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EYNSFORD CASTLE

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The ruined remains of Eynsford Castle dating to the late 11th or early 12th century. Eynsford Castle is located in the village of Eynsford on the east bank of the River Darent. It is an example of an early form of Norman Castle known as an enclosure castle defended by a curtain wall which surrounded the site. The earliest defensive structure, possibly dating to before the Norman Conquest of 1066, known as the "Old Tower", may have been a timber watchtower located on an artificial mound in the centre of the site. The curtain wall and moat were built later around 1090 by William de Eynsford. However, excavations carried out in the early 1980s suggest that the earlier central tower may actually be contemporary to the curtain wall. In 1130 the curtain wall was heightened, a gate-tower was added to strengthen the defences and a hall to accommodate the family was built. The hall was reconstructed after a fire in 1250 and new kitchens were built. In the 13th century the Eynsford family line died out and the castle became part of a disputed inheritance. This led to an attack in 1312 by one of the claimants and substantial damage was caused to the castle. The castle was never occupied again although it was used for sometime as a manorial court. The buildings fell into disrepair and it was last used in the 18th century as stables and kennels for hunting dogs.

The castle consisted of a low oval platform enclosed by a curtain wall. It was surrounded by a moat on three sides and the River Darent on the fourth. The curtain wall was built of flint and stands to a height of nine metres and is two metres thick at its base. The 12th century hall is located within the curtain wall and contained domestic accommodation above an undercroft. The walls were built of flint with reused Roman tiles from nearby villas. There are also the remains of a well, a separate kitchen building and the foundations of the gatehouse which mark the site of a bridge.

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