Cooling Castle

Cooling Castle

Rochester, SS7 2, United Kingdom

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01634 222244

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Cooling Castle is a 14th-century quadrangular castle in the village of Cooling, Kent on the Hoo Peninsula about 6mi north of Rochester. It was built in the 1380s by the Cobham family, the local lords of the manor, to guard the area against French raids into the Thames Estuary. The castle has an unusual layout, comprising two walled wards of unequal size next to each other, surrounded by moats and ditches. It was the earliest English castle designed for the use of gunpowder weapons by its defenders.Despite this distinction, the use of gunpowder weapons against the castle proved devastating. It was captured after only eight hours when Sir Thomas Wyatt besieged it in January 1554 during his unsuccessful rebellion against Queen Mary. His attack wrecked the castle and it was subsequently abandoned. A farmhouse and outbuildings were constructed among the ruins a century later. Today the farmhouse is the home of the musician Jools Holland, while the nearby barn is used as a wedding venue.HistoryConstructionThe castle was originally built on the south bank of the Thames but the shoreline has since receded as a result of land reclamation; the river is now about 2mi north of the castle, separated from it by marshes. It was constructed by John Cobham. His family had acquired the manor of Cooling in the mid-13th century. In 1379, during the second phase of the Hundred Years' War, a French raid devastated towns and villages along the Thames Estuary. Cobham appealed to the Crown for licence to fortify his manor and received permission in February 1380. The building work was completed by 1385.

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