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Description: Lympne Castle
Date Listed: 29 December 1966
English Heritage Building ID: 175591
OS Grid Reference: TR1192634661
OS Grid Coordinates: 611926, 134661
Latitude/Longitude: 51.0721, 1.0237
Explore more of the area around Lympne, Kent at Explore Britain.
TR 13 SW LYMPNE CASTLE CLOSE
6/15 Lympne Castle
Fortified house, now house. Probably C13; mid C14, and C15. Restoration
and additions 1907 and 1911-12 by Lorimer. Ragstone, with ashlar dressings
and plain tile roofs. Square east tower, probably C13, with C14 stair
turret and service rooms to south. C14 hall to west of tower, incorporating
solar block within west end and with C14 or C15 north-east: porch.
Rectangular C14 west tower, formerly extending further to south, and with
semi-circular C15 addition with stair turret, to west side. Further block
added to north-west by Lorimer, linked to rectangular west: tower by short,
narrow 2-storey range, and by garden wall to gateway and service range to
north. North elevation of medieval range: east tower 3 storeys, porch 2
storeys, hall tall single-storey, with lower eaves than porch but
incorporating 2-storey solar section to west. West tower 4 storeys.
Chamfered stone plinth to east tower and porch, and formerly to hall range.
Battered base to west turret. All four sections battlemented above
chamfered string. Various stone stacks concealed within battlements of
towers. Tall stone ridge stack towards right end of hall range. Irregular
fenestration of C15-style stone windows, largely inserted or restored by
Lorimer; two cross windows with trefoil-headed top lights, to each of 2
lower floors of east tower. One window of 2 trefoil-headed lights with
squared hood-mould to each face of first floor of porch, and narrow
rectangular chamfered light to ground floor of west side. 2 tall pointed-
arched mullioned and transomed windows to hall, with cusped lights and
tracery of vertical bars with quatrefoil. One cusped square-headed 2-light
window to each floor of solar section. No visible north windows to west
tower. Moulded pointed-arched doorway to porch with squared hoodmould,
hollow spandrels and quatrefoils. South elevation of medieval range:
irregular elevation to east tower, truncated walls forming buttresses, with
fragment of stone south-west door jamb. Buttress beneath hall stack formed
from fragment of east wall of a former south extension of solar section,
incorporating chamfered, pointed-arched stone doorway. 3 stone corbels
under string-course of solar section, with stump of a doubly plain-
chamfered stone rib below them. Various 2- and 3-light stone mullion
windows. 2 hall windows as on north elevation. Pointed-arched plain-
chamfered doorway with broach stops, to east end of hall. Retaining wall
running parallel to and about 2 metres south from south elevation, joined
by buttress to east end of east tower. East section re-built by Lorimer,
West section formerly west wall of south extension of west tower and
incorporates 2 blocked pointed-arched garderobe arches on west side. Wall
continued to west by Lorimer, curved and branching to form terraced garden.
C20 north-west range: east elevation: 1½ and 2 storeys. Irregular facade.
2 gables and dormers to courtyard, with swept eaves. Troll slender stone
stacks. Various one, two and three-light stone mullion windows. Panelled
door in rectangular moulded stone architrave. North-east corner of range
linked to south-east corner of former service range by buttressed stone
garden wall. Former service range (now house row): also by Lorimer.
Ragstone, with plain tile roof. North (street) elevation: single storey
and attics. Canted east stair turret. Stone gable towards centre. 4 stone
ridge stacks, and one stack forming straight west side to central gable.
8 hipped dormers. Irregular fenestration of stone mullioned windows, some
with idiosyncratically carved architraves and mullions. 4 boarded doors
(some later) and 2 blocked doors. Garage and stable block adjoining, but
set back, to west, with boundary wall curved round former stable yard.
Entrance gates adjoining to east, with tall canted stone flanking walls,
and moulded pointed-arched gateway with solid wooden doors.
South elevation of service range: stone-arched loggia to south end of
garage block. Small stone turret with conical roof in re-entrance angle
of garage and main range. Rear central gable incorporating dove-cote
and with stone beasts to verge ends. Buttressed garden wall running
north-south between east end of gateway and north-east corner of east
tower of medieval range. Interior: Medieval range: moulded or plain-
chamfered pointed-arched C14 and C15 stone doorways; on ground floor, 2
to east end and 2 to west end of hall, one to north-west end of solar
section and one between west tower and rounded west addition; on first
floor, to south and east walls of porch (former to a gallery since
removed), two to south wall of square east tower, one to west wall of
solar section, one between 2 chambers of west tower, and one to south-
west stair turret. Stone newel stairs to south-west of square east
tower and to south-east of rounded west addition, the latter staircase
starting from first floor. Broad C14 or C15 extended four-centred arched
moulded stone fireplace to east wall of ground floor of east tower.
Smaller, similarly arched C15 moulded stone fireplace to west wall of
first-floor room of east tower. Cavetto-moulded stone jambs of C16
fireplace to west end of hall, with moulded wooden bressumer probably
designed by Lorimer. Squint between hall and first floor of porch.
4-bay hall roof with 5 trusses (at least partly restored); moulded
octagonal crown-posts on moulded tie-beams, with scissor-braces lapped
over collars to form sous-laces. Ashlar-pieces and moulded wooden cornice.
Similar roof to first floor of solar section, largely restored. Numerous
moulded stone doorways and fire-places by Lorimer. Linenfold panelling,
probably early C20, to hall. Most ceilings by Lorimer. A few early C20
hinged decorative iron brackets for curtains. Early C20 vaulted ceiling
to first-floor room of east tower. Early C20 north-west range (only
partly inspected): panelling and plaster ceiling to south-west ground-
floor room. Staircase of 1907 with turned balusters and finials of carved
wooden beasts. Variety of moulded stone fireplaces. Boarded doors.
Interior of former service range not inspected.
Lympne granted to Archdeacons of Canterbury from C11.
Castle commands extensive views from Dover to Hastings
See also Castle Close, Well-head at Lympne Castle.
(Country Life, 12.11.1910. Lympne Castle guide book, said to have been
written with advice from S. Rigold, no date. J. Newman, B.O.E. Series,
West Kent and the Weald, 1980.)
Listing NGR: TR1192934655
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.