Chilham Castle
Chilham Castle is a manor house and keep in the village of Chilham, between Ashford and Canterbury in the county of Kent, England. The polygonal Norman keep of the Castle, the oldest building in the village, dates from 1174; still inhabited, it was said to have been built for King Henry II. But archaeological excavations carried out in the 1920s suggest that it stands on the foundations of a much older Anglo-Saxon fortification, possibly dating from the fifth century, and there is evidence of earlier Roman habitation in the vicinity.

The Jacobean building, within sight of the "Old Castle" (the keep), was completed in 1616 for Sir Dudley Digges on a hexagonal plan, with five angled ranges and the sixth left open. It has battlemented parapets, clustered facetted brick chimneys and corner towers with squared ogee cappings. The Victorian tradition that this bold but vernacular house was designed by Inigo Jones is not credited by architectural historians. Indeed Nicholas Stone, a master mason who had worked under Jones' direction at Holyrood Palace in 1616, and at the Whitehall Banqueting House, was commissioned to add a funerary chapel to Chilham church for Sir Dudley Digges, to contain Stone's funerary monument to Lady Digges, in 1631-32; if any traces of the manner of Jones were discernible at Chilham Castle, Nicholas Stone might be considered as a candidate. It is, nevertheless, one of the finer mansions in the south-east of England and commands exceptional views across the valley of the River Stour, Kent. The gardens, said originally to have been laid out by John Tradescant the elder, were redesigned twice in the eighteenth century. First, under the London banker James Colebrooke (who bought the estate from the Digges family) fine vistas were created stretching to the river and then, under Thomas Heron (who acquired the estate from Colebrooke's son Sir Robert), Capability Brown made further recommendations for change, some of which were implemented, such as the pair of lodges (1777, demolished 1862) . Chilham Castle was purchased by Thomas Wildman in 1792 and was altered by John Shaw (1776-1832) for his son James Beckford Wildman, who sold it in 1861, to cover debts for the family estates in the West Indies. Plans of Chilham showing some of the substantial changes made to the building by David Brandon for Charles Hardy in 1862 and by Sir Herbert Baker for mining magnate Sir Edmund and Lady (Mary) Davis in the early nineteen twenties are conserved in the Victoria & Albert Museum. The present terracing, altered in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, leads down to a fishing lake dating from the time of Charles Stewart Hardy in the 1860s and 70s. The walls to the grounds date mostly from the eighteenth century, although the two gatehouses were only added in the early 1920s, again replacing a very different 19th century one. It was recently owned by John Whyte-Melville-Skeffington, 13th Viscount Massereene, Chilham Castle is currently owned by Stuart Wheeler who lives there with his wife Tessa and his three daughters, Sarah, Jacquetta, and Charlotte. The site now hosts the Chilham Park Equestrian Centre. In 1965 it was used for part of the filming of The Amorous Adventures of Moll Flanders starring Kim Novak, Leo McKern and Angela Lansbury. In 1985 Chilham Castle featured in an episode of 1980's police drama Dempsey & Makepeace as Makepeace's family home (filmed summer 1984). The episode was titled 'Cry God For Harry' and most of the hour-long episode was filmed in the castle and its grounds. It also featured in the first episode in 1989 of the ITV adventure game show Interceptor produced by Chatsworth Television who were responsible for the earlier Treasure Hunt series. A medieval joust was being held there and a contestant was required to take part in order to progress further in the show. In 1994, the castle featured in an episode of Agatha Christie's Poirot ( ITV), as Simeon Lee's manor house Gorston Hall.