Tonge Castle

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

There are cropmark/slight earthwork remains

NameTonge Castle
Alternative NamesTong; Tongue; Thwang
Historic CountryKent
Modern AuthorityKent
1974 AuthorityKent
Civil ParishTonge

Excavations of the moated habitation known as "Tonge Castle" were carried out in 1963-4 by the Sittingbourne and Swale Archaeological Group. The rectangular earthwork, previously thought to be a possible motte and bailey castle, is largely destroyed by footpath embankments, hillslipping associated with cultivation, and flooding by a large pond. Work to date has been concerned with an area on top of the middle mound where stone foundations were found in 1932. Deep sections were cut on this habitation area and in parts of the dry moat. It seems that the "castle" consisted of two enlarged hills, partly encircled by a deep moat. Only one mound was used for habitation - three building sites have now been revealed. Evidence of a Norman wooden building was found, which had been replaced by a substantial hall and associated buildings. The habitation is a manor house and not a true castle. Occupation ceased during the late C13. The moat appears to belong to the late C13 or early C14. In August-September 1965 excavations continued on the middle mound of Tonge Medieval Manor. One small building has been completely excavated, and a large building with a complex system of floors. Burnt clay daub was recovered from a third building excavated previously. Traces of a wooden structure on the highest mound were recorded. The excavations also included the dry moat and the area between the habitation mound and the highest point of the earthworks, where deep transects, up to 9ft., were made. Building mortar from the primary fill of the ditch indicated that the earthworks and manor building were contemporary in date. Evidence for re-excavation of a silting moat, possibly circa 1448, was noted; Presumable this was in relation to the licence to crenellate granted to Thomas Brown at this date for the manor. There was no indication of occupation before 1100 A.D. (PastScape)

Gatehouse Comments

The village of Tonge has disappeared leaving the castle isolated.

- Philip Davis

Not scheduled

Not Listed

Historic England (PastScape) Defra or Monument number(s)
County Historic Environment Record
OS Map Grid ReferenceTQ933636
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  • Emery, Anthony, 2006, Greater Medieval Houses of England and Wales Vol. 3 Southern England (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press) p. 440
  • Salter, Mike, 2002, Index and Amendments to Mike Salter's English Castles Books (Malvern: Folly Publications) p. 7
  • Salter, Mike, 2000, The Castles of Kent (Malvern: Folly Publications) p. 79
  • Pettifer, A., 1995, English Castles, A guide by counties (Woodbridge: Boydell Press) p. 133 (slight)
  • Higham, R. and Barker, P., 1992, Timber Castles (Batsford)
  • King, D.J.C., 1983, Castellarium Anglicanum (London: Kraus) Vol. 1 p. 235
  • Fry, P.S., 1980, Castles of the British Isles (David and Charles)
  • Guy, John, 1980, Kent Castles (Meresborough Books)
  • Smithers, David Waldron, 1980, Castles in Kent (Chatham)
  • Renn, D.F., 1973 (2 edn.), Norman Castles of Britain (London: John Baker) p. 324
  • Harvey, Alfred, 1911, Castles and Walled Towns of England (London: Methuen and Co)
  • Gould, I. Chalkley, 1908, in Page, Wm (ed), VCH Kent Vol. 1 p. 434-5 online copy
  • Sands, Harold, 1907, 'Some Kentish Castles' in Ditchfield and Clinch, Memorials of Old Kent (London) p. 199-200 online copy
  • Mackenzie, J.D., 1896, Castles of England; their story and structure (New York: Macmillan) Vol. 1 p. 52-3 online copy
  • Hasted, Edward, 1798 (2edn), The history and topographical survey of the county of Kent Vol. 6 p. 132- online transcription


  • Camden, Wm, 1607, Britannia hypertext critical edition by Dana F. Sutton (2004)
  • Chandler, John, 1993, John Leland's Itinerary: travels in Tudor England  (Sutton Publishing) p. 248, 258
  • Toulmin-Smith, Lucy (ed), 1909, The itinerary of John Leland in or about the years 1535-1543 (London: Bell and Sons) Vol. 4 p. 68 online copy


  • Coulson, Charles, 2007-8, 'On Crenellating, in Kent and Beyond - A Retrospection' Castle Studies Group Journal Vol. 21 p. 189-201 esp p. 199-200
  • 1979, Moated Sites Research Group report p. 48
  • Ford, D.M., 1965, 'Tonge medieval manor - summary of results' Archaeologia Cantiana Vol. 80 p. 265-9 online copy
  • Ford, D.M., 1965, 'News from the Groups' Kent Archaeological review Vol. 2 p. 34-5 online copy
  • Ford, D.M., 1964, 'Tonge: an early medieval manor house' Archaeologia Cantiana Vol. 79 p. 207-10 online copy
  • (Ford), 1964, Medieval Archaeology Vol. 8 p. 255 (slight) download copy
  • Hogg, A.H.A., 1932, 'Tonge Castle' Archaeologia Cantiana Vol. 44 p. 60-66 online copy
  • Brown, R. Allen, 1959, 'A List of Castles, 1154–1216' English Historical Review Vol. 74 p. 249-280 (Reprinted in Brown, R. Allen, 1989, Castles, conquest and charters: collected papers (Woodbridge: Boydell Press) p. 90-121) view online copy (subscription required)

Primary Sources

  • Hardy, T.D. (ed), 1833, Rotuli litterarum clausarum in turri Londinensi asservati (Record Commission) Vol. 1 p. 235b (mention in 1215) online copy
  • Maxwell Lyte, H.C. (ed), 1927, Calendar of Charter Rolls 5 Henry VI - 8 Henry VIII, AD 1427-1516, with an appendix, 1215-1288 Vol. 6. (HMSO) p. 102 online copy
  • Rickard, John, 2002, The Castle Community. The Personnel of English and Welsh Castles, 1272-1422 (Boydell Press) (lists sources for 1272-1422) p. 279


  • Kent County Council, December 2004, Kent Historic Towns Survey (Kent County Council and English Heritage) view online copy