Great Tower or Keep, Peverell Gateway, and Hurst Tower of Dover Castle, Kent, UK

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John Latter on December 6, 2009

Dover Castle's Great Tower (or Keep) is in the top centre of the photo surrounded by the uncrenellated walls of the Inner Bailey.

Below the Inner Bailey is part of the Outer Curtain Wall (Western Battlements) stretching from Peverell`s Gate, or Peverell's Tower, on the left to the D-type Hurst Tower on the right.

Because of the location the photo was taken from (Canons Gate Road), the two intermediary towers of Gatton Tower and Say Tower are not visible.

Most of the towers have have alternative names and/or spellings.

Dover Castle is an English Heritage site.

Click to see all photos of Dover Castle.

  1. Dover Castle

Abridged from The English Heritage Trail:

Guardian of the 'Gateway to England', Dover Castle displays a solid strength and determination that has obviously carried it through many troubled times. Proudly standing atop the White Cliffs, overlooking this busy port, Dover Castle has withstood the test of time remarkably well throughout its long and eventful history. Dover Castle, as it stands today, dates from the rebuilding work during Henry II's reign, but the site has been of vital importance since the Iron Age. The first castle at Dover was probably an Anglo-Saxon fortress and, on the arrival of William the Conqueror, the existing fortifications were improved with the building of an earthwork castle. This Norman 'motte' (mound) which supported the castle is today known as 'Castle Hill'.

Work began on Dover Castle in the latter part of the 12th century with the construction of the Keep (or Great Tower) - the largest in Britain - and is entered through a forebuilding more substantial than any other built before or since. At each corner of the Keep lies a buttress turret, and mid-way along each wall is a pilaster buttress. Four storeys high, the Keep comprises a basement, first floor, and a second floor that spans two storeys, the upper level of which is a mural gallery that can be seen today at the end of the Great Armour Hall. The second storey provided the royal accommodation, and the first floor, based on a similar plan to the second, contained rooms with a much less elaborate decor. All floors were connected by staircases set in the north and south corner turrets.

Providing the entry staircase, and two chapels, is the magnificent forebuilding. It is interesting to note the decor of the chapels - the lower chapel of a Gothic style, and the upper chapel late Norman and richly decorated. From outside of the Keep, the significance of the three-towered forebuilding can be fully appreciated, as it can be seen travelling along the eastern wall of the Keep and turning at the corner of the southern wall. It was around this stronghold that the concentric castle was developed and work was completed mid-13th century.

Dover Castle appears in "Dover in World War Two: 1942", a ten minute British Ministry of Information film, released by the US Office of War Information, and narrated by the American journalist, Edward R. Murrow.

  1. Peverell's Gate

From "Dover Castle" by R. Allen Brown (Her Majesty's Stationery Office, HMSO 1974) (Abridged):

Peverell's Gate or Tower marks the juncture of the work of King John and Henry III, and is itself a composite structure of both reigns. It basically consists of a great mural tower with a spurred base, facing the field and backing on to a gateway within the castle facing north and south. Henry III further fortified this gateway by adding a semicircular tower facing south. Within the main passage way of the gate an archway, now blocked, led off at right-angles northwards to the vanished Harcourt Tower. Peverell was further altered about 1300 and the remarkable conical roof, with its king-post to the apex inside, may date from. that time. The original battlemented top was replaced by the present unsightly brick parapet evidently in the early nineteenth century.

From "The History of the Castle, Town and Port of Dover" by Reverend S. P. H. Statham, Rector of St Mary-in-the-Castle (ie St Mary-in-Castro) (Longmans, Green, and Co., 1899):

Peverell's Tower, also called The Marshal's, Beauchamp's, and the Bell Tower. The manors of Wrensted and Throwley in Kent were responsible for the up-keep of this fine tower, which with its arched gateway, ditch (moat) and drawbridge constituted the entrance into the middle ward. At one time it was used as a prison and the residence of the marshal, and hence its name. On the side of the tower fronting the keep there was an arched passage from the main gate, which communicated with the caponiere (alt. caponier, caponnier) leading under Harcourt's Tower. The arms of Hugh Beauchamp, marshal of the Castle, were cut on a stone shield placed on the front of the tower, and were visible in 1801, when the stone was removed. The original battlements have been replaced by a parapet of brick. In 1771 the wall between this tower and Port (ie Port Tower, alt. Laswells, Gostling or Queen Mary`s Tower) fell down, and in digging for a new foundation the piers of the old bridge before the gate were discovered.

John Latter / Jorolat

Dover Blog: The Psychology of a Small Town

This is the Images of Dover website: click on any blue "John Latter" link to access the Entry Page.

John Latter on November 30, 2010

Click to see rare views of:

Hurst Tower

Gatton Tower

Say Tower

from the outer moat embankment.

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Photo details

  • Uploaded on December 6, 2009
  • © All Rights Reserved
    by John Latter
    • Camera: PENTAX Corporation PENTAX K100D
    • Taken on 2009/12/04 11:38:06
    • Exposure: 0.003s (1/400)
    • Focal Length: 55.00mm
    • F/Stop: f/10.000
    • ISO Speed: ISO200
    • Exposure Bias: 0.00 EV
    • No flash

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