Although Lullingstone Castle’s historic formal gardens are mostly 17th and 18th century in date, the late 15th century house and gatehouse may be on the site of an earlier manor house. Historic drawings and paintings provide some evidence of what the Tudor and Stuart-era gardens looked like. This includes a walled moat surrounding the house and inner gatehouse, which were filled in and pulled down in the 18th century. Other features include an orchard and formal enclosed lawns which were accessed by a small bridge.
A geophysical resistivity survey was undertaken by the West Kent Archaeological Society in 2011 which revealed features which may belong to a possible sunken Tudor kitchen garden. Further fieldwork, including a magnetometry survey and excavation will be undertaken as a community archaeology project to investigate these features. This will be complemented by research into and the cultivation of the plants that would have been grown at this time.
Historic garden community dig
In May 2022, a community dig took place at the Castle to investigate the sunken garden. This is now being followed by a second phase in October, lasting three weeks.
The dig dates are currently planned as follows:
Tuesday 4 to Saturday 8 October; Tuesday 11 to Saturday 15 October; Tuesday 18 to Friday 21 October
Although we may not be able to accommodate everyone on all days, we are happy to take all levels of experience, including a limited number of families. Volunteers will be much appreciated to help with finds, as well as the digging. Contact our Community Archaeologist (firstname.lastname@example.org) if interested in taking part.