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TONGE CASTLE

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Excavations of the moated habitation known as "Tonge Castle" were carried out in 1963-4 by the Sittingbourne and Swale Archaeological Group. The rectangular earthwork, previously thought to be a possible motte and bailey castle, is largely destroyed by footpath embankments, hillslipping associated with cultivation, and flooding by a large pond. Work to date has been concerned with an area on top of the middle mound where stone foundations were found in 1932. Deep sections were cut on this habitation area and in parts of the dry moat. It seems that the "castle" consisted of two enlarged hills, partly encircled by a deep moat. Only one mound was used for habitation - three building sites have now been revealed. Evidence of a Norman wooden building was found, which had been replaced by a substantial hall and associated buildings. The habitation is a manor house and not a true castle. Occupation ceased during the late 13th century. The moat appears to belong to the late 13th or early 14th century. In August-September 1965 excavations (see Illustration Card) continued on the middle mound of Tonge Medieval Manor. One small building has been completely excavated, and a large building with a complex system of floors. Burnt clay daub was recovered from a third building excavated previously. Traces of a wooden structure on the highest mound were recorded. The excavations also included the dry moat and the area between the habitation mound and the highest point of the earthworks, where deep transects, up to 9ft., were made. Building mortar from the primary fill of the ditch indicated that the earthworks and manor building were contemporary in date. Evidence for re-excavation of a silting moat, possibly circa 1448, was noted. There was no indication of occupation before 1100 A.D.

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