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Leeds Castle

Also known as, or recorded in historical documents as;
Leedes; Ladies Castle; Ledes; Slede

In the civil parish of Broomfield And Kingswood.
In the historic county of Kent.
Modern Authority of Kent.
1974 county of Kent.

OS Map Grid Reference: TQ83645324
Latitude 51.24876° Longitude 0.62994°

Leeds Castle has been described as a certain Timber Castle, and also as a certain Masonry Castle, and also as a certain Palace.

There are major building remains.

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

Description

Castle. Early-to-mid C12, with C13, C14, C15 and C16 alterations. Partly rebuilt 1822 by Fiennes Wykeham-Martin. Interiors remodelled first half of C20. Stone, with plain tile roofs. Motte-and-bailey castle with shell keep, moated from at least 1272. Two islands. Larger island: aligned north-east/south-west. South-west gatehouse, linked to inner barbican by stone bridge, one parapet wall extending south-east as retaining wall of south- east causeway. Watergate and Maidens Tower to south and east side. 1822 block to north-east end. All buildings linked by bastioned enceinte wall. Smaller island or Gloriette: aligned north-south, reached by bridge from 1822 block. Extended D shape, with small courtyard. Bridge to gatehouse of 2 pointed arches with ramped parapet. Gatehouse: core possibly early-to-mid C13. Altered and extended in late C13. Machicolations added late C14/early C15. Further alterations in C16 and C17. Deep gateway flanked by 2 parallel ranges of obliquely receding wings. 2 storeys, on battered plinth. Hipped roofs to wings and to south-west section of gateway: Gateway battlemented to north-east. South-west elevation has blocked loop lights, 2 pointed-arched windows and C16 two-light windows with squared hoodmoulds. Paired trefoiled lancets and windows with Y tracery to north-east. Depressed- pointed south-west arch of 2 orders with portcullis groove (similar to barbican gateways), with deep machicolations added above. Various 2-centred arched north-east doorways. Bridge and gateway paved with setts. Watergate: possibly early-to-mid C13, converted to bath in late C13; or built in late C13. Built beneath outer enceinte wall. Rectangular, vaulted, with 2 vaulted passages to moat and internal stone stairs to upper chamber. 2 low pointed arches to moat, with portcullis groove. Maidens Tower: C16, altered ?1750 and 1822. Two storeys, with third at lower level to south, on plinth. Formerly gabled. Battlemented in about 1750, or in 1822. Hipped roof. Projecting first-floor corbelled stack to rear to left, with adjacent garderobe projection. Regular 6-window front of hollow-chamfered stone mullioned windows with rounded lights and squared hoodmoulds; one 3-light towards each end, flanked by 2-light windows 4-centred arched doorway with moulded jambs and later 3-light window above, under principal window to left, and another, with rounded hoodmould, to right of centre. 1822 block: in a C16 style. Rectangular, with octagonal corner turrets. Slightly projecting central gateway, also with octagonal turrets. 2 storeys, with 3-storey gate-tower, on moulded plinth. Moulded string above ground and first floor windows, and to attic of gateway. Battlemented. Lancet loop light to each stage of tower. Irregular fenestration of 7 stone mullioned and transomed windows with hollow-chamfered round-headed lights and squared hoodmoulds; two 6-light and central 8-light to left of gateway, one 8-light to gateway, and two 6-light, one 8-light and one single light to right. 4-light mullioned window to attic of gateway. Ground- floor windows taller. 2-storey canted bay to each gable end. 4-centred arched moulded doorway with hoodmould. Ribbed door. Replaced a C17 building, probably on site of hall. Outer enceinte walls: possibly early-to-mid C13, altered in late C13; or built in late C13 (accounts 1298-9). Formerly with five D-shaped turrets or bastions, 2 to north-west, 3 to south and east side. Truncated and stone-coped, except for north-east bastion(the Ivy Tower) which has semi-conical roof. Replaced C12 inner enceinte walls with square bastions. Bridge to Gloriette: largely 1822. Two storeys, built over 2 pointed arches, with string courses, battlements and C16-style stone mullioned windows with squared hoodmoulds. Gloriette: outer walls and windows possibly C12, altered late C13, C14, C16 and 1822. 2 storeys on battered plinth. Shallow semi-circular north turret. 3-storey bell turret to north end of bridge, with bell dated 1435. String courses above ground and first floor windows. Battlements of 1822. Garderobe projection to north-east. Projecting corbelled first floor stack to each side. Ground floor windows of late C13 and early C14, including pair of 2-light transomed windows to west half of south elevation with Y tracery, moulded architraves and continuous moulded hoodmould. First floor windows and 2-storey canted bay window to west of c. 1520-30. Interior: only partly inspected. Moulded interior hoods to 3 of the south windows of Gloriette. Cellar, possibly C12, with low pointed-arched vault under 1822 block, with fragment of narrow stone spiral staircase. C13 doorway with decorative stone chamfer stops within first floor of gatehouse. Early C16 stone fireplace to former banqueting room in Gloriette. Formerly Cl7 stable fittings with arcaded wooden stalls within gatehouse range. Internal decoration of 1920s and later, including fittings brought from elsewhere: linenfold panelling to Gloriette staircase, mid C18 chimney-pieces, doorcases and panelling, chimneypiece of c. 1570 from Woodland Manor, Mere, and mid-C17 panelling from Thorpe Hall, all in 1822 block. Owned c. 1114 to mid 1260s by de Crevecoeur family. Became Royal possession c. 1272/1278, forming part of Queen's dower. Granted to Sir Anthony St. Leger of Ulcombe 1552. Bought by Sir Thomas Colepepper from Smyth family 1632. (Listed Building Report)
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Sources of information, references and further reading
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This record last updated on Saturday, July 26, 2014

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