Colin Crosby Heritage Tours

Rochester Castle (Rochester)

Rochester Castle is one of the most impressive castles in England, overlooking the River Medway in the ancient city of Rochester in Kent.

There was a wooden castle here in the Anglo-Saxon period.

In the aftermath of the Norman Conquest, William I gave Rochester to his half-brother, the warlike Bishop Odo of Bayeux, but it was Bishop Gundulph who had the castle built. Gundulph also built Rochester Cathedral, and is credited with the building of Colchester Castle.

The massive keep, the first square one in England, was constructed in 1126 by William de Corbeuil.

It saw much action. William d'Albini held it for three months against KIng John in 1215, and it was here that the process of undermining was first successfully used to elicit a surrender.

The next year, Louis, the Dauphin of France (recognised by some as King Louis I of England) recaptured the castle.

Simon de Montfort, Earl of Leicester, besieged the castle unsuccessfully in 1264.

During the Peasants' Revolt, Wat Tyler, supported by the townspeople, captured the castle.

The Corporation of Rochester bought it in 1883 and it has since then been open to the public. It is now in the hands of English Heritage.

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