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St Leonards Tower

Hob Uid: 412468
Location :
Kent
Tonbridge and Malling
West Malling
Grid Ref : TQ6759057081
Summary : St Leonard's Tower: the remains are thought to be the keep of a castle built between 1077 and 1108 by Gundulf, Bishop of Rochester, who founded St Mary's Abbey to the north-east. Alternatively it may have been built by Bishop Odo of Bayeux (half-brother to William the Conqueror, and possible commissioner of the Bayeux Tapestry). The name derives from the chapel dedicated to St Leonard which once stood nearby. Little is known of the castle, and it has no evidence for latrines or fireplaces suggesting its primary function was defensive rather than domestic. It could also have served as an administration centre of the local estates of the bishopric.It survives as a ruin and associated earthworks, and comprises a tall, square keep constructed of course Kentish ragstone rubble in which some herringbone work is visible, with tufa ashlar dressings. The keep survives to a height of 20 metres. It originally contained a basement and two floors, with a spiral staircase in the north-west turret. The roof of the tower was removed and the windows blocked, possibly when the building was altered for use as storage for hops. Associated with the keep are two low stretches of medieval walling incorporated within a later post-medieval garden boundary wall. The tower is in the care of English Heritage.
More information : TQ 67595708] St. Leonard's Chapel [NR] (Remains of) (NAT) (1)

[TQ 67595708] St. Leonard's Tower [NR] (2)

[TQ 67595708] St. Leonard's Church [NR] (Remains of) (NAT) (3)

St. Leonard's Tower, although frequently called a keep, is the west tower of a chapel, some remains of which still stand. Built before 1115, it is 32 ft. square, of ragstone and tufa dressing and clasping buttresses, and is divided into two stages. In 1769 it was 71 ft. high but the roof and upper part have been dismantled and it is now about 60 ft. high. Of the chapel, which once measured 70' by 30' all that remains is the North wall running from the Tower towards the road. (4-7)

St. Leonard's Chapel, a scheduled monument, is correctly described above. The north wall of the chapel can be traced for a distance of approx. 21.0m NE from the Tower. It forms the lower courses of the garden wall of Malling Place.
A 25" survey carried out.
See GPs AO/59/55/4 from east and 55/5 from west. (8)

Checked and correct. (9)

St. Leonards Tower. A small Norman Tower, remarkably preserved, perched on a sloping shelf of rock. The architecture points to a date circa 1100. In 1198 St Leonard's cemetery is mentioned, and there are later references to a chapel. Yet this is no church tower, but a freestanding keep tower. Full architectural description. (10)

St. Leonards. West Malling. One of many stong towers attached to churches for refuge in case of attack. (11)

St Leonard's Tower. This has been described by Mr. H.J. Parker as the oldest Norman keep in England; but despite it castellated appearance, Mr Livett showed that it was the tower of a destroyed church of St Leonard given to Malling Abbey by Bishop Gundulf, whose peculiar style of building it is well exemplified.(12)

St Leonard's Tower. Grade I. Ancient Monument. This is all that remains of the once fortified residence or castle of Gundulph, Bishop of Rochester, who founded the abbey in West Malling. It is one of the best examples extant of an early Norman Keep.(13)
[For full description see list].

Additional bibliography. (14-15)

A tower keep castle built between 1077-1108 by Gundulf, Bishop of Rochester, surviving as a ruin and associated earthworks. Its most prominent feature is a tall, square keep constructed of course Kentish ragstone rubble in which some herringbone work is visible, with tufa ashlar dressings. The keep survives to a height of 20 metres. Associated with the keep are two low stretches of medieval walling incorporated within a later post-medieval garden boundary wall. Considered to be one of the best examples extant of an Early Norman Keep. (16)

Studies the architecture of the apprarently experimental stair and vault tower at West Malling. The author suggests it appears to have been costructed with minimal supervision from the architect. (17)

A brief history and description. (18)

Sources :
Source Number : 1
Source : Ordnance Survey Map (Scale / Date)
Source details : OS 6" 1897
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Vol(s) :
Source Number : 2
Source : Ordnance Survey Map (Scale / Date)
Source details : OS 6" 1909
Page(s) :
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Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 11
Source : Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries of London
Source details :
Page(s) : 176
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 31, 1919
Source Number : 12
Source : The Archaeological Journal
Source details :
Page(s) : 187
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 62, 1905
Source Number : 13
Source : List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest
Source details : Ministry for Housing and Local Government 2227 11/05/1950
Page(s) : 108
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 14
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : Caley Elis and Bandinel 1817-30 Monasticon Anglicanum
Page(s) : 311
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 3
Source Number : 15
Source : The Archaeological Journal
Source details :
Page(s) : 316
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 143, 1986
Source Number : 16
Source : Scheduled Monument Notification
Source details : 22-Jan-96
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 17
Source : Archaeologia Cantiana : being contributions to the history and archaeology of Kent
Source details : 'St Leonard's Tower: some aspects of Anglo-Norman building design and constrcution', by M North
Page(s) : 269-286
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 121 (2001)
Source Number : 18
Source : Heritage Unlocked: London and the South East
Source details :
Page(s) : 46-47
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 3
Source : Ordnance Survey Map (Scale / Date)
Source details : OS 6" 1962
Page(s) :
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Vol(s) :
Source Number : 4
Source : The castles of Great Britain
Source details :
Page(s) : 263
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Source Number : 5
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : Cronk A 1951 A Short History of West Malling
Page(s) : 9
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 6
Source : Medieval military architecture in England. Volume 1
Source details :
Page(s) : 99
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 7
Source : Archaeologia Cantiana : being contributions to the history and archaeology of Kent
Source details :
Page(s) : 245
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 29, 1911
Source Number : 8
Source : Field Investigators Comments
Source details : AC 31-Jul-1959
Page(s) :
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Vol(s) :
Source Number : 9
Source : Field Investigators Comments
Source details : FGA 17-Feb-1964
Page(s) :
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Vol(s) :
Source Number : 10
Source : West Kent and the Weald
Source details :
Page(s) : 605
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 1980

Monument Types:
Monument Period Name : Medieval
Display Date : Possible administrative centre
Monument End Date : 1540
Monument Start Date : 1077
Monument Type : Estate Office
Evidence : Conjectural Evidence
Monument Period Name : Medieval
Display Date : Built 1077-1108
Monument End Date : 1108
Monument Start Date : 1077
Monument Type : Tower Keep, Castle
Evidence : Ruined Building
Monument Period Name : Post Medieval
Display Date : Hop storage
Monument End Date : 1901
Monument Start Date : 1540
Monument Type : Agricultural Building
Evidence : Architectural Component

Components and Objects:
Related Records from other datasets:
External Cross Reference Source : Scheduled Monument Legacy (County No.)
External Cross Reference Number : KE 4
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : Scheduled Monument Legacy (National No.)
External Cross Reference Number : 27016
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : Listed Building List Entry Legacy Uid
External Cross Reference Number : 392446
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : EH Property Number
External Cross Reference Number : 222
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : SMR Number (Kent)
External Cross Reference Number : TQ 65 NE 191
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : National Monuments Record Number
External Cross Reference Number : TQ 65 NE 3
External Cross Reference Notes :

Related Warden Records :
Related Activities :
Associated Activities : Primary, FIELD OBSERVATION ON TQ 65 NE 3
Activity type : FIELD OBSERVATION (VISUAL ASSESSMENT)
Start Date : 1959-07-31
End Date : 1959-07-31
Associated Activities : Primary, FIELD OBSERVATION ON TQ 65 NE 3
Activity type : FIELD OBSERVATION (VISUAL ASSESSMENT)
Start Date : 1964-02-17
End Date : 1964-02-17