Deal Castle

Deal Castle, Kent - Photo ©
Philip Halling, 18 July 2009

Deal Castle, Kent - Photo ©
Philip Halling, 18 July 2009

Deal Castle is located in Deal, Kent, England, between Walmer Castle and the now lost Sandown Castle.



It is one of the most impressive of the Device Forts or Henrician Castles built by Henry VIII between 1539 and 1540 as an artillery fortress to counter the threat of invasion from Catholic France and Spain. It is shaped like a Tudor rose, being perfectly symmetrical, with a low, circular keep at its centre. Around the circumference of the keep are six bastions, with a further series of six bastions in the curtain wall, one of which serves as the gatehouse. All the outer walls of the castle and bastions are rounded to both provide strength and to deflect shot more efficiently than flat walls. Over 200 cannon and gun ports were set within the walls and the entire structure was completely surrounded by a very deep, wide moat.

Anne of Cleves

According to various sources, Anne of Cleves stayed at Deal following her long voyage from Europe. From Deal, Anne left for London and her fateful meeting with King Henry where she would be forever labelled the Flanders Mare.

Later life

In 1648, during the Civil War, Deal Castle was besieged but after that it never engaged in any further military action. Fortified during the Napoleonic Wars, many alterations were made during the 18th and 19th centuries. The Governor's lodgings were rebuilt at the beginning of the 19th century, only to be destroyed again in 1941 by German bombs in the Second World War. It was the official residence of the Captain of the Cinque Ports, until 1951 and is now owned by English Heritage.


Since it was first built, Deal Castle has had a Captain. Until the early 1700s, the captain commanded the garrison. However, since that time the title has become purely honorary.

Year Captain
1540 Thomas Wingfield
1551 Thomas Boys
1569 John Baker
1572 Peter Hammond
1599 Matthew Bredgate
1611 Erasmus Finch
1611 William Byng
1625 Thomas Pulnetby
1643 William Batten
1648 Thomas Rainsborough
1648 Captain Wyne
1648 Re. Maj. Samuel Kemm
1648 Col. Nathaniel Rich
1653 Samuel Taverner
1660 William Byng
1661 Col. Silius Titus
1671 Capt. Francis Digby
1672 Francis, Lord Hawley
1673 Sir John Berry, Bt.
1690 Lt. Col. Sir John Granville
1690 Sir Francis Wheeler, Kt.
1745 John Norris
1777 Francis Godolphin Osborne, Marquis of Carmarthen
1786 George Augustus, 9th Lord North
1802 Robert Smith, 1st Baron Carrington
1838 William Wellesley-Pole, Lord Maryborough
1843 James Andrew Brown Ramsey, Earl of Dulhousie
1847 Richard Charles Francis Meade, Earl of Clanwilliam
1879 John Robert Townshend, Earl of Sydney
1890 Farbor Herschell, Baron
1899 Rt. Hon. Lord George Francis Hamilton, P.C.
1923 Field Marshal, The Earl of Ypres, John French
1925 Field Marshal, Lord Allenby
1927 Rufus Isaacs, Marquis of Reading
1934 Field Marshall, Lord Birdwood
1951 Interregnum
1972 General Sir Norman Tailyour, K.C.B., D.S.O.
1980 Maj. Gen. Ian Harrison
2009 Maj. Gen. G S Robison, and henceforth tied to the appointment of Commandant General Royal Marines


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