Cooling Castle, Kent
Cooling, 6 miles north of Rochester
Cooling Castle has one of the finest gatehouses of any castle in Kent and this is what greets you when you arrive.
Unfortunately the castle is not open to the public but from the road, through the trees and the areas you can get access to, you can clearly see towers, curtain walls, ditches and moats. Cooling has all the appearance of a proper castle of some size. A beautiful castle part cloaked in ivy, trees and flowers with the best views across the wet moat towards manicured lawns.
The history of Cooling goes back to both Roman and Saxon times, with settlements located near the castle, with a Norman manor built on the site long before the Castle of Coolyngg.
~ History ~
1379 ~ French raids on the Thames estuary and surrounding areas of north Kent devastate towns and defences, and strikes fear amongst the population.
1381 ~ King Richard II grants Sir John de Cobham a licence to crenellate his manor in defence of the realm against French invasion.
1385 ~ Building works at Cooling Castle are complete.
1398 ~ Sir John is banished to Guernsey for his part in the barons dispute with King Richard II.
1408 ~ King Henry IV restores Sir John's estates including Cooling Castle back to him where he lives out the rest of his life.Sir John's heir is is grandaughter who marries Sir John Oldcastle, who becomes Lord Cobham.
1417 ~Lord Cobham as a Marcher Lord with lands in Wales, is implicated in Owain Glyndwr's Welsh revolt. He becomes a fugitive for several years before being captured and executed. The castle at Cooling passes to Joan Braybrook who marries Thomas Brooke who becomes Lord Cobham.
1554 ~ George Brooke as Lord Cobham of Cooling Castle, is forced into a difficult position when his brother-in-law, Sir Thomas Wyatt of nearby Allington Castle, leads a rebellion in Kent to protest at the proposed marriage between Queen Mary and Philip of Spain.
As the rebellion takes hold, Lord Cobham rides to Gravesend to meet with Royalist nobles and the Duke of Norfolk. The Duke has at his disposal 600 'Whitecoats' and 6 guns from London to crush Wyatt's rebellion, but is defeated by Wyatt, at Strood the following day. Many of the Whitecoats desert the Duke and join Wyatt who then marches his army, with his newly captured guns, against his brother-in-law, Lord Cobham, at Cooling Castle.
Cobham has only a handful of men, possibly as few as eight, with virtually no arms with which to defend his castle. When Wyatt arrives at Cooling Castle he trains his cannons against the main gate and curtain walls. Within a short time he succeeds in taking the outer ward and then sets his cannon against the inner ward. Within a few hours Cobham surrenders. The siege had lasted just six hours.
The castle is never fully repaired and following the Cobham's release from the Tower of London and their estates restored, the family move to nearby Cobham Hall.