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Castle Coote

Barrie Vinten    11 May 2010
When I was growing up in Faversham in the 1940s and 50s, I remember there was a location to the north of the town, near the mouth of the creek, called Castle Coote (I think that's the right spelling).

I can find no mention of it on the Faversham website or on maps of the area. Does anybody else remember Castle Coote and whence it got its name?
Tish Hartshorne Snoad    07 Aug 2014

Hi. I grew up in Faversham. Lived in Abbots Road. my parents and six more siblings used to walk to Castle Coote with the pram full up with food and drink. We went the creek way and walked along the sea wall, singing and telling stories. It was our beach ... I loved those days ... And it is still pretty much the same now as it was 50 years ago...

Peter Roberts    15 Jul 2014
Castle Coote House, Roscommon, was a fortified house built in the late 17th century and finished in the early 18th century to defend the nearby river crossing, formerly defended by the then derelict castle.    

It was occupied by the Gunning family soon after completion, and was the birthplace of their daughters Maria and Elizabeth, born in 1733 and 1734, and for ever known as the Gunning Sisters.


They were pretty children and their mother, daughter of Viscount Mayo, wanted them to marry better than she had. However, finding wealthy husbands in the middle of 18th-century Ireland would not be an easy task. She decided they should, therefore, become actors, and sent them to a theatre in Dublin in 1748 "to be seen"!

The idea paid off and the sisters, then aged 15 and 16, were invited to a ball at Dublin Castle. In very short time news of their appearances in Dublin spread, and in 1751 they moved to London theatres where they soon became celebrities of the day.

It is said their beauty was beyond belief, people stood on chairs to see them, and others fainted ... it's too long a tale to tell here, but to sum up they did marry well, very well.

Their full storycan be found here on the Web by searching for 'Gunning Sisters'. It's worth a read, but their story is tinged with sadness.  

It also puts a different slant on a Customs hulk named 'Castle Coote'.

NB On 16 July, I bid for paintings of them, though for reasons beyond their appearance. Wish me luck!


Peter Roberts
John Bartlett    01 Sep 2013
I have just returned from Castlecoote in County Roscommon, Ireland. The customs hulk referred to was named after this castle which was owned by Sir Charles Coote from 1616.

During the 1640s it was largely destroyed by Cromwell's men. Between 1690 and 1720 a Georgian fortified mansion was reconstructed from the castle ruins. The house was destroyed by fire in 1989 leaving only the outer walls standing.

The property stood derelict until 1997 since when it has been completely restored and now includes magnificent stucco ceilings inspired by Robert Adam and other fine Georgian style features. Parts of the old castle still remain and with the house it is well worth a visit.

The nearby village of Castlecoote was voted best kept village/town in Ireland in 2013.
Peter Stevens    30 Dec 2010
Dear Pamela,

If your 92-year-old mother lived at 89 Abbey Street I suspect she is the daughter of George Arthur Mount who is listed in the local directories for 1921-1939.

She may then remember that her mother bought her groceries from my father, Bert Stevens, at No 92 and that her father ran a logging/wood business on the site of what was No 93. Between Nos 92 and 93 was the entrance to Oyster Court.

Best wishes

Peter Stevens
pamela gardner    28 Dec 2010
A message for Barrie Vinten and Arthur Percival.

I remember my mother talking of Castle Coote. She is now 92 and in poor health, but I have just spoken to her and she recalls playing there as a small child – it was the nearest "seaside" before Seasalter.

She was born in the Faversham area, and grew up at 89 Abbey Street, so was familiar with the whole area. Her grandfather was also a Percival, I believe, but I have a cousin who has studied the family history in far more depth than I have, so I will ask her to post further information on that for you.

A very interesting site – top marks to all concerned! 
Arthur Percival    24 Jun 2010
Yes, Barrie, we know Castle Coote is not signified on OS plans, of any scale. I'll try to take this up with them, but they are very conservative (small 'c').
Barrie Vinten    18 Jun 2010
John, Arthur and Peter may know this already but, if you Google Castle Coote, Kent, you will find sites which include information about the Castle Coote Bird Sanctuary, Graveney, but it still is not shown by name on the OS map.
Barrie Vinten    17 May 2010
Dear John, Arthur & Peter,

Many thanks for your very interesting replies about Castle Coote. I remember going there on my bike via the same route mentioned by John.

It is odd that it doesn't appear on any maps, even OS ones.
Peter Stevens    13 May 2010
During the Second World War, Castle Coote was the site of a scaffolding-type barrier across the Swale with a moveable net across the centre to allow small ships to pass through and was out of bounds to the public.

At the end of the war the local lads had great fun climbing along it.
Arthur Percival    12 May 2010
Barrie & John

The locality still exists and is still so known. It has never been marked on any OS plan. Perhaps it should be.

Not that you asked, but the name comes from a Customs hulk which used to be laid up there. Customs officers and their families lived in such vessels until quarters were built for them on land. And the ship was named after a location in Ireland.

Best wishes

Arthur Percival (for the Faversham Society - www.faversham.org/society)