Outer Bailey and Priory

The Outer Bailey in modern times contains a vast expanse of 9 acres of greenery, with the inner bailey and priory nestled in opposite corners, but in past times this is where the soldiers, prisoners and common folk would have been stationed, worked, and lived (the inner bailey was for royalty or those with authority).

Many reconstructive drawings show activity within the walls of the fort – particularly more basic forms of housing, agriculture, and even suggestions of the house of a Thegn (Anglo Saxon Warrior). Such theories are taken from artefacts found during the massive archaeological surveys that took place in the 1960’s and 1970’s.
- The 12th century Priory. (Click to Enlarge). - The view towards the east (middle) and south (right) of the outer bailey, as seen from the top of the keep. (Click to Enlarge).

The church was built “in the period following 1133 as the church of a small Augustinian priory” (Cunliffe, 1967, p.21). The monks only used the church for around twenty years before they moved to another site in Southwick, on the north side of Portsdown Hill. Very little else is known about the church, as the cemetery itself was constructed in more recent times and has eliminated a lot of the evidence of prior buildings in the South-East quadrant of the Outer Bailey.

The original Roman walls were initially some five feet thick and twenty feet high, and are of mostly flint construction. The walls themselves feature not only defensive buildings but also many other features such as windows (from varying periods), latrine outlets, and artillery fortification platforms. Much of the original wall has been quarried away over a large period of time, presumably to build other buildings within the castle itself.

No other buildings have survived in the outer bailey, and indeed as Cunliffe tells us, “the Norden Survey compiled in 1609 shows that the area of the outer bailey was empty by the beginning of the seventeenth century” (1977, p.28).

Please click here to view information on the fortifications, which surround the Outer Bailey of the fort.