Bayford Castle

Has been described as a Questionable Timber Castle (Other/Unknown), and also as a Questionable Fortified Manor House

There are no visible remains

NameBayford Castle
Alternative Namescastle ruffe; bavord; Goodmanston; Goodneston; Godewynston
Historic CountryKent
Modern AuthorityKent
1974 AuthorityKent
Civil ParishSittingbourne

Site of Bayford Castle (Erected A.D. 893) (OS maps). Saxton's large scale plan shows the site of Goodmanston manor house, called "castle ruffe", in approximately the same position as the O.S. symbol for Bayford Castle, to the north-east of the moated site of Bayford manor house. Bayford Castle and Goodmanston (Goodneston, Godewynston) were separate manors but appear to have been held by the same persons from c. 1368. The first to hold both manors, Robert de Nottingham, resided at Bayford and dated several of his deeds "apud castellum suum de Bayford, apud Goodneston". From this it may be conjectured that the capital residence was at Bayford manor whilst the Goodmanston Manor House became derelict and the manor itself lost much of its separate identity. The association of Bayford Castle (presumably Goodmanston manor house site) with the date 893 would appear to stem from Camden and to have no basis in fact. There is no trace of this manor-house, the area having been worked for brick-earth and later dumped on. The Danish Castle, called "castle rough", remains at Kemsley downs, just by Milton church. Alfred threw up a fortification on the other side of the water, the ditches and some part of the stone-work of which remained, named Bavord Castle or Bayford, a manor near Sittingburn (Camden). In 893 Hasten came up the Thames to Milton. There he made a stronghold to accommodate at least eighty ships. Castle Rough on Kemsley Downs is too small to have accommodated his men and there is no place for ships. Hasted stated that Castle Rough on the west was built by Hasten, and another Castle Rough on the east of the creek was built by Alfred some time afterwards; for the last there is no evidence, for the first the evidence is contrary. Bayford Castle, Sittingbourne; nothing remains of this "castle", and probably it was mainly a moat-defended enclosure

Bayford Court may have been identical with Bayford Castle, and we cannot but conclude that mystery attaches to the exact spot occupied by the castle (Spurell; Gould). (Kent HER)

Gatehouse Comments

Saxton's 1580 plan shows a partial moat with the caption 'the castle ruffe - the Ssite of the manor of Goodmanston in the tenor of John Catlet calle ye castle ruffe' There seems to be confabulation and confusion between Bayford Castle, Bayford Court and, to slightly lesser extent, Castle Rough.

- Philip Davis

Not scheduled

Not Listed

Historic England (PastScape) Defra or Monument number(s)
County Historic Environment Record
OS Map Grid ReferenceTQ914643
HyperLink HyperLink HyperLink

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  • King, D.J.C., 1983, Castellarium Anglicanum (London: Kraus) Vol. 1 p. 236
  • Gould, I. Chalkley, 1908, in Page, Wm (ed), VCH Kent Vol. 1 p. 433 online copy
  • Hasted, Edward, 1798 (2edn), The history and topographical survey of the county of Kent Vol. 6 p. 154- online transcription



  • Spurrell, F.C.J., 1885, 'Early site and embankments on the margins of the Thames estuary' The Archaeological Journal Vol. 42 p. 293-4 (plan) online copy
  • Clark, G.T., 1881, 'The castles of England and Wales at the Latter part of the Twelfth Century' The Archaeological Journal Vol. 38 p. 258-76, 336-35 esp. 260 online copy