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Record Details

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Monument details

HER Number:TQ 77 NE 7
Type of record:Monument
Name:Cooling Castle


Cooling Castle was built as a result of the French raid which ravaged this part of Kent in 1379. It was begun in 1381 and completed in 1385 covering nearly eight acres and consisting of two parallel but unequal wards separated by a moat surrounding both. The Inner Gatehouse is thought to remain standing to almost 10 metres. The water gate or postern is standing and a small wooden boat was previously dug up opposite this. The undercroft of the 'Great Chamber' remains, and the foundations of many buildings in the south-eastern part of the castle are thought to be buried underneath flower beds.


Cooling Castle gatehouse   © Kent County Council
Grid Reference:TQ 7536 7597
Map Sheet:TQ77NE

Monument Types


Full description

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References include: Bibliography from OS card/NAR index entry (1-19), references from relevant field reports (20-25). Site reffered to in early chart (26) and site photographs (27-66).

This feature is recorded in the English Heritage Historic Area Assessment for Cooling Parish. The report states: "Several references to Culings or Culinge occur in the 9th and 10th centuries, relating to the granting of land and in 1066 the lordship was held by Earl Leafwyne, the brother of King Harald. Up to this point Cooling formed part of the Great Manor of Hoo (within the Lathe of Aylesford) but after the conquest it became a manor in its own right. Administratively it lay within the Hundred of Shamel, while its eastern neighbour, High Halstow, was part of the Hundred of Hoo. Ownership of the manor stayed mainly with the crown until obtained by the de Cobham family in 1241. It then descended through various branches of the de Cobham and Brooke family until 1643 when the mannor at Cooling (sometimes spelt Cowling) was divided among the three daughters of William Brooke. This created three estates, which Edward Hasted identified as Cowling Castle, New Barn, and Cowling Lodge."

"The construction of the castle at Cooling had begun around 1381 after John de Cobham has obtained permission to fortify his manor house in the wake of French raids along the Thames. Cooling Castle became 'the capital of English Lollardy' in the 1410s, when occupied by Sir John Oldcastle, and was attached by Sir Thomas Wyatt in 1554. Thereafter it became a ruin and between 1650 and 1670 a house was built on part of the sire. This formed the principal residence of one part of the subdivided manor."

"The village was edged by farmsteads, Cooling Castle to the west and Marshgate to the east. Both built new farmhouses in the 17th century; the former in the mid years."

"The remains of Cooling Castle (a scheduled ancient monument with listed elements) are substantial. It was built in 1381-1385 for Sir John de Cobham in the form of two wards, protected by stone curtain walls with circular corner towers and a moat, with an outer gateway on the south side. Henry Yevele appears to have had some role in its design and the gateway was built by a Maidstone mason, Thomas Crrump. A considerable amount of the walls and towers survive, as do the remains of several structures within the smaller inner ward (grade I) which is maintained as a ruin. The outer ward is still graced by the impressive gateway (grade I) formed of two semi-circular towers with emphatic battlements and machicolations, arrowslits and key-hole gun ports. Cooling Castle was the first Thames-side fortification designed for the use of gunpowder artillery".

"Cooling Castle estate was acquired by the Rochester Bridge wardens in 1942 and in the 1960s or 1970s a new farmhouse was built to west of the farmstead. By the end of the 20th century, the estate had been broken up with the castle remains, the old farmhouse and outbuildings all in separate ownership". (67)

The earliest reference to a park at Cooling was in 1380/1 when Richard II awarded a licence to embattle the castle. There was at that time a large park adjoining. (68)

[TQ 75357595] Site of Cooling Castle Scheduled Ancient Monument
The present castle was built as a result of the French raid which ravaged this part of Kent in 1379; the licence to crenelate is dated 2.2.1380-1 and the building was completed by the end of 1385. Coulyng Castle covers nearly eight acres and consists of two parallel but unequal wards separated by a moat which surrounds both. These wards are four-sided but not rectangular and have a tower at each angle: the NE & SE towers of the inner ward are round, all the rest are three-quarters round or else horse-shoe shaped. The inner ward measures c.196 x 170'. Its curtain wall still ranges in height from c.15 to 30'. The south-eastern and north-western tower stands to a height of 34' and that at the south-west to 35' but the north eastern tower has disappeared except for a small fragment of projecting wall which shows that its basement, at least, formed internally a hexagon. To the north of the centre of the eastern wall is the Inner Gatehouse, with its towers still standing to 30', and at the north end of the western wall, adjoining the north-western tower, is the watergate or postern: nearly opposite to it Mr. Murton dug up the remains of a small wooden boat. The north-east corner of the inner ward was occupied by the 'Great Chamber' of which the undercroft remains, but the majority of the buildings were in the south-eastern part and their foundations remain underneath the flower beds. Steps in the south-eastern tower give access to a rectangular vaulted chamber of unknown purpose: it is sometimes called the dungeon but, as its door was fastened from the inside, that could not have been its purpose. It has a window in the outer wall above the moat: this has been partly built over by the corner tower which must therefore be later than the chamber. The outer ward, to the east of the inner ward measures c.440 x 290' and is occupied by a modern farm and its buildings. (69)

HE archive material (70)

<1> OS 6" 1940 (OS Card Reference). SKE48362.

<2> Inq pm 15.4.1300 (OS Card Reference). SKE44479.

<3> Arch Can XI (1877) 128-44 plan illus (WA Scott Robertson) (OS Card Reference). SKE34488.

<4> VCH Kent I 1908 429-30 plan (OS Card Reference). SKE51173.

<5> Arch Cant 39 1927 167-76 (B Cope) (OS Card Reference). SKE35070.

<6> Arch Cant 39 1927 176-80 (A Vallence) (OS Card Reference). SKE35071.

<7> Ant of Eng and Wales 3 (1787) 24-6 illus (F Grose) (OS Card Reference). SKE33228.

<8> Castles of Eng I (1897) 9-13 plan (JD Mackenzie) (OS Card Reference). SKE38630.

<9> The English Castle 1936 4 95 103 109 illus (H Braun) (OS Card Reference). SKE50344.

<10> F1 EG 25-JUN-59 (OS Card Reference). SKE42872.

<11> F2 FGA 26-OCT-64 (OS Card Reference). SKE43333.

<12> DOE (HHR) City of Rochester upon Medway 1986 8 (OS Card Reference). SKE40174.

<13> DOE (HHR) City of Rochester Upon Medway 1986 9 (OS Card Reference). SKE40175.

<14> Moated Site Res Grp Rep 6 1979 46 (CJ Bond) (OS Card Reference). SKE47240.

<15> A Handbook of Kents Defences 1540-1945 1977 12 (D Bennett) (OS Card Reference). SKE32803.

<16> Arch Cant 93 1977 221 (T Tatton-Brown) (OS Card Reference). SKE36146.

<17> Groses Ant 2 1774 85-7 (OS Card Reference). SKE43635.

<18> Bldgs of Eng West Kent and the Weald 1980 239-240 (J Newman) (OS Card Reference). SKE38049.

<19> DOE (IAM) AMs Eng 2 1978 109 (OS Card Reference). SKE40685.

<20> Field report for monument TQ 77 NE 7 - June, 1959 (Bibliographic reference). SKE4206.

<21> Field report for monument TQ 77 NE 7 - October, 1964 (Bibliographic reference). SKE4207.

<22> Not applicable, SMR Kent uncatalogued index entry, OS 6" 1st Ed (1865) (Miscellaneous Material). SKE6440.

<23> Saunders, Andrew, 1995, Thames fortifications during the 16th to 19th centuries (Article in monograph). SWX9358.

<24> Scott Robertson, W. A., 1877, Coulyng Castle (Article in serial). SWX7347.

<25> Smithers, D. W., 1980, Castles in Kent (Monograph). SWX9392.

<26> Andrews and Dury, 1777, London Environs (Chart). SWX8084.

<27> 1946, Photograph (Photograph (Print)). SWX9427.

<28> 1946, Photograph (Photograph (Print)). SWX9447.

<29> 1947, Photograph (Photograph (Print)). SWX9831.

<30> 1947, Photograph (Photograph (Print)). SWX9835.

<31> 1947, Photograph (Photograph (Print)). SWX9863.

<32> 1944, Photograph (Photograph (Print)). SWX10019.

<33> 1944, Photograph (Photograph (Print)). SWX10023.

<34> 1948, Photograph (Photograph (Print)). SWX10631.

<35> 1950, Photograph (Photograph (Print)). SWX10700.

<36> 1953, Photograph (Photograph (Print)). SWX10703.

<37> 1953, Photograph (Photograph (Print)). SWX11088.

<38> 1953, Photograph (Photograph (Print)). SWX11089.

<39> 1953, Photograph (Photograph (Print)). SWX11090.

<40> 1994, Photograph (Photograph (Print)). SWX11091.

<41> 1994, Photograph (Photograph (Print)). SWX11092.

<42> 1994, Photograph (Photograph (Print)). SWX11093.

<43> 1994, Photograph (Photograph (Print)). SWX11094.

<44> 1994, Photograph (Photograph (Print)). SWX11095.

<45> 1994, Photograph (Photograph (Print)). SWX11096.

<46> 1994, Photograph (Photograph (Print)). SWX11097.

<47> 1995, Photograph (Photograph (Print)). SWX11099.

<48> 1995, Photograph (Photograph (Print)). SWX11100.

<49> 1995, Photograph (Photograph (Print)). SWX11101.

<50> 1995, Photograph (Photograph (Print)). SWX11102.

<51> 1995, Photograph (Photograph (Print)). SWX11103.

<52> 1995, Photograph (Photograph (Print)). SWX11104.

<53> 1995, Photograph (Photograph (Print)). SWX11105.

<54> 1995, Photograph (Photograph (Print)). SWX11106.

<55> 1995, Photograph (Photograph (Print)). SWX11107.

<56> 1998, Photograph (Photograph (Print)). SWX11108.

<57> 1965, Photograph (Photograph (Print)). SWX11109.

<58> 1998, Photograph (Photograph (Print)). SWX11110.

<59> 1998, Photograph (Photograph (Print)). SWX11111.

<60> 1998, Photograph (Photograph (Print)). SWX11112.

<61> 1998, Photograph (Photograph (Print)). SWX11113.

<62> 1998, Photograph (Photograph (Print)). SWX11114.

<63> 1965, Photograph (Photograph (Print)). SWX11115.

<64> 1953, Photograph (Photograph (Print)). SWX11116.

<65> 1953, Photograph (Photograph (Print)). SWX11117.

<66> 1953, Photograph (Photograph (Print)). SWX11118.

<67> historic england, 2014, Hoo Peninsula Outline Historic Area Assessment: Cooling Parish. Research Report 51-2014. (Bibliographic reference). SKE31592.

<68> Susan Pittman, 2011, Elizabethan and Jacobean Deer Parks in Kent (Monograph). SKE32115.

<69> English Heritage, Register of Scheduled Monuments (Scheduling record). SKE16191.

<70> Historic England, Archive material associated with Cooling Castle Scheduled Monument (Archive). SKE54082.

Sources and further reading

Cross-ref. Source description
<1>OS Card Reference: OS 6" 1940.
<2>OS Card Reference: Inq pm 15.4.1300.
<3>OS Card Reference: Arch Can XI (1877) 128-44 plan illus (WA Scott Robertson).
<4>OS Card Reference: VCH Kent I 1908 429-30 plan.
<5>OS Card Reference: Arch Cant 39 1927 167-76 (B Cope).
<6>OS Card Reference: Arch Cant 39 1927 176-80 (A Vallence).
<7>OS Card Reference: Ant of Eng and Wales 3 (1787) 24-6 illus (F Grose).
<8>OS Card Reference: Castles of Eng I (1897) 9-13 plan (JD Mackenzie).
<9>OS Card Reference: The English Castle 1936 4 95 103 109 illus (H Braun).
<10>OS Card Reference: F1 EG 25-JUN-59.
<11>OS Card Reference: F2 FGA 26-OCT-64.
<12>OS Card Reference: DOE (HHR) City of Rochester upon Medway 1986 8.
<13>OS Card Reference: DOE (HHR) City of Rochester Upon Medway 1986 9.
<14>OS Card Reference: Moated Site Res Grp Rep 6 1979 46 (CJ Bond).
<15>OS Card Reference: A Handbook of Kents Defences 1540-1945 1977 12 (D Bennett).
<16>OS Card Reference: Arch Cant 93 1977 221 (T Tatton-Brown).
<17>OS Card Reference: Groses Ant 2 1774 85-7.
<18>OS Card Reference: Bldgs of Eng West Kent and the Weald 1980 239-240 (J Newman).
<19>OS Card Reference: DOE (IAM) AMs Eng 2 1978 109.
<20>Bibliographic reference: Field report for monument TQ 77 NE 7 - June, 1959.
<21>Bibliographic reference: Field report for monument TQ 77 NE 7 - October, 1964.
<22>Miscellaneous Material: Not applicable. SMR Kent uncatalogued index entry. OS 6" 1st Ed (1865).
<23>Article in monograph: Saunders, Andrew. 1995. Thames fortifications during the 16th to 19th centuries. 124-134.
<24>Article in serial: Scott Robertson, W. A.. 1877. Coulyng Castle. 11, pages 128-144.
<25>Monograph: Smithers, D. W.. 1980. Castles in Kent.
<26>Chart: Andrews and Dury. 1777. London Environs. chart.
<27>Photograph (Print): 1946. Photograph. 4032. print.
<28>Photograph (Print): 1946. Photograph. 4066. print.
<29>Photograph (Print): 1947. Photograph. 3034. print.
<30>Photograph (Print): 1947. Photograph. 3057. print.
<31>Photograph (Print): 1947. Photograph. 4057. print.
<32>Photograph (Print): 1944. Photograph. 2069. print.
<33>Photograph (Print): 1944. Photograph. 3065. print.
<34>Photograph (Print): 1948. Photograph. BU 42-45 tq754759/1. print.
<35>Photograph (Print): 1950. Photograph. FD 68-71 tq754759/2. print.
<36>Photograph (Print): 1953. Photograph. MC 52-57 tq754759/3. print.
<37>Photograph (Print): 1953. Photograph. TQ7575/10. print.
<38>Photograph (Print): 1953. Photograph. TQ7575/11. print.
<39>Photograph (Print): 1953. Photograph. TQ7575/12. print.
<40>Photograph (Print): 1994. Photograph. TQ7575/13. print.
<41>Photograph (Print): 1994. Photograph. TQ7575/14. print.
<42>Photograph (Print): 1994. Photograph. TQ7575/15. print.
<43>Photograph (Print): 1994. Photograph. TQ7575/16. print.
<44>Photograph (Print): 1994. Photograph. TQ7575/17. print.
<45>Photograph (Print): 1994. Photograph. TQ7575/18. print.
<46>Photograph (Print): 1994. Photograph. TQ7575/19. print.
<47>Photograph (Print): 1995. Photograph. TQ7575/20. print.
<48>Photograph (Print): 1995. Photograph. TQ7575/21. print.
<49>Photograph (Print): 1995. Photograph. TQ7575/22. print.
<50>Photograph (Print): 1995. Photograph. TQ7575/23. print.
<51>Photograph (Print): 1995. Photograph. TQ7575/24. print.
<52>Photograph (Print): 1995. Photograph. TQ7575/25. print.
<53>Photograph (Print): 1995. Photograph. TQ7575/26. print.
<54>Photograph (Print): 1995. Photograph. TQ7575/27. print.
<55>Photograph (Print): 1995. Photograph. TQ7575/28. print.
<56>Photograph (Print): 1998. Photograph. TQ7575/29. print.
<57>Photograph (Print): 1965. Photograph. TQ7575/3. print.
<58>Photograph (Print): 1998. Photograph. TQ7575/30. print.
<59>Photograph (Print): 1998. Photograph. TQ7575/31. print.
<60>Photograph (Print): 1998. Photograph. TQ7575/32. print.
<61>Photograph (Print): 1998. Photograph. TQ7575/33. print.
<62>Photograph (Print): 1998. Photograph. TQ7575/34. print.
<63>Photograph (Print): 1965. Photograph. TQ7575/4. print.
<64>Photograph (Print): 1953. Photograph. TQ7575/7. print.
<65>Photograph (Print): 1953. Photograph. TQ7575/8. print.
<66>Photograph (Print): 1953. Photograph. TQ7575/9. print.
<67>Bibliographic reference: historic england. 2014. Hoo Peninsula Outline Historic Area Assessment: Cooling Parish. Research Report 51-2014..
<68>Monograph: Susan Pittman. 2011. Elizabethan and Jacobean Deer Parks in Kent.
<69>Scheduling record: English Heritage. Register of Scheduled Monuments.
<70>Archive: Historic England. Archive material associated with Cooling Castle Scheduled Monument.

Related records

TQ 77 NE 1000Parent of: Cooling Castle Gatehouse, Cooling (Listed Building)
TQ 77 NE 1054Parent of: Cooling Castle Manor House (Monument)
TQ 77 NE 1053Parent of: Cooling Castle moat (Monument)
TQ 77 NE 1078Parent of: INNER WARD TO COOLING CASTLE (Listed Building)

Related thematic articles