A lost medieval manor house whose location has puzzled historians for decades may have been discovered.

Archaeologists have long speculated the uneven surface of a field near Norman St Wulfran's Church, Ovingdean, Brighton, hid the remains of the village's old manor house.

Now, an exploratory dig by the Brighton and Hove Archaeological Society has unearthed signs of 13th Century flint walls, a courtyard and what is believed to be a well.

The society's John Funnell said: "There was a manor at Ovingdean. We don't know where it was and we can't prove it but this may be the location."

A survey using electronic sensors five years ago found what appeared to be buried walls and other features but it was not until a series of test trenches were dug this spring that archaeologists hit the jackpot.

Mr Funnell said: "We have got some walls, possibly a well, pots and post holes. It is an assessment but it is quite an important find. It has confirmed there was something here and it does date from that period."

The Domesday Book makes no reference to any buildings at Ovingdean, saying only the village had been given to a man named Godfrey Pierpoint, who crossed the Channel with William the Conqueror.

Apart from the Norman church, one of the only signs of human activity in the village for the next 400 years is evidence of medieval farming on the fields sloping down to the sea.

The present Ovingdean Grange is thought to date from the late 15th Century but where its predecessor stood is a blank.

Local historian John Davies said: "There are no written records about a house here until a much later date. It is a mystery but it is certainly rather exciting. We would like it to be the lost manor house."

Government heritage watchdogs are to visit the site to start investigating whether the lost manor should be protected.