Margate


Margate, Harbour
1900s
“Ross Series”

Margate is a seaside town on the north coast of Kent in south-east England. The town is estimated to be 1.5 miles long, 16 miles (26 kilometres) north-east of Canterbury and includes Cliftonville, Garlinge, Palm Bay and Westbrook. The town has been a significant maritime port since the Middle Ages, and was associated with Dover as part of the Cinque Ports in the 15th century. It became a popular place for holidaymakers in the 18th century, owing to easy access via the Thames, and later with the arrival of the railways. Popular landmarks include the sandy beaches and the Dreamland amusement park.
Wikipedia

Tonbridge Castle, Kent


Tonbridge Castle
1930s
“Excel Series”

Google Street VIew

A fire in 1088 destroyed the first castle at Tonbridge, and the evocative remains we see today are of a later castle which was considered to be one of the finest examples of a Motte and Bailey Castle in Kent. Little survives of its curtain walls, nor its keep but the splendid gatehouse built in the 13th-century remains remarkably intact, and serves as a stark reminder of 900 years of history involving kings, queens, archbishops, plotters and peacemakers, all of whom have dwelt within the castles once sturdy walls.
Pictures of England

Following the Norman Conquest, Richard Fitz Gilbert was granted land in Kent to guard the crossing of the River Medway. He erected a simple Motte-and-bailey castle on the site. To dig the moat and erect the motte 50,000 tonnes of earth were moved. In 1088, the de Clare family (descendants of Fitz Gilbert) rebelled against King William II. His army besieged the castle. After holding for two days the castle fell and as punishment the king had both the castle and the town of Tonbridge burnt to the ground. Before 1100, the de Clares replaced the wooden castle with a stone shell keep. This was reinforced during the thirteenth century, and in 1295 a stone wall was built around the town. The twin-towered gatehouse was built by Richard de Clare, third Earl of Hertford or his son Gilbert. Construction of the gatehouse took 30 years, being completed in 1260.
Wikipedia

Around 1253 Henry III granted Earl Richard the right to build town walls and crenellate Tonbridge, and the castle as we see it today began to take shape. . . .
The castle was slighted (made unusable) during the Civil War, and during the 18th century stone from the castle was used to build bridges and locks along the River Medway. By 1780 the ruinous castle site was described as ‘an ancient castle and vineyard’. Around 1791 Thomas Hooker built a mansion onto the gatehouse, the best surviving feature of the castle. Part of Hooker’s mansion now houses council offices. Despite the fact that much of the medieval fortress has been lost, there is still quite a lot for visitors to see. The most obvious and impressive feature is the imposing gatehouse, an almost perfect example of a keep-gatehouse, meant to be defensible on its own if the rest of the castle fell to attackers.
Britain Express

Close to the railway station of “Tunbridge Town,” there exists an architectural fragment, which may be often mistaken for an entire Castle, but was merely the entrance gateway to a fortress of very great extent. At the time of the Domesday Survey, lands were held here by Richard de Tonebridge, a Norman follower and uncle of the Conqueror, who created him Earl of Clare, and settled several lordships upon him. De Tonebridge exchanged his lands at Byon, in Normandy, with the Archbishop of Canterbury for a tract of equal extent at Tunbridge, Here he erected a Castle, and assembled his retainers and vassals. These were called into active service soon after the death of William I, for Earl Richard espoused the cause of Robert Curtoise, in opposition to William Rufus, who had seized the crown. The latter immediately marched an army to Tunbridge, to compel obedience and allegiance to his relative ; and the Earl, after a short struggle, was compelled to submit.
. . .
The remains of the Castle are on the northern bank of the Medway, which formerly was made to flow not only around the whole Castle in a broad moat, but also around the base of the keep. The exterior walls enclosed about six acres. Part of the outer walls remain; also the lower portion of the water-tower, the mound of the Keep, and the entrance gatehouse. The latter is flanked by two circular towers, and had a drawbridge in front, of the time of King John or Henry III. This Anglo-Norman fortress, by the side of the railway of our times, is a very suggestive scene.
“Abbeys, castles, and ancient halls of England and Wales”, John Timbs, 1872, p.302

Tonbridge, “The castles of England, their story and structure”, Vol I, James Dixon Mackenzie, 1896

At Duke Edward’s death [1520] his lands remained in the hands of the Crown, and in a Survey held at the time the castle of Tonbridge is thus spoken of : “In the Lordship of Tonbridge in Kent is a castle which hath been and yet is a strong fortress, for the three parts thereof ; and the fourth part on the S. side being fortified with a deep running water, was intended to have been made for lodgings, and so resteth on 26 feet height, builded with ashlar, and no more done thereunto. The other three parts of the castle being continued with a great gatehouse, on the first entrys, a dungeon and two towers are substantially builded, with the walls and embattling with good stone, having substantial roots of timber, and lately well covered with lead. And as unto the said gatehouse, it is as strong a fortress as few be in England, standing on the X. side, and having a conveyance (passage) to a fair square tower, called Stafford Tower, and from thence to another fine fair tower, standing upon the water, nigh to the Town Bridge, being builded eight square, and called the Water Tower. This castle was the strongest fortress, and most like unto a castle of any other that the duke had in England or Wales.”
. . .
The remains of this great fortress are now chiefly confined to its gatehouse, standing near the Medway, of Early Decorated style– 1280 to 1300 ; the entrance gateway being flanked by two huge semicircular fronted towers, while two smaller circular towers support the angles in rear. It is tolerably perfect : the entrance vault is perforated in a curious way for defence. Below the ground floor of the guard-rooms in the front towers were vaults and a dungeon, entered only from the rooms above by traps, unlighted, and ventilated only by sloping air flues. On the first floor are two chambers and the portcullis room, and above these is the hall, a state apartment, the whole size of the gatehouse. The curtain wall of the N. front, extending on the W. to the keep, had a low Watergate, by which supplies could be brought in from the river on the S. The curtain wall enclosing the enceinte has already been described ; it was generally lo feet in thickness. At the corner of the wall nearest to the town bridge existed another tower, from which led a wall, built across the mouth of the moat flowing to the gatehouse, to keep the water at a proper level. Between this and the keep was another small tower, containing two rooms. Along the waterside is seen a sallyport, and W. of this are foundations of buildings added after the time of Edward I.

The old Norman shell-keep was oval, measuring 86 feet and 76 feet in its two diameters, its thick walls being stayed with strong buttresses ; it stood 100 feet above the river and 70 above the court, and the great mound of it covers an acre. Inside, beyond the modern house, are some fragments of Norman architecture. Along the river front on the S., where the domestic buildings stood, are some remains of a stone staircase, and culverts from the garderobes, still existing ; and on the S.E. is the bastion tower, rebuilt by the Staffords, commanding the town approaches and bridge ; half-way between this and the port was a chapel, in another bastion facing E., but there are no remains of this. At the end of the last century the piers of the drawbridge existed, and a water tower on the S.W. commanding the sluices.
“The castles of England, their story and structure”, Vol I, James Dixon Mackenzie, 1896, p. 51-2

Common, Tunbridge Wells, Kent


Tunbridge Wells from the Common

Google Street View (approximate).

The two commons at Tunbridge Wells and Rusthall, linked by Langton Road, are managed by the Tunbridge Wells Commons Conservators, and funded by the Borough Council, ensuring free public access over 256 acres of hilly, often heavily wooded terrain with a large number of open spaces. These much-loved commons are famous for their large sandstone outcrops such as Toad Rock and Wellington Rocks, and also feature cricket grounds, lakes, ponds, woods, heathland and the remains of the old racecourse. They are hugely important in adding to the high quality of life that Tunbridge Wells is famous for. Having always played an important part in the history and development of Tunbridge Wells, a number of churches and Victorian buildings and pubs surround the commons, adding to its charm as the perfect place for a long walks, ball games and picnics. The commons was originally lowland heath with very little tree cover until the end of the 19th century, when grazing died out, and tree cover increased, obscuring some views over the commons.
Explore Kent

The town of Tunbridge Wells began with a chalybeate spring. Chalybeate means it contains iron. Rainwater fell on ground containing iron deposits, soaked through them then rose in a spring. The iron deposits in the spring water stained the ground around the spring a rusty colour. The spring stood by a common where local people grazed their livestock. In the early 17th century people believed that they would be healed from diseases if they bathed in or drank from certain spas. In the year 1606 a nobleman, Lord North, who was staying at Edridge was out for a ride. He came across the spring with rust-colored edges and wondered if it had health-giving properties. (At the time he was suffering from tuberculosis or some similar disease). He drank some of the spring water and was, he said, healed from his illness. When he returned to London he told all his rich friends about the spring and soon many people flocked to drink from it. After 1608 wells were dug and a pavement was laid but there were no actual buildings at Tunbridge until 1636. In that year 2 houses were built, one for ladies and one for gentlemen. In the late 17th century these developed into coffee houses. A coffee house was a place where you could drink coffee (a new drink at the time) or chocolate and read a newspaper.
Local Histories


Tunbridge Wells from the Common
Postmarked 1906.
Publisher: Valentine

Font, St Martin’s Church, Canterbury, Kent


Canterbury. Font St Martin’s Church.
c.1910
Publisher: E. Crow & Son, Canterbury

Google Street View.

This is an example of a Norman tub font, and quite a few have survived in churches to this day. St Mary’s Chadwell has a similar though less impressive example of arcade decoration. One theory (which was either told me by a church guide, or in a printed guide leaflet) is that it consists of stacked “baptismal tubs”; whereas the Kent Churches website claims it is carved from a single block. But most sources including the parish website agree that it consists of several stone blocks (22 is a figure often quoted). Whichever is correct, it is agreed that it is made of Caen stone, carved with intersecting and interlocking patterns.
Geograph

The Church of St Martin is an ancient Church of England parish church in Canterbury, England, situated slightly beyond the city centre. It is recognised as the oldest church building in Britain still in use as a church, and the oldest parish church in the English-speaking world, although Roman and Celtic churches had existed for centuries. The church is, along with Canterbury Cathedral and St Augustine’s Abbey, part of a World Heritage Site. . . . St Martin’s was the private chapel of Queen Bertha of Kent (died in or after 601) before Saint Augustine of Canterbury arrived from Rome in 597. Queen Bertha was a Christian Frankish princess who arrived in England with her chaplain, Bishop Liudhard. Her pagan husband, King Æthelberht of Kent, facilitated her in continuing to practise her religion by renovating a Romano-British building (ca. AD 580). The Venerable Bede says the building had been in use in the late Roman period but had fallen into disuse. As Bede specifically names it, this church was dedicated to Saint Martin of Tours, a city located near where Bertha grew up. Although Bede implies that the building in Roman times had been a church, modern scholarship has questioned this and also whether it was a former Roman structure at all, suggesting that it could have been sixth century but built in the Roman way.
Wikipedia.

Historically, this is the most important church in Kent. St Martin’s is the building in which Queen Bertha and St Augustine worshipped together in the closing years of the sixth century, making it the oldest parish church in England that is still in use. Furthermore it is built of large quantities of Roman tile mixed with local flint and ragstone. The exterior shows typical Saxon buttresses and long and short work, but there are no Saxon window openings still in use. However, the west wall inside has been stripped of plaster which allows us to see very early blocked windows. Apart from the great age of the walls there is little of visual interest – with a fourteenth-century tower at the west end and a rather severe atmosphere resulting from the drastic nineteenth-century restoration that saw the insertion of dreadful ‘catalogue’ stained glass. Were it not for the early history of this church the font would be its outstanding feature. It is of Norman date and is carved from a large block of Caen stone. Tall, solid, and eminently decorative it has intersecting circlets in two lower levels, and arcading of Romanesque arches above, topped by a rim of rolling swags. 
Kent Churches

The gem of the Church and one of the gems of England is this world-famous Font, tub-shaped, consisting of a plain stone base, three tiers, and a rim. The base is a recent addition to the font, probably in the middle of the last century, when the font was moved to its present position from the centre of the Nave. The three tiers are made up of some 22 separate stones, and not out of a single block as was usual with early fonts. The two lower tiers are adorned with groups of intertwining circles. The third tier is completely different, namely intersecting arches. The rim is the same design as the two lower tiers with the exception of one stone which has a pattern not unlike dog-tooth work or stars cut in half. The two lower tiers and the rim are said to be Saxon, and the Normans requiring a higher font inserted the arches to raise same, and in so doing broke the rim, and added the one odd stone to make it complete. The lead lining is also of Norman date and still retains the marks of the hinge and staple from the days when the font had a locked cover.
Canterbury Buildings

Roman Pharos, Dover


Dover Castle and Pharos
c.1910
Publisher: Valentine.

Google Street View.

Dover Castle.

…within the walls of the medieval castle stands a much older building, dating from a time when Britain was an outpost of the Roman Empire. Around 2,000 years ago, in the early 2nd century AD, the Romans built a pharos, or lighthouse, here. This would have guided the ships of a Roman fleet into the harbour below. Not only is the Dover pharos the most complete standing Roman building in England, it’s also one of only three lighthouses to survive from the whole of the former Roman empire.
Google Arts & Culture

Seventy years after the Roman invasion in AD 43, construction of a fort began at the mouth of the river Dour. This was Dubris, a fort for the classis Britannica, a Roman fleet that patrolled the eastern Channel. Though building stopped suddenly, it began again around AD 130 and the fort was completed. The Romans built an octagonal tower-like lighthouse on Castle Hill around the same time [as the fort], with another on the opposite hill, the Western Heights. These lighthouses supported fire beacons to act as navigation lights for ships approaching the narrow river mouth, enabling them to find a quayside outside the fort. The fort at Dubris was demolished around AD 215 and a new one constructed around AD 270, which may have continued in use, along with the lighthouses, into the 5th century. The pharos was later reused for the church of St Mary in Castro as a chapel and bell tower, and can still be seen.
English Heritage


Roman pharos on the western heights of Dover (GB), inside view, 1893 (from Wikimedia Commons).

The Roman pharos or lighthouse at Dover was probably built in the first century A.D. A similar lighthouse was built on the Western Heights and at night guided Roman ships into the port of Dubris. The tower was octagonal outside and rectangular inside rising to a height of perhaps 80 feet (24m). It had eight storeys each set back 1 foot (0.3m) from the one below, which gave the whole structure the appearance of an extended telescope. Only the first four Roman storeys remain, the present topmost storey being a fifteenth century reconstruction. The present splayed shape of the pharos is a result of the severe weathering it suffers in exposed position and mediaeval refacing.
Roman Britain

AD 46. Built under the Emperor Claudius. This guided the Roman fleet round to the port of Richborough. In mediaeval times it was used as a belfry to the Church of St Mary Sub-Castro. 4 storeys, 3 being Roman and the top storey and remains of battlements mediaeval. An octagonal tower with originally vertical stepped walls rising in tiers set back each within the last, now almost smoothed. Rubble with a facing of green sandstone and tufa and levelled at an interval of 7 courses with a double course of brick set in hard pink mortar. Round-headed windows with a small recessed spy-hole inside them.
Historic England

Leeds Castle, Kent


Leeds Castle | near Maidstone
1900s

Google Street View.

The Royal Manor was originally built in 857AD and owned by a Saxon royal family. After the Norman Conquest, work began on building the first stone castle on the site. In 1278 the Castle became a royal palace for Edward I and his Queen, Eleanor of Castile. Major improvements were made to the castle during the reign of Edward I. The Barbican, constructed during this time, is unique in that it is made up of three parts, each having its own entrance, drawbridge, gateway and portcullis. The medieval Keep, incorporating the Great Hall, is called the Gloriette, in honour of Queen Eleanor.

In 1321, King Edward II gave the castle to his Royal Steward. When Edwards’ Queen Isabella arrived at the Castle seeking shelter however, she was refused admission and even fired upon by archers. Edward II was not amused and successfully lay siege to the castle. Six years later Edward was murdered but Queen Isabella kept the castle until she died in 1358.
Historic UK

Her grandson was King Henry VII, the first of the Tudor dynasty, and it was his son, King Henry VIII who ordered major alteration to the castle between 1517 and 1523. The castle was hereby transformed from a fortified stronghold to a magnificent royal palace. In 1552, after nearly 30 years of Royal ownership, Leeds Castle was granted to Sir Anthony St Leger for a yearly rental of £10, in recompense for his services to King Henry VIII in subjugating the uprising in Ireland. During the next two centuries, the castle changed its ownership numerous times. Unlike many other castles, Leeds was left relatively undamaged during the Civil War. It suffered however, major damages during the 1660s, as it was used as a place of detention for French and Dutch prisoners of war, who at one point set fire to the Gloriette, causing destruction which was only repaired in 1822.
Castles Today

After the 7th Lord Fairfax’s death in 1793, the castle was passed onto various distant relatives until in 1821 Fiennes Wykeham Martin inherited and commissioned architect William Baskett to survey the castle. The report was devastating. The mill and barbican were in ruins, the gatehouse and inner gatehouse in disrepair, the Maiden’s Tower was in imminent danger of collapse, the main Jacobean house was decaying and the Gloriette was more or less a ruin. Wykeham Martin decided to demolish the main house and replace it with one in the Tudor style. The resulting New Castle, externally changed little today, was finished by 1823, an extraordinarily swift process. The gaping hole that had disfigured the Gloriette since 1665 was repaired and the internal walls rebuilt in stone and the moat was cleared and cleaned. Unfortunately the cost of the rebuild caused Wykeham Martin financial difficulties and he was forced to sell the contents of the Castle at auction.
Leeds Castle

Leeds Castle is a very peculiar structure. It stands upon three rocky knolls, of which two are islands in a lake of 15 acres, and the third occupies the central part of the artificial bank by which, as at Kenilworth and Caerphilly, and in some degree at Framlingham and Ragland, the waters are or were retained. . . . The domestic buildings occupied the north end of the two wards, and are replaced by a modern house, excepting only a vaulted cellar, which may be late Norman, and is certainly the oldest known masonry in the place, and a bracket which supported the ancient oven, and is placed near what is described as “Una coquina juxta pedem pontis de la Gloriet,” which kitchen was not long since removed. In this ward also, or rather partly in this and partly in the outer ward, near a building of the age of Henry VIII., is a very remarkable bath,—“balnea domini regis apud Ledes,” as it is designated, which was constructed for the use of Edward I. in 1291–2. This is now used as a boathouse.
Mediæval Military Architecture in England, Vol. II, George Thomas Clark, 1884


The Castles of England: their story and structure, James Dixon Mackenzie, 1896-7, pp.24

The Leeds Castle which Horace Walpole visited in 1752 is not altogether the place we see now, with its towers and walls rising so splendidly from the lake, which water Walpole, in his misleading way, calls “the only handsom object;” for in 1822, in place of the sixteenth century mansion erected on the central island by Sir Richard Smith, the existing buildings were constructed in the Tudor style, a great part of the inner bailey and of the keep having been the work of Henry YIII. The Len stream flowing through the property afforded the one great element of defence on which our ancestors chiefly relied ; here some twenty acres surrounding the castle might by means of sluices be turned into a lake if occasion required.

The situation of this fortress was a most suitable one in the days of water defence : it occupies two natural rock islands in the lake, a third artificial one being formed at the land end by the bank and sluices which controlled the water, and on which were placed the barbicans and the castle mill. The whole of the centre island was reveted with an outer or curtain wall, 15 feet high, rising from the waters, liaving four rounded bastion towers, and drawbridges at each end, admitting at the S. end from the barbican island, and giving passage at the N. point to the furthermost island, called the Old Castle or ” Gloriette,” which was the keep of the fortress. . . . The domestic buildings, which occupied the N. end of this island, are now replaced by a fine modern mansion, having vaulted Norman cellarage. On the E. side is the Maidens’ Tower of Henry VIII., before alluded to, and also the interesting bathhouse built by Edward I. in 1292, and now used as a boathouse. Baths were an innovation at the close of the thirteenth century, which Edward may have brought in from the East.

Entering the citadel from the modern mansion, one passes by the entrance through the Curfew Tower, which contains an ancient bell, that has sounded the eight o’clock curfew for four and a hall centuries and does so still . . . The bridge had formeiy two openings, with lifting bridges operated on by a central tower of two storeys ; it was called the Pons Glorietta. On the left, in entering the keep, is the chapel, built by Edward I. in 1380, having good Early English windows. The walls of these buildings rise out of the water to a considerable height, and are placed round a small central court. Much of the work is of the fourteenth century. This part was severely injured by a fire during its occupation by Evelyn’s Dutch sailors, so that a good deal is modern. There is, however, the great dining-hall of Henry VlII.’s castle, now converted into the kitchen, while the ancient kitchen has become a larder. Overhead is the Queen’s bed-chamber, with a line mantel- piece and an immense bed.
The Castles of England: their story and structure, James Dixon Mackenzie, 1896-7, pp.27-8

Stone Castle, Stone, Kent


Stone Castle
c.1910
“Snowden’s Series”

Google Street View (approximate).

Mediaeval and circa 1825. In the south-east corner of the building is a mediaeval, probably late C12, square tower of 3 storeys faced with knapped flints with some stone quoins. Parapet over it. Two arrow slit windows in the north wall and a circular stair turret. The other windows are modern. To the north-west of this is a house of circa 1825 which was altered by Henry Hakewill (died 1830).
Historic England

Stone Castle is located in the village of Stone, 10 km away from Gravesend. Dating from the mid 11th century, the castle was thought to have been built without licence during the reign of King Stephen, but later allowed to remain by Henry II on his accession to the throne. In 1165 Thomas A Becket stopped at Stone Castle on his way to Canterbury. It is believed that the castle fell into disrepair and was rebuilt in the 13th century. . . . In 1660 the Stone Castle changed owners again when it became the property of Dr Thomas Plume, Arch Deacon of Rochester. The existing house was built onto the old tower in 1825 and further extended 13 years later.
Castles and Palaces of the World

St. Augustines Cross, Ramsgate, England


St. Augustines Cross | Ramsgate
Postmarked 1908
Publisher: E.S.

Google Street View.

The cross was commissioned in 1884 by Granville George Leveson-Gower, 2nd Earl Granville, at the time Minister for Foreign Affairs and Lord Warden of the Cinque Ports.
He was inspired to erect it after hearing the story of a massive oak tree felled within living memory and known as the Augustine Oak, one of a group of trees fringing a field which he owned.

According to local legend, under this oak in AD 597 the first meeting was held between King Æthelberht and the monk Augustine, newly arrived from Rome. Augustine had recently landed on the Isle of Thanet, having been sent by Pope Gregory to convert the Anglo-Saxons to Christianity and thereby re-establish the faith in a country in which it had faded with the fall of the Roman Empire. Not far to the south-east was the stream in which, the legend tells us, Augustine baptised his first convert and which subsequently became known as St Augustine’s Well. Tradition holds that Æhelberht was converted to Christianity and Augustine baptised him on Whit Sunday in AD 597. On Christmas Day of that year, according to a papal letter of AD 598, more than 10,000 baptisms were carried out.
English Heritage

The House of Agnes, Canterbury, England


Canterbury “The House of Agnes” (“Dickens”)
1918-1921 (1d postage)
Publishers: E. Crow & Son, Canterbury

Google Street View.

The history of the House of Agnes goes back in the days when it was a travellers inn as far back as the 13th Century, and is so named as it was the home of Agnes Wickfield in Charles Dickens’ story David Copperfield. Several passages in the book describe aspects of both the exterior and interior of our historic building.
House of Agnes

The inn was one of a number built just outside the Westgate built during the 16th century to exploit the trade generated by visitors to the city. Those who did not arrive before the nightly curfew would have stayed here overnight. It is a three storied jettied timber framed house with three gables to the street frontage. In the late 17th century the first floor bay windows with round-headed centres were added and in the 18th century two ground floor bay windows.
Canterbury History and Archaeological Society

Town Hall, Fordwich, England


Town Hall, Fordwich

Google Street View.

Fordwich Town Hall was built in 1544 as a meeting place for the council of England’s smallest town. It has served continuously in this role for nearly 500 years. Fordwich – population less than 400 – is legally a town because in 1184 King Henry II granted it a “Merchant Gild Charter”. This reflected its importance as the nearest port to Canterbury.
Wheels of Time