HeritageGateway - Home
Site Map
Text size: A A A
You are here: Home > > > > Historic England research records Result
Historic England research recordsPrintable version | About Historic England research records

Historic England Research Records

Sandgate Castle

Hob Uid: 465722
Location :
Kent
Folkestone and Hythe
Sandgate
Grid Ref : TR2068135184
Summary : Sandgate Castle was originally built as an artillery castle in 1539-1540 by Henry VIII, as part of his chain of coastal defences in response to the threat of invasion. It was built to defend a vulnerable stretch of coastline and due to its proximity to the French coast the site has been constantly defended and refortified. In 1715-1716 the keep was re-roofed and the seaward battery rebuilt following damage by the spring tides. In 1805-6, during the Napoleonic wars, a major series of alterations were carried out on the castle to convert it into a gun-fort or tower. The tops of the original defensive towers were removed and the central tower converted into a Martello style tower mounting a coastal battery. In the late 1850s a new magazine was built and alterations made to the existing gun emplacements. Pillboxes were constructed at the castle during the Second World War and in the 1950s most of the outer wall on the south side was destroyed by coastal erosion. By 1893, the castle had become a private house and was restored in 1975 under the supervision of the Department of Environment. Little remains of the original Henrician castle due to the subsequent remodelling that took place but elements are incorporated into the later fortifications. It originally comprised of a large three-storey central tower or keep which was surrounded by two concentric curtain walls. The inner curtain wall had three round towers and the outer curtain wall had a three-storey gatehouse to the north and a rectangular building or "barbican" connecting it to the central tower. All these buildings were originally roofed, and the castle was designed so that it rose progressively from the outside in to provide three or four tiers of heavy guns. These were positioned behind 65 embrasures or gun-ports and there were also gun-loops in the lower levels of the towers and buildings to provide flanking fire.
More information : (TR 20683517) Castle (NR) (1)

Sandgate Castle, built 1539-40, is now a private house. The tops of the towers were removed in 1805 and the central tower was converted into a Martello tower. Most of the outer wall on the south side was destroyed 1939-45. Scheduled. (2-3)

See GPs. AO/64/12/3-6. (4)

Sandgate Castle, Listed Grade I. In private ownership. Built in 1539-1540 at the same time and as part of the same series of defences as Sandown, Deal and Walmer Castles, but altered again for defence purposes in 1805. It originally comprised of a large central tower surrounded by 3 smaller towers connected with each other by a curtain wall and covered galleries, with an outer curtain wall and gate-tower on the north and a rectangular building connecting the latter to the central tower. In 1805 the tops of the towers were removed (the central tower being converted into a Martello type tower) and the materials used to fill up the space between the inner and outer walls. Most of the outer wall is missing on the south side, presumably destroyed during World War II, and modern pillboxes have been constructed in the place of part of it. AM. (5)

Built in 1539-1540 by Henry VIII. In late Napoleonic times, the original keep was rebuilt, and the outer works converted to form a series of gun emplacements making it a glorified Martello Tower. A new magazine was built in the late 1850s between the gatehouse and keep, and alterations made to the existing gun emplacements. Erosion before the building of the sea wall in the early 1950s accounts for the loss of a third of the original monument. (6)

Henry VIII artillery castle, unusual type, with lobed triangular ward, small triangular inner ward with three towers and a central round tower. Turned into a Martello Tower. Little of the structure remains, but the general plan can be made out. (7)

Sandgate Castle, Castle Road. One of the series of castles built by Henry VIII along the south coast from Kent to Cornwall. What gives Sandgate Castle it special interest is the fact that full building accounts survive. They show that the engineer in charge was a German, Stephan von Haschenpeng. Building operations lasted from March 1539 to October 1540 and cost in all 5,543 pounds 19 shillings and tuppence three farthings. The plan is characteristic of Henry's castles, a series of concentric walls in a complex geometrical shape. In this case the shape is a triangle, with rounded corner projections and convex walls between them. Little of this remains, as in 1806 the central core was converted into a gun-fort, the intermediate ring of walls razed and the outermost walls lowered drastically. It thus became in effect a Martello Tower. The entrance tower on the landward side was not interfered with (sic (20)). This also is quite low, but rendered virtually unassailable by its form, a semicircle, attached by a short passage to the castle itself. The doorway is hidden in the back wall. When entering, one faces nothing but gunports - not however very effective ones, for their splays would not have allowed a wide arc of fire. (8-11)

TR 20653520. Sandgate Castle. This Tudor castle was brought into the South coast tower project by Twiss who proposed throwing bomb-proof arches over some of the towers. 8 x 24 pounder guns were added and the alterations completed in 1806. (12-13)

A royal warrant of 15 February 1584 granted 1,000 pounds to be spent on the defence of the Cinque Ports of which Sandgate received the largest proportion. It was the only coastal fort built by Henry VIII that did not defend a harbour or anchorage, but was built to guard the 'gate' to the Kentish Hinterland. A considerable part of the structure survives, but little of Tudor date is actually visible owing to the drastic remodelling of 1805-1808. Up to 1805 the castle was still essentially a Tudor building, but it had already been modified as early as 1558. During the ensuing two and a half centuries it was repaired on several occasions, notably in 1715-1716 when the keep was reroofed and the whole of the seaward battery rebuilt after being breached by the spring tides.

Originally the castle consisted of a central keep surrounded by two concentric curtains. The outer one encircled a ward or 'barbican' thirty feet wide and the inner curtain was strengthened by three roundtowers around the keep. A fourth wing containing the gatehouse and gate passage ran north across the inner curtain, barbican and outer curtain to join the inner face of the half-moon bastion which enclosed and protected the outer gate. All these buildings were originally roofed, and levels arranged throughout the castle to provide three or possibly four tiers of heavy guns. The keep was built from the original ground surface, the ground floor being buried and the keep entered at first floor level. The wings joining the three round towers to the keep were perhaps the most remarkable single feature of the Sandgate design and cannot be exactly matched in any other castle of the period.

The gatehouse formed a massive front in which was set at first-floor level the castle gate and perhaps portcullis. Sandgate Castle was a centrally planned fortification with three lines of defence-outer curtain, inner curtain, keep, rising in three main tiers towards the centre. It offensive power lay in the heavy guns which could be mounted in over 60 gun-ports at four different levels. For local defence with hand-guns, there were a further 65 loops at four levels. (14)

Sandgate Castle built in 1539, according to the Italian scheme. Deep moating (18) (sic (19)) remains to this day.

The Calendar of State Papers relating to Sandgate Castle survives for the Tudor period. (20) (16-20)

In 1975 the restoration of Sandgate Castle was started by the owners Drs P and B McGregor, under the supervision and with the assistance of the Department of Environment. To achieve this, archaeological investigations including excavations and detailed drawings were undertaken.

In 1881 the site had been sold to the South-Eastern Railway Company for a proposed station at Sandgate Village. By 1893, it passed into private ownership and was occasionally open with its museum to the public. The castle was always entered through the ground floor of the gatehouse, at the rear of the semi-circle. The gatehouse was thought to have survived in its Tudor form, but is now known to have been almost entirely rebuilt from first floor level in 1806. The ground floor is original. The outer curtain wall was largely rebuilt in 1806. The North East Bastion was also reduced to first floor level in 1806 and was capped with a vaulted dome carried on a brick pier.

The keep was transformed into a Martello Tower and was thus in stone, unlike the other Martello towers. It originally was of three stories, plus roof level, but is now of two and the roof. Much of the original Tudor fabric remains. The roof of the keep is entirely a 19th century structure, and it housed two successive gun emplacements. (21)

For further information on this site please refer to the additional bibliography. (22 - 29)

The three-storey keep was surrounded by an inner and outer curtain wall. The inner curtain had three towers and the outer was around a barbican or ward. There was a three-storey gatehouse within a fourth wing. The castle was designed to provide three or four tiers of fire from 65 embrasures or gun-ports with other gun loops in the lowest levels of the curtain walls and towers. (30)

Sources :
Source Number : 1
Source : Annotated Record Map
Source details : OS 25" 1958
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 2
Source : List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest
Source details : 1118/11/A/ May 1948
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 11
Source : Archaeologia : or miscellaneous tracts relating to antiquity
Source details : B H St J O'Neil
Page(s) : 137-55
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 911,945
Source Number : 12
Source : Martello towers
Source details :
Page(s) : 87
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 13
Source : A handbook of Kent's defences from 1540 until 1945
Source details :
Page(s) : 9
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 14
Source : The history of the King's Works, volume 4 : 1485-1660 (Part 2)
Source details :
Page(s) : 370,371,404,569-87
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 15
Source : The Archaeological Journal
Source details : A D Saunders
Page(s) : 139
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 123, 1966
Source Number : 16
Source : The English castle
Source details :
Page(s) : 110
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 17
Source : Chateau Gaillard, 3. Conference at Battle, Sussex, 19-24 September 1966
Source details :
Page(s) : 142
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 18
Source : The Victoria history of the county of Kent, volume one
Source details :
Page(s) : 44
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 19
Source : Archaeologia Cantiana : being contributions to the history and archaeology of Kent
Source details : W L Rutton
Page(s) : 24-30
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 23, 1898
Source Number : 20
Source : Archaeologia Cantiana : being contributions to the history and archaeology of Kent
Source details : W L Rutton
Page(s) : 244-59
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 21, 1895
Source Number : 3
Source : Ancient monuments in England and Wales : list prepared by the Ministry of Works, corrected to 31st December 1952
Source details :
Page(s) : 59
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 21
Source : Post-medieval archaeology : the journal of the Society for Post-Medieval Archaeology
Source details : E C Harris
Page(s) : 53-88
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 14, 1980
Source Number : 22
Source : The Antiquities of England and Wales
Source details :
Page(s) : 100-101
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 8
Source Number : 23
Source : CASTLES OF ENGLAND
Source details :
Page(s) : 38
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 1
Source Number : 24
Source : Country Life
Source details :
Page(s) : 32, 238
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 10
Source Number : 25
Source : Country Life
Source details :
Page(s) : 190-4
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 88
Source Number : 26
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : Buck's Antiquities 1 1774 141 (S & N Buck)
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 27
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : Historical and Topographical Survey of the County of Kent (E Hasted)
Page(s) : 381-382
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 3
Source Number : 28
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : Castles and Cannon Study Early Artillery Fortification in Eng 1960 60 (B H St J O'Neil)
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 29
Source : Henry VIII and the development of coastal defence
Source details :
Page(s) : 28-29
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 30
Source : The Castles of Henry VIII
Source details :
Page(s) : 21
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 4
Source : Field Investigators Comments
Source details : F1 CFW 28.04.64
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 5
Source : List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest
Source details : District of Shepway 737/7/20, 05-DEC-1949
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 6
Source : Scheduled Monument Notification
Source details : 24-Sep-84
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 7
Source : Castellarium anglicanum : an index and bibliography of the castles in England, Wales and the islands. Volume I : Anglesey - Montgomery
Source details :
Page(s) : 233-4
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 8
Source : North east and east Kent
Source details :
Page(s) : 445
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 9
Source : Archaeologia Cantiana : being contributions to the history and archaeology of Kent
Source details : W L Rutton
Page(s) : 228-257
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 20, 1893
Source Number : 10
Source : Journal of the British Archaeological Association
Source details : T H Lewis
Page(s) : 173-8
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 40, 1884

Monument Types:
Monument Period Name : Post Medieval
Display Date : Keep and battery rebuilt 1715-16
Monument End Date : 1716
Monument Start Date : 1715
Monument Type : Artillery Fort, Coastal Battery
Evidence : Extant Building
Monument Period Name : Post Medieval
Display Date : Converted 1805-1808
Monument End Date : 1808
Monument Start Date : 1805
Monument Type : Coastal Battery, Martello Tower
Evidence : Extant Building, Conjectural Evidence
Monument Period Name : Tudor
Display Date : Built 1539-1540
Monument End Date : 1540
Monument Start Date : 1539
Monument Type : Artillery Castle, Artillery Fort
Evidence : Extant Building
Monument Period Name : Victorian
Display Date : Altered late 1850s
Monument End Date : 1859
Monument Start Date : 1857
Monument Type : Coastal Battery, Magazine
Evidence : Extant Building
Monument Period Name : Victorian
Display Date : Change in function 1893
Monument End Date : 1893
Monument Start Date : 1893
Monument Type : House
Evidence : Extant Building
Monument Period Name : Second World War
Display Date : Second World War
Monument End Date : 1945
Monument Start Date : 1939
Monument Type : Pillbox (Variant), Pillbox
Evidence : Extant Building
Monument Period Name : Late 20th Century
Display Date : Restored 1975
Monument End Date : 1975
Monument Start Date : 1975
Monument Type : House, Historical Site
Evidence : Extant Building

Components and Objects:
Related Records from other datasets:
External Cross Reference Source : Scheduled Monument Legacy (County No.)
External Cross Reference Number : KE 54
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : Listed Building List Entry Legacy Uid
External Cross Reference Number : 175279
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : National Monuments Record Number
External Cross Reference Number : TR 23 NW 13
External Cross Reference Notes :

Related Warden Records :
Related Activities :
Associated Activities : Primary, FIELD OBSERVATION ON TR 23 NW 13
Activity type : FIELD OBSERVATION (VISUAL ASSESSMENT)
Start Date : 1964-04-28
End Date : 1964-04-28
Associated Activities : Primary, SANDGATE CASTLE
Activity type : EXCAVATION
Start Date : 1976-01-01
End Date : 1979-12-31