Notes: Castle is well sign-posted. Onroad parking in vicinity of castle.
WHAT IS THERE TO SEE?
A modified Tudor castle with some modifications including a decorational crenellation of the battlements. Earlier basements/lower levels have been filled with earth (an Elizabethan modification) and central parapet access has been lost to roof upgrades.
1. Walmer and Sandown Castles both came under the command and control of Deal.
2. Perkin Warbeck landed at Deal in 1495 when trying to seize the throne from Henry VII.
The largest of the three masonry forts built to protect the Downs, Deal Castle was built by Henry VIII and was garrisoned upto the Napoleonic wars. During the Civil War, in conjunction with the Navy, it resisted Parliamentary forces for three months as part of the Second War.
HISTORY OF DEAL CASTLE
Deal has for centuries offered a relatively safe anchorage to ships; the Downs, the stretch of water between the Goodwin Sands and the coast, has long been used by merchant mariners and the Royal Navy. However proximity to mainland Europe led Henry VIII to invest in protection for the area as part of his great 1539 building programme from a feared French or Spanish invasion. Deal Castle was constructed from April 1539 to August 1540 in the first phase of Henry's fort building and was flanked by the sub-ordinate castles at Sandown and Walmer both of which were completed in the same timescale. Deal was an artillery fort constructed to a concentric design. Additionally an earthwork, a 2.5 mile bank with trench, was added connecting the three castles and was augmented by additional bulwarks in between the forts. None of these lasted long as maintenance was stopped when the invasion scares of the 1530s/40s passed.
During the Civil War the Navy, which dominated the area, supported Parliament and thus all three castles were held under their control. They saw no action during the first war but in 1648 the Navy changed sides; the rebellion was crushed at the Battle of Maidstone (1648) but all three castles fought on and refused to surrender. Besieged in June 1648 they were supported by Royalist ships who attempted on multiple occasions to land troops. However following Oliver Cromwell's defeat of a Royalist Scottish army, all hopes of relief ended and both Deal and Sandown surrendered 23 August 1648 (Walmer had surrendered in July).
The strategic position meant the castle continued to be garrisoned until the Napoleonic Wars thereafter being re-tasked as a residence.