Canterbury Castle


Canterbury Castle, Kent
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Canterbury Castle - Photo ©
Anne Rutterford,
12 November 2005

Canterbury Castle, Kent
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Canterbury Castle is a Norman Castle in Canterbury, Kent, England. It is five minutes walk from Canterbury East Station and main bus station around City Wall.

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.

Norman era

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.

Stone castle

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 street to the north of the ruins is called Gas Street.

Tourist attraction

The Castle is now owned by the local authority and is open to the public all year round.

Further reading

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