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 35 SE 6
Type of record:Monument
Name:Deal Castle

Summary

The largest of Henry VIII's coastal forts and the centrepiece of three castles built to protect the Downs. Deal, Walmer and Sandown Castles were built in 1539-40 as protection for the coast and the anchorage of the Downs, the stretch of water sheltered by the Goodwin Sands. These defences were commisioned in response to a threatened invasion by the forces of France and Spain. They were garrisoned by the end of 1540. The stone castles were linked by an entrenchment interspersed with earth bulwarks. During the Kentish uprising which followed the execution of Charles I in 1648, the garrisons of the Downs castles along with the Downs fleet joined the rebels. The castles were besieged by Parliamentary forces and eventually recaptured, Deal being 'much torn and spoiled with the granadoes' according to Colonel Rich. In the Anglo-Dutch wars the castles performed their intended role in protecting shipping in the Downs but were increasingly obsolete as fortresses. By the eighteenth century military requirements gave way to increased domestic functions. Deal served as a residence for the holder of the honorary post of Captain. In 1802 in anticipation of Lord Carrington's residence, the Governor's Lodgings, which had been built over the courtyard nearly 80 years before were demolished and rebuilt. This building was destroyed by bombing in World War II and the bastion was later restored to its earlier form.

Images

Deal Castle, Deal   © Kent County CouncilDeal Castle, Deal   © Kent County CouncilDeal Castle, Deal   © Kent County CouncilDeal Castle from the beach   © kent county councilDeal Castle 4   © Explore KentDeal Castle 5   © Explore KentDeal Castle   © Ian GilesDeal Castle   © Ian GilesDeal Castle   © Ian GilesDeal Castle   © Ian Giles
Grid Reference:TR 3777 5219
Map Sheet:TR35SE
Parish:DEAL, DOVER, KENT

Monument Types

  • CASTLE (Post Medieval to Modern - 1540 AD to 2050 AD?)
Protected Status:Scheduled Monument 1013380: ARTILLERY CASTLE AT DEAL

Full description

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

[TR 37775220] Deal Castle [NR]. (1) Deal Castle - 1539. The official residence of the Captain of the Cinque Ports. (2) Deal Castle ceased to be an official residence in 1951 when it was taken over by the Ministry of Public Building and Works and opened to the public. It is in excellent condition and as described in the Ministry Guide Book "Deal and Walmer Castles". A small museum is housed within the gatehouse. (3) Archaeological and historical description. (4) Additional bibliography. (5-18) Additional bibliography, not consulted. (19)

Additional Info(22)

"The largest of Henry VIII's coastal forts and the centrepiece of three castles built to protect the Downs. Deal, Walmer and Sandown Castles were built in 1539-40 as protection for the coast and the anchorage of the Downs, the stretch of water sheltered by the Goodwin Sands. These defences were commisioned in response to a threatened invasion by the forces of France and Spain. They were garrisoned by the end of 1540. The stone castles were linked by an entrenchment interspersed with earth bulwarks. During the Kentish uprising which followed the execution of Charles I in 1648, the garrisons of the Downs castles along with the Downs fleet joined the rebels. The castles were besieged by Parliamentary forces and eventually recaptured, Deal being 'much torn and spoiled with the granadoes' according to Colonel Rich. In the Anglo-Dutch wars the castles performed their intended role in protecting shipping in the Downs but were increasingly obsolete as fortresses. By the eighteenth century military requirements gave way to increased domestic functions. Deal served as a residence for the holder of the honorary post of Captain. In 1802 in anticipation of Lord Carrington's residence, the Governor's Lodgings, which had been built over the courtyard nearly 80 years before were demolished and rebuilt. This building was destroyed by bombing in World War II and the bastion was later restored to its earlier form." (23)

From the National Heritage List for England:

Details
The monument includes an artillery castle situated on the low-lying east Kent coast in the modern seaside town of Deal. The castle is the largest of a group of three, the other two being located at Walmer 2km to the south and Sandown 2km to the north, built between 1539-40 by Henry VIII in order to protect the shallow semi-sheltered anchorage between the Goodwin Sands and the coast, known as the Downs. This was of great strategic importance because, by the 16th century, there were few other safe places of refuge for ships along the channel coast between Kent and Portsmouth. The castles of the Downs were built in the face of the political crisis and consequent fear of invasion occasioned by the king's divorce of Catherine of Aragon in 1533. They were financed from the proceeds raised by the Dissolution of the Monasteries.

The castle, which has been the subject of alteration and repair over the centuries, is built of Kentish ragstone from local quarries and the sea shore, brick, and Caen stone reused from nearby disused religious houses. It was designed around an essentially circular, symmetrical plan and originally incorporated up to 145 gunports or embrasures on five tiers. At the centre is a three-storeyed circular citadel, or tower, with six semicircular, slightly lower towers projecting from its external face. The citadel has a central, newel staircase. Timber and wattle-and-daub partitions, some of which survive, divided the area surrounding the central stair well into interconnecting rooms, with the ceiling joists radiating from the centre like the spokes of a wheel. The citadel provided accommodation for the permanent garrison, originally a captain, deputy, porter and 16 gunners, with the officers' accommodation on the upper floor. The ground floor also housed a kitchen and bakery, of which the ovens and fireplace survive. In the centre of the rib-vaulted, brick-lined basement is a large, circular well. The basement is ventilated by shafts leading down from the ground floor and was used to store ammunition and supplies.

Surrounding the citadel beyond a narrow ward are six low semicircular bastions connected by a curtain wall which provided platforms on their upper levels for heavy guns, now represented by four 18th century cast-iron guns mounted on carriages on the eastern, seaward side. Within the outer wall of the basement of the bastions, facing into the moat, is a continuous gallery known as the rounds, pierced by 53 hand-gun ports which gave complete coverage of the bottom of the moat. Vents over the ports were designed to draw off the gun smoke, and at irregular intervals in the wall behind are L-shaped ammunition lockers. Contemporary illustrations show that the citadel and outer bastions were originally capped by broad rounded parapets pierced by gun embrasures. Traces of these survive on two bastions on the western side, but most were replaced by battlements during alterations carried out in 1732.

The castle buildings are further protected by a stone-lined dry moat up to 20m wide and 5m deep, originally crossed on its western, landward side by a wooden drawbridge. The slots for the lifting gear survive above the pointed archway entrance, constructed within the westernmost bastion, although the drawbridge has been replaced by a stone causeway. A portcullis originally fronted the iron studded oak door. Defensive features incorporated within the gatehouse include five murder holes, or vents (through which offensive materials could be dropped on attackers) set in the ceiling of the large entrance passage, a gunport in the back wall covering the doorway and a staggered approach to the ward and citadel. The defences were originally augmented by a series of bulwarks, or earthen defences, built along the coast between the castle and its sister castles at Walmer and Sandown, although these defences no longer survive.

The castle saw no action until the Civil War when, during the Royalist revolt in Kent in 1648, it was captured and held out against Parliamentary forces for several weeks. Its defences continued to be maintained during the late 17th and 18th centuries and during the Napoleonic wars, although its strategic function was much diminished by this time. Substantial alterations carried out during the early 18th century reflected the decreasing military importance of the castle and included the construction of a captain's lodging house within the ward on the seaward side, the conversion of many of the gun embrasures of the citadel into casement windows and the building of a wooden lantern, which contains a bell circa 1655, on top of the central tower. In 1802 further alterations were made and the lodging house was demolished and rebuilt, serving as a residence for the holder of the now honorary post of Captain until destroyed by an enemy bomb during World War II.

This occasioned further repair and restoration work to the castle, although the lodging house was not rebuilt. The castle continues to form part of the Crown Estate and is now in the care of the Secretary of State and open to the public.

Excluded from the scheduling are all parts of the castle in use as the honorary Captain's apartments, the modern surfaces of all paths and the causeway, all modern fixtures, fittings, partitions, railings, signs and exhibition boards and the modern walls of the toilet block situated on the upper deck of the northermost bastions, although the structures and ground beneath all these features are included.

Reasons for Designation
Artillery castles were constructed as strong stone defensive structures specifically to house heavy guns. Most date from the period of Henry VIII's maritime defence programme between 1539 and 1545, though the earliest and latest examples date from 1481 and 1561 respectively. They were usually sited to protect a harbour entrance, anchorage or similar feature. These monuments represent some of the earliest structures built exclusively for the new use of artillery in warfare and can be attributed to a relatively short time span in English history. Their architecture is specific in terms of date and function and represents an important aspect of the development of defensive structures generally. Although documentary sources suggest that 36 examples originally existed, all on the east, south and south east coasts of England, only 21 survive. All examples are considered to be of national importance.

The history and development of the artillery castle at Deal is documented by many contemporary records and illustrations, providing evidence for the changing function of the monument over five centuries. Despite subsequent alterations and World War II damage, the monument survives well, retaining much of its original fabric. The castle is one of three which form a distinctive and well known group of coastal fortifications. Together these illustrate the strategic role assigned to this stretch of coast during the 16th century.

Dendrochronological analysis of oak and pine timbers from the castle was undertaken in 2015. The samples taken from consoles associated with the ground-floor ceiling in the Central Tower give a felling date range of AD 1604-29, suggesting a programme of building works within the castle in the early 17th century. The felling dates suggested for the first-floor door to the Central Tower also imply that this is an early survival. (24)


OBLIQUE AERIAL PHOTOGRAPH Types: CASTLE (Photograph). SKE1316.

OBLIQUE AERIAL PHOTOGRAPH Types: CASTLE (Photograph). SKE1316.

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

Next Perspectives consortium via English Heritage, 2003, 2007, Next Perspective PGA georeferenced aerial photograph data (Graphic material). SWX15711.

<1> OS 25" 1958 (OS Card Reference). SKE48274.

<2> MHLG (1035/11/A June 1947). 18-19 (OS Card Reference). SKE46903.

<3> F1 ASP 18-JUN-64 (OS Card Reference). SKE42167.

<4> Deal & Walmer Castles, 1963 (MOW) (OS Card Reference). SKE39691.

<5> Deal and Walmer Castles, Eng Heritage Guide 1988, 5-17, 21-29, photos, plan (AD Saunders) (OS Card Reference). SKE39693.

<6> English Her Handbook, 1987, (BH St J O'Neill) (OS Card Reference). SKE41610.

<7> Hist of the King's Works 4 (2), 1982, 369, 374, 404-5, 457-61 (HM Colvin ed) (OS Card Reference). SKE44039.

<8> Castles. An Intro to the Castles of England and Wales 1953, 24 (BH St J O'Neill) (OS Card Reference). SKE38643.

<9> A Handbook of Kent's Defences 1540-1945, 1977, 30 (DH Bennett) (OS Card Reference). SKE32810.

<10> The Castles of Great Britain 1953, 266, 267 (S Toy) (OS Card Reference). SKE50261.

<11> A Hist of Fortification 3000 BC-AD 1700, 1955, 246 (S Toy) (OS Card Reference). SKE32814.

<12> Archaeol Cant 23, 1898, 24-30 (WL Rutton) (OS Card Reference). SKE37215.

<13> Archaeol Cant 126, 1969, 217-19 (A Saunders) (OS Card Reference). SKE37210.

<14> Castellarum Anglicanum 1, 1983, 229 (DJ Cathcart King) (OS Card Reference). SKE38619.

<15> The English Castle 1936, 110 (H Brown) (OS Card Reference). SKE50348.

<16> VCH Kent 1, 1908, 440 (I Chalkley Gould and EA Downman) (OS Card Reference). SKE50926.

<17> Country Life 88, 1940, 190-4 (A Oswald) (OS Card Reference). SKE39460.

<18> Country Life 17, 1905, 656-7 (CJ Cornish) (OS Card Reference). SKE39405.

<19> BOE North East and East Kent 1983, illus, 282-83 (J Newman) (OS Card Reference). SKE38273.

<20> Castles of England 1, 1897, 13 (JD Mackenzie). Not consulted (OS Card Reference). SKE38635.

<21> Field report for monument TR 35 SE 6 - June, 1964 (Bibliographic reference). SKE6075.

<22> Oxford Archaeological Unit, 1996, Proposed Supermarket Development, West Street, Deal, Kent (Unpublished document). SKE7108.

<23> Victor Smith and Andrew Saunders, 2001, Kent's Defence Heritage (Unpublished document). SKE6956.

<24> Historic England, 2015, Deal Castle, Victoria Road, Deal, Kent, Tree-ring analysis of oak and pine timbers (Unpublished document). SKE32334.

Sources and further reading

Cross-ref. Source description
---Photograph: OBLIQUE AERIAL PHOTOGRAPH Types: CASTLE. 3752/7/158. Black and White. Negative.
---Scheduling record: English Heritage. Register of Scheduled Monuments.
---Graphic material: Next Perspectives consortium via English Heritage. 2003, 2007. Next Perspective PGA georeferenced aerial photograph data.
<1>OS Card Reference: OS 25" 1958.
<2>OS Card Reference: MHLG (1035/11/A June 1947). 18-19.
<3>OS Card Reference: F1 ASP 18-JUN-64.
<4>OS Card Reference: Deal & Walmer Castles, 1963 (MOW).
<5>OS Card Reference: Deal and Walmer Castles, Eng Heritage Guide 1988, 5-17, 21-29, photos, plan (AD Saunders).
<6>OS Card Reference: English Her Handbook, 1987, (BH St J O'Neill).
<7>OS Card Reference: Hist of the King's Works 4 (2), 1982, 369, 374, 404-5, 457-61 (HM Colvin ed).
<8>OS Card Reference: Castles. An Intro to the Castles of England and Wales 1953, 24 (BH St J O'Neill).
<9>OS Card Reference: A Handbook of Kent's Defences 1540-1945, 1977, 30 (DH Bennett).
<10>OS Card Reference: The Castles of Great Britain 1953, 266, 267 (S Toy).
<11>OS Card Reference: A Hist of Fortification 3000 BC-AD 1700, 1955, 246 (S Toy).
<12>OS Card Reference: Archaeol Cant 23, 1898, 24-30 (WL Rutton).
<13>OS Card Reference: Archaeol Cant 126, 1969, 217-19 (A Saunders).
<14>OS Card Reference: Castellarum Anglicanum 1, 1983, 229 (DJ Cathcart King).
<15>OS Card Reference: The English Castle 1936, 110 (H Brown).
<16>OS Card Reference: VCH Kent 1, 1908, 440 (I Chalkley Gould and EA Downman).
<17>OS Card Reference: Country Life 88, 1940, 190-4 (A Oswald).
<18>OS Card Reference: Country Life 17, 1905, 656-7 (CJ Cornish).
<19>OS Card Reference: BOE North East and East Kent 1983, illus, 282-83 (J Newman).
<20>OS Card Reference: Castles of England 1, 1897, 13 (JD Mackenzie). Not consulted.
<21>Bibliographic reference: Field report for monument TR 35 SE 6 - June, 1964.
<22>Unpublished document: Oxford Archaeological Unit. 1996. Proposed Supermarket Development, West Street, Deal, Kent.
<23>Unpublished document: Victor Smith and Andrew Saunders. 2001. Kent's Defence Heritage.
<24>Unpublished document: Historic England. 2015. Deal Castle, Victoria Road, Deal, Kent, Tree-ring analysis of oak and pine timbers.

Related records

TR 35 SE 384Part of: Deal emergency battery (Monument)

Related thematic articles