Kent Ancient and Medieval Ruins
Whilst some buildings dating from ancient and medieval times were maintained in a fairly good condition, mostly depending on their ownership, the natural hazards and turbulences their immediate vicinity faced throughout the centuries, others are mere ruins today yet are as significant and revealing as the better preserved ones. Most of them partly or completely ruined by violent attacks, they tell compelling and captivating stories of a continuous fight for dominance.
Chapel of St Pancras Ruins, Canterbury
On the grounds of St Augustine's Abbey once stood three churches, namely the Church of St Peter and St Paul, the Church of St Mary and the Church of St Pancras. They were all built from Roman brick, being some of the most notable brick constructions in the area. The Chapel of St Pancras displayed the Roman architectural style, encompassing Roman columns which can still be partially observed today.
Canterbury Castle Ruins
Initially constructed from wood as a classic motte and bailey castle, Canterbury Castle was built soon after the Norman Conquest in 1066, along with two others, Dover Castle and Rochester Castle. In 1120 (during the reign of Henry I), a stone structure of substantial dimensions (referred to as a keep) was completed. It had been under construction since the reign of William II. And then, in 1380, a gate followed. By that time though, the castle had been taken over by the French, following a military campaign between 1215 and 1217. Over the centuries, Canterbury Castle was used for mass imprisonments, such as during the reign of Edward I and later, that of Queen Mary, who used it towards her religious persecutions. After remaining destitute for some time, during the 19th century its grounds were used for industrial purposes. Today, little of it remains, yet even those parts are clear proof of a once imposing construction.
Thurnham Castle Ruins
Located a few miles outside Maidstone, the village of Thurnham, akin to the medieval castle situated in its vicinity, was named after a 12th century aristocrat, Robert de Thurnham, to whom the building of the castle is attributed. It was designed as a motte and bailey castle, built entirely out of flint, the bailey covering a surface of approximately one quarter of an acre. The most part of the castle has perished yet a wall and some underground structure still exist. Other projects worth visiting were developed in the area in recent times.
Infirmary Chapel Ruins, Canterbury
A part of Canterbury Cathedral and located on its north wing, the Infirmary Chapel was built during the 12th century and was used as its name suggests - monks in a poor health condition could attend mass there. It was converted to dwellings during the 19th century, yet for a short period of time, as it would have needed expansive repairs and was abandoned instead. Today, what survives is an excellent display of epochal architecture, with its impressive arches.
Eynsford Castle Ruins
Although in ruins, the castle located near the village of Eynsford has survived in an admirable condition considering its age and the destruction attempts it has faced throughout history. It was built as early as 1088. The castle was built from stone in a Norman architectural style and many of its walls can partially be seen today. Although during the 13th century a complex renovation process was undertaken, the castle was later damaged by a 14th century raid and fell into disuse shortly after.
Otford Palace Ruins
Located in the village of Otford, which lies beside the river Darent, Otford Palace has been home to the archbishops of Canterbury for many centuries, until this designation became obsolete, when Henry VIII reformed the entire religious system. When Henry VIII forcefully took over the building in 1537, that led to its slow abandonment, and after many centuries, only fragments of it remain, although commendably well preserved, such as its tower and part of the gatehouse.
Old Bayham Abbey Ruins
Overlooking the river Teise, this construction dates all the way back to the 13th century, when it was erected in the village of Lamberhurst, in Tunbridge Wells. It was built in 1207 and took over the functions of two pre-existing monasteries in the vicinity. It remained in use until the reign of Henry VIII, who carried out the dissolution of all monasteries across the country during mid 16th century, in 1538. The partially ruined building underwent some modifications during the landscaping process of the nearby area and is now in the care of English Heritage.
Reculver Church Ruins
The church was built in 669 AD, on land donated by King Ecgberth of Kent, on the site of a destitute Roman construction, adjoining a monastery built at the same time. It is believed that by the 10th century the monastery was no longer in use, whilst the church became known as St Mary's parish church of Reculver. The towers which can be seen today were added during the 12th century, and other later additions include the spires, which date from the 16th century. The church was abandoned when the local population moved from the area yet efforts were made to preserve it. It also suffered extensive damage caused by the sea.