Deal Castle is an artillery fortification constructed on the order of Henry VIII in 1539-40 as part of a chain of national coastal defences, known as the ‘King’s Device’, built because of feared invasion by the Catholic powers of Europe after the king’s repudiation of papal authority. Deal Castle, along with its associated neighbours at Walmer and Sandown, was one of the earliest of these fortifications to be constructed. The castle’s symmetrical plan comprises a circular central tower or keep with six semi-circular bastions arranged around its base. These are in turn surrounded by six larger semi-circular bastions forming an outer curtain to the castle, with a dry moat with stone counterscarp encompassing the building. The form of the Tudor castle has been retained in good order, albeit with some restoration by the Ministry of Works in the 1960s.
There have been changes made to the castle, particularly from the early 18th century onwards, to provide comfortable and fashionable accommodation for the castle’s captain. These changes include the alteration of most of the parapets, the construction (and subsequent demolition) of a house on the eastern ramparts, changes to internal planning and the introduction of panelling to internal walls on the first floor. Although presentation of the castle since the 1960s has concentrated on its Tudor form, the long history of occupation and associated physical changes, plus the association between the captains and the Lords Warden of the Cinque Ports, and the local community, make essential contributions to the castle’s historical value.
The report was commission by the English Heritage to inspect the exterior and provide recommendations for exterior repairs.
The project was designed to achieve two objectives. First to provide a benign and appropriate physical environment for a new visitor presentation scheme. The castle’s inner core (keep and lunettes) was suffering from water ingress and damp. An overhaul of all the window openings and embrasures was required to stop the ingress and to deal with deteriorating masonry. The internal decoration of the building was in poor order, with limewashed and painted surfaces looking tired and in need of renewal. The need to securing the weather tightness of the building as a basic conservation requirement and the current appearance of the castle’s interior is a result of neglect and not an authentic desire to represent the past.