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28 October 2014
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Upnor Castle
Upnor Castle.
Upnor Castle

This well-preserved 16th-century gun fort was built to protect Queen Elizabeth I's warships from attack.

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Audio tour: small charge

Disabled access: grounds only

Access: at Upnor on unclassified road off A228

Facilities: toilets, parking

Upnor castle was originally built in 1559 as a gun fort on the orders of Queen Elizabeth I to defend her warships at anchor in the reaches of the Medway and Chatham Dockyard.

Completed in 1568 and in 1585 included a chain to cross the Medway. However, by 1669, the castle was to be employed for stores and magazine. The castle saw action on at least two occasions.

In 1648, during the civil war, Kent Royalists captured the castle. However, the squatters were soon ejected from the castle. The second came during the Dutch War of 1665 - 1667.

On June 12th 1667, the Dutch fleet sailed up the Medway. Whilst Upnor gallantly bombarded the Dutch, they managed to cross the chain and attacked a number of war ships. Whilst some were burnt, the Flagship Royal Charles was captured. Fortunately, the Dutch withdrew, sparing the Dockyard.

Guns.The castle continued as a store, magazine and barracks until 1827, when it was designated as an Ordinance Laboratory.

However, towards the end of the 19th century, it was to return to stores again. After the Second World War, the castle was to become a museum, becoming a national monument in 1961.

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