Sources for Rochester Castle

Rochester Castle is well represented in the general literature of castles, but few detailed surveys have been produced. Important in this regard is the publication in 2006 of transactions of the British Archaeological Association’s summer conference in 2002, including two papers dedicated to the castle: T Ayers and T Tatton-Brown (eds), Medieval Art, Architecture and Archaeology at Rochester (Leeds, 2006).

Engraving of the castle by Samuel and Nathaniel Buck (1735)

Engraving of the castle by Samuel and Nathaniel Buck (1735), showing the now destroyed main gatehouse

Primary Sources (Unpublished)

The National Archives

Much of the archive for Rochester Castle is held at The National Archives. Key documents can be found among the Chancery, Exchequer and Works classes, especially:

  • Chancery, C62/7 m9; C62/13 m20; C62/14 m8; C62/23 m10; C62/24 m2; C62/26 m14; C62/32 m10; C145/142 no. 5; C145/197 no. 15
  • Exchequer, E101/3/2; E101/3/3; E101/333/3; E101/465/28 no 14; E101/479/28; E101/479/29; E101/479/30; E101/480/1; E101/480/2; E101/480/4; E101/480/5; E101/480/7; E101/480/8; E101/480/9; E101/480/10; E101/480/11; E101/480/12; E101/545/8; E101/545/9; E101/545/10; E101/545/12; E101/566/1; E101/683/74; E198/1/6; E199/20/14; E351/3543; E372/69 rot 12d (Kent); E372/70; E372/71; E372/72; E372/73; E372/74; E372/75; E372/76; E372/77; E372/78; E372/79; E372/80; E372/81; E372/83; E372/89; E372/91; E372/93; E372/95; E372/100; E372/103.
  • Works, Work 14/791.  

    

Kent History and Library Centre

  • U274/01: copy letter from the Duke of Lennox to the Justices of the Peace recommending Rochester Castle as a fitter place than Maidstone for the next Session [reference to latter’s ‘new charter’ (1619)], 1621.

Primary Sources (Published)

Calendar of the Close Rolls of King Henry III, 1231–1234 (London, 1905), 38, 98, 109, 351, 373; 1234–1237 (London, 1908), 89, 403–4, 405, 418, 421, 427, 432, 435, 441, 460; 1237–1242 (London, 1911), 291; 1247–1251 (London, 1922), 340; 1253–1254 (London, 1929), 285 [accessed 4 April 2013]

Calendar of the Close Rolls, Edward I, 1272–1279 (London, 1908), 16 [accessed 4 April 2013]; 1302–1307 (London, 1908), 422

Calendar of the Close Rolls, Edward II, 1313–1318 (London, 1893), 43, 107; 1323–1327 (London, 1898), 90–91 [accessed 4 April 2013]

Calendar of the Close Rolls, Richard II, 1396–1399 (London, 1927), 171 [subscription required; accessed 4 April 2013]

Calendar of Inquisitions Miscellaneous, vol 3 (London, 1937), 192

Calendar of the Liberate Rolls of King Henry III, 1226–1240 (London, 1916), 22, 23, 40, 41, 58, 201, 207, 258, 294, 365, 482; 1240–1245 (London, 1930), 25, 186, 211, 287; 1245–1251 (London, 1937), 42, 113, 202, 222, 261, 263, 304, 336; 1251–1260 (London, 1959), 133, 290–91, 304; 1267–1272 (London, 1964), 9, 24, 47, 59, 120, 147, 182, 252

Calendar of Patent Rolls of King Edward I, 1272–1281 (London, 1901), 430 [accessed 4 April 2013]

Chibnall, M (ed), The Ecclesiastical History of Orderic Vitalis, vol 4 (Oxford, 1973), 127–35

Dasent, JR (ed), Acts of the Privy Council, vol 30 (London, 1905), 92 [accessed 26 June 2013]

Dickens, C,‘One man in a dockyard’, Household Words, 3/76 (entry for Saturday 6 September 1851), 553 [accessed 16 May 2013]

Gervase of Canterbury, ‘Gesta Regum Continuata’, in The Historical Works of Gervase of Canterbury, ed W Stubbs, Rolls Series 73, vol 2 (London, 1880), 235–6 [accessed 4 April 2013]

Halliwell, JO (ed), The Chronicle of William de Rishanger of the Barons’ Wars: The Miracles of Simon de Montfort, Camden Society, 1st series, 15 (London, 1840), 25–6 [accessed 4 April 2013]

Hardy, TD, Rotuli Litterarum Clausarum in Turri Londinensi Asservati, vol 1 (London, 1833), 238b, 241, 253, 272, 447, 498, 577; vol 2 (London, 1844), 98b, 102, 127, 176b

Hewlett, HG (ed), The Flowers of History by Roger de Wendover, Rolls Series 84, vol 2 (London, 1887), 148–51 [accessed 4 April 2013]

Latham, R and Matthews, W (eds), The Diary of Samuel Pepys, volume 6: 1665 (Berkeley and Los Angeles, 2000)

Luard, HR (ed), ‘Annales Prioratus de Dunstaplia’, in Annales Monastici, Rolls Series 36, vol 3 (London, 1866), 230–31 [accessed 4 April 2013]

Luard, HR (ed), Flores Historiarum, Rolls Series 95 (London, 1890), vol 2, 489–90 [accessed 4 April 2013]

Morgan, P (ed), Domesday Book, Kent (Chichester, 1983) [accessed 4 April 2013]

Pipe Roll 13 Henry II, 1166–7 (London, 1889), 197; 17 Henry II, 1170–71 (London, 1893), 141; 19 Henry II, 1172–3 (London, 1895), 88, 89, 91; 21 Henry II, 1174–5 (London, 1897), 213 [accessed 4 April 2013]

Pipe Roll 2 Richard I, 1190 (London, 1925), 4; 3 and 4 Richard I, 1191–2 (London, 1926), 307; 7 Richard I, 1195 (London, 1929), 2; 8 Richard I, 1196 (London, 1930), 281

Pipe Roll 4 Henry III, 1220 (London, 1987), 156; 5 Henry III, 1221 (London, 1990), 201; 6 Henry III, 1222 (London, 1999), 57

Rothwell, H (ed), The Chronicle of Walter of Guisborough, Camden Society, 3rd series, 79 (London, 1957), 191–2

Rotuli hundredorum temp. Hen. III & Edw. I. in Turr' lond' et in curia receptae scaccarij Westm. asservati, vol 1 (London, 1812), 225 [accessed 26 June 2013]

Stevenson, J (ed), Radulfi de Coggeshall Chronicon Anglicanum, Rolls Series 66 (London, 1875), 175–6 [accessed 26 June 2013]

Stubbs, W (ed), Memoriale Fratris Walteri de Coventria: The Historical Collections of Walter of Coventry, 2 vols, Rolls Series 58 (London, 1872–3), vol 1, 101; vol 2, 225–8 [vol 1 available online; accessed 4 April 2013]


  
Engraving of Rochester Castle from the south by William Stukeley (1722)

Engraving of Rochester Castle from the south by William Stukeley (1722)
© Historic England/Society of Antiquaries

Visual Sources

The earliest view of Rochester Castle is on the reverse of the city seal (c 1227), the matrix for which is held in the Guildhall Museum, Rochester. It shows the castle with turrets, brattice work, forebuildings and gatehouse (reproduced in J Ashbee, Rochester Castle, English Heritage guidebook, London, 2013). Other important views are:

  • Place, F, ‘Rochester Castle’, engraving, 1670–75, British Museum, accession no. 1881,0611.305 [accessed 4 April 2013; also reproduced in Ashbee, op cit, 39]
  • Stukeley, W, Rochester Castle from the south, engraving, 1722 [see above]
  • Buck, S and Buck, N,  engravings, 1735 [see above]
  • Grose, F, ‘Rochester Castle in Kent’, watercolour on paper, 1780, British Library, Ktop XVII, 10t [accessed 4 April 2013]
  • Barth, JS, ‘Rochester Castle’, watercolour on paper, 1807–8, British Museum, accession no. 1949,1008.2 [accessed 4 April 2013].
  • British Library, Add MS 32370, fols 120–224 [large collection of 18th- and 19th-century views] 
  • Photograph of the castle in the 1860s, Royal Engineers Museum [reproduced in Ashbee, op cit, 19].  

     

Historic England Archive

Items in the Historic England Archive at Swindon relating to Rochester Castle include:

  • album of 140 items including photographs, postcards, cuttings and drawings of Rochester Castle, Bridge and Cathedral, 1655–1984 (AL0086)
  • black-and-white photographic postcards of Rochester Castle Gardens, 1900–1920 (PC07961: reproduced in Ashbee, op cit, 22; PC10086; PC10929)
  • colour half-tone postcard looking towards the castle from the grounds, 1925–30 (PC10930)
  • property file of 547 drawings from the early to late 20th century (PF/ROC) [270 sheets represent a rectified photographic survey of the castle's curtain wall made between October and November 1996].

More details of these and many other items can be found in the online catalogue. Some material is not yet listed online, including a large collection of aerial photography; for a full search, please contact the search team.

Copies of images and documents can be ordered through the website or by contacting the archive. For details of current charges for these services see the archives price list

Secondary Sources

Published

Arnold, AA, ‘Mediaeval remains at Rochester’, Archaeologia Cantiana, 18 (1889), 196–201 [accessed 3 April 2013]

Ashbee, J, ‘The medieval buildings and topography of Rochester Castle’, in Ayers and Tatton-Brown, 250–64

Ashbee, J, Rochester Castle (English Heritage guidebook, London, 2013) [buy the guidebook]

Ayers, T and Tatton-Brown, T (eds), Medieval Art, Architecture and Archaeology at Rochester, British Archaeological Association Conference Transactions 28 (Leeds, 2006)

Brooks, N, ‘Rochester, AD 400–1066’, in Ayers and Tatton-Brown, 6–21

Brown, RA, Colvin, HM and Taylor, AJ (eds), The History of the King’s Works, vol 2: The Middle Ages (London, 1963), 806–14

Brown, RA, Rochester Castle (HMSO guidebook, London, 1969)

Dixon, P, ‘The myth of the keep’, in The Seigneurial Residence in Western Europe, AD 800–1600, ed G Meirion-Jones and E Impey (Oxford, 2002), 9–14

Eales, R, ‘Royal power and castles in Norman England’, in The Ideals and Practice of Medieval Knighthood III, ed C Harper-Bill and R Harvey (Woodbridge, 1990), 49–78

Flight, C, The Bishops and Monks of Rochester, 1076–1214 (Maidstone, 1997)

Flight, C and Harrison, AC, ‘The Roman and medieval defences of Rochester in the light of recent excavations’, Archaeologia Cantiana, 83 (1968), 55–104

Flight, C and Harrison, AC, ‘Rochester Castle, 1976’, Archaeologia Cantiana, 94 (1978), 27–60

Flight, C and Harrison, AC, ‘The southern defences of medieval Rochester’, Archaeologia Cantiana, 103 (1986), 1–27

Goodall, JAA, ‘The great tower of Rochester Castle’, in Ayers and Tatton-Brown, 265–99

Goodall, JAA, The English Castle (New Haven and London, 2011)

Hassall, M, ‘Roman Rochester in its wider context’, in Ayers and Tatton-Brown, 1–5

Livett, GM, ‘Mediaeval Rochester’, Archaeologia Cantiana, 21 (1895), 17–72 [accessed 4 April 2013]

McNeill, JS, ‘The east cloister range of the priory’, in Ayers and Tatton-Brown, 185–6

Payne, G, ‘The reparation of Rochester Castle’, Archaeologia Cantiana, 27 (1905), 177–92 [accessed 4 April 2013]

Renn, D, ‘Refortification at Rochester in the 1220s: a public/private partnership?’, Archaeologia Cantiana, 124 (2004), 343–63

Tatton-Brown, T, ‘The topography and buildings of medieval Rochester’, in Ayers and Tatton-Brown, 22–37

Wheatley, SW, ‘Boley Hill, Rochester, after the Roman period’, Archaeologia Cantiana, 41 (1929), 127–41

Yates, N and Gibson, J (eds), Traffic and Politics: The Construction and Management of Rochester Bridge, AD 43–1993 (Woodbridge, 1994)

    

Unpublished

Peats, R and Drury, P, ‘Rochester Castle conservation plan’, English Heritage and Medway Council (2008) [brings together recent research; accessed 8 May 2013]

Ward, A and Linklater, A, ‘An archaeological watching brief at Rochester Castle 1997’, Canterbury Archaeological Trust (1997)

 

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