Medieval castle, Kent

On-going restoration of a medieval castle with early 18th century alterations, and a nearby barn

The fourteenth century castle – reduced in size in 1701 when a new facade was added – had been abandoned following the proposal of a rail link nearby. When this was moved elsewhere, the current owners purchased the buildings with the intention of turing the restored house into a hotel. When the owners took the building in it was in such a poor state that the lath and plaster walls and ceilings had to be completely stripped, all the electric wiring and plumbing had to be replaced and the crumbling masonry stabilised. While some of the doors could be re-used, most were made anew from old oak boards. The house is Grade 1 listed but did not qualify for any grants – when the enormity of the project hit home, the owners spoke to English Heritage, who have helped finance the project on the basis that all the remains are consolidated as a Scheduled Ancient Monument. The front wing of the house has now been fully restored, with the rear portion structurally repaired ( roof and walls ) and due to be fitted out with floors in conjunction with a replica of the original kitchens. The once-dilapidated manor house is now offices and domestic quarters, and also let out for bridal ceremonies. Part of the castle has been converted for use as a bar, kitchen and loos. In 2002, historic outbuildings were bought near the property and these have also been restored, including a barn which is now on show to the public throughout the summer season. This family-run project has been overseen by the son of the owner, with further work undertaken by a highly dedicated team of craftsmen.