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Monument details

HER Number:TQ 96 SW 35
Type of record:Monument
Name:Tonge Castle

Summary

Mutilated remains of a motte and bailey castle. The foundations of a rectangular stone building were found in excavations during 1930 on the SW of the motte area together with pottery dating from the 12th to the 14th century. This was confirmed in further excavations in 1965. Traces of a wooden structure on the highest party of the mound were recorded. There was no evidence of occupation before c.1100. There is a mention of the castle during the time of King John and it was still mentioned as a castle in 1448.


Grid Reference:TQ 9333 6360
Map Sheet:TQ96SW
Parish:TONGE, SWALE, KENT

Monument Types

  • SETTLEMENT (SETTLEMENT, Iron Age - 800 BC to 42 AD)
  • DITCH (DITCH, Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • MOTTE AND BAILEY (MOTTE AND BAILEY, Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • POND (POND, Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)

Full description

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[Centred TQ 9335 6360] Tonge Castle [NR] (Site of) [NAT] (1) The earthworks known as Tonge Castle stand about 25ft. above sea level on the north side of a small valley leading N.E. towards the Thames marshes. The main defences consist of a deep and wide ditch, now dry, on the N.E. and N.W. sides. The south and west sides are at present protected by a mill pond. This has apparently been altered in modern times, but may always have formed part of the defences, for a mill at Tonge is mentioned in Domesday. The land valuation of c. 1834 seems to indicate that about this time the pond may have been deepened and enlarged which would account for the disappearance of the large ditch on that side. The pond and ditch enclose a roughly rectangular area. The interior has been much disturbed and it is difficult to trace the original plan. The entrance seems to have been on the N.E., as at present. This leads to an area (A on plan) only slightly raised above the pond. From this a narrow bank leads to the flat top of B, protected on the east by a scarp and ditch, and on the west by a slight hedgebank and the main ditch. On the south side there is now a steep scarp, a terrace 40ft. wide, and another scarp down to the water's edge, but this may not be original. On the north side of B another narrow bank leads to a still higher area C, probably the site of a Wind Mill mentioned in the Land Valuation. Excavations in 1930 revealed part of a rectangular building in the S.W. part of area B. The flint and stone walls were 14 inches thick, with a blocked door at the east end. The interior was filled with fallen rubble, and only two iron rails and potsherds were found, the latter dating from the 12th to 14th centuries (by analogy with material from Rayleigh Castle, Essex) except for one fragment of La Tene ware. Fragments from a total of over 40 vessels were found. The pottery is now in the possession of the owner of the land, Mr C. Wicks. The excavation showed the site to have been occupied during the 12th to 14th centuries, and that there is the possiblity of an earlier occupation during the 1st century A.D. (2) A 25" survey has been done. Description and situation of the earthwork by Authority 2 is fully correct. There are no traces now of the 1930 excavations and no building foundations are visible. The finds, according to Mr T. Wicks, present owner of the land, are in Maidstone Museum. The plan of Tonge Castle suggests it may have been of the Motte and Bailey type. (3) Tonge Castle: published survey checked and correct (O.S. 25" 1962). The site of the 1930 excavations has been re-opened revealing part of the rectangular building. (4) Tonge Castle: there is evidence for the existence of a castle at Tonge soon after the Conquest and it is probable that defences of some description guarded the site in earlier days. The importance of the position to Saxon or Dane is manifest; either may have wrought a work here but it was probably altered in late Norman times to accommodate masonry buildings. A large pond now occupies the south portion, probably of late medieval date, its construction destroying much of what had been a more powerful stronghold than its present remains suggest. The moat, now silted up, was doubtless deep enough to receive spring water. An entrance can be seen on the east, but the site is in so poor a state of preservation that any attempt to realise its former condition is somewhat difficult. (5) [TQ 933 636] Excavations of the moated habitation known as "Tonge Castle" were carried out in 1963-4 by the Sittingbourne and Swale Archaeological Group. The rectangular earthwork, previously thought to be a possible motte and bailey castle, is largely destroyed by footpath embankments, hillslipping associated with cultivation, and flooding by a large pond. Work to date has been concerned with an area on top of the middle mound where stone foundations were found in 1932 (see Authority 2). Deep sections were cut on this habitation area and in parts of the dry moat. It seems that the "castle" consisted of two enlarged hills, partly encircled by a deep moat. Only one mound was used for habitation - three building sites have now been revealed. Evidence of a Norman wooden building was found, which had been replaced by a substantial hall and associated buildings. The habitation is a manor house and not a true castle (6)(7). Occupation ceased during the late 13th century (6). The moat appears to belong to the late 13th or early 14th century. (6)(7) In August-September 1965 excavations (see Illustration Card) continued on the middle mound of Tonge Medieval Manor. One small building has been completely excavated, and a large building with a complex system of floors. Burnt clay daub was recovered from a third building excavated previously. Traces of a wooden structure on the highest mound were recorded. The excavations also included the dry moat and the area between the habitation mound and the highest point of the earthworks, where deep transects, up to 9ft., were made. Building mortar from the primary fill of the ditch indicated that the earthworks and manor building were contemporary in date. Evidence for re-excavation of a silting moat, c. 1448?, was noted. There was no indication of occupation before c. 1100 A.D. (8) [TQ 933 636] Tonge Castle, listed in the county checklist for moated sites in Kent - December 1979. (9) [TQ 933 636] Tone "Castle" consists of a roughly square enclosure with a great pond on one side, mentioned as a castle in 1215 (a) and 1448 (b). Earthworks classed as feeble or damaged. (10) Additional Bibliography (11)


1985, Photograph (Photograph (Print)). SWX11311.


1985, Photograph (Photograph (Print)). SWX11311.


1985, Photograph (Photograph (Print)). SWX11312.


1985, Photograph (Photograph (Print)). SWX11312.


1985, Photograph (Photograph (Print)). SWX11313.


1985, Photograph (Photograph (Print)). SWX11313.


1985, Photograph (Photograph (Print)). SWX11314.


1985, Photograph (Photograph (Print)). SWX11314.


1985, Photograph (Photograph (Print)). SWX11315.


1985, Photograph (Photograph (Print)). SWX11315.


1986, Photograph (Photograph (Print)). SWX11318.


1986, Photograph (Photograph (Print)). SWX11318.


1986, Photograph (Photograph (Print)). SWX11307.


1986, Photograph (Photograph (Print)). SWX11307.


<1> OS Card / NAR index entry, OS 6" 1938-47 (Unpublished document). SKE6461.


<2> OS Card / NAR index entry, Arch Cant 44 1932 60-66 plans (A H A Hogg) (Unpublished document). SKE6461.


<3> OS Card / NAR index entry, F1 ASP 24-JUL-59 (Unpublished document). SKE6461.


<4> OS Card / NAR index entry, F2 AC 11-JUL-63 (Unpublished document). SKE6461.


<5> OS Card / NAR index entry, VCH Kent I 1908 434-5 fig (I Chalkley Gould) (Unpublished document). SKE6461.


<6> OS Card / NAR index entry, Arch Cant 79 1964 207-10 (D M Ford) (Unpublished document). SKE6461.


<7> OS Card / NAR index entry, KAR 2 1965 34-5 (D M Ford) (Unpublished document). SKE6461.


<8> OS Card / NAR index entry, Arch Cant 80 1965 265-9 fig (D M Ford) (Unpublished document). SKE6461.


<9> OS Card / NAR index entry, Moated Sites Research Gp 6 1979 48 (Unpublished document). SKE6461.


<10> OS Card / NAR index entry, Mappa Mundi Rot Lit Claus 235 b (Unpublished document). SKE6461.


<11> OS Card / NAR index entry, Cal Charter Rolls 100 (Unpublished document). SKE6461.


<12> OS Card / NAR index entry, Hist and Topographical Survey of County of Kent 1778-99 2 602-604 (E Hasted) (Unpublished document). SKE6461.


<13> OS Card / NAR index entry, Castellarium Anglicanum I 1983 235 (D J Cathcart King) (Unpublished document). SKE6461.


<14> Field report for monument TQ 96 SW 35 - July, 1959 (Bibliographic reference). SKE4963.


<15> Field report for monument TQ 96 SW 35 - July, 1963 (Bibliographic reference). SKE4964.


<16> OS Card / NAR index entry, Bannister, NR 1995 'Tonge Mill: Historic Landscape Survey' (Unpublished Report for Countryside Commi (Unpublished document). SKE6461.

Sources and further reading

Cross-ref. Source description
---Photograph (Print): 1986. Photograph. TQ9363/10. print.
---Photograph (Print): 1985. Photograph. TQ9363/2. print.
---Photograph (Print): 1985. Photograph. TQ9363/3. print.
---Photograph (Print): 1985. Photograph. TQ9363/4. print.
---Photograph (Print): 1985. Photograph. TQ9363/5. print.
---Photograph (Print): 1985. Photograph. TQ9363/6. print.
---Photograph (Print): 1986. Photograph. TQ9363/9. print.
<1>Unpublished document: OS Card / NAR index entry. OS 6" 1938-47.
<2>Unpublished document: OS Card / NAR index entry. Arch Cant 44 1932 60-66 plans (A H A Hogg).
<3>Unpublished document: OS Card / NAR index entry. F1 ASP 24-JUL-59.
<4>Unpublished document: OS Card / NAR index entry. F2 AC 11-JUL-63.
<5>Unpublished document: OS Card / NAR index entry. VCH Kent I 1908 434-5 fig (I Chalkley Gould).
<6>Unpublished document: OS Card / NAR index entry. Arch Cant 79 1964 207-10 (D M Ford).
<7>Unpublished document: OS Card / NAR index entry. KAR 2 1965 34-5 (D M Ford).
<8>Unpublished document: OS Card / NAR index entry. Arch Cant 80 1965 265-9 fig (D M Ford).
<9>Unpublished document: OS Card / NAR index entry. Moated Sites Research Gp 6 1979 48.
<10>Unpublished document: OS Card / NAR index entry. Mappa Mundi Rot Lit Claus 235 b.
<11>Unpublished document: OS Card / NAR index entry. Cal Charter Rolls 100.
<12>Unpublished document: OS Card / NAR index entry. Hist and Topographical Survey of County of Kent 1778-99 2 602-604 (E Hasted).
<13>Unpublished document: OS Card / NAR index entry. Castellarium Anglicanum I 1983 235 (D J Cathcart King).
<14>Bibliographic reference: Field report for monument TQ 96 SW 35 - July, 1959.
<15>Bibliographic reference: Field report for monument TQ 96 SW 35 - July, 1963.
<16>Unpublished document: OS Card / NAR index entry. Bannister, NR 1995 'Tonge Mill: Historic Landscape Survey' (Unpublished Report for Countryside Commi.

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