31 May 2021

Upnor Castle

Sorting through more photos I found these from November 2019, fancy forgetting a day out!
I had put them in a seperate folder instead of the blog folder.

Situated in tranquil grounds on the banks of the River Medway, Upnor Castle is set in a quaint, picturesque village area backed by rolling wooded hills. 

Strictly speaking Upnor is more of a gun fort than a castle. In 1559 Queen Elizabeth I commissioned the building of the fort to defend her warships at anchor in the reaches of the Medway and Chatham  dockyard. As Elizabeth's reign progressed relations with Spain deteriorated and fears grew that the River Medway would suffer an attack from the large Spanish forces operating from their bases in the Netherlands, so substantial enhancements were made. The Water Bastion was modified to take heavier weaponry and a timber palisade was installed in front of it to provide protection from enemy landing parties and to stop ships coming alongside the bastion at high tide. A gatehouse and curtain walls were also added with two new structures, the North and South Towers, overlooking the waterfront and enabling flanking fire along a ditch that fronted the wall. Two earthwork forts, Bay Sconce and Warham Sconce, were also added.
BUT all those enhancements weren't well maintained, and when the Dutch sailed up the Medway in June 1667 to attack the dockyard the enemy fleet met very little resistance and when it left two days later, it had destroyed or captured a large number of the Royal Navy ships anchored at Chatham.
The humiliation at Medway prompted substantial upgrades to coastal defences around key military ports.  All these new facilities made Upnor Castle redundant and by the late seventeenth century it had been relegated to a stores complex and magazine. The castle was modified accordingly with the gun platforms on the roof of the main building removed. It continued to be used as a magazine until 1827 and thereafter served in various roles until formally recognised as a museum in 1945.

To access the barracks we parked on the edge of the village and strolled down through the picturesque High Street of Upnor’s lovely village, passing by lovingly maintained pretty clapboard homes along the cobbled road.

The first floor of the main building was used for stores.

The Battle of Medway exhibition

Sleeping quarters

This was the mechanism that operated a clock on the roof but I forgot to take a photograph of it!

Cantilevered staircase

I think this is a folly, just outside the fort.

It's also a venue for weddings, there was one taking place at the time of our visit.

As well as visiting the castle it's also a nice place to take a picnic, to sit and watch the river,
and then visit one of the two really good pubs.

∼ Be safe and well ∼ 
Polly x


  1. Well, that’s a fancy car for the newlyweds! It looks like you had an interesting day.I love the brick roads and pretty homes along the way.

    1. It was a beautiful car and beautifully decorated.

  2. I bet that was originally a two-holer toilet AND probably for officers only.

    1. I don't remember any history about it, but from previous visits to other castles the job of the toilet cleaner was not a pleasant one!!

  3. Love from me Ria 🍀💕🍀

  4. This looks like a very interesting day trip. You'd learn a lot. And that car is pretty cool, too!

    1. I've missed our day trips, I hope they will resume soon.

  5. I'm in awe of how these antique buildings and structures have remained all these many years. To think that all this was done by hand, by skilled craftsmen and laborers, and that it has all passed the test of time. Amazing to me. Thank you for sharing, Polly. I hope you have a great week. xx

    1. Me too. Wheneve I visit castles and cathedrals I try to imagine the craftsme building them with just their hands and skill. Thank you Nancy.


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