Eynsford Castle

Visiting Eynsford Castle

Eynsford Castle is a rare 11th-century Norman castle, barely undisturbed since the 14th century, with parts of the massive wall also remaining intact. Free daily walks and even picnics at the castle are welcomed. It only takes about a half-hour to explore the castle grounds.


A free car park is available on site.


Entry is free for everyone.


Eynsford Castle is open daily, from 10 am6 pm, between April and October. From October to early April, the opening hours are 10 am4 pm.

Location and Access

Eynsford Castle is located off High Street, Eynsford, Kent, DA4 0AA.

The castle is located near the centre of Eynsford village, just off the High Street (A225). Visitors can access the parking area through the narrow, unnamed lane that’s directly across from the Castle Hotel.

A sign reading ‘Eynsford Castle’ is visible on the left-hand side. Visitors should continue to follow the lane to reach the castle’s entrance. The sign is difficult to spot unless travelling south, so looking for The Castle Hotel is the easiest way to find Eynsford Castle.

Know Before You Go

  • Parts of the castle are wheelchair accessible, but some areas are only accessible via steps. 
  • No facilities are available on site. 
  • Dogs on leads are welcome. 
  • Drone flying isn’t permitted without permission.

Places To Stay Nearby

Castle Hotel

This is a boutique hotel and restaurant with 7 individually designed rooms. It’s situated opposite Eynsford Castle, centrally located in Eynsford village. A lovely patio area is available for relaxing near the floral displays. There’s also a bar on-site for a relaxing drink. The hotel offers dog-friendly rooms, too. 

Book Castle Hotel


A highly-rated Bed & Breakfast located just under ½ mile (0.8 km) away from the castle. This accommodation is described as a luxury guest house that offers various amenities, a sun terrace, and complimentary breakfast.

Book Tabsfield

History of Eynsford Castle

Eynsford Castle is a rare example of a Norman ‘enclosure castle,’ surrounded by a protective wall rather than a moat or a keep. William de Eynsford I began constructing the castle during the 11th century, shortly after the Norman Conquest of 1066. It’s been abandoned since the early 1300s. 

Time Line

-1066 (Castle Founded)

The castle was founded and was said to have replaced a Saxon manor previously on the site. However, no evidence of this last watchtower or other structures are visible today. The area was desirable because of its strategic location along River Darent. 


The surrounding wall was built to defend the residence. This was likely completed by William de Eynsford I, who was a knight and sheriff of Kent.

-1130 (Castle’s Defenses Improved)

The wall was heightened, and a gate-tower was added, improving the overall defences of the castle. A hall and other buildings were built within the castle walls and were for the family’s use. William de Eynsford I retired to become a monk, passing control of the estate to his son, William II.

-1231 (Castle Rebuilt)

William VI inherited the castle, and around this period, the hall burned down and had to be rebuilt entirely, with the addition of glazed windows. 


The last Eynsford male died, ending the family line. An enquiry determined who would take ownership of the property. The castle and estate were then split between the Kirkeby and Criol families, which caused conflict and disputes.  

-1264 (Castle Seized)

The start of the Second Barons’ War led to the castle being unattended for some time. Ralph de Farningham seized the castle.


Eynsford Castle was reoccupied, though it’s unknown for sure by whom. It was likely either a widow of one of the owners or a castle bailiff. 


William Inge, a royal judge, purchased half of the castle. This created disputes between Inge and Nicholas de Criol, who was still a co-owner. 

-1312 (Castle Vandalised and Robbed)

Nicholas de Criol and others who supported him broke into the castle and vandalised it in protest against Judge Inge. They ransacked the castle, breaking doors and windows, and causing extensive damage. Furthermore, they let the cattle loose. The castle was no longer used as a residence after this, remaining unoccupied for hundreds of years. 


The vandalism case was settled, and both owners retained their portions of the castle. From this point forward, the castle’s hall was used to hold local court. 


The Crown granted ownership to the Zouches family after the last member of the de Criols family died.


The Crown gave the castle to the Harts of Lullingstone Castle, which granted lordship to the Harts-Dykes branch of the family. They used the site as kennels and stables many years later.

-1835 (Castle Surveyed)

Architect Edward Cresy surveyed and excavated parts of the castle and returned them to their previous form before being used as kennels. 

-1872 (Castle in Disrepair)

Unfortunately, the castle soon fell into disrepair again, and by this time, sections of the wall collapsed.


E.D. Till, a local landowner, leased the castle. He began a restoration project that continued until his death. 


The Agnes Lady Foundation assumed the castle’s lease after Till’s death that year. She purchased a plan to protect the castle, and in 1937 she transferred it to the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings. When the lease was up in 1948, the Ministry of Works took guardianship for the castle. 

-1953-1967 (Excavations Began)

Excavations of the site began in 1953 as the castle was being restored. Later, between 1966 and 1967, a new bridge was installed over the moat. 


In the early 1980s, Valerie Horsman led excavations of the site. This allowed for a more accurate understanding of the castle’s history, and eventually contributed to Eynsford Castle being protected by the law as an ancient monument.

Eynsford Castle Occupants


Eynsford was primarily passed through family lineages, with other arrangements only after there were no remaining male heirs. The castle remained unoccupied for hundreds of years before the restoration process began.  

  • Odo, the Bishop of Bayeux and the new Earl of Kent.
  • Ralph (Knight), followed by his son William de Eynsford upon Ralph’s death.
  • William de Enysford II
  • William de Enysford III
  • William V
  • Wiliam VI
  • The widow of either Nicholas de Criol or William VI, or possibly a castle bailiff. There are no records to say for sure.
  • Eynsford Castle has been unoccupied since 1312.

Images of Eynsford Castle

Eynsford Castle Eynsford Castle Eynsford Castle
Eynsford Castle Eynsford Castle Eynsford Castle

Images Supplied and licensed from Shutterstock Standard Licence Package

Eynsford Castle Facts

Eynsford Castle is over 900 years old, making it a historically significant ruin and a rare example of an enclosure castle.

The castle remained unoccupied for hundreds of years before becoming a historic site. 

A fire sometime around the year 1250 resulted in renovations and repairs and new building additions. A second kitchen was added.

In 2018, the Eynsford hit the tabloids with reports of a ghost sighting. A man and his son found a dark, shadowy figure in a photo taken at the castle. Some believe it’s the ghost of a monk that’s been reportedly seen around the area.

Eynsford Castle Q&A

What is an Enclosure Castle?

An enclosure castle refers to a defended residence or stronghold using walls and towers around the site for defence. 

How is Eynsford Castle Unique?

Eynsford Castle is a unique Norman castle as it had massive curtain walls, which was atypical of other Norman castles during the time. Most “normal” Norman castles used a motte and bailey design plan. 

What Was Eynsford Castle Made Of?

Eynsford Castle is made from stone, specifically flint stone. The surrounding curtain wall was made of flint rubble with timber reinforcements. The wall also had ironstone slabs to help fortify it. The original castle bridge was made of wood. 

Does Any of the Original Castle Still Exist?

Some of the original ruins are still standing, but more impressively are the segments of the massive curtain wall. In some areas, the wall still stands to its full, original height. The gatehouse foundations are still visible today, which would’ve been opposite the castle’s drawbridge. 

Ruins of the kitchen and well are still present, as are the remnants of a spiral staircase. Bits of a fireplace are also visible. A good portion of the hall is also still intact, which is impressive after so many hundreds of years. 

When Was Eynsford Castle Built?

The castle was built sometime around 1085, with additions being completed over the years. Its gatehouse was built sometime shortly after, and the castle’s well and kitchen were built between 1150 and 1175. The hall building was added during the 12th century, and an additional forebuilding was added to the hall sometime later, possibly during the early 13th century. 

Why Was Eynsford Castle Unoccupied?

Eynsford Castle remained unoccupied for a very long time after a highly disputed inheritance created tension and conflict between the co-owners. One of the claimants broke into the castle and broke doors and windows, and released the cattle. After this event, the residence was abandoned until the 18th century when it was used only for kennels and stables. 

Location of Eynsford Castle

Eynsford Castle is located near the middle of Eynsford Village, at Eynsford DA4 AA, UK.

There are other shops and restaurants nearby that are within walking distance. High Street (A225) is the nearest major roadway and the River Darent runs along the property, to the west and southwest.  

Other Places To Visit Near Eynsford Castle

Lullingstone Roman Villa

Located 1 mile (1.6 km) from Eynsford Castle, is an original Roman villa that’s survived since sometime around AD 100. It’s situated in Darent Valley in Kent and houses amazing original mosaics and prints of rare wall paintings.  

Down House

Just 7.4 miles (11.9 km) southeast from Eynsford is Down House, Charles Darwin’s family home. Science meets history at this site where visitors can see the study where Darwin wrote On the Origin of the Species and learn about his life and work. Visitors can also stroll through the award-winning gardens and vegetable patches.  

Old Soar Manor 

This manor is located 8.7 miles (14 km) from the castle, and it’s a small portion of a stone manor house dating back to 1290. This example of 13th-century domestic architecture is a rare find, and it allows visitors to step back into the life of a rich medieval family. 

Castle Hotel

The Castle Hotel (opposite Eynsford Castle) has a restaurant serving fresh, local produce in both traditional and modern fare. The restaurant is conveniently located just across the way from the castle, so it’s worth stopping in for a bite.