SEAWARD SUSSEX - online book

A Description of Travels in Sussex During the early 1900s

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Bramber (Brymburgh) Castle holds the same position for the valley of the Adur that Lewes does for the Ouse and Arundel for the Arun. The stronghold antedates by many centuries the great Norman with whose name it is always coupled. Some authorities claim Bramber to have been the Portus Adurni that we have already connected with Aldrington; however that may be, Roman remains have been discovered here in the form of bridge foundations and it is more than possible that a British fort stood either on or near the hillock where William de Braose improved and rebuilt the then existing castle; this, with the barony, was granted to him by the Conqueror, and the family continued for many years to be the most powerful in Mid-Sussex. After the line failed, the property went to the Mowbrays and afterwards to the Howards, in whose hands it still remains. It was through this connexion that the title of Duke of Norfolk came to the holders of Arundel. Thomas Mowbray was made first Duke in 1388, and when the line ceased and the property changed hands the title went with it. It is possible that the army of the Parliament destroyed the castle in the Civil War, though no actual records prove this. A skirmish took place here between the Royalists and their opponents and is described in a letter addressed to a certain Samuel Jeake of Rye by one of the latter:
"The enemy attempted Bramber Bridge, but our brave Carleton and Evernden with his Dragoons and our horse welcomed them with drakes and muskets, sending some eight or nine men to hell, I feare, and one trooper to Arundell prisoner, and one of Captain Evernden's Dragoons to heaven." It was the scene of a narrow escape for Charles II in his flight to Brighton. The poor remnants of the Castle are now an excuse for picnickers who are not always reverent, in point of tidiness, towards what was once a palace of the Saxon Kings.
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