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Monument details

HER Number:TR 13 SW 66
Type of record:Listed Building


Grade I listed building. Main construction periods 1200 to 1912. Remains of; 1420-30; Fortified manor house


Lympne Castle from Lympne churchyard   © Kent County Council
Grid Reference:TR 11925 34660
Map Sheet:TR13SW

Monument Types

  • CASTLE (Medieval to Modern - 1200 AD to 1912 AD)
  • CASTLE (Medieval to Modern - 1200 AD to 2050 AD)
  • FORTIFIED HOUSE (FORTIFIED HOUSE, Medieval to Modern - 1200 AD to 2050 AD)
  • OBSERVATION POST (Modern - 1939 AD to 1945 AD)
Protected Status:Listed Building (I) 1101773: LYMPNE CASTLE

Full description

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Description from record TR 13 SW 4 :
[TR 11923467] Lympne Castle [NR] (remains of) (1) Lympne Castle is a fortified manor house of the Arch-deacons of Canterbury dated, for the most part, to about 1420-30. Despite modern additions the nucleus of the old house can still be distinguished. After the Reformation the house was sometimes known as Court Lodge. (2-5) Lympne Castle was considerably restored in the early years of this century and although the external fabric is in good condition, the interior, as a result of army occupation during the 1939-45 war, is in a very poor condition. GP AO/62/298/2: North front. (6) Fortified manor house, Lympne Castle, Grade I. The present building dates from about 1425. It was restored and modern additions made to the north west in 1906/7 and 1911/12 by Sir Robert Lorimer. (For full description see list). (7) Fortified house, Lympne Castle, Grade I, Castle Close. Probably 13th century, mid 14th century and 15th century. Restoration and additions from 1907 and 1911-12 by Lorimer. (For full description see list). (8) Lympne Castle. Built of ragstone, on the edge of the escaprment above Romney Marsh. "Castle" is a courtesy title; Leland described it, more accurately, as "lyke a castelet embatelyd". From the 11th century Lympne was granted to the archdeacons of Canterbury, who treated it as a semi-fortified position. The oldest part, probably 13th century, is the square tower-like element at the east end, originally free-standing. In the 15th century the taller bow-ended tower was added to the west end, and the terrace running below the house at the edge of the escarpment has a defensive purpose. But Lympne was also made a comfortable residence. The main range between the towers dates from the 14th cnetury (the third quarter probably, thinks Mr Rigold) and has a normal late medieval plan. The 13th century tower became the kitchen with other service rooms on the southside. Central open hall entered through the two-storeyed north porch, and with a fine crown-post roof. The fireplace in the dais wall of the hall is a typical Tudor modernization. (9) Lympne Castle. Visited by the Royal Archaeological Institute on 29th July 1896. (10) [TR 129347] (sic) Lympne Castle, Listed as a fortified manor house of 16th century. (11) [TR 119347] Lympne Castle was granted to the archdeacons of Canterbury from the time of Lanfranc. In the 19th century Archdeacon Croft turned it into a private freehold and sold it. F.J. Tennant bought it in 1906 and added a large wing, but the medieval parts were carefully resotred by R. Lorimer. The house became a lesser counterpart to the Archbishop's castle of Saltwood. There must have been a gatehouse to the forecourt, but all that now remains is the E.-W. range, flanked by a rampart along the cliff-edge. Square tower of probably 13th century date. There may have been an earlier hall. The present hall abuts the tower at the screens and the"service" seems to have been south of the tower towards the rampart. This dates to c. the third quarter of the 14th century. In the second quarter of the 15th century, the chamber block was altered to form a D-shaped west tower. The porch was also modified to communicate with the old square tower. (12) The old castellated manor-house is now occupied as a farm-house. There is a bold, circular tower to the west of the range of buildings said by local historians to stand on a base of Roman work. Nothing of so old a date is, however, visible. Additional Info (20)

During the Second World War there was a Fortress Observation Post mounted on the roof (21)

The following text is from the original listed building designation:

6/15 Lympne Castle 29.12.66 GV I
Fortified house, now house. Probably C13; mid C14, and C15. Restoration and additions 1907 and 1911-12 by Lorimer. Ragstone, with ashlar dressings and plain tile roofs. Square east tower, probably C13, with C14 stair turret and service rooms to south. C14 hall to west of tower, incorporating solar block within west end and with C14 or C15 north-east: porch. Rectangular C14 west tower, formerly extending further to south, and with semi-circular C15 addition with stair turret, to west side. Further block added to north-west by Lorimer, linked to rectangular west: tower by short, narrow 2-storey range, and by garden wall to gateway and service range to north. North elevation of medieval range: east tower 3 storeys, porch 2 storeys, hall tall single-storey, with lower eaves than porch but incorporating 2-storey solar section to west. West tower 4 storeys. Chamfered stone plinth to east tower and porch, and formerly to hall range. Battered base to west turret. All four sections battlemented above chamfered string. Various stone stacks concealed within battlements of towers. Tall stone ridge stack towards right end of hall range. Irregular fenestration of C15-style stone windows, largely inserted or restored by Lorimer; two cross windows with trefoil-headed top lights, to each of 2 lower floors of east tower. One window of 2 trefoil-headed lights with squared hood-mould to each face of first floor of porch, and narrow rectangular chamfered light to ground floor of west side. 2 tall pointed- arched mullioned and transomed windows to hall, with cusped lights and tracery of vertical bars with quatrefoil. One cusped square-headed 2-light window to each floor of solar section. No visible north windows to west tower. Moulded pointed-arched doorway to porch with squared hoodmould, hollow spandrels and quatrefoils. South elevation of medieval range: irregular elevation to east tower, truncated walls forming buttresses, with fragment of stone south-west door jamb. Buttress beneath hall stack formed from fragment of east wall of a former south extension of solar section, incorporating chamfered, pointed-arched stone doorway. 3 stone corbels under string-course of solar section, with stump of a doubly plain- chamfered stone rib below them. Various 2- and 3-light stone mullion windows. 2 hall windows as on north elevation. Pointed-arched plain- chamfered doorway with broach stops, to east end of hall. Retaining wall running parallel to and about 2 metres south from south elevation, joined by buttress to east end of east tower. East section re-built by Lorimer, West section formerly west wall of south extension of west tower and incorporates 2 blocked pointed-arched garderobe arches on west side. Wall continued to west by Lorimer, curved and branching to form terraced garden. C20 north-west range: east elevation: 1½ and 2 storeys. Irregular facade. 2 gables and dormers to courtyard, with swept eaves. Troll slender stone stacks. Various one, two and three-light stone mullion windows. Panelled door in rectangular moulded stone architrave. North-east corner of range linked to south-east corner of former service range by buttressed stone garden wall. Former service range (now house row): also by Lorimer. Ragstone, with plain tile roof. North (street) elevation: single storey and attics. Canted east stair turret. Stone gable towards centre. 4 stone ridge stacks, and one stack forming straight west side to central gable. 8 hipped dormers. Irregular fenestration of stone mullioned windows, some with idiosyncratically carved architraves and mullions. 4 boarded doors (some later) and 2 blocked doors. Garage and stable block adjoining, but set back, to west, with boundary wall curved round former stable yard. Entrance gates adjoining to east, with tall canted stone flanking walls, and moulded pointed-arched gateway with solid wooden doors. South elevation of service range: stone-arched loggia to south end of garage block. Small stone turret with conical roof in re-entrance angle of garage and main range. Rear central gable incorporating dove-cote and with stone beasts to verge ends. Buttressed garden wall running north-south between east end of gateway and north-east corner of east tower of medieval range. Interior: Medieval range: moulded or plain- chamfered pointed-arched C14 and C15 stone doorways; on ground floor, 2 to east end and 2 to west end of hall, one to north-west end of solar section and one between west tower and rounded west addition; on first floor, to south and east walls of porch (former to a gallery since removed), two to south wall of square east tower, one to west wall of solar section, one between 2 chambers of west tower, and one to south- west stair turret. Stone newel stairs to south-west of square east tower and to south-east of rounded west addition, the latter staircase starting from first floor. Broad C14 or C15 extended four-centred arched moulded stone fireplace to east wall of ground floor of east tower. Smaller, similarly arched C15 moulded stone fireplace to west wall of first-floor room of east tower. Cavetto-moulded stone jambs of C16 fireplace to west end of hall, with moulded wooden bressumer probably designed by Lorimer. Squint between hall and first floor of porch. 4-bay hall roof with 5 trusses (at least partly restored); moulded octagonal crown-posts on moulded tie-beams, with scissor-braces lapped over collars to form sous-laces. Ashlar-pieces and moulded wooden cornice. Similar roof to first floor of solar section, largely restored. Numerous moulded stone doorways and fire-places by Lorimer. Linenfold panelling, probably early C20, to hall. Most ceilings by Lorimer. A few early C20 hinged decorative iron brackets for curtains. Early C20 vaulted ceiling to first-floor room of east tower. Early C20 north-west range (only partly inspected): panelling and plaster ceiling to south-west ground- floor room. Staircase of 1907 with turned balusters and finials of carved wooden beasts. Variety of moulded stone fireplaces. Boarded doors. Interior of former service range not inspected. Lympne granted to Archdeacons of Canterbury from C11. Castle commands extensive views from Dover to Hastings See also Castle Close, Well-head at Lympne Castle. (Country Life, 12.11.1910. Lympne Castle guide book, said to have been written with advice from S. Rigold, no date. J. Newman, B.O.E. Series, West Kent and the Weald, 1980.)
Listing NGR: TR1192934655 (22)

Historic England archive material (23)

<1> OS 6" 1961 (OS Card Reference). SKE48369.

<1> Chris Blandford Associates, 1992, A259 Dymchurch to M20 (Junction 11) Stage 1 Heritage (Unpublished document). SKE6769.

<2> Arch Cant 30 1914 LII-LV illus (A Vallance) (OS Card Reference). SKE34990.

<3> Arch Cant 44 1932 294 (A Vallance) (OS Card Reference). SKE35140.

<4> JBAA 20 1914 206-207 (OS Card Reference). SKE44903.

<5> Arch Cant 18 1889 436-437 (WA Scott Robertson) (OS Card Reference). SKE34779.

<6> F1 CFW 10-DEC-62 (OS Card Reference). SKE42511.

<7> DOW(HHR) District of Elham RD Kent Sept 1960 25 (OS Card Reference). SKE41503.

<8> DOE(HHR) District of Shepway Kent 15 May 1986 11-12 (OS Card Reference). SKE41152.

<9> Buildings of England W Kent and the Weald 1980 394 (J Newman) (OS Card Reference). SKE38418.

<10> Arch J 53 1896 387 (OS Card Reference). SKE36652.

<11> A Handbook of Kent's Defences 1540-1945 1977 38 (D Bennett) (OS Card Reference). SKE32807.

<12> Arch J 126 1969 260-262 (SE Rigold) (OS Card Reference). SKE36564.

<13> JBAA 40 1884 233 (OS Card Reference). SKE44970.

<14> Country Life 28 682-9 (OS Card Reference). SKE39422.

<15> Dom Archit of England 2 1859 306 (TH Turner and JH Parker) (OS Card Reference). SKE41468.

<16> Antiquities of England and Wales 3 1787 66-67 113-114 (F Grose) (OS Card Reference). SKE33286.

<17> Field report for monument TR 13 SW 4 - December, 1962 (Bibliographic reference). SKE5380.

<18> NORTH FRONT OF LYMPNE CASTLE (Photograph). SKE2589.


<20> Chris Blandford Associates, 1992, A259 Dymchurch to M20 (Junction 11) Stage 1 Heritage (Unpublished document). SKE6769.

<21> Pillbox Study Group, Pillbox Study Group communication (Verbal communication). SKE52253.

<22> English Heritage, List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest (Map). SKE16160.

<23> Historic England, Archive material associated with Lympne Castle, Listed Building (Archive). SKE54569.

Sources and further reading

Cross-ref. Source description
<1>OS Card Reference: OS 6" 1961.
<1>Unpublished document: Chris Blandford Associates. 1992. A259 Dymchurch to M20 (Junction 11) Stage 1 Heritage.
<2>OS Card Reference: Arch Cant 30 1914 LII-LV illus (A Vallance).
<3>OS Card Reference: Arch Cant 44 1932 294 (A Vallance).
<4>OS Card Reference: JBAA 20 1914 206-207.
<5>OS Card Reference: Arch Cant 18 1889 436-437 (WA Scott Robertson).
<6>OS Card Reference: F1 CFW 10-DEC-62.
<7>OS Card Reference: DOW(HHR) District of Elham RD Kent Sept 1960 25.
<8>OS Card Reference: DOE(HHR) District of Shepway Kent 15 May 1986 11-12.
<9>OS Card Reference: Buildings of England W Kent and the Weald 1980 394 (J Newman).
<10>OS Card Reference: Arch J 53 1896 387.
<11>OS Card Reference: A Handbook of Kent's Defences 1540-1945 1977 38 (D Bennett).
<12>OS Card Reference: Arch J 126 1969 260-262 (SE Rigold).
<13>OS Card Reference: JBAA 40 1884 233.
<14>OS Card Reference: Country Life 28 682-9.
<15>OS Card Reference: Dom Archit of England 2 1859 306 (TH Turner and JH Parker).
<16>OS Card Reference: Antiquities of England and Wales 3 1787 66-67 113-114 (F Grose).
<17>Bibliographic reference: Field report for monument TR 13 SW 4 - December, 1962.
<18>Photograph: NORTH FRONT OF LYMPNE CASTLE. OS62/F298/2. Black and White. Negative.
<20>Unpublished document: Chris Blandford Associates. 1992. A259 Dymchurch to M20 (Junction 11) Stage 1 Heritage.
<21>Verbal communication: Pillbox Study Group. Pillbox Study Group communication.
<22>XYMap: English Heritage. List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest. [Mapped feature: #32152 Listed building, ]
<23>Archive: Historic England. Archive material associated with Lympne Castle, Listed Building.

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