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 

Sandgate Castle

Also known as, or recorded in historical documents as;
Sandegate; Folston

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

OS Map Grid Reference: TR209352
Latitude 51.07353° Longitude 1.14882°

Sandgate Castle has been described as a Masonry Castle although is doubtful that it was such, and also as a certain Artillery Fort.

There are masonry ruins/remnants remains.

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


Sandgate Castle was originally built as an artillery castle in 1539-1540 by Henry VIII, as part of his chain of coastal defences in response to the threat of invasion. It was built to defend a vulnerable stretch of coastline and due to its proximity to the French coast the site has been constantly defended and refortified. In 1715-1716 the keep was re-roofed and the seaward battery rebuilt following damage by the spring tides. In 1805-6, during the Napoleonic wars, a major series of alterations were carried out on the castle to convert it into a gun-fort or tower. The tops of the original defensive towers were removed and the central tower converted into a Martello style tower mounting a coastal battery. In the late 1850s a new magazine was built and alterations made to the existing gun emplacements. Pillboxes were constructed at the castle during the Second World War and in the 1950s most of the outer wall on the south side was destroyed by coastal erosion. By 1893, the castle had become a private house and was restored in 1975 under the supervision of the Department of Environment. Little remains of the original Henrician castle due to the subsequent remodelling that took place but elements are incorporated into the later fortifications. It originally comprised of a large three-storey central tower or keep which was surrounded by two concentric curtain walls. The inner curtain wall had three round towers and the outer curtain wall had a three-storey gatehouse to the north and a rectangular building or "barbican" connecting it to the central tower. All these buildings were originally roofed, and the castle was designed so that it rose progressively from the outside in to provide three or four tiers of heavy guns. These were positioned behind 65 embrasures or gun-ports and there were also gun-loops in the lower levels of the towers and buildings to provide flanking fire. (PastScape)

Sandgate is another of the block-house forts built by Henry VIII., on the site, as is supposed, of a more ancient edifice. It is much on the same plan as the forts of Sandown and Walmer, but has been entirely altered on the seaward face, and now is somewhat in the shape of an ace of clubs, the double bastions being actually in the street of the town, and the front one projecting below high water line. This part was converted into one of the Martello towers, erected bv William Pitt, in 1806, during the French War, to protect all assailable points on the line of the S.E. coast where a landing might be effected. The previous castle was one existing temp. Richard II., who, in 1398, after he had banished his cousin, Henry of Bolingbroke, at the lists of Coventry for ten years (see Baginton, Warwick), wrote letters to the captain of his castle of Sandgate, commanding him to admit his kinsman, Henry of Lancaster, Duke of Hereford, with his family, horses and attendants, to tarry there for six weeks to refresh himself. This must have been on Bolingbroke's journey into banishment abroad, whence he returned within a year, to depose Richard and fill the throne himself. In 1588 Elizabeth lodged in this fort when making her progress through Kent to inspect the defences adopted against the projected Spanish invasion. (Mackenzie)

It was the only coastal fort built by Henry VIII that did not defend a harbour or anchorage, but was built to guard the 'gate' a break in the cliffs, to the Kentish hinterland,. The earlier castle mentioned by Mackenzie is derived from Hasted, and is, according to Sands an error for Sangatte in France.
Links to archaeological and architectural databases, mapping and other online resources

Data >
PastScape   County HER       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