The Rochester Castle at the time of the Domesday survey was
built of earth and timber. Work began on the current castle in 1087 by Bishop Gundolf, Bishop of
Rochester at his own expense.
The castle was to guard the crossing of the Medway and it was to have one of the
tallest keeps at 113 feet high, nearly 35 metres.
In 1215 King John laid siege to the castle and it took him two months to
overcome. In the end he had to undermine the southeast tower by burning the props to make
tower collapse. The same tower was later rebuilt round rather than square.
In 1088 Bishop Odo, the king’s half brother and Earl of Kent, laid waste the
lands of the king and of the archbishop and brought the booty into his castle at Rochester.
The king sent his men after the bishop who swore to leave England and give up
the Castle at Rochester.
Just as the bishop was going with an intention to give up the castle, the men in
the castle rose up, took the bishop and the king’s men and put them into prison. The king
went to the castle and persuaded those within to give up. The Bishop with the men in the castle
were sent abroad in disgrace.
Early in 12th century, Henry I granted custody of the castle to William de
Corbeil, the Archbishop of Canterbury. During the Baron Wars, the castle was held
against the rebel barons for King Henry III, by his loyal supporter, Roger de Leybourne.
In 1370 Edward III repaired a lot of the damage done in previous years. However
during 15th and 16th centuries the castle was left to fall into ruin.
Early 1600’s, James I granted ruins to Sir Anthony Weldon, presumably the same
individual who gained possession of Canterbury Castle in a similar state.
In 1884, the castle was purchased by Corporation of Rochester.
Rochester Castle Vistor Information
Rochester Castle is open for visits. An adult ticket is £5.50, a child ticket
£3.50 and a family ticket is £14.50. For updated info about opening times visit the
Rochester Castle Map&Location
The Rochester Castle address: Rochester ME1 1SW, United Kingdom. Use this
map to get help with directions:
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