Gilbert's Gatehouse                            


Hello my name is James Ashburnham . I'm 56 years old, I live in Tonbridge , down Lodge Oak Lane . I'm going to tell you a story about Tonbridge Castle  which I helped build .

It was 1261,I was working in a work shop making shoes .  When I was there one day , a strange looking man spoke to the boss. After a couple of minutes someone tapped me on the shoulder and asked me if I was up to a very important job. He explained what the job was , so I agreed, and me and a couple of other men were sent off to work with Gilbert or otherwise known as the "Red Earl", on the building of the gatehouse.

The Gatehouse is really meant for stopping attackers getting inside or outside the bailey. If people did pass they would throw daggers and  arrows at them. In `the gatehouse the entrance has many ways in which soldiers attacking the castle would find other dangerous  things in their way. One of these would be called Murder holes . They were  used for soldiers defending the castle, like I mentioned earlier. The Murder holes were square and they would be over their heads, and formed  between the  floor and roof above. When we had built our first murder hole, a young man tried to have a sneaky look at the castle. Unfortunately he fell into the murder hole and daggers and arrows were dropped down at his head,( it wasn't a pretty site). I miss Don he was a lovely man just a bit too nosy.

Anyway I'll carry on. We went in the next day to continue on with the building, it really is hard work. We had to work very long hours, from about six in the morning till about eight, but sometimes we worked longer. We would work from Monday- Saturday, but never Sunday. We had to measure the bricks cut them and then fix them together. It took us a year to build not even half of the gatehouse. It took us quite a few years to build, but when it was done it was well worth it . I am retired now but the memories of building the gatehouse is still with us. I bet you didn't now that the gatehouse as stopped many attackers and I am sure before the next century, it will stop many more attackers!!!

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