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Author Topic: Rochester Castle  (Read 66963 times)

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Offline kyn

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Re: Rochester Castle
« Reply #4 on: December 03, 2008, 22:15:16 »
I read somewhere there was a tunnel under the castle used for storing ammo  

merc

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Re: Rochester Castle
« Reply #3 on: December 03, 2008, 20:14:44 »
my photo is better


splashdown

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Re: Rochester Castle
« Reply #2 on: December 03, 2008, 19:36:25 »
What an absolutely great post full of good things to read.

Hear is my picture of the castle.


Offline kyn

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Rochester Castle
« Reply #1 on: December 01, 2008, 14:51:32 »
Here is some info I put together on Rochester Castle, a very nice place in the Summer with beautiful views of the River Medway.

The site of Rochester Castle has been the site of fortifications for hundreds of years - the oldest remains are from the Roman era. The Roman Fort was built to protect the legions on their travels from Dover to London and beyond. 1087 saw a new castle built on this site by Bishop Gundulf, a popular architect of William the Conqueror, Bishop Gundulf made use of the Roman City walls when carrying out these works by using them as the base of the new walls, by doing this he preserved them for us all to see at the western curtain wall. William de Corbeil, the Archbishop of Canterbury, built the castle keep. King Henry granted custody of the castle to de Corbeil in 1127, the keep is 113 feet high, 70 feet square and the walls in places are 12 feet thick, showing the strength of the building. It is one of the largest castles in the country. The castle consisted of three floors built above a basement, the front of the castle has a protruding fore building that is accessed from the first floor and this provided extra protection for the castle.
 
The castle has suffered three sieges, the first in 1215 by King John after it had been taken by rebel barons. King John had previously spent 115 on repairing the castle before being forced to hand it over to the Archbishop of Canterbury, Stephen Langton, in May of the same year due to the terms of the Magna Carta. John interrupted the rebels reinforcements by sending fireships to burn their route to the castle, he then emptied the adjacent cathedral of anything of value and stabled his horses inside. He sent word to Canterbury saying: "We order you, just as you love us, and as soon as you see this letter, to make by day and night, all the pickaxes, that you can. Every blacksmith in your city should stop all other work in order to make them and send them to us at Rochester with all speed". Work was then started to undermine the curtain walls, this proved successful and they took the bailey in early November. From here they began to undermine the keep, in particular the southeast tower. The tunnel roof was supported by wooden pit props and it was decided to burn these using fat from forty pigs, to accomplish this John sent a writ on the 25th November to the Justiciars, saying: "Send to us with all speed by day and night, forty of the fattest pigs of the sort least good for eating so that we may bring fire beneath the castle".
 
The fire caused the tower to collapse, making the rebels retreat further inside. King John allowed a few rebels to leave but lopped off their hands and feet as punishment. Community Service obviously hadn't been in fashion in those days! The rebels held the castle for two months in total before surrendering due to starvation, John set up a memorial for the pigs and gallows to hang the rebels. The rebels were spared when one of the Kings captains, Savari de Maulea, talked him out of it, his reasoning was that if the King killed them all for surrendering then had the King needed to surrender in the future he could be hung also. King Henry III repaired the castle the following year, he spent over ?1000 building new stables, gateways, a further ditch and a new chapel. The southeastern tower was rebuilt to the latest defensive design which was three-quarters round making it stand out from the three remaining square towers.
 
The second siege was in 1264 by the dissident barons, led by Simon de Montfort. After crossing the River Medway hidden by the smoke of a fireship they undermined the curtain wall and took the bailey, they then attempted to undermine the keep, as had previously happened but were unsuccessful. The siege lasted but a week and resulted in the Royal chambers and other surrounding buildings being burnt down. Repairs to the castle were not carried out for over one hundred years. In 1367 under King Edward III's reign, a lot of the stone from the castle had been removed by this time and reused elsewhere, Upnor Castle was one of many buildings that were built using this stone. The third siege was by Thomas Wyatt's men although the castle was considered obsolete by this time, 1554, due to the invention of gunpowder and the introduction of cannon making the castle less secure. The building soon fell into disrepair and began to deteriorate. More repairs were made around 1872 and work has been carried out since to preserve this Scheduled Ancient Monument for all to see.


























 

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