Westenhanger Castle, nr Folkestone

ringsWestenhanger Castle itself, originally built in the fourteenth century, underwent considerable alteration in the early-sixteenth century when it was converted into a mansion. This work was probably undertaken by Sir Edward Poynings who died in 1522, with the work still incomplete. His son, Sir Thomas, continued with the programme of conversion but in 1540 the house was given to Henry VIII in exchange for other property. In 1552 the property passed into the hands of Sir Richard Sackville of Buckhurst in Sussex, Chancellor of the Court of Augmentations. It is known that he was certainly in residence here in 1565. In 1585 the site was acquired by Thomas Smythe esq, farmer of the customs of the port of London. Between this date and his death six years later in 1591 Smythe is said to have greatly increased the beauty of the mansion and to have made magnificent additions. The roof of the barn considered in recent tree-ring analysis is of in-line butt-purlin construction of ten hammer beam trusses (effectively stub tiebeams) supporting hammer studs (effectively queen studs) which rise to lower collars. The hammer beams are strengthened from beneath by curved braces which spring from wall posts supported by corbels. There is a second, upper tier, of collars with queen studs.