Stutfall Castle (Portus Lemanis), Kent
Below Lympne Castle, walk along Military Canal
West Hythe Road
Near CT21 4NT
On the slopes below Lympne Castle lie the scattered remains of one of the Roman Saxon Shore Forts, Stutfall Castle. There was once a watch tower built high above where Lympne Castle now stands.
The fort was once seven sided in plan with semi-circular towers and mighty bastions upon which siege engines were mounted. Its walls were substantial, up to 14 feet thick and 25 feet high.
From an early date land subsidence caused by the underground streams beneath the castle has badly damaged its walls.
It once protected a small harbour surrounded by extensive marshland.
The castle is located on private land and can be seen from a footpath that runs along the military canal, where there is ample parking, towards the wildlife park and up towards the village of Lympne. Not often you get to see an ancient fortress and girrafe's at the same time!
~ History ~
280 ~ Stutfall Castle is built on the Kentish coastline as part of a chain of coastal fortifications by the Romans, following sustained and increasingly threatening Saxon raids.
Carausius is given military command of the Saxon shore forts of Britannica and the protection of Gaul from attack.
287 ~ Relations with Rome become strained and Carausius eventually declares himself Emperor of Britain.
288 ~ Rome takes the decision to re-invade and topple Carausius, but the legions sent are defeated. However, defeats in Gaul see's his position in Britannia weakened and he is later assassinated.
296 ~ Britannia is back under central Roman control.
370 ~ The fort is abandoned as part ofthe general withdrawal of Roman legions from Britain in response to the growing barbarian threats against Rome.
395 ~ The Notitia Dignitatum, a written record of Roman military fortifications, some of which are already abandoned, lists the Saxon Shore forts as, Brancaster, Caister and Reculver being the earliest constructed forts, with later Bradwell, Burgh, Dover, Stutfall, Pevensey, Portchester and Richborough.