Folkestone Castle, Kent
~ History ~
The ringwork at Castle Hill is the largest and most complete ringwork in the south east of England and survives to a large extent undisturbed by later activities. Folkestone was already a place of some importance on the arrival of the Normans in 1066, possessing its own small harbour. The Norman's established two castles here at different times in its history.
William de Arois built a castle near the harbour, but the sea undermined its foundations,and was eventually washed out to the sea.
With the continued encroachment of the sea, a site on higher ground was decided. The site of 'Caesers Camp' was chosen, to expand upon the existing prehistoric earthen & timber defensive ditches were enlarged and built into the Norman Motte and Bailey stye of defence
The Bronze Age bowl barrow feature was incorporated into the causeway to the castle. A large defensive earthen bank or rampart encloses the summit of Castle Hill, except on the western side where the steep slope was sufficient defence. The rampart averages some 60 feet in width and, when taken in conjunction with the deep outer ditch, presented a long and steep slope to any would-be attacker. Within the enclosed area is a smaller oval enclosure surrounded by another ditch. This inner enclosure, or ringwork, was the site of the main residential buildings of the castle as well as a small chapel. Between the ringwork and the outer bank was the bailey, joining the entrance to the ringwork on its eastern side with the entrance to the castle to the north east. A well over 60 feet deep within the ringwork provided a good source os water in times of need.
Castle Hill, Folkestone
J13 off M20
Folkestone Castle is a site that until recently we were completely unaware existed, despite having driven past far below on the M20 over many years. From below the castle looks nothing more than an enormous high overlooking Folkestone and the surrounding area.
Access the to the castle is by parking by the side of a side road off Juntion 13 from the motorway, and from there its a long steep climb to the summit.
It is only when you near the top and come across the defensive ditches that you would associate with a ringwork or hill fort, do you realise you are now exploring a castle now devoid of its wooden pallisades. Despite this, exploring the site there is still more than enough to define its original layout and take in the spectacular views from the top.
Not an easy place to get to, but with care and taking plenty of time to climb the steep hill,well worth the time and effort, if not for the views alone but curiosity to explore the hidden secrets of this castle come hill fort.