The interior of Canterbury Castle
Location within Kent
|Town or city||Canterbury, Kent|
Canterbury Castle was one of the three original Royal castles of Kent (the other two being Rochester Castle and Dover Castle). They were all built soon after the Battle of Hastings, on the main Roman road from Dover to London. This was the route taken by William the Conqueror in October 1066, and they were built originally as motte-and-bailey castles to guard this important route.
A wooden motte and bailey castle was erected in 1066 - its motte may be the mound which is still visible in the Dane John gardens near the stone castle (which may in turn be a Roman burial mound), with Dane John deriving from donjon.
The great stone keep was largely constructed in the reign of Henry I as one of three Royal castles in Kent. This massive structure, which has dimensions of about 98 by 85 feet externally at the base, was originally probably at least 80 feet high. It is mainly made of flint and sandstone rubble. By the 13th century the castle had become the county gaol. It was given up to the invading French in the First Barons' War. In 1380 a new gate was built.
By the 19th century it had been obtained by a gas company and used as a storage centre for gas for many years, during which time the top floor was destroyed.
The Castle is now owned by the local authority and is open to the public all year round and is now one of the biggest tourist attractions in Canterbury, after the Cathedral.
Images of Canterbury Castle
- Canterbury Trust - Canterbury Castle[permanent dead link]
- Norman Castle at Canterbury Castle
- Archaeological and historical sources, reconstructions