William de Braose

Bramber Castle
Bramber Castle, West Sussex
Photo © Colin Smith Aug 2003

Bramber Castle was built by William de Braose, Lord of Briouze and companion of William the Conqueror around 1070 to 1073. He was the first overlord of the Rape of Bramber, a title bestowed on him by William the Conqueror and one of the most powerful barons in William's army. The first fortress was built of wood, but was soon replaced by the impregnable Bramber Castle. At the time of Domesday the site was known as 'Brembre'. The castle was built to protect the Adur estuary and the port of Steyning.

St Nicholas is one of the earliest Norman churches in Sussex and has original Norman capital carvings on the chancel arch pillars. William was responsible for the building of the church of St Nicholas, the parish church of Bramber, and a bridge over the Adur, known as the Great Bridge. The bridge was built as a means of imposing tolls on the vessels sailing to Steyning, thus providing himself and his family with a substancial income. This act, opposed by the port, led to open warfare between William and the port of Steyning.

Philip, son of William de Braose, founded the Knights Templars, which in 1312 after having been charged with practising 'black arts' was disbanded.

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