Eynsford Castle presents a rare survival of an early Norman 'curtain wall' castle, undisturbed by later building activity.
There was an earlier building on the site, but little is known about this structure, except that it was the focal point of a Saxon settlement.
The impressive curtain wall was built between 1085 and 1087, probably by William de Eynsford I, a knight and sheriff of Kent. The defences were further strengthened in the late 11th or early 12th century and a hall and associated buildings were erected inside the castle walls.
In 1261 Eynsford castle and estate were divided between the Kirkeby and Criol families, causing much dispute. The conflict reached a climax in 1312 when Nicholas de Criol and his supporters broke in and vandalised Eynsford Castle as a protest against Judge William Inge who had bought the castle from the Kirkeby family. After the vandalism the castle was abandoned.
Eventually the castle passed into the ownership of the Hart Dyke family of nearby Lullingstone Castle and by the mid-18th century Eynsford Castle was used for stabling and the kennelling of hunting hounds.
The text and pictures on this page are derived from the 'Heritage Unlocked' series of guidebooks published in 2004. We intend to review, update and enhance the content in the near future as part of the Portico project, whose objective is to provide information on the history, significance, research background and sources for all English Heritage properties.