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 

Minster Court

Also known as, or recorded in historical documents as;
Minster Abbey

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

OS Map Grid Reference: TR31206435
Latitude 51.33114° Longitude 1.31744°

Minster Court has been described as a probable Fortified Ecclesiastical site.

There are major building remains.

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


In AD 1027 King Canute granted the by then deserted nunnery and its lands to the Benedictine monks of St Augustine's Abbey, Canterbury. They constructed the monastic grange, which operated as the main administrative centre for their large, mainly arable farmlands then covering most of Thanet. The grange survives in the form of standing buildings, water-filled fishponds and associated below ground remains. Lying towards the centre of the south western area of protection, the main grange buildings were arranged around a square, east-west aligned courtyard. The standing buildings are Listed Grade I and incorporate the northern hall range and attached western range, along with the ruined fragment of a square tower which adjoins the southern end of the western range. Faced with rubble ragstone and flint with ashlar dressings, the buildings have been dated by their architectural details to the 11th and 12th centuries. Original features include courses of herringbone walling and some Norman doorways and windows. The main accommodation in the north and west ranges was originally on the first floor over vaulted undercrofts. The attached tower was three-storeyed, and its massively thick walls indicate that it had an at least partly defensive purpose. A large-scale programme of alteration and renewal was carried out for Abbott Thomas Hunden in 1413, and the buildings underwent subsequent phases of alteration during the 17th, 19th and 20th centuries. (Scheduling Report)

The court-lodge, formerly a part of the nunnery, was, after the dissolution of it, made use of as a farmhouse, in which some of the monks of St. Augustine resided, to manage the estate of it, which they kept in their own hands. On the north side of it, which seems to have been the front or entrance, is a handsome stone portal, on the top of which, in the middle, within a circle, are the arms of the abbey of St. Augustine, viz. Sable, a cross, argent. At a small distance from it stood antiently a very large barn, sufficient to hold the corn growing on all the demesnes, being in length 352 feet, and in breadth 47 feet, and the height of the walls 12 feet, with a roof of chesnut. When the estate was divided, 154 feet in length of this building was carried to Sevenscore farm, where it was burnt, by an accident unknown in 1700, and the remaining part here was burnt by lightning afterwards. On the south side of the house stood a chapel, said to have been built by St. Eadburga, the third abbess here. In it the body of St. Mildred is said to have been placed by her, or rather translated from the other monastery. Some of the walls and foundations of this chapel were remaining within the memory of some not long since deceased, but it is now so entirely demolished, that there is nothing to be seen of it, excepting a small part of the tower, and of the stairs leading up into it. Just by these ruins of the tower is a small piece of ground, in which lately in digging for mould, several human bones were dug up. There is a view of the remains of this nunnery in Lewis's Thanet. (Hasted)

Renn gives no hint as to why he considers this to be a Norman castle, but presumably for similar reasons as to the statement in the scheduling report. The overlap between high status and 'military' architectural features in the Norman period was considerable and this tower a fine example. This was a manorial centre and of much greater status than most Granges suggesting the site had other functions, possibly as an Abbots palace.
Links to archaeological and architectural databases, mapping and other online resources

Data >
PastScape   County HER   Scheduling   Listing   I. O. E.
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.
*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

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