Fairies of Pulborough castle

JPCT 141013 Site of castle in Pulborough on Heritage at Risk list. Cllr John Wallace, Cllr Martin Dale and his mother Lorraine Dale. Photo by Derek Martin ENGPPP00320131016093505

JPCT 141013 Site of castle in Pulborough on Heritage at Risk list. Cllr John Wallace, Cllr Martin Dale and his mother Lorraine Dale. Photo by Derek Martin ENGPPP00320131016093505

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A Pulborough landmark that is rich in history, beauty and fairy folklore has been highlighted as the ideal tourist spot by a local historian.

Former Pulborough parish councillor Martin Dale has been fascinated by the mystery that surrounds the Motte and Bailey Castle in Pulborough, ever since he first came across it during his archaeology studies at college.

Located just off Stopham Road, the Norman fortification was unchanged after the Norman period of use, and therefore remains in its original form – a rare sight.

Martin, who can see the castle from his home, said: “It is an incredibly beautiful place to visit, especially at this time of year when all the flowers are out.”

The earthwork mound is surrounded by a dry ditch and the bailey platform extends out to the south.

The bailey is where the main settlement was located, which comprised houses, blacksmiths and stables.

“On top of the mound would have stood a wooden tower known as a keep, which acted as both a watch tower and a secure garrison,” he said.

But people are not the only visitors to the castle, according to folklore fairies also frequent the site.

Martin said fairies are historically known to be quite sinister characters and seek revenge if someone were to trespass onto their territory.

“The fairies would sneak into the home of the trespasser where they would steal their child and replace it with a fairy child.

“There are also myths about buried treasure. It is believed that the castle is guarded by some supernatural beast that dwells within the mound itself.”

Allegedly, a previous Rector was known to go sneaking off to the castle at night with a lamp and shovel.

Martin said the castle is what originally gave Pulborough its name. The Domesday Book lists the village as Poleberge, meaning the fort by the pool or water.

“Whilst there were a number of motte and bailey castles built, there are not too many that still survive in such a condition today.

“So we are very lucky in Pulborough to have this quite literally in our backyard.”

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