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The History of Kent

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History of Upnor

Upnor comes from the Old English ‘æt þæm ōre’ meaning ‘at the bank’


Upnor castle is a Grade: I listed building. Elizabeth I built it in 1559 as a defence for the fleet, most of which, moored in the Medway. By 1601, the castle had gun platforms flanked by two towers, holding more gun emplacements, gatehouse, courtyard and residential block for the gunners. In 1667, a Dutch squadron sailed up the Medway setting ships alight and stole the English flagship ‘The Royal Charles’. However, their plan had been to reach the Chatham dockyard, which Upnor Castle had helped prevent. In the 17th century, the castles effectiveness had declined and the navy converted it into a magazine, after making many alterations. Upnor Castle continued in this role until the 19th century.


Upnor church is dedicated to Saint Philip and Saint James. The architect Ewan Christian built it in 1884, the year the ecclesiastical parish split from Frindsbury – although reabsorbed in 1955.




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