Originally defending an important port on the River Adur, William De Braose constructed the motte and bailey castle at Bramber c1070, along with the Norman church. Except for a period of confiscation during the reign of King John, Bramber Castle remained in the ownership of the De Braose family until the line died out in 1324.
Despite very little surviving, the basic layout of some areas of Bramber Castle can still be identified. The most prominent feature is a large, rugged piece of masonry, all that remains of the Gatehouse tower. Still standing to almost its full height, a single window, and some floor joist holes, are clearly visible within the structure. Beyond the Gatehouse are the existing foundations of what is believed to have been living quarters and a guardhouse. The dressed pillars of an entrance can be made out, but the bulk of the remaining walls now consist of only the basic rough stone infil, the better quality dressing stone having long since been quarried away for use elsewhere. Lying to the north of the gatehouse is the original castle motte, its earthen mound rising to a height of some 30ft (10m). A short distance away is a section of the curtain wall and, again, this survives to a reasonable height, up to 10ft (3m) in places.
Little is known of Bramber Castle's history and even records kept during the Civil War only mention a 'skirmish' in the village c1642. The church suffered quite badly as a result of the Cromwellian guns being set up in the transepts, where they afforded a better vantage point to fire on Bramber Castle.
Although there is not much to see among the fragmentary ruins, the site does have a wonderful setting, and is obviously enjoyed by the local population around this quiet Sussex village. The lawned areas in the bailey are well maintained, mature trees have transformed the motte into a pleasant shady glade, and the moat now provides a perfect path around the castle perimeter from which to view the site.