rochester castle

Was Rochester Castle an Important Military Site in the Middle Ages ? Rochester Castle was built in 1088, by the Bishop of Rochester – Gundulf. It was known that the Bishop owed the King – King William Rufus, a sum of 100. To settle the dispute the King ordered Gundulf to build a motte and bailey castle at Rochester. Th cost was 60, and the money came from Gundulf. The structure of the castle consisted simply of a single stone wall. In 1122, a square stone keep was built inside the bailey, by John of Worcester. In 1230 a cross wall was built. It divided the Bailey into two parts – the outer bailey and the inner bailey. This information was extracted from the Textus Roffensis – Register of Rochester castle. During it’s existence, Rochester Castle was sieged three times. Once in 1088, then 1215 and finally in 1264. The siege in 1088 was against King William II, as his brother, Robert and his uncle, Odo, wanted to overthrow him and place Robert on the throne. The plan failed and Robert remained king. The siege in 1215 was against King John because he refused the nomination of Simon Langton as Archbishop of Canterbury. Langton became Archbishop, and was appointed to ‘look after the castle’, but the king asked for it to be returned himself as the agreement to which this adhered to had expired. Langton refused the order and so a siege took place. According to Roger of Wendover, the king undermined the east tower and set fire to it. This shows that the King valued the castle a lot as he was prepared to fight for it. In 1264 another siege occurred. There was a civil war between he king and his subjects, so they capture Rochester Castle. However when they heard that the king was returning to Rochester accompanied by his son, they abandoned the siege and fled. I think that the reason for the abandonment of the siege was that they did not think that they had a chance against the king and his son. From each of these sieges we ca…

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