The comprehensive gazetteer and bibliography of the medieval castles, fortifications and palaces of England, Wales, the Islands.
The listings
Other Info
Print Page 
Next Record 
Previous Record 
Back to list 

Ightham Court

Also known as, or recorded in historical documents as;
The Wilderness

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

OS Map Grid Reference: TQ59545767
Latitude 51.29581° Longitude 0.28691°

Ightham Court has been described as a Timber Castle but is rejected as such, and also as a probable Fortified Manor House.

There are earthwork remains.


Two large shallow dome-shaped mounds stand within the grounds, and to the N.E. of Ightham Court. "A", at TQ 59545767, is sub-circular in plan, has a maximum height of 2.0 metres, and is enclosed by a ditch, formerly waterfilled but now dry, which is crossed by causeways on the N. and S.W. sides. There is a wide berm except on the S. side. On top of the mound are the remains of a probably 18th century ice house. "B", at TQ 5960 5777, is D-shaped in plan and 1.5 metres in height; it is encircled by a wide berm and a water-filled ditch; on its top is an 18th century summerhouse. Harrison supposed the features to be the site of the earlier house, the present one dating from 1575. But Harris gives a plan of Ightham Court which shows the moated mounds as ornamental features embodied within the formal layout of the grounds. Between them, he shows a rectangular fish pond with two small breeding stew ponds adjoining (probably temp. Elizabeth I and contemporary with the house). These have degenerated into an irregular-shaped pond, centred at TQ 5960 5770. Mound "B" was dug into in the 1920's by Harrison and others, but only late Medieval sherds were found. The mounds, though ornamental features since the early 18th century may not have been constructed as such and are possibly of earlier date. (PastScape ref. F1 ASP 05-OCT-64)

Ightham: The Court. In the piece of woodland known as the Wilderness, on the north of the manor house, are remains of earthworks. The souther is a circular work of about 200ft. diameter, a deep dry fosse surrounding a mount raised some 16ft. above the present level of the fosse, which was originally considerably deeper and filled with water. This earthwork was probably the site of the first manorial hold. To the north-east is a large spring-fed pond, while immediately beyond the latter is a horseshoe-shaped water-girt enclosure of doubtful date and purpose. It may represent a guarded spot for the shelter of stores and cattle in the days of early settlement in the Kentish woodlands, but there is nothing tangible to prove that the work is not due to more modern fancy on the part of an owner of the estate. (PastScape ref. English Heritage Register of parks and gardens of special historic interest in England Kent Part 24)

Moated house constructed in 1575, with additions carried out in 1800. Earthworks in the grounds may relate to earlier moats or more likely ornamental landscape features. There are also the remains of C18 icehouse and summerhouse. Alleged castle site rejected by King as only a moat, presumably this relates to the earlier moats or garden earthworks which are called 'mounds' on the OS map.
Links to archaeological and architectural databases, mapping and other online resources

Data >
PastScape   County HER            
Maps >
Streetmap   NLS maps   Where's the path   Old-Maps      
Data/Maps > 
Magic   V. O. B.   Geology   LiDAR   Open Domesday  
Air Photos > 
Bing Maps   Google Maps   Getmapping   ZoomEarth      
Photos >
CastleFacts   Geograph   Flickr   Panoramio      

Sources of information, references and further reading
Most of the sites or buildings recorded in this web site are NOT open to the public and permission to visit a site must always be sought from the landowner or tenant.
It is an offence to disturb a Scheduled Monument without consent. It is a destruction of everyone's heritage to remove archaeological evidence from ANY site without proper recording and reporting.
Don't use metal detectors on historic sites without authorisation.
The information on this web page may be derived from information compiled by and/or copyright of Historic England, County Historic Environment Records and other individuals and organisations. It may also contain information licensed under the Open Government Licence. All the sources given should be consulted to identify the original copyright holder and permission obtained from them before use of the information on this site for commercial purposes.
The author and compiler of Gatehouse does not receive any income from the site and funds it himself. The information within this site is provided freely for educational purposes only.
The bibliography owes much to various bibliographies produced by John Kenyon for the Council for British Archaeology, the Castle Studies Group and others.
Suggestions for finding online and/or hard copies of bibliographical sources can be seen at this link.
Minor archaeological investigations, such as watching brief reports, and some other 'grey' literature is most likely to be held by H.E.R.s but is often poorly referenced and is unlikely to be recorded here, or elsewhere, but some suggestions can be found here.
The possible site or monument is represented on maps as a point location. This is a guide only. It should be noted that OS grid references defines an area, not a point location. In practice this means the actual center of the site or monument may often, but not always, be to the North East of the point shown. Locations derived from OS grid references and from latitude longitiude may differ by a small distance.
Further information on mapping and location can be seen at this link.
Please help to make this as useful a resource as possible by contacting Gatehouse if you see errors, can add information or have suggestions for improvements in functality and design.
Help is acknowledged.
This record last updated 26/07/2017 09:19:31

Home | Books | Links | Fortifications and Castles | Other Information | Help | Downloads | Author Information | Contact