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Sandown Castle, Kent

Also known as, or recorded in historical documents as;
Sandowne; Sandon

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

OS Map Grid Reference: TR37595430
Latitude 51.23843° Longitude 1.40222°

Sandown Castle, Kent has been described as a certain Artillery Fort.

There are masonry footings remains.

This site is a scheduled monument protected by law.


Sandown Castle, a Henrician artillery castle, was built in 1539-40 by Henry VIII as part of his chain of coastal defences in response to the growing threat of invasion at that time. The castle, which was designed to resemble a Tudor rose, was built, along with Deal and Walmer Castles, to protect the good landing grounds and strategic anchorage between the Goodwin Sands and the coast, an area known as the Downs. A series of bulwarks, or earthen defences, were also built along the coast between the three castles. The castle was in a ruinous state by the late 17th century and the sea had breached the moat walls by 1785. The castle was repaired in 1808 and it was garrisoned in the Napoleonic Wars. However, in 1863 it was sold by the War Office as building material and by 1882 the castle had been largely demolished. Although most of Sandown Castle has been destroyed there exist a number of early plans and views which provide information on how its original form. It was identical to Walmer Castle with a circular keep surrounded by four bastions separated by an inner moat and surrounded by an external moat. The entrance was by a drawbridge on the landward side. The outer bastions were massive structures each with a gun room at ground level and a gun-platform on the roof to mount artillery on. The moat was protected by a fourth tier of hand-guns which were situated on a gallery which ran around the whole castle at basement level. There were 39 gun-ports for heavy armaments and 39 hand-gun loops to control the moat. Today all that remains of Sandown Castle is part of the west side of the castle including bastions and a section of the central tower. Remains of the castle have been incorporated into the sea defences. (PastScape)
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Sources of information, references and further reading
  • Websites (Gatehouse is not responsible for the content of external websites.)
  • Books
    • Goodall, John, 2011, The English Castle 1066-1650 (Yale University Press) p. 420-1
      Harrington, Peter, 2007, The Castles of Henry VIII (Oxford: Osprey)
      Salter, Mike, 2000, The Castles of Kent (Malvern: Folly Publications) p. 70
      Saunders, Andrew, 1997, Channel Defences (London; Batsford/English Heritage) p. 46, 47
      Pettifer, A., 1995, English Castles, A guide by counties (Woodbridge: Boydell Press) p. 133 (slight)
      King, D.J.C., 1983, Castellarium Anglicanum (London: Kraus) Vol. 1 p. 234
      Newman, John, 1983, Buildings of England: North east and east Kent (Harmondsworth) p. 283
      Colvin, H.M., Ransome, D.R. and Summerson, John, 1982, The history of the King's Works Vol. 4: 1485-1660 (part 2) (London) p. 369, 393, 4004-5, 457, 461-5
      Guy, John, 1980, Kent Castles (Meresborough Books)
      Smithers, David Waldron, 1980, Castles in Kent (Chatham)
      Morley, B.M., 1976, Henry VIII and the Development of Coastal Defence (London) p. 27
      Harvey, Alfred, 1911, Castles and Walled Towns of England (London: Methuen and Co)
      Sands, Harold, 1907, 'Some Kentish Castles' in Ditchfield and Clinch, Memorials of Old Kent (London) p. 210-12 online copy
      Mackenzie, J.D., 1896, Castles of England; their story and structure (New York: Macmillan) Vol. 1 p. 38-40 online copy
      Elvin, 1890, Records of Walmer (London) intermittently between p. 157-226
      Timbs, J. and Gunn, A., 1872, Abbeys, Castles and Ancient Halls of England and Wales Vol. 1 (London) p. 326-7 online copy
      Hasted, Edward, 1800 (2edn), The history and topographical survey of the county of Kent Vol. 10 p. 1-23 online transcription
      Buck, Samuel and Nathaniel, 1774, Buck's Antiquities (London) Vol. 1 p. 142
  • Periodical Articles
    • the editor, 1980, 'Sandown Castle badly damaged during seawall construction' Kent Archaeological review Vol. 59 p. 220
      Oswald, A., 1940, Country Life Vol. 88 p. 190-4
      Rutton, W.L., 1898, 'Henry VIII's Castles at Sandown, Deal, Walmer, Sandgate, and Camber' Archaeologia Cantiana Vol. 23 p. 24-30 online copy
      Lewis, T.H., 1884, 'The castles of Sandown and Sandgate' Journal of the British Archaeological Association Vol. 40 p. 173-8 online copy
  • Primary (Medieval documents or transcriptions of such documents - This section is far from complete and the secondary sources should be consulted for full references.)
  • Antiquarian (Histories and accounts from late medieval and early modern writers)
  • Other sources: Theses; 'grey' literature; in-house reports; unpublished works; etc.
    • Kent County Council, December 2004, Kent Historic Towns Survey (Kent County Council and English Heritage) view online copy
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This record last updated on Saturday, November 15, 2014

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