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Christopher Moore is a PhD candidate currently researching the history of architecture and building conservation of the Castles of the Downs.  He works full-time as a Fellow Chartered Surveyor and Project Manager working on a variety of projects across the South of England.  He is currently a Research Associate for Kent’s Centre for Heritage, a member of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors Awards Board for the South-east of England and an Elected Guardian Board Member of the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings. He has also written and contributed to a number of history and travel books, two of which were internationally awarded.



Dr Manolo Guerci
Dr Nikolaos Karydis

The ‘Castles of the Downs’: Deal, Walmer and Sandown 

Design, development and significance

Deal, Walmer, and Sandown Castles were hastily built on the east coast of Kent between 1539 and 1540, together, they were originally known as ‘The Castles of the Downs’. They were built due to a perceived threat of invasion following Henry VIII’s separation from Rome.  They were all built simultaneously with the same craftspeople and connected to four bulwarks and a series of defensive trenches.  Most significantly, they were the first of twenty-four fortifications to be constructed within the King’s wider Device and were built to act with a unique degree of singular coordination.   The ambition for these castles, their deployment and their symbolism stand them apart from the other castles within the same period. Their significance to the wider fortification programme and the field, more generally, is nonetheless crucial.  This thesis will reconstruct the castles’ unique histories, design, symbolism and later development, and trace their broader significance. 

Walmer Castle would flourish under the guardianship of the Lord Warden, and today it is a great example of a country house.  Deal Castle would develop into the same, but due to damage would revert to a more original state.  Finally, Sandown would totally disappear in the Twentieth Century, yet its significance can still be found today.

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