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Rochester castle commanded an important river crossing. It was besieged by King John after being seized by rebel barons. John’s miners brought down a corner of the keep using the fat of 40 pigs to help burn down the props of their tunnel. (The corner was later rebuilt with a curved not square tower). The keep had a cross wall so rebels retired into the undamaged half but were eventually starved out.

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796 years ago tomorrow a reluctant, but resigned, and most definitely scheming King John was brought to Runnymede to put his seal to the Great Charter of Liberty – Magna Carta. John might have acceded to the Barons’ demands...

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