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Canterbury Castle

Also known as, or recorded in historical documents as;

In the civil parish of Canterbury.
In the historic county of Kent.
Modern Authority of Kent.
1974 county of Kent.
Medieval County of Kent.

OS Map Grid Reference: TR14545743
Latitude 51.27561° Longitude 1.07457°

Canterbury Castle has been described as a certain Masonry Castle.

There are masonry ruins/remnants remains.

This site is a scheduled monument protected by law.
This is a Grade 1 listed building protected by law*.


Canterbury Castle was built as a royal castle circa 1085-1125. It was used as a prison from circa 1293, however by 1335 the castle was largely in ruins. The castle walls and gates were demolished in 1792 and the medieval topography was gradually destroyed. The square keep and a small portion of the bailey wall of circa 1085 are the only part still standing. However, other sections of the castle have been located by recent excavations. Canterbury Castle stood in the south of the town just within the city wall, which formed the south boundary of its inner bailey. The square Norman keep is made of bands of flint and Caen stone blocks. There were originally four arched windows to each side. The interior has two cross walls and the remains of spiral staircases in the east and south-west wall and of fireplaces of rubble set in a herringbone pattern have survived. The keep measures 87 by 75 feet externally and the walls are 9 feet thick. The other defences consisted of a rectangular curtain wall with angle turrets and a ditch, entered through two gates. The approximate alignment of the bailey defences can be seen here as a break in slope of the ground surface behind oast houses south of Gas Lane. (PastScape)

The remains of a square Norman keep. 2 storeys above ground level (it was reduced in height in 1817) built in bands of flint and Caen stone blocks. There were originally 4 arched windows to each side. The interior has 2 cross walls and the remains of spiral staircases in the east and south-west wall. Remains of fireplaces of rubble set in a herringbone pattern. The keep measures 87 by 75 feet externally and the walls are 9 ft thick. (Listed Building Report)

The relationship with the adjacent Dane John mound is a matter of some discussion which effects the dating of the castle. If the Dane John was a motte (either new built or adapted from a burial mound) then it may be thought unlikely this site dates from as early as 1085, but timber castles could be built quickly and some did have very short lives and 19 years after the Conquest could fit with the short life of some such castles.
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Sources of information, references and further reading
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*The listed building may not be the actual medieval building, but a building on the site of, or incorporating fragments of, the described site.
This record last updated 26/07/2017 09:20:06

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