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Page last updated at 10:18 GMT, Friday, 4 March 2011
Actor James Purefoy backs Rochester Castle campaign
James Purefoy
James Purefoy plays Marshal, a Templar Knight, in Ironclad

A star of a film telling the story of the siege of Rochester Castle is backing a campaign to restore the ancient keep.

The Rochester Castle Restoration Campaign says James Purefoy, who plays a Templar Knight in Ironclad, has been in touch with them.

Ironclad, released today, tells the story of the siege of Rochester Castle in 1215.

The restoration campaign wants the castle to be fully open to the public.

At 125 feet tall it is the tallest castle in the country.

There has been a fortification on the site since pre-Roman times and it has been a ruin for around 400 years.

Rochester under siege

In 1088, 1215 and 1264, Rochester Castle was under siege. The 1215 siege was during a civil war and was one of bloodiest in English history.

After he signed the Magna Carta in 1215, King John gathered an army to reclaim his power over England and exert bloody revenge against those who defied him.

Mackenzie Crook
Dartford-born Mackenzie Crook is part of the Ironclad cast

Barons rebelling against the king had seized Rochester and control of Rochester Bridge.

After taking control of the bridge from the rebels King John's men laid siege to the castle. It took about two months to capture the castle.

It is thought King John may have set up his command headquarters on Boley Hill during this time.

His forces erected five great stone throwing engines to pound the defences as well as small-arms of bows and arrows.

However, this was not enough and King John's men finally managed to gain entry into the castle grounds by undermining its perimeter wall.


The film, Ironclad, aims to recreate the siege and make the viewer experience a medieval battle in action.

Directed by Jonathan English, the filming was done in Wales where the imposing walls and battlements of Rochester Castle were recreated.

Restore Rochester campaign

The Restore Rochester Castle Campaign wants to save the walls, floor and roof of the 12th Century building.

Rochester Castle
Netting protests visitors to the castle from falling stones

Jon O'Donnell, who chairs the campaign's committee, said the medieval castle is "decaying faster and faster", and access is restricted because of falling stone.

Jon O'Donnell added: "We want to see the floors and roof put back in to give the building viability, that will protect the insides and give it some structural integrity.

"We are waiting approval from English Heritage on the final draft of an agreement between Medway Council and the Rochester Castle Restoration Campaign to allow the people to raise the money to begin the work to save the castle."



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