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Canterbury Castle was built as a royal castle circa 1085-1125. It was used as a prison from circa 1293, however by 1335 the castle was largely in ruins. The castle walls and gates were demolished in 1792 and the medieval topography was gradually destroyed. The square keep and a small portion of the bailey wall of circa 1085 are the only part still standing. However, other sections of the castle have been located by recent excavations.

Canterbury Castle stood in the south of the town just within the city wall, which formed the south boundary of its inner bailey. The square Norman keep is made of bands of flint and Caen stone blocks. There were originally four arched windows to each side. The interior has two cross walls and the remains of spiral staircases in the east and south-west wall and of fireplaces of rubble set in a herringbone pattern have survived. The keep measures 87 by 75 feet externally and the walls are 9 feet thick. The other defences consisted of a rectangular curtain wall with angle turrets and a ditch, entered through two gates. The approximate alignment of the bailey defences can be seen here as a break in slope of the ground surface behind oast houses south of Gas Lane.

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