Saltwood Castle

Kent, England

City/Town/Village: Hythe
County: Kent
Latitude/Longitude: 51.082, 1.08485


Privately Owned

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Saltwood Castle is a Listed Building. Here's what the official description says about it:

(East side)

4/61 Saltwood Castle

Castle. Largely ruinous. Core of inner curtain wall C12 (or possibly C11).
Rest C12, C13 and C14. Late C14 work by Archbishop Courtenay. 1385
extension to gatehouse attributed to Henry Yevele (Harvey, in M. Wood, The
English Medieval House, 1981 edition). Restoration and additions of 1880s by
F. Beeston, and by Philip Tilden in 1930s. Ragstone. Roughly triangular outer
bailey surrounded by curtain wall, with circular bastions and with north-west
barbican. Roughly oval inner bailey impinges into south-west corner of triangle,
incorporating rectangular bastions and garderobe towers, east gate-tower and
ruins of principal domestic buildings. These last comprise walls of a first-
floor hall which used south wall of bailey as its long south wall; outline of
a further range including porch, to west of it, also parallel to wall; to west
of this, abutting bailey wall at right-angles, another first-floor hall,
rebuilt by Tilden; and bases of walls of a chapel adjoining north-west corner
of second hall at right-angles, almost abutting west curtain wall and, with
second hall, enclosing small garden in south-west corner of bailey.
Vestigial evidence of other inner bailey buildings abutting north curtain
wall. Inner bailey: curtain walls: complete. 2 rectangular garderobe towers
projecting outwards to northand west. 2 larger rectangular towers projecting
into the inner bailey, one close to each garderobe tower with pilaster
buttresses to outside of curtain wall. Pointed-arched doorway to base of
each. 2 rectangular towers projecting beyond curtain wall to south, both with
(possibly inserted) lancets; that towards west end lying to south of the
second first-floor hall, possibly serving as, or adapted to, solar, and
incorporating stairs between hall, "solar" and rampart walks. Small moulded
pointed-arched window between stairs and hall, possibly late C14. Tower
towards east end with staircase leading to rampart walk and also to landings,
with 2 pointed-arched doorways and windows to each of first and second floors
of former range to west of first (east) hall. Garderobe within wall
thickness. Apparent gateway, blocked, to east of centre of tower, with
secondary, squinted, access from west end of hall. East hall: late C13 or
early C14. Battered plinth. 3 ground-floor windows to north with almost
rounded heads, morticed for bars. 3 pointed-arched first-floor windows to
north, 3 to south and one to-east, with restored cusped intersecting tracery
and hoodmoulds with label-stops. Internal hoodmoulds with roll-and-fillet
moulding linked to blank arcading between windows. Similarly-moulded
continuous string linking cills. Corbels for hall floor. Pointed-arched
doorway to west end of north wall. West hall: first floor largely by Tilden
in a C14 style, formerly late C14, over possibly C13 undercroft. Chamfered
stone plinth continuous with that to late C14 chapel ruins to west. Moulded
stone string below former parapet or battlements. 2-storey rectangular "porch"
to north end of east wall with access to undercroft and via stone steps to
hall. 4-centred arched doorway to hall, with broach stops, to south end of west
wall, up flight of external stone steps from garden. Plain-chamfered pointed-
arched north doorway with broach stops to undercroft. Undercroft: down 8
steps. 8 narrow bays. Pointed-arched tunnel vault with plain-chamfered ribs
dying into walls. Chapel: late C14. East end of south wall remains almost to
full height. Ogee, moulded trefoil-headed piscina to first floor with pointed-
arched doorway to west of it leading to first-floor passage corbelled out in
re-entrant angle between chapel and hall. Fragment of moulded stone cornice
to ground-floor room of chapel. East gatehouse: West section: probably late
C13 or early C14, with C19 additions to east and west. Rectangular. 4 low
storeys. Battlemented. One rectangular west window to each storey. Window
in place of former west gateway. C19 sections 2 low storeys, battlemented,
with stone mullioned and transomed windows. East section: late C14. Built
out over former moat. Close-set circular twin towers of 2 tall stages,
rising above earlier tower. Each has chamfered stone plinth, chamfered
string between stages and moulded string beneath battlements. Deep
machicolations to battlemented central section. Restored trefoil-headed
lancets to each tower. 2 trefoil-headed lancets under machicolations and
one C15 six-light stone mullioned and transomed window with hoodmould to
each of 2 upper floors. Pointed-arched plain-chamfered gateway set in
shallow rectangular recess, up 8 steps, between towers. Shields with
arms of Archbishop Courtenay and Canterbury above recess. Rectangular
garderobe towers to rear (west) of twin towers, discharging into former
moat and connected to earlier west section of gatehouse. Interior: only
partly inspected. 2-bay vault to west section with broad chamfered ribs
dying into walls. Portcullis grooves. Quadripartite vault to east
section with moulded ribs, springing from wall shafts with moulded capitals
and bases. Hexagonal guard-rooms. Garderobe shutes remain. Outer bailey:
virtually continuous late C14 curtain wall with 3 circular bastions. Fourth
bastion, to south-west, and part of south curtain wall, formerly linked
to rest and to inner bailey wall but now separate (see Item 4/ ).
Barbican to north-west side of bailey. Rectangular. Most of upper storey
missing. Ground floor spanned by three arches, those towards centre and
west with portcullis grooves. Chamfered 4-centred arches with broach stops
to outer west east faces.
Castle formerly moated. Probably ruined by earthquake in 1580. Owned
alternately by Christchurch, Canterbury and by lay owners. Murder of
Thomas a Becket said to have been planned here (1170).
Scheduled Ancient Monument (uninhabited parts).
See also Item 4/62.
(Country Life 20.11.1942, 27.11.42 and 4.12.42. J. Newman, B.O.E. Series
North-East and East Kent, 1983)

Listing NGR: TR1617635915

Information from British Listed Buildings

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