Living here on the Kent Coast we are quite blessed with the number of castles within half and hour’s drive of our cottage. English Heritage manages several nearby castles or forts. The nearest, Richborough, is out and out Roman. We had a lot of Romans roaming around here, they even strolled past my cottage along the adjacent Roman road linking their major ports of Richborough and Dover. More about Richborough another day.
Talk of local castles and you probably speak of places like Dover, Deal and Walmer. By far the biggest is Dover and that is heady mix of Roman (the lighthouse), Saxon, Norman, Tudor and of course the fortification for World War 2. This is a major site and requires several hours to visit (and a blog of its own)
Walmer and Deal are much smaller sites. They are both Tudor from a time that Henry VII feared a French invasion to quash that new found Anglican religion. Both castles are of the same basic design a short “clover leaf” of round walls bristling with cannons to sink invading ships; the squat round walls made it a hard target for enemy guns. Of the two Deal is closest to the original design. It looks and feels like a Tudor gun platform. Walmer is now more like a house, it became the official residence of the Lord Warden of the Cinque Ports. The massively thick castle walls are there, the moat, the cannons but the rooms are more akin to stately homes. The history of Walmer is the narrative of the wardens. Pitt the Younger, Wellington. Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother, Winston Churchill and many others.
Walmer is busy getting ready for next year’s 200th anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo – so Wellington is big next year!