Between 1087 and 1089 Gundulf, Bishop of Rochester, built a new stone castle at Rochester. He established the current extent of the castle. Though much altered through the centuries, some parts of Gundulf’s work survive. In 1127 King Henry I granted the castle to the Archbishop of Canterbury in perpetuity. William de Corbeil built the massive keep that still dominates the castle today. Throughout the 12th century the castle remained in the custody of the archbishops.
During the First Barons’ War (1215–1217) in King John’s reign, baronial forces captured the castle from Archbishop Stephen Langton and held it against the king, who then besieged it. The King’s forces mined the S W corner of the castle and dropped the entire corner.
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