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Historic England Research Records

Sutton Valence Castle

Hob Uid: 417741
Location :
Kent
Maidstone
Sutton Valence
Grid Ref : TQ8153749115
Summary : Sutton Valence Castle, a mid to late 12th century square keep castle, possibly built by William le Gros, Count of Aumale, or his successor Baldwin de Bethune. The castle is situated on an artificially raised and levelled terrace, on a spur of the Chart Hills to the eastern edge of the village of Sutton Valence. It may have been built to control the road running from Maidstone to the Channel ports of Rye and Old Winchelsea. In the 13th century it belonged to Simon de Montfort, Earl of Leicester, who led the English barons in a revolt against King Henry III. In 1265 it was given to William de Valance by Henry III (his half brother) as a reward for his part in defeating the rebellion. The castle was abandoned in circa 1300 and fell into decay. The ruins were conserved in the 1980s. The keep is about 12 metres across and constructed of Kentish ragstone and flint. It is now ruinous with only one wall surviving to any significant height (now circa 7 metres, it may have one stood up to circa 20 metres high). Excavation in 1956 and 1957 produced pottery ranging from the 2nd half of the 12th century through to the late 13th century. It has been suggested on the basis of the excavation that a fore-building was added to the keep shortly after it was built, in order to protect the first floor main entrance to the keep, but this addition was levelled circa 1200 and replaced with a stairway. It is thought that there was once a curtain wall surrounding the bailey, but no trace of this now exists. The south-eastern angle of the keep features the remains of a garderobe or latrine. Access to the upper levels of the keep was through a stair turret located on the north-eastern corner. The castle is now in the care of English Heritage.
More information : TQ 8154 4912: Sutton Castle [NR] (1)

Scheduled as Sutton Valence Castle. (2)

Sutton Valence Castle is situated on a spur of the Quarry Hills commanding the road from Maidstone to Rye and Old Winchelsea. It comprises a keep 36 feet square externally approached on the north side from a small fore-building, situated at the southern extremity of a bailey now levelled and with the ditch filled up. The bailey is now a hop garden and nothing is left save a crumbling wall on the western side.
Excavation by Sutton Valence School in 1956 and 1957 produced pottery ranging from the 2nd half of the 12th century through to the late 13th century. In conjunction with the stratification it suggests that the keep was constructed from the middle to late 12th century with a fore-building added shortly afterwards. About 1200 the fore-building was levelled and a new staircase replaced it. Later this was encased by walls which were probably not completed. The castle was abandoned at the end of the 13th century apparently peacefully. (3-5)

Sutton Castle, as described. The keep stands to about 7 metres height. There are now no remains of the curtain wall on the west side. See GP AO/61/74/6. Keep from south west. (6)

Checked and correct. (7)

Additional bibliography. (8-16)

A small square keep which is now quite ruinous with only 1 wall surviving to any significant height. Situated on the eastern edge of the village of Sutton Valence. Partial excavation has shown that the castle was built during the latter half of the 12th century by William le Gros, Count of Aumale, or his successor, Baldwin de Bethune. No trace of the stone curtain wall which once surrounded the bailey. Scheduled and listed. (17-18)

Addition reference. (19)

A brief history and description. (20)

Sources :
Source Number : 1
Source : Ordnance Survey Map (Scale / Date)
Source details : OS 6" 1961
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Source Number : 2
Source : Ancient monuments in England and Wales : list prepared by the Ministry of Works, corrected to 31st December 1960
Source details :
Page(s) : 46
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Source Number : 11
Source : CASTLES OF ENGLAND
Source details :
Page(s) : 45
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Source Number : 12
Source : Kent Archaeological Society annual reports
Source details :
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Plates :
Vol(s) : 1956
Source Number : 13
Source : Kent Archaeological Society annual reports
Source details :
Page(s) : 9
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Vol(s) : 1957
Source Number : 14
Source : Ancient Monuments Board for England annual report
Source details :
Page(s) : 11
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Vol(s) : 1976
Source Number : 15
Source : Ancient Monuments Board for England annual report
Source details :
Page(s) : 58
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Vol(s) : 1982
Source Number : 16
Source : West Kent and the Weald
Source details :
Page(s) : 558-559
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Vol(s) : 1980
Source Number : 17
Source : Scheduled Monument Notification
Source details : 27-Feb-96
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Source Number : 18
Source : List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest
Source details : Maidstone, 18-DEC-1985
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Vol(s) : 1674
Source Number : 19
Source : English castles : a guide by counties
Source details :
Page(s) : 129-30
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Source Number : 20
Source : Heritage Unlocked: London and the South East
Source details :
Page(s) : 48-49
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Source Number : 3
Source : Archaeologia Cantiana : being contributions to the history and archaeology of Kent
Source details :
Page(s) : 198-206
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Vol(s) : 25, 1902
Source Number : 4
Source : Archaeologia Cantiana : being contributions to the history and archaeology of Kent
Source details :
Page(s) : 227-8
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Vol(s) : 71, 1957
Source Number : 5
Source : Field Investigators Comments
Source details : F1 16/11/1961
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Source Number : 6
Source : Field Investigators Comments
Source details : F2 01/12/1961
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Source Number : 7
Source : Field Investigators Comments
Source details : F3 20/01/1964
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Source Number : 8
Source : The English castle
Source details :
Page(s) : 56
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Source Number : 9
Source : Ancient Monuments Records Manual and county sites and monuments records
Source details : DOE (IAM) Record Form 3 November 1986
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Vol(s) : 32
Source Number : 10
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : Hastead E 1789 History of Kent
Page(s) : 365
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Monument Types:
Monument Period Name : Medieval
Display Date : Built mid/late C12
Monument End Date : 1200
Monument Start Date : 1133
Monument Type : Keep, Curtain Wall, Bailey, Castle
Evidence : Ruined Building, Destroyed Monument, Find
Monument Period Name : Medieval
Display Date : Occupied mid C12/late C13
Monument End Date : 1300
Monument Start Date : 1133
Monument Type : Keep, Castle
Evidence : Ruined Building, Find
Monument Period Name : Medieval
Display Date : Altered c1200
Monument End Date : 1210
Monument Start Date : 1190
Monument Type : Keep, Castle
Evidence : Sub Surface Deposit
Monument Period Name : Late 20th Century
Display Date : Conserved in the 1980s
Monument End Date : 1989
Monument Start Date : 1980
Monument Type : Castle
Evidence : Ruined Building

Components and Objects:
Period : Medieval
Component Monument Type : Keep, Curtain Wall, Bailey, Castle
Object Type : VESSEL
Object Material : Pottery
Period : Medieval
Component Monument Type : Keep, Castle
Object Type : VESSEL
Object Material : Pottery

Related Records from other datasets:
External Cross Reference Source : Scheduled Monument Legacy (County No.)
External Cross Reference Number : KE 93
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : Scheduled Monument Legacy (National No.)
External Cross Reference Number : 27017
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : Listed Building List Entry Legacy Uid
External Cross Reference Number : 174180
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : EH Property Number
External Cross Reference Number : 223
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : SMR Number (Kent)
External Cross Reference Number : TQ 84 NW 7
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : National Monuments Record Number
External Cross Reference Number : TQ 84 NW 7
External Cross Reference Notes :

Related Warden Records :
Related Activities :
Associated Activities : Primary, SUTTON CASTLE
Activity type : EXCAVATION
Start Date : 1956-01-01
End Date : 1957-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, FIELD OBSERVATION ON TQ 84 NW 7
Activity type : FIELD OBSERVATION (VISUAL ASSESSMENT)
Start Date : 1961-11-16
End Date : 1961-11-16
Associated Activities : Primary, FIELD OBSERVATION ON TQ 84 NW 7
Activity type : FIELD OBSERVATION (VISUAL ASSESSMENT)
Start Date : 1961-12-01
End Date : 1961-12-01
Associated Activities : Primary, FIELD OBSERVATION ON TQ 84 NW 7
Activity type : FIELD OBSERVATION (VISUAL ASSESSMENT)
Start Date : 1964-01-20
End Date : 1964-01-20
Associated Activities : Primary, SUTTON VALENCE CASTLE
Activity type : WATCHING BRIEF
Start Date : 1984-01-01
End Date : 1984-12-31