Link to printer-friendly page

It should not be assumed that this site is publicly accessible and it may be on private property. Do not trespass.

Monument details

HER Number:TR 23 NW 2
Type of record:Monument
Name:Castle Hill, Folkestone

Summary

This is referred to on some maps as ‘Caesar’s Camp’ and is on the edge of a Downland escarpment overlooking Folkestone. Its date of construction is uncertain but is considered to have been somewhere between the 1070s and the 1130s. There was another earlier Norman castle on the coast at Folkestone, close to a landing place. This became a casualty of coastal recession and no longer exists.

General Pitt-Rivers archaeologically excavated the castle in 1878. In addition to medieval deposits he found a Roman ridge tile, considered a stray find. Others have excavated the site since and in 1988-9 pottery dating from 2500-1800 BC was found. It has been suggested that the Norman castle adapted a pre-Roman occupation site, possibly with defensive characteristics. Defensive trenches were cut into the castle during the Second World War.


Grid Reference:TR 2141 3797
Map Sheet:TR23NW
Parish:FOLKESTONE, SHEPWAY, KENT

Monument Types

  • MOTTE (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • MOTTE (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)
Protected Status:Scheduled Monument 1014864: MEDIEVAL RINGWORK WITH BAILEY AND APPROACH CAUSEWAY, INCORPORATING A BOWL BARROW ON CASTLE HILL

Full description

If you do not understand anything on this page please contact us.

TR 2140 3795. Castle Hill (NAT) Motte & Bailey (NR) (1) The earthwork known as Caesar's Camp or Castle Hill 1.75 miles north-west of Folkestone Harbour, was excavated in 1878, by Pitt- Rivers who found it to be a castle mound with two attached courts but with no trace of any walled enclosure; probably erected by the Conqueror or possibly temp. Stephen. In 1949, however, a fall of earth exposed a portion of walling 10 ft long and 3 ft high in the southern face which seemingly supported the causeway across the inner ditch. A Roman ridge tile (in Folkestone Mus) was also found but the association is probably accidental. Scheduled. (See plan ASO/55/105/3(2)). (2-5) Extensively mutilated by wartime and other activities. Resurveyed at 1:2500. (6) See ground photographs. (7) TR 214 379. A large over ringwork and bailey on spur of North Downs with strong counterscarp banks. (a) It was apparently in existence in 1095 (b) and 1137. Excavations in 1878 showed that the ditches were V-shaped, cut in solid chalk, without revetment. A well, and a deep pit containing animal bones, pottery and an arrow-head were found. Decorated chalk fragments, a penny of Stephen and wheel-made pottery, some of it having a green glaze were also discovered. Metal finds included knives, bolt-heads, nails and horseshoes. (8-9) Fine camp on a prominent hill above Folkestone. The entrance is in the north-east angle. Scheduled as an ancient monument - Kent 69. (10) The name which the site popularly, bears is 'Ceasar's Camp', but no serious writer on Kentish antiquities makes use of that name, calling it instead 'Castle Hill'. From the size and form of the site, and the lack of finds of Roman date one cannot reasonably conclude that it is of Roman work, let alone that of Caesar. (11) In the excavations by Pitt-Rivers at 'Caesar's Camp' a large number of fragments of horse-shoes and nails were found in all parts of the camp. They were for small horses, and the form of the shoes points to a Norman or post-Norman date. (12) Additional bibliography - not consulted. (13-21)
Trench excavated in advance of siting of survey point for Channel Tunnel terminal 1988-9 on SW side of motte outside ditch (TR 2130 3791). Upper layers remains of rampart created by digging of Norman ditch sealing topsoil. Beneath this an even spread of sherds, inc late Neolithic Peterborough ware of 2500-1800 BC, charcoal, worked flints and sea shells. A loose deposit beolw the sealed topsoil, poss the fill of a large ditch.(22)From the National Heritage List for England:

Details
The monument includes the site of a castle of Norman origin and its defended approach causeway, and a Bronze Age burial mound with an encircling ditch. A large defensive earthen bank or rampart encloses the summit of Castle Hill, except on the western side where the steep slope was sufficient defence. The rampart averages some 20m in width and, when taken in conjunction with the deep outer ditch, presented a long and steep slope to any would-be attacker. Within the enclosed area is a smaller oval enclosure surrounded by another ditch. This inner enclosure, or ringwork, measures 105m east-west by 72m north-south and was the site of the main residential buildings of the castle as well as a small chapel. Between the ringwork and the outer bank was the bailey; an enclosed area in which ancillary buildings such as soldiers' accommodation, storage huts, workshops and stables would have been sited. A raised causeway crosses the bailey, joining the entrance to the ringwork on its eastern side with the entrance to the castle to the north east. This is the only original entrance, the other routes into the castle having been created more recently. Part excavation by General Pitt-Rivers in 1878 revealed a number of internal features, including a well over 29m deep within the ringwork. Several of his excavation trenches are still visible as hollows. Leading north eastwards from the castle is a causeway with a 3m wide ditch and bank on its western side. For over 100m the causeway stands raised above the general ground level. Also in this area is a low earthen mound 16m in diameter, slightly truncated by the causeway, which marks the site of a Bronze Age burial. The ditch around the mound is no longer visible

Reasons for Designation
Ringworks are medieval fortifications built and occupied from the late Anglo-Saxon period to the later 12th century. They comprised a small defended area containing buildings which was surrounded or partly surrounded by a substantial ditch and a bank surmounted by a timber palisade or, rarely, a stone wall. Occasionally a more lightly defended embanked enclosure, the bailey, adjoined the ringwork. Ringworks acted as strongholds for military operations and in some cases as defended aristocratic or manorial settlements. They are rare nationally with only 200 recorded examples and less than 60 with baileys. As such, and as one of a limited number and very restricted range of Anglo-Saxon and Norman fortifications, ringworks are of particular significance to our understanding of the period.

The ringwork at Castle Hill is the largest and most complete ringwork in the south east of England and survives to a large extent undisturbed by later activities. Its archaeological potential is therefore considerable, as has been demonstrated during small-scale part excavation by General Pitt-Rivers in 1878. These excavations have also led to above average archaeological documentation of the castle. The causeway linking the castle to the approach lane is a rare survival of an originally common component of castles and one which demonstrates the use of natural defences beyond the limits of the castle itself. The Bronze Age bowl barrow which was incorporated into the causeway adds to the diversity of the monument and is itself of considerable archeological potential since it shows no evidence of having been seriously disturbed.


11/12TH CENT.(INCL. SUGARLOAF HILL? - TR 223 380) Types: MOTTE AND BAILEY (Photograph). SKE182.

11/12TH CENT.(INCL. SUGARLOAF HILL? - TR 223 380) Types: MOTTE AND BAILEY (Photograph). SKE182.

11/12TH CENT.(INCL. SUGARLOAF HILL?) SEE ALSO AO55/105/3 Types: MOTTE AND BAILEY (Photograph). SKE363.

11/12TH CENT.(INCL. SUGARLOAF HILL?) SEE ALSO AO55/105/3 Types: MOTTE AND BAILEY (Photograph). SKE363.

11/12TH CENT.(INCL. SUGARLOAF HILL?) SEE ALSO AO55/105/3 Types: MOTTE AND BAILEY (Photograph). SKE364.

11/12TH CENT.(INCL. SUGARLOAF HILL?) SEE ALSO AO55/105/3 Types: MOTTE AND BAILEY (Photograph). SKE364.

CAESAR'S CAMP. DITCH OF OUTER BAILEY AT EAST, LOOKING SOUTH AT FOLKESTONE. (Photograph). SKE1410.

CAESAR'S CAMP. DITCH OF OUTER BAILEY AT EAST, LOOKING SOUTH AT FOLKESTONE. (Photograph). SKE1410.

OBJECTS FOUND AT CAESAR'S CAMP,FOLKESTONE (Photograph). SKE1401.

OBJECTS FOUND AT CAESAR'S CAMP,FOLKESTONE (Photograph). SKE1401.

PLAN OF CAESAR'S CAMP AT FOLKESTONE (Photograph). SKE1399.

PLAN OF CAESAR'S CAMP AT FOLKESTONE (Photograph). SKE1399.

SECTIONS OF EXCAVATIONS AT CAESAR'S CAMP,FOLKESTONE (Photograph). SKE1400.

SECTIONS OF EXCAVATIONS AT CAESAR'S CAMP,FOLKESTONE (Photograph). SKE1400.

RPS Clouston, 1994, Folkestone & Dover Water services: Bluehouse to Cherry Garden Trunk Main (Unpublished document). SKE6910.

RPS Clouston, 1994, Folkestone & Dover Water services: Bluehouse to Cherry Garden Trunk Main (Unpublished document). SKe6910.

<1> OS 25" 1959 (OS Card Reference). SKE48276.

<2> Arch 47 1883 429-65 plans illusts (A H L F Pitt-Rivers) (OS Card Reference). SKE34426.

<3> Victoria County History Kent 1 1908 415-18 plan (I C Gould) (OS Card Reference). SKE51248.

<4> Archaeol Cant 63 1950 147 (H F Bing) (OS Card Reference). SKE37233.

<5> AM Eng & Wales 1961 59 (OS Card Reference). SKE33010.

<6> F1 FGA 06.05.64 (OS Card Reference). SKE42892.

<7> F2 NKB 10.10.73 (OS Card Reference). SKE43351.

<8> Renn, DF, 1973. Norman Castles in Britain. (189-190) (OS Card Reference). SKE49158.

<9> Victoria County History 2 Kent 1926 236 (R C Fowler) (OS Card Reference). SKE51247.

<10> Monastican (ed J Caley) Anglicanum 4 674 (Dugdale) (OS Card Reference). SKE47317.

<11> Castellarium Anglicanum 1 1983 231 (D J Cathcart King) (OS Card Reference). SKE38605.

<12> DOE(IAM) Record form 3 Nov 1986 (OS Card Reference). SKE41444.

<13> Archaeol Cant 10 1896 xliv-xlviii (W J Jeaffreson) (OS Card Reference). SKE37208.

<14> JBAA 1 3rd Series 1937 25-26 illus 33 (R W Murray) (OS Card Reference). SKE44855.

<15> Allcroft, A, 1908. Earthworks of England. (418 plan) (OS Card Reference). SKE32995.

<16> Brit Num J6 1909 187 (W J Andrew) (OS Card Reference). SKE38352.

<17> Bibliog Topg Brit 1 No 6 Pt 2 1780-1790 63 (OS Card Reference). SKE37653.

<18> Hist & Topo Surv of the Co of Kent 3 1778-99 377 (E Hasted) (OS Card Reference). SKE43765.

<19> Field report for monument TR 23 NW 2 - May, 1964 (Bibliographic reference). SKE5587.

<20> Field report for monument TR 23 NW 2 - October, 1973 (Bibliographic reference). SKE5588.

<21> REV. ALAN GIBSON (Collection). SKE6494.

<22> Not applicable, SMR Kent uncatalogued index entry, CAT Annual Review 1988-9 (Miscellaneous Material). SKE6440.

Sources and further reading

Cross-ref. Source description
---Photograph: PLAN OF CAESAR'S CAMP AT FOLKESTONE. OS55/F105/3. Black and White. Negative.
---Photograph: SECTIONS OF EXCAVATIONS AT CAESAR'S CAMP,FOLKESTONE. OS55/F105/4. Black and White. Negative.
---Photograph: OBJECTS FOUND AT CAESAR'S CAMP,FOLKESTONE. OS55/F105/5. Black and White. Negative.
---Photograph: CAESAR'S CAMP. DITCH OF OUTER BAILEY AT EAST, LOOKING SOUTH AT FOLKESTONE.. OS55/F110/8. Black and White. Negative.
---Photograph: 11/12TH CENT.(INCL. SUGARLOAF HILL? - TR 223 380) Types: MOTTE AND BAILEY. AO55/105/3. Black and White. Negative.
---Photograph: 11/12TH CENT.(INCL. SUGARLOAF HILL?) SEE ALSO AO55/105/3 Types: MOTTE AND BAILEY. BB74/04901. Black and White. Negative.
---Photograph: 11/12TH CENT.(INCL. SUGARLOAF HILL?) SEE ALSO AO55/105/3 Types: MOTTE AND BAILEY. BB75/02544. Colour. Negative.
---Unpublished document: RPS Clouston. 1994. Folkestone & Dover Water services: Bluehouse to Cherry Garden Trunk Main.
<1>OS Card Reference: OS 25" 1959.
<2>OS Card Reference: Arch 47 1883 429-65 plans illusts (A H L F Pitt-Rivers).
<3>OS Card Reference: Victoria County History Kent 1 1908 415-18 plan (I C Gould).
<4>OS Card Reference: Archaeol Cant 63 1950 147 (H F Bing).
<5>OS Card Reference: AM Eng & Wales 1961 59.
<6>OS Card Reference: F1 FGA 06.05.64.
<7>OS Card Reference: F2 NKB 10.10.73.
<8>OS Card Reference: Renn, DF, 1973. Norman Castles in Britain. (189-190).
<9>OS Card Reference: Victoria County History 2 Kent 1926 236 (R C Fowler).
<10>OS Card Reference: Monastican (ed J Caley) Anglicanum 4 674 (Dugdale).
<11>OS Card Reference: Castellarium Anglicanum 1 1983 231 (D J Cathcart King).
<12>OS Card Reference: DOE(IAM) Record form 3 Nov 1986.
<13>OS Card Reference: Archaeol Cant 10 1896 xliv-xlviii (W J Jeaffreson).
<14>OS Card Reference: JBAA 1 3rd Series 1937 25-26 illus 33 (R W Murray).
<15>OS Card Reference: Allcroft, A, 1908. Earthworks of England. (418 plan).
<16>OS Card Reference: Brit Num J6 1909 187 (W J Andrew).
<17>OS Card Reference: Bibliog Topg Brit 1 No 6 Pt 2 1780-1790 63.
<18>OS Card Reference: Hist & Topo Surv of the Co of Kent 3 1778-99 377 (E Hasted).
<19>Bibliographic reference: Field report for monument TR 23 NW 2 - May, 1964.
<20>Bibliographic reference: Field report for monument TR 23 NW 2 - October, 1973.
<21>Collection: REV. ALAN GIBSON.
<22>Miscellaneous Material: Not applicable. SMR Kent uncatalogued index entry. CAT Annual Review 1988-9.

Related thematic articles