Binbury Castle, Thurnham

Has been described as a Certain Timber Castle (Motte), and also as a Certain Fortified Manor House

There are earthwork remains

NameBinbury Castle, Thurnham
Alternative NamesThornham; Bonbury; Stocking Wood
Historic CountryKent
Modern AuthorityKent
1974 AuthorityKent
Civil ParishThurnham

Despite disturbance caused by the wartime military use of the site, Binbury motte and bailey castle survives comparatively well. The summit of the motte and the area of the bailey have remained largely undisturbed and contain archaeological remains and environmental evidence relating to the monument and the landscape in which it was located. Walled baileys are unusual in motte and bailey castles, although this is one of two examples to survive within 2km, the other being Thurnham Castle. The monument includes a motte and bailey castle situated on a gentle north- facing slope on the northern edge of the North Downs, lying within the boundary of a disused military airfield. The castle survives as earthwork remains which include a substantial earthen mound, or motte, surrounded by a large moat. To the south east are the remains of a formerly walled bailey within which lie the upstanding remains of a tower, thought to represent a mural tower. The motte survives as an oval earthwork mound which stands to a height of c.5m above the surrounding ground level. The mound has a flat top which measures c.40m north east/south west by c.28m across. Built into the mound are World War II air raid shelters. These have brick entrances in the side of the mound; the main chamber is constructed from steel and concrete situated at approximately ground level, with a brick ventilation shaft. Surrounding the motte is a moat which, although partially infilled, is still visible to a depth of c.4m and up to c.18m wide to the north, west and south. To the east of the motte the moat has been deliberately infilled and now survives as a buried feature. Lying beyond the infilled moat on the south east side of the motte is the castle bailey. This area was originally enclosed by a wall but the only upstanding masonry remains which now survive are the ruins of a possible mural tower which was incorporated into a later medieval manor house which is a Grade II Listed Building

This is included in the scheduling. The wall survives to a height of c.7.5m at this point and is built of flint and ragstone. Elsewhere the line of the bailey wall is visible as a terrace which runs south from the tower with a drop of c.1m to the east. There is a second slight terrace further west, with a drop of 0.5m on the east side, possibly indicating the line of an internal division within the bailey. Situated on the outer bank of the moat in the north west corner of the monument is a concrete bunker also dating to World War II. (Scheduling Report)

Manor house, now ruin. Medieval. Flint with stone dressings to 2 north corners. Walls standing to 2-storey height forming narrow oblong room with stair-turret to south end of east wall. Evidence for continuation to west and extension to north. Slightly projecting and possibly later external flint stack with brick dressings and top, on west wall. Small rectangular window at first-floor level, largely obscured by vegetation. 2-storey gap in south elevation, possibly in door position. Also known as Binbury Manor. (Listed Building Report)

Binbury Castle comprises a fine motte which retains the majority of its enclosing ditch. The bailey is no longer traceable except on the NE side where, on the line of the curtain wall at the point where the bailey joined the ditch of the motte, there is a mural tower, the remains of a mediaeval manor-house . This is oblong on plan measuring 4.5m x 3.3m internally, and stands to a height of about 7.5m; its walls of knapped flint with ragstone quoins are 1.9m thick. It is heavily buttressed on its NE face and altered elsewhere by the insertion of brick chimneys and various building additions. The remains of the curtain wall are visible on its SW wall and are traceable as footings for the few metres NW from there to the edge of the ditch. The site lies within the boundary of a disused airfield and although the barns are still in use the farmhouse proper - Binbury Manor - has been demolished. (PastScape)

This site is a scheduled monument protected by law

This is a Grade 2 listed building protected by law

Historic England Scheduled Monument Number
Historic England Listed Building number(s)
Images Of England
Historic England (PastScape) Defra or Monument number(s)
County Historic Environment Record
OS Map Grid ReferenceTQ811602
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  • Clark, G.T., 1889, 'Contribution towards a complete list of moated mounds or burhs' The Archaeological Journal Vol. 46 p. 197-217 esp. 206 online copy
  • Clark, G.T., 1874, The Builder Vol. 32 p. 625-6
  • Clark, G.T., 1869, The Builder Vol. 27 p. 350


  • Historic England, 2016, Heritage at Risk South East Register 2016 (London: Historic England) p. 44 online copy
  • Historic England, 2015, Heritage at Risk South East Register 2015 (London: Historic England) p. 45 online copy
  • English Heritage, 2014, Heritage at Risk Register 2014 South East (London: English Heritage) p. 48 online copy
  • English Heritage, 2013, Heritage at Risk Register 2013 South East (London: English Heritage) p. 44 online copy
  • English Heritage, 2012, Heritage at Risk Register 2012 South East (London: English Heritage) p. 55 online copy
  • English Heritage, 2011, Heritage at Risk Register 2011 South East (London: English Heritage) p. 51 online copy
  • English Heritage, 2010, Heritage at Risk Register 2010 South East (London: English Heritage) p. 47 online copy
  • English Heritage, 2009, Heritage at Risk Register 2009 South East (London: English Heritage) p. 53 online copy