Amberley Castle

Location: Amberley, West Sussex   Map

Official site of Amberley Castle Hotel


Amberley Castle is allegedly haunted medieval citadel in the village of Amberley, West Sussex of United Kingdom. It was erected in 12th century as a manor house. Later in 1377 it was fortified and increased to became a formidable castle. Under orders of bishops of Chichester Amberley Castle high defensive curtain wall was added along with a hall, gateway and several tower. Today it is open to the public as a hotel.



The land on which the castle stands belonged to the Bishops of Chichester. The first documented building at this site was a wooden lodge built in 1103 by Bishop Ralph de Luffa. This was demolished in 1140 by Bishop Seffried I and replaced by a finer stone hall, to which Bishop Seffried II had an east wing added in 1200. A larger Great Hall was added by Bishop John Langton between 1305 and 1307 and the estate became the summer palace of the Bishops of Chichester.

Bishop William Reade had the Great Hall torn down and replaced it with a nicer one. In 1377 he asked for the fortification of the estate, got permission and added the gatehouse with a dungeon. Twelve meter high walls were built around the entire property. Bishop Robert Sherborne, who died in 1536, was the last bishop of Chichester to use the castle himself. It was then given to a number of vassals.

During the English Civil War, Royalist liege lord Oliver Cromwell ordered his general William Waller to attack the castle. As a result, the walls were dragged down to a height of six meters and the knight's hall was destroyed. The castle was sold to a Mr Butler but restored to the Bishop of Chichester after the restoration of the monarchy in 1660. The Butlers remained vassals, followed by the Briscoes.

In 1872 the castle was sold to Lord Zouche, who used it as a hunting lodge and sold it on to Henry Fitzalan-Howard, 15th Duke of Norfolk in 1893. Known as the 'Building Duke', the 15th Duke renovated the castle, modernized Arundel Castle and built Arundel Cathedral. In 1926 the castle passed into the hands of the Emmett family, in 1982 by Hollis Baker, in 1987 by an American family and in 1988 by Joy and Martin Cummings, who converted it into a restaurant. From 2004 to 2011 the castle belonged to Relais & Ch√Ęteau.

The heavily modified castle is now (2014) owned by Andrew and Christina Brownsword and is a hotel of the Brownsword Hotel Group.


Haunting in Amberley Castle Hotel

Local legend claim that Amberley Castle Hotel is a haunted place. These stories claim that bishop of Chichester seduced a poor peasant girl named Emily who worked at the kitchen of the Amberley Castle. Poor girl died either from a disease or by taking her own life depending on a version of the story. Regardless of the way she died many people claim to have seen her sobbing figure appear in the halls of the fortress. These sightings are particularly common around a former medieval kitchen where she used to work.