except loop ws. in the towers
flanking the gate. In the north wall are cross-shaped loop ws. and 2 pointed
ws. of 2 trefoil-headed lights each; also doorways, fireplaces and in some
places remains of the crenellation with a parapet walk behind it. To the south
of the projecting kitchen are remains of William Rede's Great Ball with 4 pointed
archways. In the north-west corner are the remains of the angle tower of 3
s. The occupied parts of the Castle have been much adapted by Bishop Sherburn
in the C16 and at various dates since including the present century. They
are partly of stone and partly of timber-framing with some of the surface plastered.
Tiled roof. Casement ws. To the east of the gateway is a range of 2 s. and
3 ws. with 2 gables, which is a cottage, and beyond this a modern portion on
the possible site of the Chapel. The exterior of the main portion of the house
which projects to the north-west from the south-east corner has been modernised
in 1927 and has this date on the rwh. The interior of the room known as the
Queen's Room contains paintings of Cassandra and Tomyris and other figures,
dating from Bishop Sherburn's time, which have been attributed to Lambert Bernardi
or Theodore Bernardi of Amsterdam, who came to England in 1519 and is also
said to have executed 2 large paintings for Chichester Cathedral. The main
staircase dates from the mid C17. The uninhabited portions are scheduled
as an Ancient Monument. The last Bishop of Chichester to occupy the building
was Bishop Sherburn (1508-1536) who also carried out a good many alterations
and adaptations. After Bishop Sherburn's time the Castle was let. In 1643
it was dismantled by General Waller on account of the Royalist sympathies of
the then tenant. Articles by W D Peckham in the Sussex Archaeological Society's
Collections, Vol 62, pages 29-63 and Vol 69, page 226 and by G A Clarkson in
Vol 11, pages 185-239.
Listing NGR: TQ0274913173
Source: English Heritage
Listed building text is © Crown Copyright. Reproduced under licence.