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Description: Rochester Castle
Date Listed: 24 October 1950
English Heritage Building ID: 172927
OS Grid Reference: TQ7413768560
OS Grid Coordinates: 574137, 168560
Latitude/Longitude: 51.3894, 0.5014
This building is also a scheduled monument.
TQ 7468 SW Rochester Castle
7/1 (formerly listed
as the Castle)
Castle Keep, curtain walls and mural towers to bailey. A
building of exceptional significance. Built at the bridging
point where Watling Street crosses the Medway. One of the first
Norman Castles to be fortified in stone. Bailey walls, 1087-9,
built by Gandulf, Bishop of Rochester for William II; keep, 1127,
built by Archbishop William of Corbeil, considerable rebuilding
and repairs throughout, 1221-32 (after the 1216 siege) and again
by Edward III and Richard II, 1367-83; some demolition and
alterations, c.1872. Mainly Kentish rag with tufa and chalk
rubble. The building is described in detail by R Allen Brown
(1986) which should be consulted for further information.
Gandulf's curtain wall survives to the W(Mersey side) and
incorporates remains of the Roman city wall (see Refs 7/2 and
9/2); strengthened in C13. SE section, including the drum tower,
mid-C13; E section (C14) includes 2 curtain walls, one of which
(now a cottage) contains vaulted room, spiral stone stair and 2
garderobes. N section of wall, fragmentary, is incorporated into
the garden walls to the rear of High Street properties. The N
perimeter wall of the present castle precinct is marked by a C20
wall with palings. To the NW, the bastion (1378-83), altered and
breached by a prominent Norman-Revival round-headed arched
entrance of c1872. Keep, roofless and without principal floors,
rectangular on plan with corner turret (that to SE in circular
form, Mid C13) and contempotary forebuilding (with chapel and
chambers) to N reached from W at 1st floor level. Main building
consists of ground-floor basement; 1st floor apartments; great
hall and chamber occupying 2 storeys; private apartments above,
all divided by massive cross wall pierced by doorways and (at
great hall level) a 4-bay arcade. It contains a well shaft. NE
stair to all floors; SW stair excludes access to basement.
Decoration sparingly applied: externally to principal doorways
and upper floor embrasures; internally mainly chevron with some
shafting; arcade with scalloped capitals. Scheduled Ancient
Monument. References: many general references but see
especially R Allen Brown, Rochester Castle. Kent (English
Heritage guide, 2nd edition, 1986); C Flight and A C Harrison,
'Rochester Castle 1976', Archaeoloaia Cantiana, 94 (1978); G
Payne, 'The Reparation of Rochester Castle', Archaeologia
Cantiana, 27 (1905).
Listing NGR: TQ7413768560
This text is a legacy record and has not been updated since the building was originally listed. Details of the building may have changed in the intervening time. You should not rely on this listing as an accurate description of the building.
Source: English Heritage
Listed building text is © Crown Copyright. Reproduced under licence.