Sissinghurst Castle

Has been described as a Rejected Masonry Castle, and also as a Rejected Fortified Manor House

There are major building remains

NameSissinghurst Castle
Alternative NamesSaxenhurst
Historic CountryKent
Modern AuthorityKent
1974 AuthorityKent
Civil ParishCranbrook

Remains of a courtyard house standing close to the site of a 12th century moated manor house. Three of the moat arms survive, two are still waterfilled while the third has been converted into a grass walk. The manor house was demolished after 1490 and replaced by a mansion standing on higher ground to the west. This house was itself largely demolished between 1560 and 1570, leaving only the brick-built entrance range, probably originally the stable range, part of which was probably extended in the 17th century. A substantial courtyard house was subsequently built on the site but this had fallen into disrepair by 1800 and many of the buildings were dismantled, leaving only the South Cottage, which had formed the south eastern corner of the house, and the gatehouse. The remnants housed the parish workhouse between 1796 and 1855 and were later used as farm buildings. The site was sold in 1930 and subsequently altered and restored. The Priest's House, now standing in the gardens developed after 1930, dates from the 16th century and was always a free-standing building. It is thought to have housed the chaplain associated with a chapel which was founded on the site in 1235. (PastScape)

Gatehouse Comments

Only referred to as a castle when used as a prison for French sailors captured in Seven Years War. Almost always dismissed as unfortified and never a 'true' castle. However, was a substantial manor house with a chapel founded 1235. Not enough remains to know if the medieval house was fortified or not. Perhaps in the eagerness to dismiss this as a 'true' castle the possibility that it might have been a semi-fortified manor house has been overlooked?

- Philip Davis

Not scheduled

This is a Grade 1 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 ReferenceTQ807383
Latitude51.115608215332
Longitude0.582790017127991
Eastings580770
Northings138300
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Copyright Ursula Haigh All Rights Reserved
Copyright Ursula Haigh All Rights Reserved
Copyright Ursula Haigh All Rights Reserved
Copyright Ursula Haigh All Rights Reserved
Copyright Ursula Haigh All Rights Reserved
Copyright Ursula Haigh All Rights Reserved
Copyright Ursula Haigh All Rights Reserved
Copyright Ursula Haigh All Rights Reserved
Copyright Ursula Haigh All Rights Reserved

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Books

  • Salter, Mike, 2000, The Castles of Kent (Malvern: Folly Publications) p. 73
  • Smithers, David Waldron, 1980, Castles in Kent (Chatham)
  • Guy, John, 1980, Kent Castles (Meresborough Books)
  • Newman, John, 1976, Buildings of England: West Kent and the Weald (Harmondsworth) p. 529-531
  • Gould, I. Chalkley, 1908, in Page, Wm (ed), VCH Kent Vol. 1 p. 426 online copy
  • Sands, Harold, 1907, 'Some Kentish Castles' in Ditchfield and Clinch, Memorials of Old Kent (London) p. 193-4 online copy
  • Mackenzie, J.D., 1896, Castles of England; their story and structure (New York: Macmillan) Vol. 1 p. 43 online copy
  • Hasted, Edward, 1798 (2edn), The history and topographical survey of the county of Kent Vol. 7 p. 90- online transcription

Antiquarian

Journals

  • Hussey, Christopher, 1968 Aug 08, 'Sissinghurst Castle, Kent' Country Life p. 330-3
  • 1942 Sept 11, Country Life p. 506-9
  • 1942 Sept 4, Country Life p. 458-61
  • Sackville-West, V., 1942 Aug 28, Country Life p. 410-12

Guide Books

  • National Trust, 1977,_ Sissinghurst Castle : an illustrated guide_