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Tonbridge Town Defences

Also known as, or recorded in historical documents as;

In the civil parish of Tonbridge.
In the historic county of Kent.
Modern Authority of Kent.
1974 county of Kent.
Medieval County of Kent.

OS Map Grid Reference: TQ58794673
Latitude 51.19773° Longitude 0.27654°

Tonbridge Town Defences has been described as a certain Urban Defence.

There are cropmark/slight earthwork remains.


Licence to enclose the town of Tonbridge with a wall, and to crenellate it, was granted by Henry III in 1259. None of the wall survives but parts of the ditch remain and the whole of the course maybe traced. The enclosure is completed by the Medway on the south and a tributary stream on the west. Some of the water from the latter may have been diverted to fill part, at least, of the ditch (Simpson; VCH). Short stretches of the inner bank, sometimes reduced to an outward facing scarp, with traces of the ditch, are visible here and there in open parts of the town (F1 ASP 28-JAN-63). A clay bank c. 10 metres wide and standing c. 4.5 metres high without revetment was uncovered. A shallow ditch, c. 6 metres wide and 2.5 metres deep, lay outside. The presence of more material in the bank than could have been excavated from the ditch suggests that the defences may be contemporary with the diversion of the river, probably in the middle 13th century. The suggested position of the medieval gate, adjacent to High Street, was also excavated and the front face of the bank was located; there was no evidence of the gate, which presumably lies under the present road (various 1970's archaeological reports). (PastScape)

The town might have been walled largely through the efforts of its lord because of its importance as a caput of the honour of Clare rather than a strategic centre. (Turner)

A Royal licence to crenellate was granted in 1259 Dec 20 (Click on the date for details of this licence.).


A town wall was licensed in 1259. Murage granted 1318.
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This record last updated 26/07/2017 09:19:31

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