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.

Sunken garden community dig

In May 2022, a community dig will take place at the Castle to investigate the sunken garden.

The dig dates are currently planned as follows:

Tuesday 10 to Saturday 14 May; Tuesday 17 to Saturday 21 May; Tuesday 24 to Sunday 29 May

Saturday 21 May is an open day event for visitors to come and view the archaeology. No payment for entry into the World Garden will be required if coming to see the dig.

On Saturday and Sunday, the Castle will be running its annual Medieval Weekend event (entry fees applicable).

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 (anne.sassin@kentdowns.org.uk) if interested in taking part.

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