Constable's Barbican from Rokesley Tower, Dover Castle, Kent, UK

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John Latter on December 30, 2009

The D-type Rokesley`s Tower, from where this photo was taken, is the southernmost tower on Dover Castle's Western Outer Curtain Wall, or Western Battlements (also see the Canons Gate and Rokesley Tower photo).

This view shows the earthwork of Constable's Barbican on the skyline with Dover Castle's dry moat in the foreground.

The first projection on the right-hand side is a buttress, the second (with the window) is Fulbert`s Tower.

Dover Castle is an English Heritage site.

Extract from "The History of the Town and Port of Dover and of Dover Castle (With a Short Account of the Cinque Ports)", Volume 2. Dedicated by the Reverend John Lyon, Minister of "Saint Mary`s", on April 21st, 1814, and published the same year:

Rokesley's Tower

This was a circular tower, built by Albrincis, and it has been called by his name; but the tower, in which he commanded, is on the north-east side of the Castle (see Avranches Tower). Several of the towers had open fronts, and without the least accommodation for the watchmen, when they were not on duty. This obliged them to build houses, near their stations; and Thomas de Rokesley, of Lenham, had a house belonging to this tower, near the old gate (Canon Gate or Monk Gate, close to the present Canons Gate entrance).

He probably descended from Malerinus de Rokesley, who settled at North Cray, in Kent, in the reign of William the First. It was the custom of those, who commanded in the different towers, to have their arms cut in stone, and fixed in the wall, to shew from what family they descended; and it is very probable that they were removed; either at the decease, or at the resignation of the commander, as vey few of them have reached our time.

Thomas de Rokesley's arms were - Argent, a fesse, between three etoiles.

Abridged from The English Heritage Trail:

Dover Castle

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.

John Latter / Jorolat

Dover Blog: The Psychology of a Small Town

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

John Latter on March 19, 2011

Alterations to Dover Castle during the Napoleonic Era (1)

Massive rebuilding took place at the end of the eighteenth century during the Napoleonic Wars with France. Colonel William Twiss, the Commanding Engineer of the Southern District, as part of his brief to improve the town's defences, completed the remodelling of the outer defences of Dover Castle adding the huge Horseshoe Bastion, Hudson Bastion, East Arrow Bastion, and East Demi-Bastion to provide extra gun positions on the eastern side, and constructing the Constable's Bastion (Constable`s Barbican) for additional protection on the west.

Twiss further strengthened the Spur at the northern end of the castle, adding a redan, or raised gun platform. By taking the roof off the Keep (or "Great Tower") and replacing it with massive brick vaults he was able to mount heavy artillery on the top. Twiss also constructed Canon`s Gateway (alt. Canons Gateway) to link the defences of the castle with those of the town.

Dover Castle is a Grade I Listed Building (2).

The following is © Crown Copyright. Reproduced under the terms of the Click-Use Licence (PSI licence number C2010002016):

Building Details:

Building Name: DOVER CASTLE

Parish: DOVER

District: DOVER

County: KENT



LBS Number: 177823

Grade: I

Date Listed: 07/03/1974

Date Delisted:

NGR: TR3249141696

Listing Text:


TR 3241 1/47

TR 34 SW 7/47



Norman keep C.1155 of rag-stone ashlar blooks picked out flints with Caen stone dressings. Around the keep are ranges of C18 (=18th Century) houses of 2 to 3 storeys ashlar with a flint galleting. Round headed windows. Surrounding these ranges are 2 concentric rings of walls and towers dating from Mediaeval times. Beneath the castle are a whole series of subterranean passages dating from the C13 and improved for defence during the Napoleonic period. Ancient Monument. (Abridged).

Listing NGR: TR3249141696

Source: English Heritage. Click to see all photos of Listed Buildings in the town of Dover, England.

(1) Abridged extracts from Dover Castle.

(2) Grade I: buildings "of exceptional interest, sometimes considered to be internationally important".

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Photo details

  • Uploaded on December 7, 2009
  • © All Rights Reserved
    by John Latter
    • Camera: PENTAX Corporation PENTAX K100D
    • Taken on 2009/12/04 11:50:15
    • Exposure: 0.005s (1/200)
    • Focal Length: 55.00mm
    • F/Stop: f/8.000
    • ISO Speed: ISO200
    • Exposure Bias: 0.00 EV
    • No flash