Upnor Castle, Kent England


It was Henry VIII that first recognised the importance of the Medway with number of war ships were being anchored here.  In 1547 a storehouse was rented at Gillingham, the start of the Dockyard as we know it today.  In 1564 there are said to have been some 23 of Queen Elizabeth's ships anchored in the area.  Upnor was commissioned to protect this fleet and the Royal 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.
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.