Eynsford Castle, Kent
High Street, Eynesford
Eynsford Castle is a single egg-shaped court enclosed by a curtain wall 30 feet high and over four feet thick. Surrounded by a ditch which still occasionally floods from the River Darent that flows nearby. Originally built in timber and later rebuilt in stone, this castle has the appearance of an ancient site with its bare flint walls and simple design.
The castle itself is set in a small beautiful village hidden away behind the picturesque high street, with ample parking and easy free access to the castle and grounds.
~ History ~
970 - Archbishop Dunstan establishes a title on the manor of Eynesford.
1086 - Eynesford is held for Archbishop Lanfranc by Ralph, son of Unspac.
1100 - Ralph's son William enhances the timber & ditch defences of Eynsford by building a stone curtain wall.
1140's - William's son builds a hall block within the heightened walls of the castle during the troubled years of anarchy of King Stephen.
1163 - The monks at Eynsford allow the appointment of a priest to lapse and so Archbishop decides to appoint one for them. However, his supposed friend William de Eynesford, refuses to allow the priest to enter the church. Becket, in his usual forceful manner, immediately excommunicates William. King Henry II intervenes and demands that Becket reverses his decision, which he eventually and reluntently does. Over the following seven years William, who continues to hold Eynsford on behalf of Archbishop Becket, openly aggrivates relations between him and King Henry II.
1170 - Archbishop Becket is murdered by Knights claiming to be acting for King Henry II. Before Becket's death William has reconcilled himsefl with his liege. Following Becket's death his retires to sanctity of Christ Church monastery, living out his remaining years in remorse and guilt for his part in the breakdown of relations between the one time close friends King Henry & Archbishop Thomas Becket.
1175 - The living quarters and kitchens are built and hall modernised.
1210 - William's great-grandson another William, is an active supporter of King John, taking part in his King's expedition to Ireland.
1215 - William switches alliegance from his King to the rebal baron cause, joining William de Albini's defence against the King at nearby Rochester castle. Upon King John's eventual capture of Rochester Castle following an extended siege, the enraged King is persuaded to imprison and ransom William and his fellow rebal knights instead if hanging them. William's ransom is never paid as King John dies and William and his fellow rebal Baron's are released.
1250 - Following a disasterous fire at the castle,the hall and other buildings are rebuilt.
1261 - William dies. The castle passes to to descendants of his sister, who later support the rebal Baron's against King Henry III.
1264 - Eynsford castle is seized by Ralph de Farningham for King Henry III during the wars with his rebal barons.
1300 - The castle passes into the hands of judge William Inge.
1312 - Eynsford castle is sacked by Nicholas de Kerriol amongst others, in part due to disputed ownership and residence of the castle. Doors are ripped off their hinges, windows broken and building vandalised. Other properties in Eynsford, Ightham and Stansted are also ransacked for goods and livestock. Judge William Inge takes legal proceedings to recover his goods and make repairs. Whilst the hall house continues to be used as a court house, the castle is no longer serves as residence.
1461 - The last of the de Kerriol (Criol) is beheaded ending years of disputed ownership and residence of the castle. Eynsford passes to the Zouches who have inherited part of Inge's estates. The castle is gradually allowed to fall into disrepair and decay.