Asking Price: £2,600,000
One of Kent’s greatest historic houses, this Listed Grade I Heritage site comes with Towers, Castle wall remains and a landscaped inner court that is used as a wedding venue.
While the first known castle was built in the 14th century, the history of this estate dates back to at least 1045. In 1343 Edward III granted a licence to crenellate to Sir John de Criol, but the first defensive towers and high curtain wall were not built until around 1400. The castle saw more improvements throughout the later Middle Ages, and in the 16th century it was sold to King Henry VIII.
Graham Forge, the current owner of the property explains, “Henry VIII effectively used Westenhanger as his private B&B when visiting the south of England on state affairs. He certainly would never have brought any of his wives here but is known to have taken his mistresses to the house instead. He made many large improvements to the house because he was concerned about an invasion and wanted a permanent castle on the south coast.”
Elizabeth I also made use of the property, even hosting parties that could accommodate over 300 people. In 1581 Westenhanger Castle was given Thomas Smythe and his descendants, and the manor remained an important landmark in Kent until the 18th century. In 1701 much of the castle was rebuilt.
In 1996 the castle was purchased by the Forge family, who immediately began working with English Heritage to carry out restoration work. They also purchased two 16th-century barns next to the property, one of which has been now been restored.
The Manor House has been partly restored and includes a entrance hall, 2 reception rooms, and a main bedroom that is used as a wedding suite. Meanwhile the second floor contains a single bedroom apartment with bathroom, living room and kitchen. Other parts of the house are still under construction, including an adjoining dovecote tower and replica medieval kitchen.
The 14 acre property is based around the original moated courtyard with the remains of curtain walls, towers and a drawbridge.
Westenhanger Castle hosts weddings and other events. Please see their website for more details.
For more information about this property, please download this document from the realtor Jackson-Stops.