Sutton Valence Castle
History, tourist information, and nearby accommodation
HERITAGE HIGHLIGHTS: Ruined castle keep in a superb location looking out towards the Weald
Only one wall of the keep stands to any height now, reaching about 22 feet, and the site is about 36 feet across. There was once a bailey surrounding the keep, but this was later filled in. The castle was apparently abandoned voluntarily in the 13th or 14th century.
The castle would once have stood within curtain walls taking up the entire hillside. Old photographs also show another tower which has since vanished. The great tower which we can see now would have stood to three stories in height. You can still see recesses in the walls which would have been used as latrines, or possibly as cupboards.
The castle and manor of Sutton was once in the hands of Simon de Montfort, Earl of Leicester. De Montfort rebelled against the crown, and for a time held Henry III prisoner. When the Earl was killed at the Battle of Evesham in 1265 Henry granted the manor of Sutton to his half-brother, William de Valence, Earl of Pembroke. It is from the Earl that the village became known as Sutton Valence.
William's son Aymer is known to have stayed in the castle after he inherited the estate in 1315. We also know that William's widow, Joan, spent a month at the castle between 1296 and 1297. After this time we know practically nothing of the castle until it was finally abandoned, probably sometime in the mid 14th century.
The site is accessible at any time.
Most photos are available for licensing, please contact Britain Express image library.
About Sutton Valence Castle
Address: Rectory Lane, Sutton Valence, Kent, England, ME17 3LW
Attraction Type: Castle
Location: In Sutton Valence village, on the A274 about five miles south-east of Maidstone. The castle is signposted from the village centre, but there is no parking on site. Park along the High Street and follow a short footpath to the castle.
Website: Sutton Valence Castle
English Heritage - see also: English Heritage memberships (official website)
Sutton Valence Castle Photos
Photo Credit: David Ross and Britain Express
Opening Details: Open access site, usually accessible at any reasonable time
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NEARBY HISTORIC ATTRACTIONS
Heritage Rated from 1- 5 (low-exceptional) on historic interest
Sutton Valence, St Mary - 0.3 miles (Historic Church)
Boughton Monchelsea Place - 2.8 miles (Garden)
Stoneacre - 2.9 miles (Historic House)
Leeds Castle - 3 miles (Castle)
Maidstone Museum & Bentlif Art Gallery - 5.5 miles (Museum)
Lenham, St Mary's Church - 5.6 miles (Historic Church)
Smarden, St Michael the Archangel - 6 miles (Historic Church)
Bredgar & Wormshill Light Railway - 7 miles (Family Attraction)
Nearest Accommodation to Sutton Valence Castle: