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Leybourne Castle

Also known as, or recorded in historical documents as;
Layborne; Leyborne

In the civil parish of Leybourne.
In the historic county of Kent.
Modern Authority of Kent.
1974 county of Kent.

OS Map Grid Reference: TQ68855891
Latitude 51.30427° Longitude 0.42090°

Leybourne 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 2* listed building protected by law*.

Description

Leybourne Castle survives comparatively well despite the later construction of a house within the defences. Large areas of the ward and surrounding moat have remained undisturbed and contain both archaeological remains and environmental evidence. These will provide an insight into the construction of the castle as well as the economy and way of life of the inhabitants of a 13th century enclosure castle. The monument includes an enclosure castle situated on a gentle east facing slope in an area of Greensand. The castle has ruined upstanding remains of medieval masonry dating from about 1300, surrounded by a partially infilled circular moat. The enclosed central area of the castle measures c.48m in diameter and contains the remains of the enclosing wall, which constituted the castle's main defence, with the gateway entrance on the north east side. The gatehouse is formed by two drum towers which survive to the first floor level. These incorporate a number of features including arrow-loops, external portcullis grooves and a water chute above the entrance way. Within the eastern tower is a well. On the south eastern edge of the enclosed area are the remains of a mural tower which survives up to c.7m high and appears to be contemporary with the gatehouse. On the west side of the interior inside the enclosing wall is a rectangular building 11m north-south by 6m east-west, thought to be a chapel. Although the building may incorporate some of the earlier construction of the castle, it is believed to relate to the private house which was built within the castle ruins during the 16th century. Surrounding the central area is a moat, visible to the north, west and south as an earthwork up to 15m wide and 1m deep. To the east the moat has become infilled and is no longer visible from ground level, surviving as a buried feature. An entrance causeway crosses the moat to the north east. There is little documentary evidence which records the earliest history of Leybourne Castle but it has been suggested that the castle was originally Norman, dating to the 11th or 12th century. The majority of the upstanding masonry, however, dates to the early 14th century and the gateway was built during the reign of Edward III. The 16th century house, erected in the ruins of the castle, remained until 1930 when the present house was built along the eastern line of the castle wall. Leybourne Castle ruins are Listed Grade II-star, but are nevertheless included in the scheduling except where incorporated into the modern house. (Scheduling Report)

Castle gateway ruin, outbuilding and house. Early C14 and 1925-26. House related to ruins by Walter Godfrey in free Cotswold vernacular style. GATEWAY: random rubble stone. Two broad semicircular bastions with a triple-chamfered depressed arch between with beginnings of opening area. Loop-holes on ground floor with widish square windows above. Portcullis groove and beginnings of rib-vault oriel cut in archway. Internally, evidence of upper floors, and vaulted cupboard in addition to west bastion. Low wall, probably reconstructed in right-angle to west and south, connecting with 2-storey random rubble gabled outbuilding, probably also C14 with arched doorway in north gable end and two- light window arch. HOUSE: Attached to east bastion and stretching to south East front: Random rubble with stone tiled roof, and hipped gable to left arch shallow projection. Ridge stack to left and stack to right behind ridge, both very tall. 2 storeys; 3 bays, irregular with shallow, parapeted, canted bays at each end. Large 10-light window on ground floor, off-centre to right with 5-light window above. Large projecting gabled chimney breast to left with door- way, further to left. South side: Hipped to right with centre valley and gabled end to left with tall projecting stack. 2 storeys; 2 windows to right, 12-light window below. North front: 2 storeys; irregular fenestration of 5 windows on 1st floor, and 1 for right on ground floor with round-arched doorway to left with stone surround and brick arch between. Interior: ground floor rooms panelled. (Listed Building Report)
Links to archaeological and architectural databases, mapping and other online resources

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Sources of information, references and further reading
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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.
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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 on Sunday, October 19, 2014

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