We are really excited to announce that from Sunday, June 23rd we will be hosting a Vanity Fairs Brocante at the truly historic Tonbridge Castle. The Tonbridge Brocante will take place every fourth Sunday of the month (third Sunday in November and December).
Tonbridge castle has centuries of history behind it, being one of the very first Motte-and-bailey Norman fortresses. Its large round towers flank an arched entrance that has seen many visitors in its day - some less welcome than others!
The history of the castle begins shortly after the Norman Conquest, when Richard Fitz Gilbert was granted land in Kent to guard the crossing of the River Medway. He built a simple Motte-and-bailey castle on the site, allegedly moving over 50,000 tonnes of earth in the process.
In 1088, the de Clare family (descendants of Fitz Gilbert) who were living at the castle, rebelled against King William II and were swiftly besieged by the King, who, having vanquished the impertinent de Clares, burnt the castle and the town of Tonbridge to the ground!
However, the resilient de Clares had managed to replace the wooden castle with a stone shell keep by 1100 and this was then reinforced during the thirteenth century.
The de Clares also built the twin-towered gatehouse, which took 30 years and was finished in 1260 and this impressive fortress temporarily housed the great seal of England during one of Edward I's visits to France.
Finally, in 1295 a stone wall was built around the town to keep out any other unwelcome guests.
The castle was not lived in between 1521 and the late 18th century, except for a short period during the civil war, but the more recent mansion being added in 1793 and new life was breathed into the old place. It's been lived in ever since and both castle and mansion are now Grade I listed buildings.
The site was purchased by the local council in 1900 with the mansion now the official location for the council offices. The grounds are a public park and host many events throughout the year, with lots of educational and school-oriented activities. It’s also the start of The Tudor Trail, a six-mile cycle ride to the equally impressive and historic Penshurst Place.
We feel incredibly privileged to be able to host our brocante at Tonbridge Castle and believe it's particularly fitting, given its beginnings in Norman times - the first true Anglo-French era!
We look forward to welcoming you to the Tonbridge Brocante on Sunday, June 23rd. 10-5pm. Keep your eyes peeled to our social media for more information. Any businesses wishing to host a stall at the event should email firstname.lastname@example.org.