~ History ~
1539 ~ To counter the threat from a combined French and German invasion backed by the Pope in response to King Henry VIII breaking from the Catholic church, the construction of Walmer castle begins as part of a chain of coastal fortications, including its two sister castles at Sandown and Walmer, all of which are built simultaniously just one mile apart. Construction is completed within eighteen months.
The threat of European invasion fades, but despite this castle continues to be garrisioned, but later falls into disrepair.
1558 ~ The threat of invasion by the Spanish Armada sees Deal and its sister castle re-garrisoned.
1620's ~ The Down's anchorage is increasingly a battleground between the Dutch, French and Spanish ships. Lacking munitions Deal castle is unable to enforce English command over its coastal waters.
1639 ~ A pitched naval battle involving Spanish fleet of 140 ships against a Dutch fleet takes place within sight of Walmer Castle.
Some 2,000 Spanish wounded are subsequently landed at nearby Deal, later repatriated by their countrymen onto passing ships.
1648 ~ The castle is damaged during a siege by Parliamentary forces sent to squash a Royalist revolt in Kent and retake the three castles, which in turn they succeed in doing, despite being hampered by the Royalist fleet. News of the Royalist defeat at the Battle of Preston has ended all hope of relief for the surrendered Royalist garrisons.
1697 ~ The ungarisoned three Downs Castle's are considered obsolete and their guns of little protection to any passing enemy fleet.
Walmer Castle becomes a military office and residence.
Kingsdown Road off A258
Walmer Castle is set within beautifully manicured gardens and for us was not one we had not previously taken much interest in, being a tudor fort rather than a true castle, especially as its nearby sister castle Deal was the dominent of the three 'Downs' castles.
However, a visit to this castle proved to be a real treat and is well worth a visit, with the castle in a good state of repair set in stunning gardens with plenty to see.
Deal Castle is just a mile north up the coast and following a visit to Walmer, offers a rather drab experience in comparision.
Sandown Castle a further mile along the coast had been dismantled in the 1860's, in part by the sea, and cannot be seen beneath the new sea wall constructed over the top of its sea ruined walls.