Information

Rochester Castle Timeline



Rochester Castle Timeline - History

11th Century Castle Construction

1066 AD
Pevensey Castle - see photo by Neil Alderney
Hastings Castle
Dover Castle
Canterbury Castle

1067 AD
Winchester Castle
Wallingford Castle
Norwich Castle
Launceston Castle

All the above were motte & bailey construction

1068 AD
Nottingham Castle
Warwick Castle
Arundel Castle
Huntingdon Castle (motte & bailey)

1070 AD
Chester Castle
Windsor Castle - see photo by M Harrsch
Ely Castle (motte & bailey)

1071 AD
Richmond Castle
Dudley Castle

1078 AD
Tower of London, the White Tower, Central Keep

1086 AD
Skipsea Castle (motte & bailey)

1090 AD
Skipton Castle
Caernarvon Castle (wooden motte & bailey)
Portchester Castle
Brough Castle
Tynemouth Priory & Castle (priory constructed circa 1090) - see our photo

1093 AD
Pembroke Castle
Cardigan Castle
Carlisle Castle (motte & bailey)

1096 AD
Alnwick Castle- see our photo

12th Century Castle Construction

1100 AD
Colchester Castle
Carew Castle
Stafford Castle
Fotheringhay Castle

1110 AD
Aberwystwyth Castle

1119 AD
Leeds Castle (Kent)

1120 AD
Sherborne Castle
Kenilworth Castle - see photo by John Muk

1122 AD
Carlisle Castle (stone construction)- see our photo

1130's - no identifiable year
Scarborough Castle - see our photo

1134 AD
Cockermouth Castle

1139 AD
Luton Castle (wooden motte & bailey)

Mid 12th Century - no identifable year
Warkworth Castle (motte & bailey) - see our photo

13th Century Castle Construction

Early 13th Century - no identifiable year
Brougham Castle - see our photo

1264 AD
Warwick Castle (Great Hall)

1283 AD
Caernarvon Castle (stone work)
Harlech Castle

1296 AD
Tynemouth Priory & Castle
(stone wall fortifications begun by Edward I)


1920 – Dolomite founded with the purchase of the Gates Quarry

1932 - Manitou Construction Company started to build projects around Rochester

1941-1945 – Quarries shut down for war effort to build ships for U.S. Army

1950’s – Rochester Asphalt Materials

1981 - Keystone Builders Supply

1986 - Iroquois Rock Products

2000 – The Dolomite Group became a part of Oldcastle Materials

1979 - Shadow Lake / The Grill & Tap Room

1985 - Shadow Pines / The Clark House

1996 - Greystone / Stoney's Pub


Rochester Castle Timeline - History

Rochester Castle and its massive keep protected the River Medway, which once served as a vital route to London. Built about 1127, its rich history dates back to 1215 when King John of England launched a two month siege against baron rebels who took refuge in the castle. Nearly half century later in 1262, another siege by Simon de Montfort would give rise to a tale of a ghost roaming Rochester Castle.

As Richard tells the story .

In de Montfort's army was a knight named Gilbert de Clare. He was the rejected suitor of Lady Blanche de Warrene, who was now holed up inside the castle with her fiancé, Sir Ralph de Capo. A week of battering by stone-throwing machines caused heavy damage to the castle. Then a mine tunnel was begun. This would have toppled the walls and brought the castle's capture, had not de Montfort been forced to beat a hasty retreat when news brought that the king was approaching with an army. Suddenly, the castle gates opened and Sir Ralph, emboldened by the proximity of the king's forces, led his fellow defenders in pursuit of the retreating rebels.

Lady Blanche de Warrene watched the skirmish from the southern battlements of the castle, and no doubt felt a twinge of relief when she saw her betrothed galloping back towards its gates. Unfortunately, it was in fact the dastardly Sir Gilbert de Clare, who, having donned an identical surcoat to that worn by Sir Ralph, was able to ride unchallenged into the castle and climb to the ramparts where he seized Lady Blanche.

At that moment, Sir Ralph looked up from the fighting and saw his lover struggling against a vicious assault. He seized an archer's bow, took aim, and fired an arrow high into the air. Tragically, it glanced off de Clare's armor and killed Blanche. That night her ghost was seen walking upon the battlements, the arrow still protruding from her. She has walked her timeworn path ever since, a forlorn figure, whose dark hair, streaming in the breeze, provides a vivid contrast to the brilliant white of her dress.

- Richard Jones
Richard Jones

This ghost story is from the book "Haunted Castles of Britain and Ireland" authored by Richard Jones.

About the book:

Region by region, ghost-seeker Richard Jones reveals, explains and delights in the tales of tortured phantoms eager to restage their dark and turbulent pasts. The cast of characters ranges from ghostly queens that hurl themselves from the ramparts to malevolent monks that wander the corridors. This authoritative and accessible guide to haunted sites is illustrated throughout and includes extracts from original documents.

We would like to thank Richard for graciously allowing Great Castles to use excerpts from his ghost stories on this site.


The Norman Castle

The Domesday Survey of 1086 states that Portchester comprised three manors before the Norman Conquest. [7] It makes no reference to a fort or castle here, but one of the three manors must have been centred on the Roman fort. This manor was one of the possessions given by William I (reigned 1066–87) to one of his Norman supporters, William Mauduit, with other lands in Portsdown hundred.

By the time Maudit died in about 1100 he had probably laid out the castle’s inner bailey or courtyard in the north-west corner of the vast Roman enclosure. Initially, this probably comprised an outer ditch with a timber palisade, and may have included the first phase of the Norman keep. [8]

After Maudit’s death, the castle and its lands passed to his son, Robert Maudit. But he died in the shipwreck of the ‘White Ship’ off the Norman coast in 1120, and the castle reverted to the Crown. Robert’s daughter, the heiress to Portchester, married another Norman, William Pont de l’Arche, the sheriff of Hampshire. He was an important figure, managing to hold office as sheriff during the reigns of Henry I, his successor, Stephen, and Stephen’s rival for the throne, the Empress Matilda.

The castle’s architectural history in these years is not clear. The first stage of the keep (or great tower) may have been built by Maudit or Pont de l’Arche. [9] At some point in the early to mid-12th century the keep was raised dramatically. [10] Pont de l’Arche also founded an Augustinian priory – a community of priests living together – within the Roman fort’s walls in 1128. This community moved to nearby Southwick in 1150 and its residential buildings were demolished, but their church still stands as Portchester’s parish church. [11] The rest of the fort’s interior was divided into plots and used for farming. Outside the walls, the village of Portchester began to grow up outside the castle’s landward gate.

In 1153 Henry of Anjou, son of the Empress Matilda and claimant to the English throne, granted the castle to Henry Maudit, a descendant of the castle’s founder. This is the first clear documentary reference to the castle. [12] But when Henry ascended the throne as Henry II the following year, he took the castle back, one of many baronial castles he confiscated soon after his accession. It then remained in royal ownership until 1632.


Architectural Styles Across Britain

Ely Cathedral (pictured) is on the site of a convent, founded in 673 by St. Etheldreda, a Saxon princess. Work on the cathedral began in 1083 but the monastery was dissolved in 1539 after Henry VIII's break from Rome. Many statues, carvings and stained glass windows were destroyed including St. Etheldreda's Shrine.

Peterborough Cathedral was originally called St. Peter's Cathedral. Building began in 1118 and took 120 years to complete. It contains the tomb of Catherine of Aragon (Henry VIII's first wife who died in 1536 and whose divorce caused the Reformation) and the Hedda Stone, an Anglo-Saxon sculpture approximately 1,200 years old.

Rochester Castle was built by the Normans, and constructed along the lines of a Roman wall which protected a bridge carrying goods from Europe. Built by William the Conqueror's architect, Bishop Gundulf, the stone keep is 35m high and 22m square, with walls up to 4m thick.

Rochester Castlewas besieged by King John in 1215 after having been seized by a group of rebel barons. After a two month siege, the castle finally fell on 30th November when the keep was undermined and the supports burnt down using the fat of 40 pigs.

Rochester Cathedral is the second oldest in England, having been founded in 604. The present cathedral was begun in 1077 and contains a crypt which still bears graffiti left by Simon de Montfort's soldiers when they sacked the Cathedral in 1264. The crypt is considered to be one of the finest in the country.

Most Anglo-Norman churches had timber roofs instead of the usual Romanesque, rounded stone vaults. The exception is Durham Cathedral where the nave and choir are supported by the first known examples of pointed ribbed vaults. This anticipated a characteristic feature of Gothic construction by nearly one hundred years.

Durham was chosen by William the Conqueror as a fortress and defence against the Scots. The Normans built a cathedral and castle, and the city became a seat of the feudal prince-bishops. Durham was also a place of pilgrimage because the cathedral held the remains of St. Cuthbert, a 7th century ecclesiastic.

The Church of Saint-Étienne at Caen provides the definitive example of the early Norman style. Begun in 1067, this provided a model for the Norman cathedrals built across England and contains the tombs of William the Conqueror and his wife Matilda. William's remains were thrown out during the French Revolution.


History & Heritage

The history of Medway can be traced back to Roman times when it became a place of some importance, not only due to the river itself, but because it was the main London to Dover road.

Rochester Castle and Cathedral

Founded in 604, Rochester Cathedral is the second oldest in England an has been a place of worship and prayer for centuries. Just across the road from the cathedral is one of the finest examples of Norman architecture in the country. Rochester Castle has a chequered history, having been subject to siege three times and partly demolished by King John in 1215.

Guildhall Museum

Visitors can discover the history of the Medway area from pre-historic times to the present day at the Guildhall Museum in Rochester. Here you can witness the terrible conditions endured by the Napoleonic prisoners in the Hulks Experience and learn about the life and times of Charles Dickens.

The best way to explore Rochester's rich history is on a free 90-minute circular walking tour around the historic city with a local guide from the City of Rochester Society. Tours take place from April to October, on selected days.

Knights Templar

In Strood, across the river from Rochester, is the 13th Century lodging house, Temple Manor. The house played an important role for the Knights Templar during their crusades to the Holy Land. For Victorian industrial heritage a visit to the Old Brook Pumping Station in Chatham is a must.


Rochester Castle Timeline - History


Rochester Castle, Kent

A castles is a large strong building, built in the past by a ruler or important person to protect the people inside from attack. They were both a home and a fortress.


Bodiam Castle

They were built to provide safety and protection from attack and to display the owner's rank and wealth.

Where were Castles built and why?

Castles were often built on hilltops or surrounded by water to make them easier to defend.


Arundel Castle

What is the biggest castle in England?

The biggest castle in England is Windsor Castle, one of the three homes of the Queen. It is said to be the largest inhabited fortress in the world.


The gate of Windsor Castle


Windsor Castle

What is the biggest castle in World?

The biggest castle in the world, at about 570 meters length and an average of about 130 meters wide, is Prague Castle, the castle in Prague.


Prague Castle

© Copyright - please read
All the materials on these pages are free for homework and classroom use only. You may not redistribute, sell or place the content of this page on any other website or blog without written permission from the author Mandy Barrow.

Rochester Castle Timeline - History

Upnor Castle was built in the mid sixteenth century to protect the Naval dockyard at Chatham. In 1667 the fortification fought a battle with a Dutch Squadron as they penetrated the River Medway but, despite putting up a strong resistance, it was unable to prevent the destruction of a significant portion of the English Fleet nor the capture of the flagship, the Royal Charles.

From the mid-sixteenth century onwards, ships of the Royal Navy started making regular use of the River Medway. The rock free riverbed and sheltered waters offered the ideal location for ships to spend extended periods at anchorage or to be pulled aground for repairs. As use of the river increased, shore facilities were developed starting with a storehouse at Gillingham and this small footprint soon expanded into Chatham Dockyard. During the early decades of Queen Elizabeth I's reign, during which the ships of the Royal Navy were largely laid up, 23 vessels were anchored at Chatham. As the overall Fleet only numbered between 24 and 26 ships, this represented a significant concentration of the country's naval assets. However, coastal defences along the river were fairly lean. Most of the ships were anchored in the vicinity of Rochester bridge, which was overlooked by Rochester Castle, but that medieval structure was obsolete and had no means of defending the ships. Further downstream was Queenborough Castle which provided some protection to Sheppey but could do little against enemy vessels sailing along the River Medway. A small Tudor blockhouse, built during the reign of Henry VIII, had been constructed at Sheerness but was small and ineffective against a determined attack. Accordingly in 1559, the Government of Elizabeth I commissioned a coastal defence fortification at Upnor.

Upnor Castle was positioned to control a bend in the River Medway upstream of the main anchorages and facilities at Chatham. Any enemy vessel attempting to attack the dockyard needed to close to Upnor and pass the castle site. Furthermore, the new fortification was positioned with a good view of the river as it was aligned with St Mary's Creek. Sir Richard Lee was commissioned to design the new fort but, as he was fully engaged building the new town defences at Berwick-upon-Tweed, he delegated the task to his deputy, Humphrey Locke. The castle at this time consisted of an angle bastion that overlooked the river and carried the main anti-ship weapons. To its rear was a two storey building hosting further guns, accommodation facilities, magazines and administrative space. Stone was robbed from Rochester Castle to aid in its construction. Work on the castle continued through to 1567.

As Elizabeth I's reign progressed, relations with Spain deteriorated and fears grew that the River Medway would suffer an attack from the large Spanish forces operating from their bases in the Netherlands. In 1575, Swaleness Fort was erected to protect the mouth of the River Medway (a plan to build a further fortification Sheerness or the Isle of grain was rejected due to concerns an attacking force could bypass it by sailing up the Swale). Enhancements were also made at Upnor St Mary's Creek was fouled by a timber palisade and a chain was installed running between the castle and the opposite bank (this was later moved downstream).

Upnor Castle underwent a substantial rebuild between 1599 and 1601. The Water Bastion was modified to take heavier weaponry and a timber palisade was installed in front of it to provide protection from enemy landing parties and to stop ships coming alongside the bastion at high tide. A gatehouse and curtain wall were also added with two new structures, the North and South Towers, overlooking the waterfront and enabling flanking fire along a ditch that fronted the wall. Two earthwork forts, Bay Sconce and Warham Sconce, were also added at this time.

Upon the outbreak of the seventeenth century Civil War, Upnor Castle remained in Crown ownership. However, the region and navy were controlled by Parliament and accordingly the castle and its sconces were surrendered without a fight. It saw no action during the first conflict and its sole military use was as a prison for Royalist officers. However in 1648, during the Second Civil War, Upnor Castle was briefly seized by Royalist forces as part of a wider uprising across Kent. The rebellion was quickly suppressed and the castle recovered. Some repair work was undertaken in 1653 after an (accidental) fire in the Gatehouse. Brick, rather than stone, was used for this work giving the gatehouse its distinctive appearance.

The latter half of the seventeenth century saw Britain embroiled in a number of wars with Holland. Like England, the Dutch were a maritime nation but tended to be third party traders picking up wares from one nation and transporting them to another. In 1651 Cromwell approved the first of the Navigation Acts which mandated that all imported goods must be carried on English ships or those of the exporting nation. This excluded the Dutch and led to the First Anglo-Dutch War (1652-54). A number of battles ensued and the war ended when both nations were exhausted from the conflict. However, following the Restoration of the monarchy, Charles II also promoted protectionist policies that led to the Second Anglo-Dutch War (1665-67) and Upnor Castle saw action during this conflict.

In June 1667, a Dutch Squadron under the command of de Ruyter arrived off the Isle of Sheppey. His forces landed at Sheerness and burnt the half-built fortification being constructed on the headland. He then moved his fleet into the River Medway. George Monck, Duke of Albemarle took charge of the defences and ensured the harbour chain was rigged and hastily built two earthwork batteries at Hoo Ness and Gillingham. On the morning of 12 June 1667 the Dutch forces smashed through those defences and seized the Royal Charles, the English flagship, and burnt other ships anchored in this part of the river. As the tide turned the Dutch went to anchor and Albermarle feared the next day they would proceed further inshore, passing Upnor and burning the rest of the Fleet at Chatham and Rochester. Overnight the Duke hastily erected Middleton Battery adjacent to Upnor Castle. On 13 June 1667 the Dutch pushed further upstream and came under intense fire from Upnor Castle and Middleton Battery. Both had been augmented by additional troops rushed into the area by Monck. Samual Pepys wrote about the action “I do not see that Upnor Castle hath received any hurt by them though they played long against it and they themselves shot till they had hardly a gun left upon the carriages, so badly provided they were”. Despite the fierce fire from the castle, the Dutch successfully burnt more Royal Navy ships before they withdrew to Queenborough. They remained there for several days before they finally withdrew. The humiliation of the attack led Britain to end hostilities at the Peace of Breda.

The humiliation at Medway prompted substantial upgrades to coastal defences around key military ports. In the Medway a vast new bastioned facility, Garrison Point Fort, was built to protect the guns at Sheerness. Upstream two new outposts - Cockham Wood Fort and Gillingham Fort - were also built. All three were designed by the King's chief engineer, Sir Bernard de Gomme, who ironically was a Dutchman! As the size of both the navy and the ships within it increased, meaning more vessels anchored in the main river channel, further gun batteries were built at Hoo Ness and on the Isle of Grain. All these new facilities made Upnor Castle redundant and by the late seventeenth century it had been relegated to a stores complex and magazine. The castle was modified accordingly with the gun platforms on the roof of the main building removed. It continued to be used as a magazine until 1827 and thereafter served in various roles until formally recognised as a museum in 1945.

Allen, R (1976). English Castles . Batsford, London.

Fry, P.S (1980). Castles of the British Isles . David and Charles.

Goodall, J (2011). The English Castle 1066-1650 . Yale University Press.

Guy, J (1980). Kent Castles . Meresborough Books.

King, C.D.J (1983). Castellarium anglicanum: an index and bibliography of the castles in England, Wales and the Islands . Kraus International Publications.

Pettifer, A (1995). English Castles, A guide by counties . Boydell Press, Woodbridge.

Salter, M (2002). Castles of Kent, Surrey and Sussex . Folly Publications, Malvern.


The History of the Lamberton Conservatory

Originally constructed in 1911, the Lamberton Conservatory was named in honor of Alexander B. Lamberton who was the President of the Parks Board from 1902 to 1915. Original funding from the relatives of Lamberton provided for the building costs and would allow for continuous specialized exhibits of diverse plant species. Already a nationally renowned arboretum designed by Frederic Law Olmsted, Highland Park&rsquos horticultural status was certainly heightened by its construction.

Special events and exhibitions of far off floral wonders continued to delight generations of Rochesterians. The structure would expand over time and its interiors would become known as a tranquil destination or even a tropical respite to Rochester&rsquos chilly winters.

By 2006, the original building had deteriorated to the point that it was not cost effective to maintain and like most historic structures of that period, time had just gotten the better of it. But in 2007, the Monroe County Parks Department sought the one million dollars it needed to do a complete tear down and historic reconstruction, maintaining every possible detail of the original design.

This newly restored section of the Conservatory has approximately 1,800 square feet of floor area and boasts nearly 1,000 brand new panes of glass specially formed for structures of this type. The full restoration had become a reality because high temperatures and humidity, required for the tropical displays, had taken quite a toll on the steel as well as the glass that was more than 80% original. The original Conservatory was then dis-assembled right down to its foundation and reconstructed with modern materials, as an exact replica of the historic structure. The existing steel framework was removed and used as a pattern for the new galvanized steel framing system. The original interior cypress gutter system was salvaged, refurbished and reused as were the operable ridge-vent, the exterior cast iron gutter system, and the memorial to Alexander B. Lamberton that is, once again, mounted over the front doors.

The reconstruction effort was jointly managed by the Monroe County Department of Parks and the Monroe County Department of Environmental Services. With their strict attention to detail, the Conservatory&rsquos reconstruction is a testament to Monroe County&rsquos dedication to our history and our continued commitment to our community&rsquos wonderful quality of life.

The History of the Warner Castle Sunken Garden

The Sunken Garden on the grounds of historic Warner Castle in Highland Park is one of Rochester&rsquos landscape architectural treasures. The garden was designed by noted Landscape Architect Alling Stephen DeForest, 1875-1957.

Warner Castle was designed by Horatio Gates Warner and built as his private residence in 1854. In 1912, Frank and Merry Ackerman Dennis, owners of the Dennis Candy Factory and candy stores purchased it. They commissioned DeForest to design gardens for the site beginning around 1920. His plan for the grounds included the Sunken Garden completed in 1930, a courtyard, rose and woodland gardens.

Alling Stephen DeForest, a Fellow of the American Society of Landscape Architects, contributed to a wide variety of landscape designs, both public and private, during the early 20th Century. He received most of his early training at the prestigious Olmsted Brothers firm in Brookline, Massachusetts. Frederick Law Olmsted, considered the father of landscape architecture in America, was the founder of the firm. DeForest&rsquos most notable projects were the original landscape of the George Eastman House on East Avenue in Rochester and the gardens of the Harbel Manor, the Akron, Ohio home of Harvey Firestone. Although the majority of his designs were the landscapes of private estates, he also designed campuses, housing developments, cemeteries and parks.

Frank Dennis died in 1927 and Merry Dennis continued to live in the castle until her death in 1936. Dennis&rsquo relatives contested her will and the estate was not settled until eight years after her death. The castle became a sanitarium in 1944 when it was purchased from the estate by Christopher Gainers a self-styled naturopath.

The City of Rochester bought the property in 1951 and the castle and grounds became part of Highland Park, an internationally known arboretum. The City&rsquos Parks Department&rsquos offices and herbarium were located in the castle and the Sunken Garden became a popular location for weddings and wedding photographers. The Rochester Civic Garden Center&rsquos headquarters now occupy the building.

In 1961 an agreement between the City of Rochester and the County of Monroe turned the responsibility of the maintenance of the castle grounds and Rochester&rsquos major parks over to the Monroe County Parks Department.

Time, weather and vandalism took their toll of the garden&rsquos infrastructure and in 1988 the garden was closed to the public because of the Monroe County Parks Department&rsquos concern for visitors&rsquo safety. A year-long study of the site, funded by the Institute for Museum Services, was undertaken by Doell and Doell, Historic Landscape Preservation Planners and Environmental Design and Research, P.C. of Syracuse, NY.

Restoration of the Sunken Garden&rsquos infrastructure was completed in October 1991, with funds from Monroe County and an Environmental Quality Bond Act Grant. The garden&rsquos stone walls were repointed and missing stones replaced. Paving stones, an important landscape design element included in DeForest&rsquos design for the garden were also replaced.

The historically appropriate plant material was replaced through the cooperative efforts of The Landmark Society of Western New York, the Seventh District of the Federated Garden Clubs, and the Genesee Finger Lakes Nursery and Landscape Association in 1993. The plant material restoration project received the New York State Preservation League&rsquos Historic Landscape Preservation Award in 1995 and illustrates what can be accomplished through the cooperative efforts of the public and private sector.

The Warner Castle Sunken Garden, a significant part of the landscape heritage of Rochester, New York, provides residents and visitors alike with the opportunity to view a planned landscape designed by a noted landscape architect.


Watch the video: How Did King Johns Pigs Destroy Rochester Castle? (January 2022).