foundations, seems to be of earlier date than any other existing walls
(except the early-Norman fragment of the boundary wall), and probably
belonged to the keep; but it is too thin to have been its outside wall. It
may have been an inside wall dividing the keep into two parts by an
arrangement still seen in the twelfth-century keeps of Rochester and
Colchester. If so, a considerable part of the keep lying to the south of
this wall must have been destroyed, leaving no trace of its foundations.
Certainly one and probably both of the existing dovecotes
were likewise built at this time. The east clove-cote was standing before
the existing enclosure wall was built up against it, as anyone can see at
a glance. That enclosure wall belonged to the late twelfth-century
manor-house. The dove-cote is therefore earlier and must belong to the
previous stage of building, that is to say, to William de Elintonís
castle. Now William de Elinton is also known as William de Columbariis or
Columbers. It is tolerably clear that he must have taken his name from
columbaria. The west dove-cote has been much altered by
being turned into an oast-house, but in style of building it must have
been identical with the other. These two dove-cotes are the oldest
existing in England as far as I have been able to discover.
As above stated, the Columbers castle was destroyed in
1174-5. An agricultural estate without some kind of manor-house could
hardly get along. When the castle was destroyed a manor-house had to be
built, and no doubt it was built at once, that is to say in or immediately
after 1175. Of this manor-house there remain very considerable fragments.
It was built out of the materials of the destroyed Columbers castle, and
contains, mixed up in the body of the walls along with the general mass of
Kentish rag, numbers of wrought blocks of Caen stone shewing Norman
tooling. The lower part of the present gate-house and the north end of the
west wing of the castle belong to this late twelfth-century manor-house.*
(Plan No. 3)
* See the parts of the "Historical Plan" coloured brown.