Course overview

Part of the WEA Art and About Festival 2024! On this site visit we will take a gentle stroll around the ruins of Eynsford castle, a little remarked upon gem of a Norman castle dating from the 12th century or possibly earlier. After a thorough look at the remains, we will consider the documentation that survives for the castle and consider some of the big questions that remain about the building. Why was it built here, who did it belong to, why did it fall into disrepair, what were the influences on its construction and most important of all – what can it tell us about life in Medieval Kent. We will meet at the castle drawbridge! Postcode is Eynsford, DA4 0AA

Course description

On this site visit to a very pretty ruin in a very pretty Kent village we will consider several key questions. Why is Eynsford important? Does it show signs of outside influence in its military architecture or is it a response to necessity. What does it tell us about the nature of Anglo-Norman England? Is it a building reflecting turbulent times? Does its later history tell us something profound about the changing nature of late medieval society? Why build it? Can we discern fear of rebellion, Viking incursion and/or land grabs? Do we see the later influence of Stephen and Matilda’s Civil War? Why build it here? It is clearly on an important river traffic route but was there an earlier building here that influenced its construction? Is it a unique castle? Eynsford is a very early circular stone castle and as such represents a clear development in military technology from the time of the Conquest. Do later changes to the Hall and living apartments indicate changes in domestic arrangements that point at wider societal changes? Finally, what does the changing opinion on its nature and history tell us about archaeological and historical processes. Will be telling a different story about the castle in the future?

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