Doug Wall

Doug Wall

Posted on 10/14/2015

Photo taken on April 22, 2010

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Rochester cathedral & castle

Rochester cathedral & castle
It is known that there was a fairly important settlement here before the Roman occupation in AD43, because it was the point where the ancient highway which later became part of the Roman Watling Street, forded the River Medway. However, it was the Romans who almost certainly built the first bridge and fortified the town, which became known as Durobrivae.

Later conquerors, the Normans, also recognised Rochester’s strategic importance and a castle was built here soon after William’s Conquest of 1066. It was his son William Rufus ,who succeeded to the throne of England on his father's death in 1087, who asked his Bishop Gundulf, an architect, to build him a stone castle and later the magnificent Cathedral. Previously there was a Saxon cathedral built on land donated by King Ethelbert in AD604. Justus, first Bishop of Rochester, was consecrated here by St Augustine, so this makes Rochester the second oldest cathedral in the country.

Gundolf also built the Tower of London and in Rochester, a leper hospital [St. Bartholomew’s] which was the oldest hospital in the country but sadly has long since disappeared.

Gundulf built the first stone castle on the site of a previous wooden affair, but in 1127 King Henry I gave the Rochester Castle to the Archbishop of Canterbury. Archbishop William de Corbeil built the large stone keep that is still standing today. The Keep is built of Kentish ragstone and still stands 113 feet high.

Rochester Castle has seen its fair share of military action:

Baronial forces captured the castle during the First Barons’ War and defended it for over seven weeks from the forces of King John. Having first undermined the outer wall, John used the fat of 40 pigs to fire a mine under the keep, bringing its southern corner crashing down. Even then the defenders held on, until they were eventually starved out after resisting for two months.

In 1216 Prince Louis of France managed to capture the castle from King John, but it was soon returned.

In 1264, Simon de Monfort led a successful attack against Rochester during the Second Baron’s War.

In 1381, during the Peasant’s Revolt, the castle was attacked and captured. It sustained substantial damage during this last assault and it stopped being used as a military fortress.

In the 17th and 18th centuries, some parts of Rochester Castle were in a state of ruin and others were still being used. Some of the stone of the outer wall was sold as building material, yet some of the towers were still being lived in.

Les's Photography AKA aligeeach, Richard Boucher, William Sutherland, Rambonp have particularly liked this photo

GREAT !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
22 months ago.
William Sutherland
William Sutherland
Phenomenal capture!

Admired in:
22 months ago.
Les's Photography AKA aligeeach
Les's Photography AK…
Thank you for posting this excellent image into the group it is reflecting beautifully in The Little Pond .
Admired In
22 months ago.
John Lawrence
John Lawrence
superb pic and great narrative as usual Doug.
9 months ago.