Cooling Castle 917

Cooling, England

Brief Description

Cooling Castle is a tree-shrouded ruined castle from around 1381. The grounds and gardens are now limited in extent although the ruins of the castle have been landscaped and turned into pleasure grounds. The moat and walled kitchen garden remains.

History

The castle was built by John de Cobham (the original home of many of the Cobhams) in 1381-85.

Detailed Description

The ruins of the castle have been landscaped and turned into very attractive pleasure grounds of private garden quality. Notable are the 50-70 feet high willows and poplars, many now damaged by the 1987 storm. These fringe the outer moat and boundaries of the property, providing effective screening and protection, and almost hiding much of the castle when viewed from a distance.

The moat is still flooded on three sides and has ducks and aquatic vegetation with another stream or ditch lined with weeping willows. The rectangular enclosure of the inner moat is of main grass with a fine central deodar cedar (50-60 feet tall) and chusan palms (Trachy corpus). Other fine trees as specimens noted include robinia, aesculus and beech. Climbers and shrubs decorate the walls. There is a small kitchen garden to the east.

Features
  • Moat
  • Description: The moat is still flooded on three sides and had ducks and aquatic vegetation with another stream or ditch lined with weeping willows.
  • Kitchen Garden
  • Description: There is a small kitchen garden to the east.
  • Castle (featured building)
  • Description: The castle was built by John de Cobham (the original home of many of the Cobhams) in 1381-85, who obtained a licence to fortify his main house against French raiders encroaching up the Thames estuary.
  • Earliest Date:
  • Latest Date:
Access & Directions

Directions

The site is 6 miles north of Rochester and 7 miles north-east of Gravesend, near the villages of Cliffe and Cooling.
Authorities

Civil Parish

  • Cooling
History

Detailed History

Cooling Castle is a unique and quite surprising place in the rather bleak and uneventful landscape. The area is intensively farmed and close to the urban and industrial areas of the Medway Towns and the Isle of Grain.

This is a romantic, tree shrouded, ruined castle, of considerable landscape importance, although sadly now of very limited extent. The castle was built by John de Cobham (the original home of many of the Cobhams) in 1381-85, who obtained a licence to fortify his main house against French raiders encroaching up the Thames estuary. The main reason for building the castle is still recorded on a copper plate attached to the fine gate house (see Newman).

In some respects it is a smaller version of Bodiam Castle (licenced 1377) with a moated inner ward, a rectangular enclosure, and round angle turrets. There is no record to date of the subsequent history, but probably in the late-18th or early-19th century a residential house was built in the castle.

The 20th-century modernisation of this house is out of character. A farm complex developed also, with fine barns (17th century) and outbuildings. The Knight family bought the property in 1955. There was a planting period between 1955 and 1965.

The house is of no great architectural quality, but has an 18th-century porch and features to be found behind the 1920s entrances. It incorporates the earlier 12th-century manor house.

Contact
References

References