Whitstable Castle is the local manor house, with the oldest part dating back to the 1790s. The inhabitants of the house have left an indelible mark on Whitstable. The site of the building dates back to the copperas industry which was based where the tea garden is today.
In 1773, the Manor of Tankerton was inherited by Elizabeth Radford. She later married Charles Pearson and together they bought several copperas works. However, the industry was falling in to decline, so in the spirit of recycling, the Pearsons demolished the copperas works and used the bricks to build an octagonal tower. You can still see the black tar from the works on the walls of the tower.
The Pearsons continued to enlarge the manor house to accommodate their large family and in the 1820s Charles Pearson started a new company, The Canterbury and Whitstable Railway. He originally planned to have the railway terminate on land that he owned, but there was local opposition, so instead he turned his station into a hotel, The Pearson’s Arms. Sadly, Charles Pearson died two years before the railway opened and after 7 years of neglect the Castle was sold to Wynn Ellis.
Wynn Ellis is one of the more interesting inhabitants of Whitstable Castle. He was well educated and had made a fortune from the silk business. Additionally, he had been the MP of Hereford and was friends with Robert Peel. However, Wynn Ellis was leading a double life, while his wife stayed in London, in Whitstable he had a mistress, Susan Lloyd. Wynn Ellis extended and repaired the building, adding on the West Wing and Bell tower. He was an extremely popular man in the town and when he died all of the shops closed out of respect. He also has prominent roads named after him in Tankerton; ‘Ellis Road’ and ‘Wynn Road’ located just off the main high street in Tankerton Road.
Whitstable Castle Events
Since 1975 The Castle has been run by the ‘Castle Centre Association’ who aim to use The Castle for the benefit of the people of Whitstable. There are regular events held within The Castle and it’s gardens, ranging from May Day celebrations to antiques fairs. Additionally, The Castle is available for venue hire and is a very popular choice for Whitstable weddings. The Orangery Tea Rooms are open daily, providing hot food, sandwiches and fantastic cream teas.