Tonbridge Castle

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Tonbridge Castle
Kent, England
TonbridgeCastle0021.JPG
Tonbridge Castle Gatehouse and the mansion (from the south)
Tonbridge Castle is located in Kent
Tonbridge Castle
Tonbridge Castle
Coordinates grid reference TQ58854666
Type Motte and bailey, with later shell keep
Site information
Owner Tonbridge and Malling Borough Council
Open to
the public
Yes
Condition The motte and gatehouse survive
Site history
Materials Stone
Battles/wars De Clare rebellion, 1088

Tonbridge Castle is situated in the town of the same name, Kent, England.

Early history[edit]

Reconstruction of Tonbridge Castle in the 13th century

Following the Norman Conquest, Richard Fitz Gilbert was granted land in Kent to guard the crossing of the River Medway. He erected a simple Motte-and-bailey castle on the site. To dig the moat and erect the motte 50,000 tonnes of earth were moved. In 1088, the de Clare family (descendents of Fitz Gilbert) rebelled against King William II. His army besieged the castle. After holding for two days the castle fell and as punishment the king had both the castle and the town of Tonbridge burnt to the ground. Before 1100, the de Clares replaced the wooden castle with a stone shell keep. This was reinforced during the thirteenth century, and in 1295 a stone wall was built around the town.[1]

The twin towered gatehouse was built by Richard de Clare, sixth Earl of Hertford or his son Gilbert.[2] Construction of the gatehouse took 30 years, being completed in 1260.[3] The gatehouse shares many similarities with the ones at Caerphilly Castle built by Gilbert in 1268-1271. The great seal of England was temporarily kept here during one of Edward's visits to France.[2]

The castle was not lived in between 1521 and the late 18th century, except for a short period during the civil war.[4] The mansion was added in 1793. Both castle and mansion are Grade I listed buildings.[3]

Modern history[edit]

The motte, which was surmounted by a wooden keep and later a twin walled shell keep.

The site was purchased by the local council in 1900, who now use the mansion as offices, and making the grounds a public park.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Tonbridge Historical Society, The Castle, retrieved January 2008 
  2. ^ a b Tonbridge Historical Society, The Arms of Tonbridge, retrieved January 2008 
  3. ^ a b TONBRIDGE CASTLE, TONBRIDGE, TONBRIDGE AND MALLING, KENT, English Heritage, retrieved 2008-11-14 
  4. ^ Neve, Arthur H. (1933), The Tonbridge of Yesterday, Tonbridge Free Press 

External links[edit]